England Fans: in the words of Delia Smith ‘Let’s be having ya!’

I watched the England v Ghana friendly with some extra added interest in the shape of some lively Ghana fans. When African nations or South American teams play, the fans always give the game a little something extra. Always have a smile on their faces, a song in their hearts, and a dance that Bolo Zenden can only dream of! 

Throughout the game (I don’t know if you noticed?) their fans had a full on party, no Vuvuzela’s, just singing and having a good time. As for the England fans…well, we watched and wished we could be that  happy one day. But it grates on me that us England fans don’t have the same exuberance or excitement for our national team. 

This is England playing at our national stadium, we’re watching a team of select Premier League stars play, probably a few beers before hand, what is there not to cheer and get excited about?

For the majority of fans, following and supporting England is completely different to following your domestic club or even following English teams in other sports. Over the past few years, probably since 2005, I have caught the cricket bug. For those that haven’t been, it is a great day out at the  cricket, people dress up, having a laugh, a party atmosphere. It doesn’t just stop there either; you have characters that represent the barmy army like ‘Southgate’ and ‘Jimmy Saville’ who are iconic fans, that lead other fans. These guys get the crowd going; running around with flags, starting chants for the players and team…full scale, level 11 banter. 

Imagine if it could be like this at England games. Half the time, even if you were to try to take something like a flag or megaphone into Wembley to show your support, it wouldn’t be allowed in, especially if it wasn’t purchased from an official Wembley vendor. Maybe I am being harsh, but it is so PC at England games, it is almost like they try to stamp out fun, they create a ‘we’re trying to get the atmosphere going, but it’s not really working’ vibe. We therefore have to rely on England football’s own version of the barmy army, the England Band, to get things going…let’s be honest, the drum and trumpet duet is a bit cabbage, but to be fair the atmosphere at England games would be a morgue without it.

If I was an opposition fan, I would see an England game as a classic chance to break out the chant ‘you’ve only got one song’ (West Ham and Chelsea fans are used to hearing it!), but it is true, we have. The only song outside the national anthem is ‘England…clap clap clap…England…’ you get the idea, we all know it, and the fact that it is only usually sung by kids and their mums is even more embarrassing, but at least they sing.

The problem at England games is domestic hatred; Manchester United fans don’t want to chant for Liverpool players, vice versa, and there are many of these rivalries on the international stage. But should this matter? Technically no, but it is not reality. On twitter during the match there was a constant bashing from a Wolves fan about the performances of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing. This wasn’t because they had bad games (Downing wasn’t MOM I agree), but it was purely because they play domestically for a rival club.

Should we be like this? It is our country after all, if we were all in the trenches together then this wouldn’t matter, you wouldn’t not help your fellow countryman/woman (one for Keys and Gray) because of where they are from or who they support. But real life warfare now takes place on the pitch at football stadiums up and down the country every week. Fans battle on the terraces through chants, alongside their team battling on the pitch. Is there any hope for Wembley having more atmosphere than the lifeless cave that is Iain Dowie’s pants? (http://bit.ly/i3vHni) At the moment, for me, there isn’t, unless it is a major tournament, as people do not support England the way they used to. Pedro’s previous article highlighted that people don’t even show support for their club team like they did in days gone by.

As a proud and passionate fan it is a little sad that last night Ghana won battles on and off the pitch, but even sadder that they won the battle of the supporters in our own back garden. Why shouldn’t a trip to Wembley be an experience, why shouldn’t the fans buzz all game and create an atmosphere like no other, this is the home of football after all, lets represent. Come on England fans, we are all supporting the same side, so let’s get some atmosphere going and make England games, even if they are a pointless friendly, something special to behold.

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  1. The Real Ronaldo says:

    Just putting it out there, but would a return of terracing or ‘safe standing’ as the guy said on your other article, give Wembley something a little extra? It would never happen as Wembley has spent too much already.

  2. El Tel says:

    Maybe Football Rascal should write a number of new England songs and start a new movement?

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