Waning Interest

15 05 2008

Wales 0 England 2
U21 Friendly

This was Wales’ 100th U21 match. After years of hammerings Wales were finally in decent shape to mark the anniversary. Whilst we were on the train I wondered how many people would actually be going; there didn’t seem to be many football fans boarding.

After leaving the Turf we arrived on to a deserted Kop. The population didn’t increase greatly during the game. We all held out hopes for victory but eventually we were let down by circumstance. The match went as follows. Wales played well in the first half, England scored via the spot and Walcott. England calmly controlled the second half and it petered out into nothing. By the end of the match I was cold.
Three particular incidents caught my attention. Firstly, A steward in an orange jacket enquired as to whether I had permission to take photos. I said “What!!” He said “Oh you need permission from the FAW or they could confiscate your camera” I said “Oh right” and continued to take pictures. Fuck the Man!!!!
Secondly, during the first half an England fan stood near us. I wasn’t aware of his presence until England scored their second goal, although Gaz told me that he’d excited some people whilst I’d been in the toilet. After the goal went in he thrust his flag into the air and let out a cry of delight. Around 2 minutes later some drunk person shouted at him (Gaz said this had happened the previous time too) then someone standing near him went over to have a friendly chat. I looked over to my left; some Top Boys seemed to be discussing the situation. More people came over for a friendly chat. The shouter became more animated. Someone else moved in for a chat. The shouter became even more excited and moved closer. Some of the Top Boys moved past me. It looked ominous for the bloke with the flag.
A steward sprang into action, he strode over with back-up skulking nearby. A few minutes of gentle persuasion failed to get the England fan to surrender. The steward gave the international sign of the crossed arms, this must be the sign for “Oh Shit, I’m in trouble, help, HELP!!!”. The other stewards, including the orange-jacketed legal expert, casually strolled over as medium-paced their legs could carry them. Some further gentle persuasion failed to get the England Fan to surrender. Why should he surrender indeed? If it wasn’t for the English we’d all be German now.
Then, finally, the England fan disgraced himself; he yielded. He tried to retain his dignity by leaving our vicinity with a fist raised in defiance. The laughter and cheering didn’t bother him, the shouter being held back his wife didn’t bother him. He was English, he was right, what did he care, we were just sheep molesterers.

Thirdly, it was the conduct of the English players there were two main examples; 1. The English Keeper Hart just demanded the ball from a ball boy – no acknowledgement, never mind gratitude, passed his lips. 2. The English left winger A.Johnson clearly dived in the second half. In both cases the players just got on with it and turned their attention to other things that were more important. They must be teaching their young players to be obnoxious as soon as they enter the academies in England nowadays.
We were walking back to the station from the town centre when we heard the rumours. One teenager announced that there were going to be loads of Tranmere on the platform. My God, by the time we got to the station there would have been a bloodbath. We arrived at the satation to find the Top Boys already there, poised to stare at the platforms. It didn’t “go off” but at least I now know that Stone Island and Y-3 also make shellsuits.
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