Anyone but England?

12 06 2010

As we type the glorious English have gone over the top. They have gone  into battle for their country. Across England the streets are empty. In the Celtic fringes of the British Isles the streets are also silent, so silent that scavenging seagulls can be heard scavenging. Us celts are in our hovels cheering on the USA, well the ones “with the electric” are.

The Jet Set is sitting there, wearing Argentina’s Mexico ’86 shirt, wondering why do the celts want England to lose. The author of this article would like to know why too. One English theory states that the phenomenon is an…;

“…..unseemly grudge-fuelled display of bitterness by those with an inferior international record”

It  has absolutely nothing to do with people expressing a superior attitude. Mark Perryman, the erudite spokesman for England’s nice fans, analyses the issue and states;  

“…many of his fellow fans are perplexed and even hurt by this hostility from sides they would traditionally have backed when their own were not playing.

“I don’t expect anyone in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland to support England – they’ve got their own countries to support,” he crackles down a phone line from South Africa.

“Actively supporting whoever’s playing us, though, just seems pathetic. We should all get over it.

“The driving force behind English nationalism isn’t the English – it’s the Scots. They have their own anthem, their own banknotes and now their own parliament. We don’t have any of that.”

Maybe we should all get over it. The Jet Set is okay on this score, we exist in a post-bitterness paradigm. We can shrug off the yoke of our nation’s historic inferiority and  see the good stuff in England; George Orwell, the Stone Roses and Will Self are but three examples.

It is not black and white in terms of England v the Celtic fringe. I doubt whether most of the Anyone But Englands (ABEs) are different from the Jet Set. Surely nobody is so bitter about supposed English cultural imperialism that they dislike everything about England. Like the Jet Set, they can separate the English Football team from the place called England.

But can they? Let’s here’s the article again;

Dr Martin Johnes, a history lecturer at Swansea University, has studied anti-Englishness among football fans in Wales. He believes ABE is generally far rarer among supporters of the Welsh national team than among fans of club sides like Cardiff and Swansea, who play in English leagues, or rugby fans, who see their sporting rivalry with England as one of equals.

But he says media coverage of international football can turn otherwise-harmonious neighbours against each other.

“I have to say, it does wind you up when you switch on the TV and hear about ‘England expects’ and 1966,” he says. “Over the course of the tournament, I suspect more people will end up ABE than at the start.

“Only about 10% of Welsh people want independence. All we’re looking for is respect – to be treated as equals.”

ABE, then, may be about no more than three small nations feeling that they have to go that extra mile to distinguish themselves from a big nation.

But it may be too much to hope that anyone will blow the whistle on the grievances and grudges it provokes.

So some Welsh people are more ABE than others. Hold everything, look at the bold part again.

“He believes ABE is generally far rarer among supporters of the Welsh national team than among fans of club sides like Cardiff and Swansea, who play in English leagues, or rugby fans, who see their sporting rivalry with England as one of equals.”

Mr. Johnes has got it a bit wrong here. In the Jet Set’s experience supporters of the Welsh national football team are just as strong their ABEness as the supporters of Wales’ egg chasing team. You don’t need to be an academic to do research into this either. You only needed to be in the Millenium Stadium on that balmy Saturday in September 2005. You would have heard the English looking down their noses and heard the Welsh replying in kind, but maybe that was just the fans around the Jet Set and most of the fans we talked to, maybe we shouldn’t generalise these findings though. The Jet Set has no problem with being an ABE when you’re actually playing the laddish royalist xenophobes, being an ABE in that situation means you’re fan of your own side.

Let’s look again at the last line of the above quote.

“…..But it may be too much to hope that anyone will blow the whistle on the grievances and grudges it provokes.”

As we said earlier, on the basic level this idea is correct. On a slightly deeper level it’s not. If we were to move on and drop all negativity towards the England team it would mean that we would have to embrace them as fellow plucky Brits. That means we would also have to tolerate the attitudes of people who become England fans. This is something the Jet Set finds difficult. 

The Jet Set has previously stated their profound disappointment with the followers of the English football team. Supporting England seems to do something to some people, it makes them act in weird, anti-social ways.  Why would we wish to spend any time with boorish, xenophobic morons expressing themselves through clichés? In general we choose to avoid morons, why should we make an exception during football matches. That’s not to say all English fans are morons of course, some of my best friends are England fans. 

It’s a shame that the Jet Set has met other people, seen other people and in fact know other people who indulge in irritating and offensive behaviour whilst watching England. Sorry world we can’t help it if we’ve got a memory.

The Jet Set is not really ABE, we’re Against Anyone That Acts In A Way We Can’t Stand (or AATAIAWWCs for short). Acting in a way that we can’t stand  is not the preserve of the English football fan, during 2002 our sources in France revealed similar behaviour in intellectual circles; because France were world champions intellectuals eschewed lofty isolation to indulge their new passion, le jeu populaire.  

This behaviour was noted within the famous psychological study “Conditioned behaviour via infection of football mania” conducted by Professor Marvin Monroe at the University of Llandudno . After re-reading the findings we sense that there would be an increase in such behaviour in Wales if Wales were ever to qualify, a horrible prospect.

Let’s be clear, the Jet Set want the English national team to lose but it’s not because they are English and the Jet Set is Welsh. The reason that we don’t want the English to win is, as someone wrote on Facebook yesterday; “No Algerian ever called me Sheepshagger!” (The Algerian didn’t spend 20 minutes guffawing about their profound humour either.). 

We’ll leave you with a question. If wanting England to lose was all about jealousy towards a superior team with a superior history, why don’t the Welsh hate the national teams of Brazil, Holland or Spain?




5 responses

15 06 2010

We thought that the reasoning was pretty consistent throughout our discourse on this subject, to restate our feelings; our basic problem is the actions of people who know what they’re doing

On the subject of fun and enjoying oneself at football, The Jet Set likes a bit of fun – we’ve been known to sing, we can even be quite hedonistic and lose ourselves in the moment. In fact we like nothing better, the idea of fun and enjoyment is what draws us to football.

The Jet Set used to love watching international tournaments but that was before the exaggerated behaviour of people intervened. This is why we’re put out, we can’t seem to enjoy the football without being forced to take notice of idiots, we try to ignore them but…

People can enjoy themselves but when their behaviour annoys others don’t the others have the right to complain about it? One man’s party is another’s 999 call at midnight.

The Jet Set’s experience of hearing xenophobic comments from supposedly intelligent people doesn’t help us to have a very positive view of the World Cup any more. When a student decides who to support in a given match using World War 2, if they weren’t on “our side” forget it., it’s a sad indictment of the place of football in English culture. Then there was the group of 20 or so chanting about “Argie Scum”.

As for the picture those three men are the epitome of what we were on about. You ’re not able can’t judge an entire life on one photo, but you can judge the behaviour within it.

As we said before this behaviour is not exclusive to certain English people, during the six nations you‘ll see similar beahaviour from Welsh people.

15 06 2010

Your comment seems to be taking a different tack than your actual article. If you are saying that every country has idiots and I hate to see them so openly and publicly, I am sure most would agree. Your article does not say or go along that line though.

Your comment and picture are strange as well. No one likes morons, but to suggest people with St.George flags on show supporting England are morons is a extremely unfounded leap.

The picture you chose. What do you know of those three men ? They are at a football match celebrating, maybe winding down from hard week at work. How do you know what they do when they leave the match. Maybe they don a suit and go to work as mortgage advisers. They may have the full DVD box set of Seinfeld and able to more than match you over a debate in the pub. You do not know, you are of course resorting to clichés over a picture.

If you gripe is people painting themselves and cheering a team is somehow demeaning, then I am sorry but the issues and problems are solely yours. That you can get wound up or so upset over others having fun is probably not healthy.

We also have to ask what about the rest of the crown in the picture. The three in the middle do not fairly represent the crowd (in the same way houses decked in 1000 St.Georges do not represent the majority of homes displaying the St.George). Are all the men, women and children all morons for wearing their club colours and cheering their teams ?

Anyway my (and your ) comment are not even really relevant to the crux of your original article.

14 06 2010

On the other hand, the Jet Set’s revulsion is due to merely witnessing certain behaviour and attitudes, sometimes they were even addressed in the direction of the Jet Set. This feeling is not Anglophobia, it’s called moronophobia, the feeling you get when you see people like this;


Moronophobia doesn’t stop at borders.

Maybe there’s nothing wrong rebranding The Italian Job and The Great Escape as football films (They’re not enjoyable films any more, they’re about sticking it to foreigners), maybe there’s nothing wrong with perfectly intelligent young men indulging in ironic xenophobia ’cause they read about it in Zoo and they think that’s the way to act, maybe there’s nothing wrong with the entire media creation of what it is to be a modern English Football Fan but we’d beg to differ.

We’d wager 5 guineas that you wouldn’t want to spend an afternoon in a pub discussing the finer points of Seinfeld with people like this.

13 06 2010

“We’ll leave you with a question. If wanting England to lose was all about jealousy towards a superior team with a superior history, why don’t the Welsh hate the national teams of Brazil, Holland or Spain?”

Because it has nothing to do with England being a superior team, once we get past all the excuses, rhetoric and polite justifications it comes done to plain old Anglophobia. The ‘celtic’ nations in the UK dislike England to varying degrees and being ABE is a very easy and somewhat polite way of expressing this.

12 06 2010
All Around the World News

Anyone but England? « Llandudno Jet Set…

I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

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