Thursday, November 22, 2007

Unbridled Joy as England Lose

THERE is a certain type of person, a politically correct type of person, who doesn’t approve of Ireland’s schadenfreude in relation to many things English.
Last night, I tried hard, very hard, to feel sorry for the English soccer team and, indeed, English soccer fans, when they were beaten 2-3 by Croatia at Wembley.
I tried to feel as I felt when Ireland bowed out of the European championships. I tried to feel the disappointment of the fans who had planned a summer of sport in Austria and Switzerland. I tried to feel sorry for players I like such as Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick and Steven Gerrard and so on.
But I failed. I couldn’t do it.
It’s just not possible.

Now, when I wrote about this in the Sunday World, the last time England bowed out of some tournament or other (it wasn’t cricket. I support them to a degree at cricket) I received a bagfull of mail telling me how immature I am (I acknowledge that) how juvenile I am (no problem there) and how racist and bigoted I am.
Whoa! Not guilty.
My desire to see England lose at, well, soccer, rugby, tennis and a few other sports here and there, stems not from events in 1169 or, indeed, 1607 or for that matter, 1798 or 1916 or even 1972.
It has nothing whatsoever to oppression, perceived or otherwise.
It has nothing to do with the Irish being ‘colonised’ or ‘downtrodden’ or anything of that sort.
It has nothing to do with some of England’s more odious monarchs or the real and actual hardship imposed on Ireland over the centuries.
No, it has a great deal more to do with John Motson and Jimmy Hill and The Sun and Ian Wright than it has to do with history.
It is an extraordinary thing that English football pundits seem to think that any tournament without them in it, isn’t worth having at all.
In fairness to Motty, he acknowledged on Wednesday last, just how utterly lousy the current English team is.
But hardly had he said as much, when Ian Wright was blathering on about how England deserved to be at the finals. No they didn’t, Ian. They didn’t win a sufficient number of games and, hence, didn’t garner a sufficient number of points. It’s simple.
When it comes to rugby, you think Stuart Barnes and Brian Moore and The Sunday Times and the Daily Telegraph.
But mostly you think Martin Johnson and how the arrogant lump insulted Mary McAleese and, by extension, Ireland, with his behaviour at Lansdowne Road a couple of years ago.
Rugby players are, in the main, a well-bred bunch, mannerly and so on.
But there’s always an exception.
And if Johnson didn’t do it for you, surely the reaction of their media to their jammy wins in the Rugby World Cup did.
When it comes to tennis, you think Tim Henman. It’s not so much Tim’s fault as it is the media’s. They built him up and up and up. Henman Hill, for God’s sake. What was that all about.
And anyway, I find the name Spiderman reasonably impressive. Batman isn’t bad. Superman is brilliant.
But Henman?
I’m afraid it will always be the same for us, or at least, most of us.
The next best thing to Ireland winning is England losing.
You know, the funny thing about our win against England in Stuttgart, is that it was celebrated as much in Glasgow and on the Shankill Road as it was in the Republic of Ireland.
Indeed, when Ireland was drawn with England again in the World Cup in 1990, a reporter asked a woman on the Shankill Road, how she wanted the Irish team to do.
“Beat England - and lose all their other games,” she said.
Just about says it all, really.

1 comment:

aquarianpaul said...

I find this article rather sad insofar as it stinks of a "Little Irelander" who hates everything english because of a few non descript characters and equal to "little englanders" who hate everybody non english who are equally despised here.

I have/know some sods of different races/colour. Should I hate their race/colour because of that?