8 Jun

There are some things in life I just cannot bring myself to do.

Buy non Caribbean bananas … eat veal… cheer for England.

Yeah that.

I think it’s best to just be up front and say it, explain it, and get it out of the way.

I want anybody but England to win the 2010 World Cup (except feckin’ France the feckin’ handball cheats of course).

I have nothing against English people or England, in the words of Ian Hamilton QC, England is my favourite foreign country.

I have English friends and I rather like them.

My problem is with the sporting media. The commentators, the pundits, the printed press, and especially the BBC.

It goes back to the 1970s, when I first became aware that the BBC without exception referred to “bad” Scottish football fans as Scottish and “good” Scottish football fans as British.

Conversely, and obviously, “bad” English fans were British and “good” English fans were English.

Even at the age of 9 that pissed me off.

Nothing has changed… remember the great English tennis hope failed British tennis player Tim Henman? I’ve seen Andy Murray’s nationality change during a match solely dependent on how well he’s playing!

It never ceases to amaze me how English sportsfolk are just expected to win by the English sporting media. And god help the poor buggers if they don’t. Even when they win it’s rarely greeted with joy, they either don’t win by a big enough margin, or don’t win in suitable style, or don’t win quickly enough. England must be bigger, better, faster.

I often wonder what drives anyone to aspire to represent England in a sporting capacity – masochism?

When MrW and I sat down to watch the Rugby Union World Cup final in 2003 we joked about how long it would take the commentators to mention 1966.


I kid you not, less than one minute into the game, a different sport, 37 years later. Thirty seconds.

We usually watch international rugby involving England with the sound down. Even when they aren’t playing Scotland. It sticks in my throat a bit lot to listen to Moore talk about any good bit of English play as if it was a cultural right, a truth. Yes he has actually called a good bit of English play the “truth”.

Recently there have been some ads that cheekily but accurately recognised the fact that a whack of Britain might not actually be cheering for England on 11th June. Sky was the first I think, with their “numbers” run advertising Sky Sports using the line “5 million cheering anyone but England”. It made me smile, as did the Sony ad with a U-S-A chanting Kenny Dalgleish.


At first glance it’s a bit of fun but deep down, the thought of another 40 odd years of “1966” makes me gag on my porridge.

My first ever international at Murrayfield was a friendly against Romania. I was disappointed not to be experiencing the famous atmosphere as we drubbed them. Until Romania scored. Then we cheered.

Compare this with the England “supporters” who heckled the Rest of The World in Robbie William’s charity match at Old Trafford this weekend.

What sort of fans boo penalty takers at a charity match?

I was embarrassed to live on the same island and delighted that the pathetic baying crowd were rewarded with the karmic defeat their behaviour deserved.

And that my friends is why despite my love of England and my many English friends I just cannot bring myself to wish England sporting success. Unlike Ian Hamilton I cannot muster up any pride on their behalf. I’ve tried, and the Nike ad which poked fun at the ridiculous pressure placed on the likes of Wayne Rooney to succeed almost got me. But then my email box began to fill up with ad after ad after ad all touting the glory of 1966 and I just can’t.


Incidentally I can no more abide Scots harping on about the Jacobite defeat at Culloden as if it retained any current national significance, I do not find national pride at the bottom of an empty shortbread tin πŸ™‚


33 Responses to “1966”

  1. auntiegwen June 8, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

    Glad I’m not the only one to feel this way. I’m a Scot who lives in middle England and I get very feckin cross that even yahoo have put a wee England flag on my “what are you doing now?” thingy when I check my mail. It has annoyed the crap outta me.

    • mrsw June 8, 2010 at 10:27 pm #

      Jeez Louise! I have a dot.com Yahoo address so have not been similarly adorned – thankfully!

      I was lucky enough to live in England between the years of 1974 and 1977 when Scotland had arguably their best national football team of all time. Great days πŸ™‚

  2. cartside June 8, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

    Oh yes, the 1966 broken record gets me big time. Not because I’m German as such (I don’t care really who won, and quite enjoy a Germany – England match even if Germany loses) but because of the battle vocabulary and the war context. How long will it take until football realises that this is not a war but a game and that 99% of Germans are actually happy they “lost” the war? We call it liberation incidentally, not losing the war. And we don’t need football to prove who is the daddy, really.

    However, my Scottish hubby is set on shouting for England. Hm.

    • mrsw June 8, 2010 at 10:30 pm #

      Your husband is a plank – go on tell him I said he’s a plank – he needs told πŸ™‚

  3. If I Could Escape June 9, 2010 at 12:20 am #

    My hubby was born in 1966 and it’s all he goes on about when world cup time rolls around. The last time England won … blah, blah, blah! Loved that advert by the way — Kenny Dalglish’s son is the head coach for Tampa’s footie team, ye know!


    • mrsw June 9, 2010 at 9:09 am #

      Oh dear! I was born in 1967, the year Scotland went down to Wembley and wiped the floor with the world champions – I’m sure we’d get on really well bwhahaha! πŸ™‚

  4. Dan June 9, 2010 at 8:57 am #

    Well I’m English and I want them to loose the world cup as soon as possible. That way all the arseholes will shut up about it and take the flags off their cars.

    Of course i’d want Scotland to lose too if they were playing.

    • mrsw June 9, 2010 at 9:10 am #

      And Scotland would Dan – just for you πŸ™‚

  5. mizzpink June 9, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    I am Scottish, my hubby is English( I know the shame of it), but for the duration of the World Cup I am Spanish, and my 3 year old is doing his best Diego impersonation and is also speaking spanish…hubby is not best pleased. Vamos EspaΓ±a, no deje la victoria InglΓ©s, which roughly translates as come on Spain dont let the English win.

    • mrsw June 9, 2010 at 8:16 pm #

      lol – ooh you are wicked – I like it πŸ™‚

  6. Wendy June 9, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

    Enjoyed this post!

    I lived in England when people got crushed and died while trying to get into soccer games in 1985/1989. I think it forever tainted my view of the sport. My oldest daughter plays, but I have no desire to ever see a professional game (I am an american football fan and totally excited that we just bought season tickets to see our favorite team play). I always find it interesting that soccer is such a huge world sport, but in the US, it barely gets a mention at all.

    • mrsw June 9, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

      Simple economics isn’t it? Football has evolved into what it is – in the USA it has to be built from scratch (quickly! – hurry up!) πŸ™‚

  7. John Connell June 9, 2010 at 5:44 pm #

    What she said, more or less!

    I agree with your main point, though, that it is the English media that is the problem for most Scots fans. I am perfectly happy to support the English cricket team, for instance, for the simple reason that English cricket commentators on radio and TV are, like all cricket commentators, fairly dispassionate in their commentary. They, of course, want England to win, but they rarely if ever allow that fact to drag them into the kind of chauvinistic inanity that typifies the outpourings of their football and rugby colleagues.

    • mrsw June 9, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

      Absolutely – I don’t understand cricket but you’re right, give me an exciting Ashes campaign and even I can get behind England without much persuasion πŸ™‚

  8. Plan B June 9, 2010 at 6:21 pm #

    That’s it… I’ve been sitting on my post on this subject, but it might have to come out now. This precise subject is the cause of the only real (tears and all) argument B and I have ever had…. Because he’s like you, and I’m English, and I can’t tell you how hurtful I find it, even though I don’t give a monkeys about football. But somehow “I hate English football” moves very swiftly, in my head, into “I hate English people”, and then what does that make me?

    I can understand (and to be honest, agree with) all the points re the media, and 1966, and John Motson, and English football hooliganism (although that’s all a bit 1980s now isn’t it?), but it still feels personal…

    ps: did you see the piece on Dear Scotland? Very funny, very true, still very annoying!

    • mrsw June 9, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

      {{Harriet}} Seriously my longest oldest friend is English and I only poke her in the eye once every other year or so – no more than that πŸ™‚

      Thanks for pointing out Dear Scotland – SO going on my blogroll.

  9. Jinedin June 9, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    Oh god, I’m just going to come right out and say it; I have an England shirt. I bought it for the 2002 World Cup and wore it. In a pub. In (get this) Leith. I even escaped unscathed, largely due to a fully buttoned-up jacket both to and from the venue.

    Yes, sorry. My shame is palpable. But Husband No.1 is English and I guess that’s just how much I love him.

    What I REALLY can’t stand is sitting through one more bloody Richard-Bacon voiceover’ed ‘documentary’ about World Cup Worst Moments, World Cup Best Song, World Cup Prettiest WAG, Biggest Knees, Cutest Penalty Cupping, etc, etc and ad in-bloody-finitum…

    • mrsw June 10, 2010 at 10:22 am #

      Haha! Like anyone in Edinburgh would notice πŸ™‚ I’ve spent many a night in Edinburgh, many – never yet met anyone actually FROM Edinburgh πŸ™‚

  10. Heather June 10, 2010 at 5:33 am #

    I feel rather ashamed to never have noticed the British English switch depending on how well they were doing. I am ever so pleased to be in Finland this summer though.

    • mrsw June 10, 2010 at 10:20 am #

      Nah – don’t be daft – it seems like forever that Britain and England have been synonymous but it IS changing. Nobody was as happy as me when English fans began waving the St George’s cross at football games in place of the Union Flag – I doubt the English fans realised how much it pissed off the rest of Britain to see the Union Flag with its Saltire and St David’s Cross used to represent England! I’m way pleased to see England display English national pride – just don’t expect me to join in lol!

      Mind you – some seem determined to perpetuate the synonymity! http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/politics/10274536.stm

  11. Barbara June 10, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    Oh, is it world cup year then?

    • mrsw June 10, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

      Ah you’ll probably be on holiday somewhere πŸ˜›

  12. Peej June 10, 2010 at 5:59 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked it.

  13. auntiegwen June 10, 2010 at 6:18 pm #

    As I am a crap at being organised Mummy I found myself in Asda at 8am today trying to buy a cagoule for youngest daughter as she was going to Rutland water on a school trip doing wet type stuff today. I refused to buy the only waterproof thing they had as it was white and had England emblazoned in red writing.

    I sent her to school with her brothers ski jacket as it was the only waterproof jacket with a hood we had.

    I have no shame.

    • mrsw June 10, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

      Quite right πŸ™‚ At least you have the excuse of actually living in England – when I wander round M&S for gym kit and all that’s left is David Beckham emblazoned trackies and hoodies with the Union Jack on them… yeah well the clue is in “left” – what are they thinking?

  14. Neil June 11, 2010 at 12:25 am #

    As per usual…. you’re bang on. A well reasoned and articulate critique of why we Scots will always find it impossible to get anywhere near backing Engerland. I just watched Question Time tonight…. and the final question….. ‘should the PM fly the St Georges cross over Downing Street’, was answered with typical fucking ignorance and utter disdain.
    Come on England……NOT!

    • mrsw June 11, 2010 at 9:54 am #

      At least they ASKED it I s’pose – just glad I missed it!

  15. Smitten by Britain June 11, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    Living in America the last twenty years I’ve missed a lot of the English commentary you speak of but I definitely picked up on it last year while watching Murray play Wimbledon. He was conveniently British if he won, and just as quickly Scottish if he lost.

    • mrsw June 12, 2010 at 3:39 pm #

      I feel for Andy Murray I do – so much pressure and again mainly from the English sporting press – I think Scottish fatalism expects the worst lol!

  16. diesel September 12, 2010 at 8:02 pm #

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  17. Ben Bran October 6, 2010 at 12:05 am #

    I really like the content pieces here but your Rss feed has several XML problems that you need to fix. Great blog site nevertheless!


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