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This day’s portion

My cross to bear: what it means to support England in these divided times

Link: My cross to bear: what it means to support England in these divided times by Jonathan Liew. Published 11 Jun 2021.

I’m sympathetic to this point of view as I’m not patriotic in the slightest. However, I have enjoyed supporting England on three occasions – firstly, during Italia 90 when I was 18 and had just finished my A levels, secondly, during Euro 96 when I was at a shellshocked, oranje-packed Liverpool Street station the night we beat Holland 4-1, and finally in 2002 when I was absolutely smashed and we gathered in Trafalgar Square after beating Argentina 1-0.

Oh yeah, add 1998 when I watched Argentina beat England 2-1 at a square in Salvador, Brazil, in the company of bearded, mate-sipping Argentinians. Rather depressingly, the local bars assumed I was going to start fighting as soon as they found out I was English. The France Brazil final was interesting to watch in a stormy Rio.

All too often, England supporting descends into boorish, no-surrender-to-the-IRA, let’s smash up this nice city centre mode. I’ll despair if booing taking the knee becomes a thing, but no doubt it will.

What is fun about international football is the weirdness – I’m looking forward to Austria take on North Macedonia at 5pm on a Sunday – the colour and the fact that, yes, football really is a universal language. I’ll just be supporting underdogs this time round.