A Welshman's take on #ABE.

This morning, my attention was drawn to an article in the Telegraph entitled 'Exploring the Anyone But England Phenomenon'. Now, I could tear the article to bits for not so much exploring the situation as just stating a few blindingly obvious points while seemingly not asking anyone about it (how you can explore without doing any investigating I don't know), I just thought I would offer my own personal opinion on it as a Welshman - I don't claim to speak for anyone else in this post.

Which actually, brings me on to my first point. English people, you are not 'representing' Great Britain, you are representing England. The TV adverts, the newspapers, the patriotic sweet wrappers simply serve two purposes: One, to remind the rest of us Non-English Brits that our teams didn't succeed in qualifying, and two, it implies a certain assumption that we are going to follow you purely because we happen to share borders with you. Imagine if your next door neighbour came banging on your door, demanding you supported their child in their sports event, despite the fact that your child's team had failed to qualify. Whilst you'd be happy for them had they just kept schtum, the fact that they had constantly bombarded you with hats, flags, songs and Christ knows what else in the weeks beforehand, while assuming you're going to go all out in your support for them purely because they invited you to a barbecue last year (Which you had to bring your own beer to) is likely to breed more than a little contempt. What makes it worse is that we know that if Wales were against England, we'd still be bombarded with the same blanket gibbering about something that happened 44 years ago and how that somehow means that it could happen this year, coupled with a Derby game style competitiveness when the game was taking place.

Secondly, the England team quite often contains men of strong Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish heritage - Or in the case of some players (Michael Owen is a good example), men who grew up and live in our country. Owen actually went to school a few miles from me, and so far as I know, still lives in Wales - but stood on pitches around the world as an Englishman. Treachery is probably too strong a word, but the general feeling is that men like this have been drawn in by the relative glamour of the prospect of playing for the bigger, more successful team, and have used what could be seen as a loophole in the rules in order to do so. To use my previous analogy, imagine the people who moved into your old house came into money one day, and your child decided that because you used to live there, they were part of that family now; a family who once again, would bombard you with information about how fantastic the child that was once yours is, whilst strongly suggesting that you still cheered him on in his endeavours.

Thirdly (And this may be more relevant to myself than anyone else), Hearing fellow Welshmen refer to the England side as 'us' simply winds me up. I'm not some nationalist nutter, don't get me wrong, but the simple fact is that if Wales were still in the competition, England would be anything but 'us'. Thinking about it, this is sort of an extension of my second point; when there's a chance Wales will do it (See: Rugby), the English are the Enemy and are there to be beaten, but when Wales aren't even in the running, 'we' are England.

Of course, some people just have that local competition mindset - An Everton fan will love hearing about Liverpool losing, and in many ways the same applies at an international level. This can manifest itself at a number of different levels, from friendly ribbing all the way up to borderline militaristic racism, although the people who fit the latter category are probably twats that no-one would want to speak to in the first place - They're usually the ones who claim to 'fucking hate the English', but don't know a word of the language of the land they claim to love.

How do I feel about it? At a sporting level, I couldn't give one whether England win or lose. However, the quicker England sink out of the competition the sooner I won't have to hear about it every fucking day, and if they win I'm going to spend the next 44 years of my life listening to how it 'could happen again'.


  1. I like your analysis.

    I'm Scottish, so for me it's a traditional 'Auld Enemy' thing. I won't support England. I'm not English. I will support whoever they play against, because it winds up the England fans.

    To me, it's no different from the examples you used about club teams. Most people will laugh when their rival team gets beaten.

    The media are trying to over-analyse the A.B.E. thing. I'm not sure what they are trying to achieve. They've yet to come up with one good reason why anyone should support a country they don't live in or belong to.

    The sooner England get kicked out of this competition the better! I'll be shouting for Algeria on Friday. ;)


  3. I hope elle1039 is aware that it's English taxes subsidising her lack of support for the England team.

  4. Well yes, it's almost as if this whole national loyalty thing in an area with completely open borders and very intermixed populations was completely pointless hair-splitting.

  5. You're coming across as a bit of a nationalist, particularly the Michael Owen stuff. If he identifies himself as an Englishman (which considering he was born in Chester and has a Liverpudlian parents seems fair to me), it seems disrespectful to suggest or demand otherwise. But apparently he's a 'cunt' anyway.

    Whatever the papers are doing, I've rarely if ever seen England fans brow beating the Irish, Scots and Welsh into supporting them.

    I personally don't care about the cup, but it doesn't bother me, and I don't see why it should bother you any more than Jordan/Katie Price's constant 365 media coverage forces you to be a Jordan fan.

    elle1039 - you're not English, the team represents England so you wish them failure. So, basically you're racist?

  6. Adolf Churchill is a peculiar juxtaposition of names, which which having read their reply, would leave me hoping that this is a post-modern, ironic statement on modern day British political thinking.

    Anyway, I was speaking to a Brummie Villa supporter once who couldn't believe that I wasn't supporting England at some upcoming tournament.
    "But it's for the good of the nation" he said.
    "If Birmingham City were playing in the European Cup Final would you cheer them on I asked at which point he went into a negative tirade about said club.
    "But it's for the good of the city" I reasoned.
    Of course, my point was lost on him, as it would be on people like Adolf Churchill.

  7. Mike, you're right, it probably is a little nationalistic. I didn't mean to single Owen out, he's just the first example I can think of. I'm not a Nationalist in any way, shape or form, I just can't help but think that the vast gulf of difference in success between the English and Welsh teams was a factor in his choice.

    To be honest, I think this article could be purified down to "Alright, well done. You're in the finals. But leave us alone, yeah?"

  8. It's not racist to suggest you want England to lose. Firstly the English aren't a race and secondly you can't really argue that it's xenaphobia. If our Scottish sister had said she hates the English that's a Xenaphobic statement; to say that you like to wind up your main sporting rivals in a sporting event is not.

    It maked me laugh to hear English/British racists claiming they're victims of racism over any new Daily Mail/Express campaign. Hanging from a tree in front of a burning cross is racism, cheering on USA is banter. Get a grip.