To be honest with you I physically watched only about 2 minutes’ worth of this week’s England ‘friendly’ match football 0-1 loss against Germany in Dortmund and even this was not for a sporting reason.
Having spent the bulk of the afternoon glued to the box absorbing the 24/7 news channels’ coverage of the terrorist attack upon Westminster, I was simply passing time until the hour arrived when I normally take myself off to my bed. Still affected by the aftermath of the London outrage, in switching to the television coverage of the match in Dortmund I was interested primarily in seeing whether the players and officials would mark it by making some sort of solidarity gesture with the events that had taken place at the heart of UK democracy.
As it happened, they didn’t.
However, what I did note during the two minutes I stayed with the match was the noise going on during the pre-match ‘celebrations’ of captain Lukas Podolski’s 130th and final international match for Germany – which in my view (involving as they did various presentations and Podolski himself making a speech to the crowd) were de facto a little too long for comfort – and during the anthems. Specifically, during the playing/singing of the German national anthem there was far more whistling and disturbance – presumably coming from England fans – for my liking.
As the match kicked off, so I switched off my television.
Some time later I retired to my pit and tuned to Radio Five Live, which was then broadcasting a ‘live’ commentary on the match, then coming to the last few minutes before half-time with the score 0-0. To be honest I did not pay it a great deal of attention, especially after the lead commentator effectively dismissed the fare so far as a snore-fest of uncompetitive exhibition-type play, and I was soon snoring away myself.
It was therefore a degree of surprise – but only a degree, if you see what I mean – that overnight I saw media reports of the FA being concerned about the England fans’ behaviour in Dortmund. Is this just a strain of English football supporter that has always existed – albeit at various times hidden from public view, or deliberately ignored, or even disguised – over the last 75 years, or a resurgent variety that has become emboldened to ‘do its awful thing’ by recent politicial events including the UK Brexit Referendum?
If I was an English or Sociology master teaching A levels at a secondary school I think I might set my pupils an essay on the subject …
See here for a strident piece by Ian Herbert on the subject that appears today upon the website of – THE INDEPENDENT