Irish fans – don’t be hypocrites this summer

by Luke Crowley-Holland

Ireland PoznanDon’t be a fool or a hypocrite this summer. Wear sun cream when it’s hot, particularly if you have pale Irish skin, and especially when you’re cycling; no matter what the velominati might suggest, if you are only doing one charity cycle this summer then that lycra tan line is one thing but the burn line is defiantly not cool. And avoid being a hypocrite: don’t walk into your local pub during the World Cup and announce that you are supporting the team that is playing England that evening.

If you have already been out and bought a Uruguay and a Costa Rica jersey (everyone who does this already owns an Italian jersey, and probably wears it too often) then you need to seriously take a look at where you are at in life.

Anyone who does this and follows a Premier League team week-in-week-out is a hypocrite and should be reminded of it daily. Anyone who does this and does not has no right to be openly voicing an opinion on the World Cup in the first place and should stick to having a clichéd opinion on a sport that they never played but that became a badge of the overtly middle class identity they developed during the Celtic Tiger; Rugby.*

We all know how ridicules and ignorant England fans have been over the previous decades. But remove the fascist element and I’d rather have a beer and discuss football with some muppet who gets excited at the sound of the worst national anthem in the world than someone who never goes to Ireland matches at Lansdowne Road, or seen a League of Ireland match in their life, yet goes to Poland for the piss up and sings Fields of Athenry and goes on about Joxer going to Stuttgart because they once heard it on the end of a Christy Moore greatest hits CD.

No one is forgetting the centuries of oppression, the famine, the Black and Tans or the occupied counties. But the English didn’t hand a blank cheque to failing banks, consign another generation to forced economic emigration and sign us up for years of crippling austerity.

Historical grievances are all part and parcel with national identity, and Ireland has a right to feel these grievances as much or even more than other nations. But if you must express them through sport do it through a sport that has a history rooted in imperialism, societal injustices and inequality; like rugby, golf or cricket. Don’t take it out on the England football team when you would rather travel to London, Liverpool and Manchester for a match than Dublin, Sligo or Cork.

James Connolly once said that if the British Empire is our biggest enemy, then the British working-class are our closest allies. How many players have been born to Irish emigrants and played for the Republic of Ireland? How many more have gone on to play for England?

At the end of the day the greatest game in the world, one played by more people than any other sport, should be an inspiration to us all. If you support a Premier League team then don’t be a hypocrite or a fool this summer. I’m not saying support them, I’m just saying don’t embarrass yourself and shout for the other team as a knee-jerk reaction to England.

Enjoy the World Cup.

*League of Ireland fans who regularly attend matches and don’t follow an English Premier League team are the exception.

10 Responses

  1. Cian says:

    I disagree. Just because you support a Premier League team doesn’t mean you’re a hypocrite for not wanting England to win. I’m a Man Utd fan; my favourite players over the last 15 years or so – Keane, Ronaldo, Cantona, Vidic, Giggs – only Scholes would make the list. The players I’ve disliked most in the Premier League over the last 15 years or so – Terry, Lampard, Gerrard, Cole, Campbell – only Henry makes the list. I always wish that the Utd players and other English players I may like to do well; I just don’t want them to win. It’s not due to 800 years of oppression either, it’s due to a huge dislike for their tabloid press and some elements of their tv media too. Nothing hypocritical about my views at all, thank you very much!

  2. I’m English living in Dublin and vary from irritated to somewhat amused by the anti-English stuff, especially from ‘die hard’ Man United and Liverpool fans (I’m a Villa fan – as in actual long time season ticket holder – and I’m often surprised how small the following is in Ireland given the Irish connection massively outweighs most clubs in England, including United).

    While I agree with aspects of this, though, it’s pretty poorly argued because it comes down to one thing: rivalry. Admittedly a rivalry felt far more by the Irish than the English (no offence lads, but England fans don’t care about Ireland one jot, myself aside due to living here. Largely they actually like the ROI side), but it’s there for a huge array of reasons, not least physically proximity and history, and the dislike is somewhat inevitable if also overblown to a silly extent. If you support United (for example) and dislike England whilst failing to support your local Irish team, it’s the first and third items on that list that are more obnoxious to me, both being somewhat illogical.

    (I’m also a modestly regular visitor to Pats, just down the road from me, btw…)

  3. Patnevinwasgood says:

    I think your comment suggests you have missed the essential point of the article. To me the author is saying that, yes you can follow the Prem, but unless you also invest in the indigenous game as well then that is trading in double standards. It is completely irrelevant that in the list of your favourite players over the last 15 years only one is English, it still doesn’t alter the fact that Man Utd are an English club. Similarly the list of players that you have disliked most in the last 15 years betrays your tribalism rooted in the essence of the English game (you support Man Utd but despise players from your main rivals, with bizarrely, hand ball king Henry being the exception, whats that about!?!) and consumes vast amounts of your negative energy on another countries parochialism. Yet despite that deep affinity with England’s sporting culture you claim not to be hypocritical?

    Your justification for this stance is based on the English tabloid press and some elements of their tv? Whilst I loathe the red tops, the worst tv analyst is surely Andy Townsend our former Captain, you’re distilling a vast multicultural milieu down to these two elements? Your arguments are weak and hypocritical.

    1. cian says:

      No, I think you are the one who is missing the point. The main thrust of it is to do with fans of man utd, Liverpool etc being hypocrites for not liking the English team. The league of Ireland part is an afterthought. And all my points e.g. 15 players etc are totally valid in rebutting that accusation. Also if you bother to re-read it then you might cop on that Henry is mentioned as one of my most hated players but the only non-English. Try & understand a simple argument correctly before labelling it ‘weak and hypocritical’ in future please

    2. cian says:

      P.S. your Townsend stuff was just gibberish

  4. Andrew says:

    Why attack other sports? If you’re pissed off with Irish man Utd or Liverpool fans who hate the English soccer team – don’t take out your frustration on the Irish Rugby Team. No connection what so ever.

    Top Rugby players get paid about 5% of what top soccer players get. They don’t fake injuries during matches and they don’t act like w€&kers when they score. I respect both games – but don’t slag off Rugby because irish fans in general hate the English soccer team. Irish rugby fans ain’t too keen on the English Rugby team either.

  5. Don Nicolson says:

    So we would be hypocrites for having a go at the England football team but then you say its okay for us to have a go at the England cricket or rugby teams. Who is the hypocrite!! Is it okay for the Scots and Welsh to wear Uruguay/Costa Rica tops. Maybe no-one from those nations follow a team in the EPL or perhaps you just fancied a cheap dig at the Irish. For the record i am an Irish League season ticket holder who also follows a team in the Championship and get across to England as often as i can. You dont want people to be offensive to England, but then have a dig at the Irish for the majority of your article. Whereas i didn’t really give a monkeys before reading this drivel, I now hope Suarez and Balotelli score hat-tricks against England.

  6. Ed says:

    I hope the English team do well, but never want them to win simply because of the fact that I don’t know who won the World Cup in 1962 or 1970, but ya bet your ass I know who won it in 1966 because we’ve never heard the end of it.
    Also (IMO), the English media have, to me, always seemed to be of the opinion that it’s their right to win it. (don’t know the actual public’s opinion all these years).
    All that being said, I wouldn’t mind so much this year, they sound as if they have finally figured out that winning the World Cup isn’t that easy after all

  7. David says:

    @ the budding Journalist -You complete and utter bell-end. Should there be a ban on people travelling to support their country just because they haven’t seen them live before? Ever think that there are tens of thousands of people who have never had a chance to see THEIR country play – In the past because tickets were sewn up by clubs and the stadium was tiny – or presently because of the cost involved in going to Dublin. Also, alot of people could not be arsed going to see a LOI match for the same reason, cost or location – btw the standard of football can be as dyer as that Ireland v Slovakia qualifier 2 years or so ago. And regardless of whether those who went to Poland 2 years ago had ever seen a football match, and I met plenty of them, who gives a shit? They’re entitled to go on the piss and support their country. I know nothing about cricket or the technicalities of boxing but I was happy to watch Ireland beat Pakistan and England a few years back and also to watch Andy Lee, Adam Nolan, Katie Taylor et al anytime their on, or wait I;m not allowed am I? Twat!

    Personally, I’m a Man Utd fan and I will enjoy when (if) England get knocked out, not because of Political History nor that I despise their players, It’s more the shock of the media and stupid comments like ‘we would have won if…’ etc.. Honestly, I reckon they could win it given how hush they’ve been since Hodgson took over, best decision the FA made since I’ve known of them, that and dropping JT. Having said that they have some irritable gimps in their squad , Lallana, Hart, Sturridge.

    While I respect you are giving your ‘opinion’, bear in mind that you used the word ‘Fascist’ describing an section of England fans (or so I understood it) …. you have a right to your opinion but to state that the people have ‘no right’ is a little dictatorial don’t you think?
    Finally this little piece is the reason i actually had a fanny attack and wrote on this at all …

    ‘*League of Ireland fans who regularly attend matches and don’t follow an English Premier League team are the exception.’ – Get off your high horse you anal douche!

  8. Har says:

    You sound like a bitter old LoI fan through and through.

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