England Fans' Chants Leave A Sour Taste...

There were plenty of positives in England's 3-2 victory against Sweden, but the supporters' dismissive attitude towards racism warnings is hugely disappointing...

Last Updated: 16/06/12 at 19:21 Post Comment

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

It would not be England, even in such a thrilling victory, if there were not some sour taste left behind, as usual by the supporters.

Andy Carroll, Theo Walcott, Steven Gerrard and Danny Welbeck were all acclaimed in song and "Roy Hodgson's Barmy Army" danced their way through the high points of the match. But the England figure whose name was most vociferously and frequently chanted was presumably not even there.

"F*** off Sol Campbell, we'll do what we want," they sang to the chorus of The Sloop John B.

The subject of Panorama has come up in conversations with Poles and Ukrainians but it was unexpected to hear this sort of brutal precis by my compatriots. One sentiment embodied in that chant - that we will travel regardless - is on the surface unimpeachable. But put yourself in the place of a non-white fan who has weighed up the risks and decided, aware of them but despite them, to travel.

Scour an England crowd and you do find non-white faces but as this chant rang round it was hard to find them and see whether they were joining in. I doubt that the overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon and Norse crowd put themselves in anyone else's position for a moment before opening their mouths.

You never know how much players hear of specific chants rather than just the noise. For two England players, at least, they would have sounded a bitter jarring note, for one of them on a night that otherwise will have been one of his most inspiring.

Theo Walcott came off the bench to equalise within three minutes and then his cross found Danny Welbeck for his winner. In added time Walcott again pulled the ball back, only for Steven Gerrard's shot to strike Andreas Isaksson in the chest. But the Arsenal man's family are not here, wary of the risks faced. So too the relatives of Walcott's clubmate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Both Gunners received warm receptions from England's supporters, even if "One Theo Walcott" proved easier to sing. But that is no excuse for the sort of tone-deaf chant that is not racist but dismisses legitimate fears of racism and race-motivated violence as someone else's problem.

Philip Cornwall

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

m pretty sure van Gaal has created his own dialect.

parsy12
LVG: Herrera better at No.10

W

hy do ye insist on making out Spurs are a bigger club than Everton? Blatant London bias here

Nutboy
Have The Top Six Met Their Targets?

N

ot even Bosnich: The United Year(s) by Victor Valdes. Coming to a bookshop near you soon.

sailingmagpie
Valdes set to leave United for Besiktas

Footer 365

Peace 'sympathetic' but Berahino stays

West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace has released a statement in which he says he has told Saido Berahino he will not be allowed to leave during this transfer window.

Everton chief: Stones not for sale

Everton have rejected a transfer request from wantaway defender John Stones, telling Chelsea the in-demand centre-back is "not for sale".

Tough draw for City, Arsenal face Bayern

Man City will face Juventus and Sevilla in the Champions League group stage, while Arsenal must play Bayern, but Chelsea and Man Utd have more favourable draws.

Mail Box

Ed Woodward Is A Business Genius

The Mailbox comes out in defence of Louis van Gaal and Manchester United, who are five games unbeaten you know, while Ed Woodward is a business genius...

Herrera Did What Januzaj Was Supposed To

United fans were happy with Ander Herrera last night, Louis van Gaal's tactical knowhow is questioned, while talk of Neymar and Bale is damaging, all in the Mails...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company