This is England – The New York Times


It is a tradition based on generational change, a change of approach. The mood in most England matches in foreign lands is no longer full-fledged hooliganism. It looks more like a particularly loud bachelorette party. There’s a lot of drink. There’s drugs: A favorite hymn dating back to at least Euro 2016 is the ode to cocaine. Nudity is present at a sporting event more often than is probably necessary.

It takes a brighter mind than mine to decipher why this might happen. Maybe it’s not a mystery: maybe that’s how people usually leave it alone. Maybe it’s how young Brits experience foreign countries: it’s what you do when you see the Mediterranean sun. The problem, of course, is that these problems do not occur to fans of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, even if they go to the same type of destinations on the same holidays.

So maybe it’s something about England: the football team, not the country. There are those who are old enough to be in Marseille in 1998 and Charleroi in 2000, in the last throes of old hooliganism, still yearn for a topless stroll down a memory lane with water cannons at one end. .

But there are many more who have watched the videos and watched the footage and deduced that this is what being a UK fan is, that this is how you earn your stripes and support your country and actually become cosplay. hooligans. England is a chance to claim space and get a little wild; This is their role, their patriotic duty. That’s what it’s like to be England.

In retrospect, the question is simple: What exactly did the police think would happen? Fans came to Wembley Park tube station all day, gathering more than ever in the shadow of the stadium. Some – as many as 60,000 – had tickets. It hasn’t been twice, probably tripled, that number.


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