Saturday, June 19, 2004


Makes me smile the way that English people abroad are categorised. The trouble at the moment in Portugal is an example. Theres no doubt that football has a part to play in all this but its a very small part. These people arent football hooligans as such, its covenient for the government to label them as that as its easier than admitting that our culture has a yob problem.

They are purely English hooligans, their type of violence can be found most weekends up and down the country, it also happens when people get abroad. Portugal this year happens to be a magnet for the 'lad brigade' as its sunny, close, bound to be busy with like minded people and the football is on.

The people arrested are classifed as 'xx English supporters'. They support England because theyre English, in the same way as most English people are English supporters so the label sticks quite comfortably, you cant escape it. But to associate the behaviour directly with football hooliganism is short sighted. When someone is arrested in England we dont refer to them as an English supporter when they probably are, so why now? Why dont we call them English holidaymakers? Because relating the trouble to football is easier to swallow.

I laughed when i heard a Portuguese woman interviewed. Her pigeon English made her cut straight to the point. 'we dont understand why they want to do this to our beautiful country? they dont like the drink, it doesnt agree with them so why do they drink?'

Of course not all English people are hooligans and not all those caught up in the trouble are guilty. One guy was an innocent bystander and was arrested and threatened with jail for 7 months. This kind of thing happens and you get trouble travelling again, getting a passport, etc. Watching England play abroad is an ambition for many, but its just not getting worth it.

They are English people causing trouble abroad fueled by the football. The problems are far more to do with our culture than it is to do with football.