Editor’s Column: Watching England as a Liverpool fan has been so weird

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I want England to win when I watch them.

I’m not a Liverpool fan who actively wants them to lose, even though I find the behaviour of the fans abroad, singing Ten German Bombers; and the ones at fan-parks who take cocaine and launch their pints, pretty odd.

You can see the attraction of England, for them. I just don’t like how they do it. It makes me cringe when it gets out of hand, but there is something nice about a country coming together for a united cause. It doesn’t happen with politics or the monarchy anymore, and not enough people care about any other sports for them to sway national mood.

So England doing well in tournaments is fun. I don’t mind it. I cheered when Jude Bellingham scored that bicycle kick – even if I followed it with, ‘you lucky bastards’.

My uncomfortable current relationship with England is of course coupled with the anti-Liverpool, anti-socialist, pro-Reform party tendencies that don’t sit well with me. Hundreds of England fans in Germany have partied with Nigel Farage masks. Imagine that at Anfield…

It just has a completely different vibe to Liverpool doing well. England doing well becomes tribal. It becomes aggressive. There isn’t any humour in it. Not enough irony in the silliness of it. England takes itself so seriously. It’s why I enjoyed Scotland at the Euros. The fans knew their team was shite. They laughed about it. England fans singing ‘Scotland get battered everywhere they go,’  holds no strength as Scotland supporters are fully aware of it and revel in it. The whole idea of dedicating your emotion to a field of lads kicking a ball around is obviously stupid; so you have to be aware of that while enjoying it. England fans do it all too angrily. They’re bad winners and bad losers at the same time. When you win you should revel in your success, not the failure of your counterparts and not in a manner in which suggests it was inevitable anyway.

Another issue while being a Liverpool fan is Gareth Southgate’s use of our players, of course. Trent Alexander-Arnold does well not to temporarily retire from international football until he leaves.

Let’s have it right: Trent is a better right-back than Kyle Walker. Especially in a team that creates literally nothing. So he should be playing in his regular position anyway. His stats, both defensively and offensively, are better than Walker’s at Premier League level.

For England, Trent has created more chances per game than any other footballer in the past two years. Yet, he still gets lazily labelled a problem.

Compare the criticism he has received compared to Connor Gallagher and Kobbie Mainoo this Euros. He’s been better than both of them. And the likes of Gary Neville and Roy Keane peddling the nonsense irritates me. It makes me not care and almost makes me want England to lose to prove my point. I don’t go as far to that, but put it this way, I care far, far more about the result when he’s on the field.

It looks like he’ll be back in the side at right wing-back for the Switzerland game. Southgate is changing his formation after England have stunk the tournament up so far.

Trent will do a job here, even though it’s not his natural position. Still, his ability to swing a cross in cannot be questioned and he should be the first name on set-pieces.

Labour have just won the election, which is good. England winning the Euros is a genuine possibility. If it happens, then well done to the players. But let’s just hope it can be celebrated with fun and dignity and not just become a nationalistic riot like the final at Wembley three years back. We’ll see.

 

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  1. Well said. I’m a Liverpool and England fan but the England fans make me cringe – not all of them obviously but it’s the Brexit, right wing bigotry that is obvious in their ranks which prevents me being comfortable supporting the national team. They don’t even do the basic role of supporting your team when they are down, just sit there in silence with arms crossed. I hate our national anthem too – not the tune but the bowing and scraping of the words. It feels so negative and out of date. To sing that as a chant is something weird. The song basically says we’re peasants and we need ruling. I think it sets the tone for England fans. You’ll Never Walk Alone could not be more different as a sentiment

  2. As a Scouser I love this article, I don’t mind getting involved on a football perspective because I love the game but then I just want to run from the fan base because I have no common ground with them, or do I because I have to hope/assume there’s England fans out there who are decent people. At this point it’s 1-1 & I want the Swiss to win so apparently I find myself back to fuck them I’d rather Trent & Joe can go on holiday.

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