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This Is England – The New York Times

This Is England – The New York Times
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This Is England – The New York Times

This Is England – The New York Times

It is a tradition that has survived a change of generation, a change of approach. The atmosphere around most English matches, on foreign soil, is no longer that of full-fledged hooliganism. Rather, it is a particularly noisy bachelor party. There is a lot to drink. There is drugs: a favorite song, dating from at least Euro 2016, is an ode to cocaine. There is, more often than is probably necessary at a sporting event, nudity.

It would take a mind brighter than mine to analyze why this might be. It may not be a mystery: perhaps this is how people, in general, go wild. Perhaps this is how young English people experience foreign countries: this is what you do when you see the Mediterranean sun. The problem there, of course, is that these issues don’t happen with fans in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, even if they spend the same types of vacations in the same types of resorts. ‘places.

So maybe it’s something to do with England: not the country, but the football team. There are some who are old enough to have been to Marseille in 1998 and Charleroi in 2000, the last pangs of old hooliganism, and who could still aspire to a little topless stroll in a path of memory that has a water cannon. parked at one end.

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

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The question, in hindsight, is simple: what exactly did the police think was going to happen? Fans had arrived at Wembley Park tube station all day, gathering in increasing numbers in the shadow of the stadium. Some of them – around 60,000 – had tickets. Twice that number, maybe three times, didn’t.

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