English hooligans will have to work hard to reclaim past glories.
England has a tough road ahead of them.
They finished a very disappointing second in their Euro Cup group (to soccer powerhouses Wales, no less).
And that means there’s a good chance they’ll end up playing Portugal in the next round. And Portugal of course have a player worth $200m on their side, although is true that Ronaldo is struggling to find his best form. He’s probably only operating about the $100-120m mark right now.
So I don’t think England will make it. They’ll bow out of the Euro.
Stop Press: Turns out that they’re not playing Portugal in the knock-out round, they’re up against the European giants, Iceland. Who, by the way, have a massive population of 300,000 and half of them are in France.
Doesn’t matter – they’re still going to lose!
And that will mean there will be blood on the streets. English fans will be pissed. I think, technically, according to the code of Hooliganism, once your team’s out of the comp, you’re not allowed to run riot any more.
(Maybe they’ll suddenly find that actually, a lot of the hooligans have Welsh ancestry).
It will be a disappointing end to a disappointing campaign for the English hooligans. For a long time they had the run of the streets outside major football competitions.
But this year they’ve had their arse handed to them by the Russians.
The Russians are, as history has shown us, as hard as nails. Apparently, soccer violence is a legitimate pastime over there. The government started cracking down on it, so soccer gangs organise brawls out in the woods. Participants work on their fitness and practice martial arts. Seriously.
And when I say the government started cracking down on it, it was more of a “why don’t you boys go and play over there where you’re not going to break anything.”
After the riot in Marseille, Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the KGB, blamed the French police: “A proper man comes as an amazement to them. They are used to seeing “men” at gay parades.”
This raises the question, why have English hooligans had a run of things for so long? These potato-powered militia wannabes surely have the upper hand on their doughy-white English adversaries. Why has it taken them so long to put points on the board in a major tournament?
The Russian economy is advancing, and the European continent is becoming more integrated. Flights from Moscow to Marseille are a lot cheaper than they used to be, thanks to airline deregulation. And Moscovites are a lot richer than they used to be.
It is the dream of an integrated euro-area that has finally brought English and Russian hooligans into each other’s arms.
And perhaps this is why the euro dream has soured in England.
For a while there, things were awesome for the Brits. Even the poorest Pom entered the Euro area as rich man. And they treated Europe as their playground. They bought beachside properties in Spain, threw up on the white sands of Croatia, pissed on national monuments in Budapest.
And when the call for a riot went out, the Brits were there in numbers, because they could afford it. They could take a week off work and they could buy themselves the ticket.
Poor old Russian hooligans had to be content with sending a second-rate side of intellectuals and political prince-lings.
But not any more.
The euro area has evened the playing field – which is exactly what is was supposed to do. Russia is wealthy enough now to send an A-class team of hooligans. And Euro-area deregulation has opened up borders and made travel affordable to the Russian working class.
Suddenly the Brits are facing a motivated team of Russians with even more match experience under their belt, and in equal numbers.
And the Brits aren’t happy about it.
And so now we have the Brexit vote. Brits were happy to be part of Europe when it meant ultra-violence in Italy and buck’s nights in Romania. But as the poorer parts of Europe catch up, those benefits are being taken away.
And poorer poms have lost the joy of suddenly finding themselves rich and upper class when they step off the plane. They’ve could handle being oppressed and poor at home if they got to be rich and oppressive abroad. But not any longer.
So why are we in this bleeding Euro then? Is it just to give poorer countries a leg up, and take the whole continent forward? What do I get out of that?
Maybe they might take a look at their own economy – an economy (like ours) that functions best (for some) when there’s a large pool of relatively poorer folks competing for fewer and fewer jobs.
Maybe they might want to ask some questions of the people who set up and benefit from that system.
Maybe they might want to look at the sports administration bodies that have under-funded hooliganism for decades.
But I doubt it. When you construct your identity along national lines, then you can’t challenge anything “British”. Even if that is an exploitative monarchy and an exclusive upper class. You’re forced into loving it.
You construct a blind spot back home. The problem must be ‘out there’. It’s the Russian hooligans playing dirty. It’s the biased umpires. It’s the humid French air.
Sod it. Let’s get out of the Euro and put up a wall.
We’re not playing anymore.
Here’s the update: I wrote this on Wednesday and this morning the dumb Brits decided to still prop up the European Illuminati and voted to stay in the fake construct of a united front. What does it all mean? Disaster postponed… But don’t worry… it’s coming!
Will England lose against the MIGHTY Iceland?
Should the Brits piss-off the French and Germans?
Is there any hope for the Union?