I’ve been living in England for about 3 years now. Previously I’d been living in Scotland since birth for all of about 24 years. That makes me Scottish (as if you couldn’t tell by the accent). I know for a fact that some of my English friends at University had a bit of a hard time living in Scotland (the Scots can be quite ignorant at times) but I’ve had none of that down here. Maybe it’s Yorkshire, my aggressive haircut, powerful physique, or even my winning personality, but I’ve found nothing but friendliness everywhere I’ve gone. I feel quite at home here.
I’m not anti-English. I’ve got loads of English friends. And I’m well educated and experienced enough to know that people are just the same wherever they’re from. They’ve got the same hopes and dreams. The same neuroses. Different accents. But the same people underneath. So bigotry is out.
I can’t say I was particularly interested in the Golden Jubilee. I’m not a Royalist and as far as I’m concerned a bunch of Germans (they changed their name to Windsor just before the First World War if memory serves me correctly) descended from some rather effective murderers and thieves are no better than anybody else. They’re nice for foreign tourists but that’s as useful as the Royal family are in this modern world. (I did say I’m not a Royalist you know). However, if people want to try to relive colonial jingoism and practise Union Jack waving, then I’m not going to stop them. I’m all for it.
And so we come to the reason I started writing this article. The World Cup. And England doing well in it.
In Scotland it’s traditional to support the opposition to England in any football match. If England were playing the “Evil All-Stars” consisting of people like Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Ming The Merciless and John Wayne, then the streets of Scotland would be paved with Swastikas and people would be wearing pointy moustaches (all evil people have pointy moustaches). I too would always support the opposition and, although in the minority in England, I’d be wanting England to lose.
But something’s changed. It started when David Beckham scored a last-minute free kick against Greece to secure qualification to the finals. I was pleased. I didn’t know I wanted them to get through until Becks scored that goal. And it’s gotten worse. Although it goes against everything I should believe, I’ve been watching the England games wanting them to win. Which they’ve just about been doing.
I was starting to feel dirty and sick – I’m Scottish after all! Walking through Skipton after England made the quarter finals I was horrified to see drunken youths singing “Eng-er-land! Eng-er-land! Eng-er-land!” and wearing England flags over their backs. It takes a strong Scotsman to bear such a traumatic sight.
But an antidote is looming on my horizon. If Brazil beat Belgium (not a great footballing nation) then they will face England in the quarter finals. And you know what? I want Brazil to give them a lesson and beat them 4-1. I’m all for England doing well, but I love the way Brazil play. The flair. The quality. And more importantly: if England beat Brazil I’m pretty sure they’d win the damn World Cup. And I just couldn’t bear that. I’d have to leave the country. I can only take so much pain and suffering. It’s bad enough that Scotland’s football team would be easily beaten by an under-16 schoolgirl team at the moment. But to have England win…
I’m sorry. I just can’t write any more – I’m going to have to go and hit the punch bag for a few minutes to work the tension out. And I bet I have nightmares tonight. See ya.