Brass Banned: Let’s Pray The Dire England Band Get The Chop After Scotland Game
NO-ONE really likes the England Brass Band that blight England’s international matches. The droning, metronomic thud takes all the spontaneity out of crowd singing and acts as an active drain on the will to live.
Now, the Football Association is going to be asked some tough questions about them after their appearance at the England-Scotland friendly, which saw the English winning 3-1.
While there was mercifully little trouble surrounding the game, the England supporters band will be finding themselves in hot water after they played along with fans singing off-colour songs in the stands.
The Scottish fans sang their anthem, stirring and proud, The Flower of Scotland, from the terraces, while a section of the England fans replied with a series of thunderously embarrassing chants about Royal Family, the Empire and, worst of all, songs about the IRA. A number of the 5,000 travelling supporters sang “fuck the IRA”, and the brass band gleefully played along.
The FA, who incidentally don’t allow away fans at Wembley to bring instruments to England games, were so concerned about the brass band that they tried to contact band members during the half-time interval, in a bid to stop them playing the song.
“I don’t condone any chanting, I’ve got to say,” said Roy Hodgson afterwards. “My concentration was on the football match entirely, even if I was aware the crowd were tremendously supportive. But unfortunately chanting and people singing songs which no one in football condones go on. I don’t condone it.”
“If anyone was offended, I’m sure the FA would apologise to them. All we can do is play our football and hope our fans behave themselves and enjoy our football.”
There’ll be some England fans who will wonder what the problem is. Surely there’s nothing wrong with singing patriotic songs and lambasting a terrorist organisation? Well here’s the thing – at no point did the England fans sing the English national anthem. That’s because England doesn’t have a national anthem. ‘God Save the Queen’ is, for all intents and purposes, the British national anthem. So again, what’s the harm in singing the anthem that united the two countries playing?
Well, the fact is, England fans were singing for the Empire that fucked all the surrounding countries. You’re trolling if you say you weren’t aware. And in playing the game at Celtic Park, a club with a huge Irish heritage, singing about the IRA is insensitive to the debate about terrorism/freedom fighters. Fact is, all these songs are of the old Empire, when Britain was a ruthless scourge in world politics. The Scottish sang of their identity, while the English fans sang of a system that tried to eradicate everyone else’s.
And is their anything more tragic that singing ‘God Save the Queen’? Instead of chanting about great English things, fans instead decided to effectively say “We’re so happy to be subservient to a family who rules us because their blood is different to that of mere mortals!”
Naturally, there’s going to be Scottish fans (notably from Glasgow Rangers) who would agree with the English songs, but again, we’re talking about the old, awful Empire. here, to which a minority of Rangers fans desperately miss.
You’d have to be unswervingly dim to fail to recognise that singing songs of the Empire to The Auld Foe is in bad taste at best, inflammatory at worst. If you want to start a fight in Scotland, especially so close to the Scottish Independence vote, then carry on like Britain equals England.
Naturally, the football terraces are filled with toilet humour, jokes in bad taste and unsavoury comments – they always have been and they always will be – but the fact is, on this occasion, England fans looked classless and spouted off about the things that a lot of people – including a good number of English people – hate about England.
It’s a lack of wit and spontaneity that kills the hope because, fact is, everyone could see this coming a mile off. The only good thing that could come out of this, is the fact that the FA might ban that awful, awful brass band.
The sooner, the better.