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Backing England For The Euros Has Brought Up Complicated Feelings About Patriotism

A few weeks ago, my dad, a lifelong football fan, was watching the Portugal–Germany Euros game and bemoaning how dull football can be when you watch it alone. With nothing much to do that afternoon, I decided to join him.

Previously, I’ve been somewhat of a reluctant football fan, only really getting involved for the odd World Cup game if snacks are included. This time round however, I’m hooked. I’m backing England and following the games religiously. I’m getting completely carried away having since subscribed to FIFATV, Raheem Sterling’s YouTube channel and even contemplating buying Football Manager – send help! The close shaves, anticipation of a win and the drama of it all is so fun to watch.  

And what a year to be supporting England! When we managed to leave the group stages with a clean sheet, it really felt like the stars were aligning. But when England secured that sensational 2-0 victory against none other than Germany? It really started to feel like *whispers* ...it could be coming home?! It’s all fun, banter and good vibes when we can rally round and collectively cheer the team on but as a Black British woman watching, there’s always an added layer of anxiety because whenever things don’t go our way, outbursts from fans are a painful reminder of the racism, hooliganism and toxic masculinity English football fandom has come to represent.