Football

European scapegoats: England. ‘It’s all your fault’

For those of the gaming community, many will remember the infamous ‘No Russian’ mission from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. One that caused worldwide controversy and even saw reports that the Russian Government were so outraged by Activision’s decision to include the derogative mission, that all copies of the game were recalled.

The mission itself saw you as a player, go inside the life of a Russian Ultranationalist and almost singlehandedly begin World War 3 with the massacring of thousands inside and airport.

no russia
Activision’s controversial ‘No Russian’ mission

What relevance is this? Well  following the start of the European Championships last Friday, the major talking point hasn’t been the football, but instead the violence that has erupted between fans and thugs in the streets of France.

What’s funny and frankly pathetic, is the media’s eagerness to pin the blame on English supporters. Of course every club and country has a minority of supporters who go to football games with only one aim; to cause trouble. But the fact that the British media feel the need to point the finger only at the England fans paints a picture that is so far from the truth.

As England lined up against Russia on Saturday night, social media was already awash with videos and pictures of trouble that ensued on the streets of Marseille that day. Flares, bottles, table and chairs, anything that was there would be used as a weapon.

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French Police nationale stand by and look over English supporters – Getty Images

The French Police’s response was minimal and involved nothing more than subjecting the England fans to physical assaults and launching tear gas into large crowds of fans to disperse them.

From those reporters in France new reports were coming out that it was in fact Russian hooligans and French extremists who were attacking the English in broad daylight.

Questions need to be asked and I personally struggle to see them being asked of the French authorities but how were these attacks by the French and Russians were able to happen. It wasn’t once or twice they had happened but countless times on Saturday.

Thousands were caught up in the brawls that followed as the violent scenes began to spread through the streets. It seemed almost coordinated, that the small groups of thugs gathered to almost attack upon command with whistles being used as if it was the starters orders.

Stan-Collymore-filmed-England-and-Russia-fans-after-the-match-on-Periscope (1)
Stan Collymore rubs his eyes after being teargassed by police. The ordeal was streamed live on Periscope

Stan Collymore, Talksport pundit, recorded the violence that took place following England’s 1-1 draw with the Russians. He took it upon himself to stand upon a street corner in order to broadcast live to the world the real story of what was unfolding. Credit it to him as well, because without these images England will remain the scapegoat for any other trouble cause throughout the tournament.

However the real issue was what unfolded inside the ground moments after the final whistle. With no police visible inside the ground, security almost none existent and considering the ongoing threat from ISIS this was rather confusing. The most eye-opening issue was the fact somehow, a Russian fan managed to smuggle a flare gun into the stands and even worse, fire it into the collection of English supporters.

So it went downhill from here. Segregation between the two sets of fans consisted of a handful of stewards and a thin line of material to hold of the fans. It was inevitable trouble would breakout and so it did.

Russians wearing balaclavas and shirts of their Russian clubs, simply put just ran at the England fans striking terror throughout. So much so, Joe Hart the England Goalkeeper, can be seen saying ‘Be safe, stay here’ to a group of England followers.

Breaking news today sees UEFA investigate the trouble but is merely an investigation going to stop

this from happening time and time again. To those who blame England fans and say ‘There’s a common theme here, which is wherever England fans are there is trouble’ I agree yes there is. But that’s because nobody likes us, so we are attacked and we reply by doing what any rightminded person would do and stand up for ourselves.

IT ISN’T OUR FAULT. Yes of course they play a part in the violence beginning, but why do we never hear the flip side of the story?

We were not responsible for the decisions of the Russians or the French, we merely stood up for ourselves rather than submitting to the unacceptable behaviour of others.

From all of this what got my blood boiling the most was the statement released by Russia’s Sport Minister.

He said: “There was no clash… that’s being exaggerated,” “In fact everything is fine here. When the match ended, there was no barrier between the fans. The British were upset, of course, but it all quickly dissolved,”

Now as far as I’m concerned this is so far from the truth that it’s obscene. The man was even at the game himself. The violent attacks were captured live on television, pictures were taken, how you can begin to cover up the incidents it’s disgusting and yet so typical of Russia.

Bearing in mind this is the same man who swore that no doping had ever taken place within Russian athletics….

So let UEFA deal with the issue and let’s concentrate on the football.

Obviously English fans were involved but it’s about time our own media let alone others covered the news that matters the most in a fair and reasonable manner.

I’ve said enough otherwise I shall go on and on and on.

So come on England, bring that trophy home!!

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