Well fair play, my respect for Southgate’s Socially Just Squad just about pipped my adoration of all things Italia so I put the pasta and Peroni away and settled down to support ‘Engerland’ in the Euros Final.
No-one is a more patriotic proud Welsh woman than me but I really don’t understand this bordering on the racist ‘anyone but England’ attitude that sits comfortably with many of us Celts across the range of sports.
Surely we should support the home nation, especially when our wondrous Wales never quite hit the heady heights of Euro 2016 and looked limper than a leek after Six Nations stunner in Cardiff.
For me, there was also the added bonus this tournament of having such a likeable, young, totally switched on Team proudly wearing the St George Cross – without the usual clichéd connotations that the media have made us believe, and Right Wing hate groups have hijacked.
A squad of Black Lives Matter knee-taking, PRIDE arm band wearing, free school meal campaigning, unicorn riding, NHS wage donating Warriors who conducted themselves impeccably on and off the pitch – what’s not to like.
Yeah, yeah, before you all shout at the screen, I know we had a bit of a blip when some grief-stricken squad members took off their silverware straight after receiving it. That was a poor show, I agree. No one wants to be the loser but dealing with defeat with dignity and decorum always makes you a winner in my book.
For me, in the main, these players took England to the Final with a passion during a time of pandemic palaver that lifted their nation – and the whole of the United Kingdom. To take their team to the first major final in fifty-five years, and to be the first home nation to have ever got this far is something to be hugely proud of.
After such a miserable 16 months when Covid-19 crashed into my social life leaving it in shreds this Tournament and its twists and turns gave me something to look forward to – even if only on the small screen.
I enjoyed every minute of this month. I groaned at Wales’ disappointing display, sighed when Scotland said goodbye, and cheered as England moved through every match making it to the big one.
A values driven squad of young players and switched on management that deserved to hoist that trophy high but still have all to play for in the future. Each and every one should hold their head up high. And I mean everyone.
So Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford missed their penalties, so what – it takes guts and grit to step up to that spot especially under that pressure, on that night, in front of that crowd.
That just one of the many reasons why as an activist, and basically as a decent human being I am absolutely disgusted by the racist posts, cruel comments, and vicious vitriol thrown at the trio on the cesspit that can be social media.
Absolutely no way I’m going to show or share the sick stuff – those, racists or otherwise, who use social media to abuse, bully, and smear, thrive on the reactions to their vile vomit.
As a good friend of mine just said, it is the oxygen that they need to continue to fuel the flames of racial hatred – so let’s see that light go out.
Just don’t you dare tell me that we are an anti-racist nation, and that racial inequality lives in the long distance past. And it’s not just in England too – wake up and smell the coffee Wales.
Make no mistake if those three role model lads had been playing for Cymru, I’m sure we would have seen the same shame too.
In the week that sees the Mouyaed Bashir inquest, we should all be absolutely outraged that Wales, with a paltry population of just over three million, still has four of the most high-profile, racially wrong, utterly unjust cases in the whole of the United Kingdom – two in the first few months of 2021 alone.
And that as the Welsh Government Consultation on ‘An Anti-Racist Wales – the Race Equality Action Plan comes to a close, the crass comments on their social media promos crudely confirm that there is still a strong element of racism running right through Wales on our streets and sports fields, in our workplaces and across all walks of life.
So let’s shun the racist rhetoric, work hard on Wales, support our those three young English lads, and all make a vow to not just be non-racist but anti-racist too – where ever we are in the United Kingdom.
That includes saying a cool Congratulations to England – with respect to our Three Lions Bukayo, Jadon and Marcus.
Football, and a fairer and more equitable society, may just come home soon.
I’ll be waiting.
The Voice Of Our Community
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
As a founding member of Stand Up To Racism (Vale) Sue promotes the Black-led Campaign Group who, with the strong support of Allies, aim to unite our communities. She also acts as Communications Advisor for the voluntary collective.