Football: The ugly side of the beautiful game
13th January 2020
It might be over two months since England won 6-0 away to Bulgaria, but how the fans treated the England players overshadowed the game and it is still a serious concern for UEFA.
How did it all kick off?
Well going back to the day on the 14th of October after losing to Czech Republic 2-1 England had to win two games to go through to Euro 2020. The two games were against Bulgaria and Montenegro and these are the teams where there have been racist incidents before, especially Bulgaria. So there was a warning.
We all knew about the reputation of fans there, with a lot of controversial stuff happening. Before the game some Bulgarian fans had beaten up England fans. At the match there were some YouTubers doing a vlog of the game including one called thogden. This YouTuber is a twenty and he chose to go having been to the previous matches. He’s videoed the racism before, after the Montenegro game, but this was worse.
Outside of the stadium were banners such as the Nazi symbol (Swastika) and “Thank you for not mixing” with a black man and a white woman, and another, “Say yes to racism”.
Now back the game
Anyway back to the game, the England line-up was Pickford in goal, Mings, and hotly loved Harry Maguire in at centre back(CB), the two full backs were Chilwell and Trippier at left back and right back. The midfield Harry Winks, Jordan Henderson and Ross Barkley and the three upfront Kane as the striker and the captain, Sterling on the right, and Rashford on the left
The Bulgarian team was Live in goal, defenders Terszive, Somov, Pashov and Hadzhiev, midfielders Popov and Kostadinov, Wanderson and finally Destovo, the striker was Isa.
England started quick by scoring in the seventh minute by Marcos Rashford, one of the players the Bulgarian fans were targeting. This went on till the first incident where Mings (England right back) on his debut noticed that the fans were warned to stop their racist chanting. It clearly didn’t stop them after Ross Barkley scored a double the fans started to become more and more agitated.
The fans started to do it again to the players Sterling, Mings and Rashford and in the 45th minute Sterling scored to ensure a comfortable scoreline. But that wasn’t it! The fans were caught being racist again. England had the option to walk off the pitch they chose not to, instead the fans were kick out of the stadium and the players headed to the tunnel for half time. Some would say being forced to stay outside is the “killer blow” for fans.
The events that happened in the first half clearly didn’t rattle the English, after the halt-time talk they scored twice, one for Harry Kane and Sterling for his second. Then word came across that the Bulgarian fans were waiting outside for the England fans. This meant that the fans had to stay in the stadium for hours, until the threat was reduced. If England fans had been released they would probably have been severely beaten.
On home soil
Racism in English football has been getting worse. Two weeks in a row there was racism reported in the Premier League. In one incident the Manchester Utd player Fred faced abuse from a Man City fan making a monkey sound and actions. Then, the next week a Chelsea player faced the same issue when they won 2-0 against Tottenham.
The game that sparked the recent racism headlines in England was when Man City beat Chelsea, Sterling was allegedly called a “black ****”. The abusive fan was put in prison for a month and lost his job.
Now that it is 2020 we must fight against racism. As the Premier League have shown in their campaign, there is no room for racism in football, a message repeated by UEFA every time they play in the champions league (the biggest trophy for most teams in Europe).
And hopefully football will finally get a grip of the racism issue and one day we will be able to blow the final whistle on racism.
by Will Bateman