It has been a difficult few days for English football fans. After a campaign that has been praised for its inclusivity, a team united and success on the field, England’s loss in the final was made all the more tragic by the racist behaviour of some fans on social media and in the streets too.
The disgusting racist ire was directed at the three black players Marcus Rashford, 23, Jadon Sancho, 21 and Bukayo Saka, 19, who missed their penalties in the final moments of the game. Rashford, who was awarded and MBE by The Queen for campaigning (and winning) to get free school dinners for poorer children, had a mural painted in his honour vandalised with racist slurs.
Where a disgraceful minority who DO NOT represent the majority of football fans got it wrong was thinking they could bring down a team who have done England more than proud by even getting to the first international men’s football final for the first time in 55 years.
After an outpouring of condemnation all over social media, from the government and even the Royal Family due to the abhorrent actions, fans took to the streets in Rashford’s home town of Manchester to show their solidarity with him and the rest of the English team. The artist Akse P19 got to work repairing the mural today and the wall itself is now awash with messages of love and support.
The racist tirade has shamed English football and once again highlighted the reason the team ‘took the knee’ at the beginning of the Euro 2020 competition in the first place – despite booing from some of the crowd.
Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Hopes were high for England but the fact that ‘fans’ resorted to racism to appease their disappointment makes it loud and clear that until racism is stamped out and the perpetrators prosecuted AND banned for life, it’s anything but the ‘beautiful game’.