Courtesy Mike Towers of World Cup Bafana Bafana 2010
Just when it seemed nobody was taking this year’s World Cup seriously, along comes an excellent article on why US “soccer” fans should hate England. It’s from an American writer who has rekindled my admiration for the birthplace of Lenny Bruce, Woody Allen, Saturday Night Live, John Belushi and Bill Hicks.
The article by Ryan Thies of the Long Beach Post is a real treat. “Why USA Soccer Fans Need To Start Hating England” is all about the nature of sporting rivalries and why the US needs hate figures to bond as a nation.
That’s fair enough, I say. The Cold War ended years ago, Russia are rubbish at gymnastics and ice hockey or whatever else it was their drugged up to the eyeballs athletes consistently beat the Yanks at. And Islamic fundamentalists can’t slam dunk, so they’re not worth bothering about either. The citizens of the good ole US of A need someone else to hate, and Ryan has set his comedic sights on England and its football team.
“We need to hate England. We need to hate England like they hate our freedom. We need to hate them because they are our rivals, we need to hate them because they’re who’s next, we need to hate them because their footballers soccer players are the scum of the Earth.”
“Clearly Simon Cowell is from a line of great men, men like Washington and Jefferson, men who did the only respectable thing and left England to go to America. For you see: we can’t like England, we can’t fear them, and we can’t respect them. We need to beat them. We need to remember that they are the country that gave us the industrial revolution and its subsequent pollution, they are the country that gave us the Anglican Church and its subsequent pollution. In fact, few people realize this but England caused the earthquake in Chile.”
Yep, the charge list against England is a long one. We are freedom-hating, pollution-generating, earthquake-creating curmudgeons who “have never forgiven us for defeating them 234 years ago.” And, contrary to what the history books and the Warren Report into the assassination of JFK maintain, Lee Harvey Oswald was really an unemployed bricklayer from Dagenham. The English apparently have a lot to answer for.
This is all a taster before Ryan really gets going: “their players are actually terrible people. I mean they tie women to train tracks and twirl their black mustache while they laugh manically. These are bad dudes.”
All of which leads to “an easy cheat-sheet for you to prepare these next three-plus months while we wait for our next rival.” The cheat-sheet is really just a comedy tirade against John Terry, English divers and our jingoistic hatred of Arsenal and their foreign players.
Finally Ryan concludes “There is a desperation in the English game both domestically and internationally (this summer will mark 44 years since they’ve won the World Cup.). As a result English players are dangerous (on the pitch and off.) But that just makes it easier to hate them.”
I salute you, Ryan Thies. Sport needs competition to generate interest. Your article is destined for a place in the top ten of the Official World Cup Trash Talk Challenge for its sarcasm, verve and spite.
Now it’s time for some reasons why English football fans should be mildly contemptuous of the US and its team. (Sorry, we can’t bring ourselves to “hate” you)
First, I’ve seen the team referred to as the USMNT, which I think is an anagram of United States Men’s National Team. No other team on earth does this. Brazil is Brazil etc etc. Why bother with this MNT nonsense?
Second, we were surprised to see you in the group stages of the World Cup at all. History tells us you only turn up once most of the hard work has been done.
Third, didn’t a US player do what I will politely call a ‘John Terry’ to a team mate just before the 1998 World Cup?
Fourth, there are lots of examples of Americans traveling in the opposite direction across the Atlantic to enjoy the delights of English life. I believe your ambassadors to the Court of St. James have to live here, and Kevin Costner spent some time here while filming Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
Fifth, we have forgiven you for breaking off to start your own country. Honestly, it really isn’t important to us anymore. That said, if it stops you banging on about 1950 I’m happy to listen to tales of plucky farmers throwing tea at King George or whatever it was you lot did to win the minor insignificant contest known as the War of Independence. At least that would be interesting.
Mike Towers is the editor of World Cup Bafana Bafana 2010 and is a guest columnist for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org If you would like to contribute a guest column to The Soccer Guys contact Kevin Koczwara at email@example.com.