Football fans North & South have done us proud…

“Don’t let yourself down” is usually the war cry of every Irish Mammy bidding farewell to her off spring as they head away to do something fun and away from the gaze of her watchful eye.  What the Irish Mammy means is, don’t let the family down because you are typifying them and word will get back to her if you’ve misbehaved.  Then you’re in trouble.

 

Since the Euro’s started; tens of thousands of men, women and children have went off to France to represent us and boy, have they transformed the reputation of the Irish throughout Europe.

Some cynics were delighted as reports came through saying Northern Ireland and Polish fans were fighting after their first match.  But the evidence proved it was they who were attacked and two supporters from the opposing teams even held hands in the ambulance en route to the hospital.

The videos and photographs booming across the world show that although we are a messed up island, we’re a tolerant and respectful nation.  This was clear when the Northern Ireland side lost two supporters in tragic circumstances in Nice and Lyon.  The Republic supporters responded with gestures of condolence and chanting in memory of Darren Rodgers and Archie Rainey.

Nobody could have predicted the past two weeks if they tried.  Both sets of Irish fans have done us all proud.  They’ve been an inspiration to us back home and to other football fans watching on.  Because of them, the French have a new found love for us and those exchanging chairs in Marseilles could have done well to take a leaf from their book.

Over in gay Paree the Northern and Republic fans are getting on like Will Griggs’ house is also on fire but many supporters back home are still feeling the apprehension.  There’s a discomfort of supporting both teams because it just doesn’t sit right with them.  To them, you can support one team or the other but to support both is just impossible.  Unless of course you’re one of these ‘letsgetalongerists’ and prone to blind eyes and deaf ears.

It presents the notion of an all Ireland team.  Will we ever have one, will we ever have an anthem and a flag we can agree on? Or how about we continue having two separate teams and everyone continues to support them without singing sectarian songs or involving themselves in nonsensical triumphalism?

Northern Irish fans have an issue with celebratory rebel songs being sung by Republic fans and they in turn have an issue with ‘The Bouncy’.  We’re told it’s an innocent chant, similar to ‘Boing Boing’ in the stands of West Bromich Albion.  But are we really expected to believe that?  Whilst there has been much rejection to it’s affiliation of the murder of Robert Hamill, no right thinking Republic fan would be seen dead joining in on it and no Northern Ireland fan would want to wail along to the Fields of Athenry, particularly the inserted F**k The Queen bit.

While singing at football matches is by and large part of the craic, it boosts the players morale.  But do the players really need to hear songs about death and gore?  By continuing these practices, supporters are only letting themselves, the players and us down.

Follow Aine Carson on twitter @AineCarson1

  • Declan Doyle

    The videos doing the rounds of Irish fans singing and dancing all over France with the French simply falling g in love with them has been amazing. Proud as punch.

  • Angry Mob

    Both sides have behaved well and been great ambassadors for the entire island, I think it will become a massive boost for the tourist industry.

  • Redstar

    Fans of both teams on the island have been amazing and both teams also excelled

  • NornIronFan

    This is getting boring now. Keep repeating lies and eventually they stick. The bouncy is not in reference to Robert Hamill no matter how much you want it to be. It has been sung for years before that. Indeed I have regularly sung it as a child in cross community football teams in the early 90’s. But why let the truth get in the way of an opportunity to show your own bigoted views. Both sets of fans have been a credit, both sets of fans unfortunately have a few morons, but luckily I would suspect any inappropriate singing has more likely been confined to fan zone back home rather than any real fans who go to all the home and away games. At the end of the day many nationalists will not support Northern Ireland. That is their prerogative and I respect that but stop with the attempts to smear a group of fans who have been on great behaviour. I hope the Republic do well today and I am sure their fans will be on great form.

  • Dassa

    I really don’t think it presents the notion of an All Ireland team at all. The opposite in fact. Its been great to see people realising that someone else supporting their Country whoever it may be has no impact on their own nationality.

  • Declan Doyle

    I don’t think we should be in any way surprised. There is not a country in the world where the irish are not loved and welcomed with open arms.

  • Mike the First

    Yes, you are “expected to believe it”, Aine, because it’s true. How exactly is it constructive or forward-looking for you to do such nudge-nudge wink-wink propagation of a sick myth? Simple prejudice, wilfully blind to the facts, and sadly it ruins the rest of your article.

  • Jollyraj

    Same can be said for the Northern Irish.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Aine

    I’m very aware of the negative aspects of ‘association’ and how that can sour something for people.

    But I’m also aware that many of us possess the capacity for common sense, logic and reason; ‘The Bouncey’ has now become a Norn Iron thing, a GAWA thing.

    You can either accept it and its place or you can stick to a darker perception and perpetuate this grim aspect thereby helping to make it something more sinister, so either be part of the cure or part of the problem.

    In the meantime, here’s some people doing a ‘bouncey’ of sorts: http://www.itv.com/news/utv/2016-06-21/ni-pupils-rendition-of-were-not-brazil-goes-viral/

    I choose to propagate this aspect, you choose to propagate the other (albeit subtly), is it just going to be a matter of propaganda and reiteration or a matter of examination and reason?

  • Declan Doyle

    Absolutely, they make up 20% of the North’s population so no doubt some of them were amongst the fans in France.

  • Jollyraj

    20%?

  • Declan Doyle

    According to your census

  • Jollyraj

    What census says that the people of Northern Ireland are 20% of ‘the North’, whatever that means?

  • Alan N/Ards

    I have seen similar at Christian concerts. The Rend Collective encourage the audience to put theirs arms around each other and jump up and down during one of their songs ( Build your Kingdom here). I was a Chris Tomlin (from USA) concert a number of years ago and he did exactly the same thing.