Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland say C’mon England

The internal rivalries of the United Kingdom look to be set aside this summer with significant majorities of people in the other home nations happy to support England in the World Cup.

The Welsh were the keenest at 83% support , 76% in Northern Ireland but the Scottish were the slightly reluctant at 67%. The survey also showed strong support for the London Olympics across the UK with Northern Ireland the happiest at 82% support. Support for maintaining a combined team under the Union flag at the Olympics remains strong too (with the notable exception of Scotland).

  • ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 2,367 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 24th-28th March 2006. Interviews were conducted around the UK, with boosters to 500 in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Data has been weighted to the profile of all UK adults.

    Lies, damn lies and statistics.

  • DK

    This reminds of a sports radio call-in show I was listening to. Scotland had just been knocked out and a scottish bloke said that he would now support England. The (mostly English) commentators were astounded and thought he must be a freak. After about half an hour of phone calls from Scottish people either for or against supporting England, someone called in with a stat from an opinion poll in some Scottish paper which said that more than half would support England. The radio commentators said that this roughly represented the Scottish calling in. So 67% for Scotland seems about right.

    I would love to see stats for the following:

    Republic of Ireland people supporting England
    English people supporting the the other countries (if they were in the World cup and England wasn’t)

    Might be surprising. We are maybe not as divided as we think.

  • Mardy Bum

    Re English people supporting other countries, I think i’d have to put myself in that camp for this summer. Until the England management rethink their wrong-headed views and include Plymouth Argyle players in future England squads, I shall support whichever team is the most ridiculous. Sadly, globalisation has meant there are fewer random teams with players nobody has ever heard of these days. The days of Kuwaiti sheiks calling their players off the pitch are long gone. Hopefully Togo or Angola can redress the balance with some inept keeping or comedy fouls.

    Seriously though, I’d fully support either Ireland or Northern Ireland in a tournament. Youse all just have to qualify for the finals.


    Mickey (Trigger) Evans – 1 cap for Ireland
    Tony Capaldi – 13 NI caps and counting.

  • J Kelly

    Someone just pointed on Talkback that Northern Ireland couldn’t command 76% of support in the north never mind England.

  • Keith M

    I think that most football fans in this country will also be cheering for England. There are of course some perverse people who have no problem supporting English clubs but won’t support the national team, but I genuinely think that these are getting fewer and fewer as time goes by.

  • The ROI stat would be low, I’d say. Don’t know why. Even though I had a bet on Ireland to win the Championship in the Six Nations, and therefore found myself hoping that England would beat France in Paris, I found myself delighted with the French performance. Now that’s something. Even with the incentive of cold, hard cash, still nothing.

    Once scolds oneself and tells one that one is bigger than that. Educated, forward looking, sure we’re all friends now, I even have English friends myself who are all very nice people. Must be hereditary, genetic or something. Maybe those people who decoded the human genome could root out the anti-English gene and solve the problem up North.

  • Keith M

    “Maybe those people who decoded the human genome could root out the anti-English gene and solve the problem up North.”

    Oh that life was so simple, no more racism, homophobia etc etc.

  • J Kelly

    Keith M
    come on in sporting terms England is viewed by most people in Ireland as the old foe so its not perverse not to support a sporting opponent. Like in Derry many GAA fans are not too happy when Tyrone won the Sam Maguire. Sport is sport.

    In this world cup i wont be supporting anyone until i get to open my envelope in the syndicate. I might be one of the 76% yet.

  • Harry Flashman

    I recall watching the England v Brazil match in a pub in Edinburgh in 2002, (it’s great eating bacon butties and drinking beer at 6 o’clock in the morning). I would reckon the majority there cheered when England scored and only a handful of Bravehearts at the back cheered when Brazil scored. Mind you this was in the posh New Town of Edinburgh, later in the day I was in Glasgow and was surprised by the number of lads ostentatiously wearing Brazil shirts, I dare say I could guess which end of Glasgow they came from.

    Earlier in the tournament I was in Tokyo with a friend, it was the night of England’s first game against Sweden and Sweden got a draw out of a lacklustre English performance. We were walking around the dodgy part of Tokyo that night and came across a raucous crowd standing on some steps singing and chanting “Sweden, Sweden” obviously in great spirit. We stopped to watch and I commented “The Swedes are in fine voice tonight” an Aussie bloke behind me leaned over and said “Na mate, that ain’t the Swedes, that’s the Irish!”

    Incidentally I think J Kelly makes a good point about the level of support visa vis England and Norn Iron in the Pravince.

  • Nick J

    Reminds me of world Cup in 2002. England playing Argentina and all the jocks turned up in Argentina strips.

    My missus who happens to be from Dunfermline was all dressed up in England flag and face paints got no end of abuse from the scottish contingent. ‘How can yus support them, they’re the enemy’ was one of the most bewildering lines hurled her way. Looks of total confusion were on display when I pointed out that it was Argentinians who were doing their best to kill the Black Watch in the Falklands, not their English comrades in arms. Pathetic!

    When ever the home countries play I always want them to perform and win – no exceptions

  • I have a similar memory of a pub in Tallagh a few years ago when England were playing Romania, and England I think lost 3-2 in a very dramatic match…four lone white shirted cockneys sat about three feet from the five foot wide big screen and jumped and whooped each time England scored while those in the rear sipped quietly. The Romanian-Irish contingent was mighty that day, who cheered raucously – and sportingly, it should be added, there was no gloating – every time Romania scored.

    Was then in Singapore when Ireland played Spain in an English pub, full of English people supporting Ireland, and genuinely disappointed when the penalty shoot-out went against us.

    On the shirts thing, English teams tend to be less associated with England than with other nationalities these days. The Russians (Chelski), the Spanish (Liverpool) and the French (Arsenal) have as much to to with Premiership soccer as the English do, so it’s a little more multi-cultural than the pure-bred, God-Save-The-Queen singing national team. It still sits awkwardly with any vestige of nationalism, however.

    Identity is a curious thing – to whom are we best aligned? Do we define ourselves in terms of nation, football team, fashion brand, or a combination of things? Is there a hierarchy of attachment? Are there associations we make that define us, or that reflect our definition? My view is that it’s a great big soup that used to be confined to family and land, that has morphed through globalisation into a brand fascination (and in some cases an anti-brand thing – think anti-Manu United people).

  • Scotsman

    The survey is nonsense. They should survey football fans, not a random selection of adults.

    There is little political message to be taken from any of this. You might as well ask Man City fans if they want Man Utd. to win the Premiership.

    Non football fans might support the people they have heard of, Beckham etc, but football fans prefer rivalry.

    The argument is often made that if Scots were “mature” they would support their neighbours, but to me maturity should lead to indifference.

    When Brazil eliminated England last time, the football fans cheered, and the other adults yawned and changed the channel.

  • I’d quite happily support England (or Scotland, or Wales) in Rugby, and if I cared about Cricket, probably in that too.

    I don’t know if it’s because Northern Ireland have their own football team or (more likely) because the English football team are such a bunch of premadonnas, but I can’t bring myself to support them, try as I might when NI aren’t around.

  • Nmc

    To be honest, the only way I could support England in any competition, is if the Republic need them to win to take points off another team so that ROI can win the overall tournament. Ie. France England in the last 6 nations. As Ardal O’Hanlon put it on the Jonny Vaughan chat show, I think [I can’t support England] due to the 500 years of colonialisation and torture.

  • Ziznivy

    Lies damn lies and statistics. ABE! Although if they do win the competition I will adjudge OWC as the rightful world champions having been the last team to beat them. 🙂

  • I don’t think I have ever watched an England, or the Republic for that matter, and cared two hoots whether either team won or lost.

    But as long as they’re still in the tournament, then I’ll be quite happy to accept the free pints from colleagues, go with the flow and mutter “oh that’s a pity” as they inevitably lose out on penalties in the QF.

  • lib2016

    Who are they trying to kid? I watched a German/England game in a ‘mixed’ pub in Holland. Even the Cornish were backing the Germans, along with all Scots, Welsh and both NI tribes!

    On the other hand everybody wants to see the local bully cut down to size and the Dutch to a man supported England.

    I have no interest in team sports except for the thinking that they are marginally better than having a world war when we need a disagreement to liven things up, but let’s not pretend that human nature changes.

    Small countries living beside large countries are always fated to have er- certain disagreements. Ask the Poles about Russia if you require further information.

  • bootman

    I wonder how many of those asked were football fans?

  • Jim

    NAH SURRENDAR, NAH SURRENDAR, NAH SURRENDAR To the IRA… UUUmmmmm … Says’s it all about the Travelling English fans.

    There are a few reasons why I can not support England
    1. Rasicists.
    2. The way the are built up by the English media which is just too much.

  • English

    As an Englishman, I would say most people I speak to in Northern Ireland would want England to lose passionately. Most Scots I have spoken to don’t like England to win at football, and the Welsh hate England. I find this research questionable, if they were male football fans they were asking, then the results would be different.

  • Harry Flashman


    If the fans suggested surrendering to the IRA might you be persuaded to change your point of view?

    As far as I understand the FA in England are light years ahead of eliminating racism among their supporters compared to say countries in Eastern Europe or Turkey.

    Even the blessed Irish fans (peace be upon them) have been noted for their unpleasant habit of booing foreign players who may or may not have in the dim and distant past worn a Glasgow Rangers shirt.

    Oh that’s right anti-prod sectarianism is ok in soccer it’s just the big bad English who need reminding about good manners.

  • Patrick Brown

    I hope I’m not giving too much away here, but we’ll always root against the England football team if there’s an Englishman in earshot, just to wind him up. However we genuinely hate the English rugby team, because they deserve it.

  • Kelvin Doherty

    Most people in Ireland, Scotland and Wales don’t give a toss about the England football team and likewise nobody in England cares about the Irish, Scottish or Welsh teams.

  • Kelvin Doherty


    So you wouldn’t support England cos of the rascists!!?? Yeah it’s great to breath the multi cultural air in Ireland…

  • 9countyprovence

    I love English tv, comedy, football, etc. And most English people whom I’ve met have been pretty sound. But I could never support an English team in any sport.
    Sport is the new form of war amoung peaceful democracies, and provide a clean and safe way of satisfying old tribal scores, once all the ‘battling’ is left on the pitch that is.

  • PHIL

    I am as likely to support either Ireland’s, Scotland or Wales as I am Australia, Greece, Argentina or anyone else. After England I would follow the fortunes of the countries that my club’s players play for, but I wouldn’t support them as such. I find the results of this survey questionable anyway, 67% of Scots (the most rabidly anti-English country in the world) supporting England, don’t make me laugh!

  • Valenciano

    Can’t see the fuss myself if non-English UK people are cheering for England’s opponents. Local rivalry is part and parcel of many sports especially football – the biggest dislike of Liverpool FC will be found in Liverpool among Everton fans, of Man Utd among other Mancunians (Man City et al).

    And let’s not pretend that this is restricted to the British Isles, I was travelling Europe at the time of the last World Cup and saw the Spain – Ireland game in an Irish bar in Lisboa, the Portugese more than outshouted the Irish present with anti-Spanish slogans, some of the Basques told me that they counldn’t care less who won between Spain and S.Korea (“2 foreign countries”) Spanish were cheering on Italy’s opponents and the French delighted when Brazil beat Germany. What’s the big deal?

  • Harry Flashman


    A fair point, in a pub a few years back when Liverpool were playing in a European Cup final, my big Scouser mate, true blue to the core, was cheering for their Spanish opponents. At this point a Rangers fan interjected and demanded to know why he wasn’t supporting the British team being British himself, my mate asked him “If it was Celtic up there who would you be cheering for?”

  • abucs

    I’ll support whoever plays the most attractive football.

    If they win, that’s a bonus.

    At the moment i’m leaning towards Paraguay, Trinadad & Tobago and Sweden. :o)

  • corcaigh

    Fecking traitors!

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Ingerland, Ingerland, Ingerland…
    Two of my mates were luckily drawn at random online to receive two of only 60-70,000 tickets for one of the World Cup semi-finals. Both are die-hard Norn Iron fans, but support the Three Lions in tournaments the Green and White Army failed to qualify for (every one since ’86!)
    I’m gutted because on the day of the draw I was meant to give my passport number to my friend to add my name, but the Manchester derby was on and I went to the bar and got drunk and forgot to get in touch with him!

    I understand why Scottish, Welsh and Irish nationalists wouldn’t support our Mother Nation however…I could never support the Republic or the Irish rugby team, even though I went to school with Coleraine’s Andrew Trimble. I always look for Ulster’s score though, even though I wouldn’t say I’m a rugby fanatic…