England Football: “What’s so funny ’bout peace, love, understanding (er, and intelligent surrender)?”

Mark Perryman, who runs Philosophy Football has an interesting argument on a latter day tradition at England football matches. In advance of this week’s England v Republic of Ireland at Wembley he notes:

For as long as I’ve been a travelling England fan (my first game was Moldova away in 1996), a decent proportion of England fans have used the musical pause after the third line of God Save the Queen to insert “No Surrender” with as much volume and defiance as they can manage. And as the action ebbs and flows on the pitch – especially when it ebbs – the chant will go up again: “No surrender, no surrender, no surrender to the IRA scum!”

Not everybody joins in, but enough do to ensure the sentiment is firmly established as part and parcel of what being an England fan is – whether we like it or not (in my case and plenty of other fans’ case, the latter). The FA know all this only too well, but over the years they’ve put their hands over their collective ears and wished it would go away. Well, it hasn’t. On some occasions, they have cranked up the volume for the poor opera singer belting out God Save the Queen, in the hope no one will hear the unofficial fourth line. Fat chance that will work on Wednesday.

After listing the things that ‘imperial England has actually surrendered (and prospered from) he concludes:

I personally don’t go to England matches to sing No Surrender for the same reason that you won’t find me at Wembley on Wednesday night trying to raise a chant of “No Privatisation”: I leave my politics at the turnstile. But simply banning the chant won’t work, nor will demonising those who join in. We don’t need diktats, but dialogue about what we have surrendered and why some of those surrenders have made sense. A conversation about how a political and peaceful solution to one of the bloodiest terror campaigns of postwar Europe was found. An admission that both sides surrendered and found peace instead.

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  • keano10

    The England National team draws the bulk of it’s support from London and The South-East. Many Scousers and Mancunians and Northerners generally could’nt care less about England. We all remember the abject refusal of players like Gary Neville and Steve McManaman refusing to sing God Save The Queen when they played for England.

    The London-based England support has always been drawn mainly from Chelsea, Millwall, West Ham etc,,. They have a huge proportion of right wing ‘fans’ and EDL types. Therefore they are always going to offend anyone who is not collectively right-wing, White and English. Particularly, the Germans and the Irish.

    None of this will matter a jot tomorrow night when 10,000 Irish Fans invade Wembley and one thing is for certain. Those vociferous Iris fans will out-sing the English from the first minute until the 90th minute regardless of the scoreline.

    COYBIG….!

  • iluvni

    So, given your ludicrous labelling of the vast bulk of the England fans as London based EDL types, of those 10000 RoI fans, how many will be IRA chanting Celtic types?

  • Er, what’s wrong with singing no surrender to the IRA scum?

    As a nationalist and Irishman, I’ve no problem with the sentiment. Can someone enlighten me as to why I should take this personally?

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    @iluvni

    Perosnally I’d be surprised to hear any IRA chanting and if there is I’d hope they be ejected. But what does ‘Celtic types’ mean exactly? Is the use of types a slightly crude attempt to lump all Ireland and in deed celtic fans into your preferred pigeon hole? Doesn’t sit right.

    Anyway, it’s a bit of a distraction to get bogged down in the chants. It wasn’t the singing that stood out in 1995, it was the tearing up of seats and general mayhem.

    @smcgiff

    If you’re going to take that attitude you might as well pretend nothing we say has consequence and the ‘2 world wars’ singing is friendly patter and the Germans love it really.
    Besides if its genuinely your sentiment, what exactly are the IRA threatening these days to warrant a ‘no surrender’ type response.

    Am I the only one worried about this game for footballing reasons? This is the worst Ireland team in a while and certainly compared to the teams which got the better of England in the 90s.

  • Home Rule for England

    English fans shouldn’t be singing God Save the Queen while it remains the British anthem. England should have her own national anthem.

  • Submariner

    iluvni (profile) 28 May 2013 at 12:45 pm
    So, given your ludicrous labelling of the vast bulk of the England fans as London based EDL types, of those 10000 RoI fans, how many will be IRA chanting Celtic types?

    Nice bit of stereo typing iluvni your mates over on Are Wee a Country will be proud.

  • iluvni

    did keano10s nonsense pass you by Submariner?

  • Tochais Síoraí

    I think Mark is possibly being a tad optimistic about asking for conversations about peaceful solutions by those who like to chant no surrender et al. At the end of the day (!) most of them know little and care less about Ireland. If it was the Germans it’d be ‘two world wars and one world cup’ etc etc

    Speaking of political chants, I reckon it’s still hard to beat Cliftonville’s from the early 90s when political talks were starting to get going in earnest. After being serenaded by such classics as No Surrender and the Billy Boys the chorus went up (to the well known tune of ‘you’re going to get your f**king heads kicked in’) ‘Cross Border Bodies with Executive Powers…..’

  • Mark

    Roy Hodgsons’ appeal to English fans not to sing ” no surrender etc etc ” will no doubt fall on deaf ears . The majority of English home fans who attend Wembley are London based as Keano has stated . The majority of the hooligan element are London based and these ” firms ” are hell bent on revenge for the humiliation and the beatings they took from Irish police , private security firms and Eastern European doormen in Dun Laoghaire at the ferry terminals after the Lansdowne riots . Up to 400 English fans were locked up on the boats and serverely beaten for a couple of hours . Fans who were in their twenties back then have been waiting years to settle old scores . Tension in England has been heightened by recent events and far right groups like Combat 18 / EDL and the usual suspects ( Chelsea Headhunters lol , Millwall Bushwackers lol , Westham ICF ) are out to cause mayhem tomorrow night . They will of course be joined by a few Rangers fans and I’m sure some loyal countrymen from these shores passed through Larne today .

    Soccer violence never went away . The rave scene in England in the late 80s / early 90s saw rival firms mix with eachother socially and ecstasy pills replaced drink before games for a few years . The actual violence takes place away from stadiums these days at tube stations , school grounds and industrial estates . The match itself tomorrow night should be trouble free but expect trouble in and around Wembley before and afterwards .

    Now …. anyone buyin or sellin a ticket ?

  • Red Lion

    Charlie Sheen PR and Submariner

    You don’t do sarcasm do you??

    Maybe you didn’t see Keano’s astounding knowledge of the nuances of the England football fan.

    iluvni, very funny riposte, btw!

  • Only 10 comments??!!!

    When I were a lad, posts like this on Slugger would have reached the double/century by now.

    Don’t know about Wembley but by golly, I guarantee twitter will be a battlefield of buffonry and centuries-old bigotry tomorrow night.

  • Submariner

    Red Lion (profile) 28 May 2013 at 9:17 pm
    Charlie Sheen PR and Submariner

    You don’t do sarcasm do you??

    Maybe you didn’t see Keano’s astounding knowledge of the nuances of the England football fan.

    Keano was correct in relation to the hooligan element of the England support. It is mainly London based. As for iluvni his reply was on a par with the clowns who saw the “Islam csc” banner at the Scottish cup final on Sunday.

  • weidm7

    keano10, Submariner. I presume you’ve done extensive research, which you will provide, which backs up your wild claims?

    Or are you just as racist as the EDL crowd?

  • weidm7

    smcgiff, it’s you more than anyone who should be offended. By singing it at Irish fans, the implication is that all of Ireland support the IRA and are closet IRA members or supporters, which those chanters have labelled ‘scum’.

  • Canisp

    Oh behave weidm7. It implies no such thing other than the English working class (or the section of it represented by match-going England fans) have utter distaste and long memories for the IRA and its murderous deeds.

    The most racist thing at Wembley tomorrow will be the Soldier’s Song, Saxon foes et al.

  • Hopping The Border

    “The most racist thing at Wembley tomorrow will be the Soldier’s Song, Saxon foes et al.”

    Odd, seeing as that line will not been sung.

    But as long as it’s in your head, ignorance et al.

    Can’t understand why some NI fans have any concern for tomorrow’s game, frankly it has zero to do with them, unless as actual football fans they want to discuss the game itself.

    If not they might be better exercised focusing on what if anything they can do to assist their team to actually win a game.

    But then why let a match get in the way of an excuse to vent prejudice.

    CSPRG – I agree, it will be more than a testing game for Ireland I would think.

  • @ weidm7

    The Irish fans should sing it as well.

  • Gmulvz

    keano10, you state

    “The England National team draws the bulk of it’s support from London and The South-East. Many Scousers and Mancunians and Northerners generally could’nt care less about England. We all remember the abject refusal of players like Gary Neville and Steve McManaman refusing to sing God Save The Queen when they played for England.

    The London-based England support has always been drawn mainly from Chelsea, Millwall, West Ham etc,,. They have a huge proportion of right wing ‘fans’ and EDL types. Therefore they are always going to offend anyone who is not collectively right-wing, White and English. Particularly, the Germans and the Irish.”

    This shows you know absolutely nothing about the demographic of England fans. What about all of the supporters from clubs in the Midlands?

    Also, a “huge” proportion of right-wing and EDL types? Can you give me figures, statistics etc?

    Hyperbole is alive and well I see.

    Also, Gary Neville is a well-known Rangers supporter.

  • Submariner

    Also, Gary Neville is a well-known Rangers supporter.

    Don’t you mean WAS as Rangers no longer exist

  • Mick Fealty

    2-1 to the Republic, in case any one is asking…

  • Mark

    2-1 to the Republic , in case anyone is asking …

    I’m asking …2-1 ?

  • Mark

    Great performance by the Irish but we must take into account the level of opposition we were playing tonight . What is it with those players when they put on a white shirt . They just look like the don’t care . Rooney gave up on a ball at the end as if to say ” I give up , I don’t want this anymore ”

    I suppose he’ll need to conserve some of his energy for the trip to Brazil ….i’d bet he can’t wait .

  • Ruarai

    No Surrender to the IRA – not even the IRA are likely to be bothered by that chant.

    Rule Britannia on the other hand – about 1 fifth of the planet have grounds to be offended were they not all laughing at the backwardness of the sentiment!

  • Helicopter of the Holy Ghost

    Interesting logic there Submariner.

    So Gary Neville WAS a Rangers fan as “Rangers no longer exist”

    So does that mean I WAS a Beatles fan as the Beatles no longer exist.

    Hmm, interesting.

  • Helicopter of the Holy Ghost

    Anyway, highly entertaining first half of football – brilliant finish by Shane Long and a great, well-timed run by Lampard for his goal (proving he still has it).

    Seems that there was no trouble…more of this please!

  • Doug

    Interesting logic there Submariner.

    So Gary Neville WAS a Rangers fan as “Rangers no longer exist”

    So does that mean I WAS a Beatles fan as the Beatles no longer exist.

    Hmm, interesting.

    ————————————

    We’ve basically underlined the difference between a “Fan” and a “Supporter” here haven’t we?
    You can be a Fan of a defunct band / actor / author etc as they have a specific artistic output/legacy that can appeal to us long after they have ceased to be.
    Supporting a football team – ie a competitive sporting entity – surely requires at least it’s existence if not it’s competitive participation.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Keano

    I suppose the Ireland rugger team is a bit like the England football team. Most of the support comes from the Dublin area. Maybe that’s why the likes of Rory Best, Andrew Trimble etc who come from the northern part of the island refuse to sing the Soldiers Song at international games.

  • Hopping The Border

    “Most of the support comes from the Dublin area.”

    Presumably you mean because of the population dispersion imbalance of the island, otherwise it is utter rubbish.

    Surely the refuse to sing the anthem because they don’t view it as representing them and/or don’t know the language.

    Perfectly understandable to be fair.

    It is well known that prior to either his first or second Sam Maguire triumph Mickey Harte believed it would be beneficial for all his Tyrone players to sing the anthem prior to games. However, as Irish is not taught as widely in Northern Ireland, his daughter (RIP), an Irish teacher, wrote out the words phonetically so those who hadn’t learned any Irish could learn to sing it.

  • Decspur

    I don’t comment on here very much but I would like to confirm that Keano10 couldn’t be further from the truth with his claim that most England fans are from London and the south east. Wembley is usually full of families and not hooligans, but the main bulk of die hard England fans are from lower league midland and northern fans, hunting for a big match experience that they otherwise wouldn’t get. I live in London, support Spurs and know fans of all different London clubs, none of these people would have gone to many England games if any at all. Living close to Wembley and indeed working in the area I can confirm it gets swamped by northerners. Sorry Keano but it would seem that your statement was in fact an assumption.