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Ten things That English People Do During a Football Championship

14/06/2012 18:11 | Updated 14 August 2012

The following is designed for use as a guide for any non-English people who are in England at the current time.


1. During an international football championship, English people (regardless of their place of birth) speak in a Thames estuary accent. They use this accent to sing songs, abuse the referee and make noises that have only a tangential relationship with words. If you witness a thatch-haired aristocrat from Dorset screaming "it's caaamin 'ome" you can be certain that there is a football championship in progress. Don't worry. He will revert back to his normal accent once the match is over, as if nothing had happened.

2. English people - in spite of years of irrefutable evidence to the contrary - believe that England is capable of winning football championships. (I am as baffled by this as you, foreigners.)

3. Be warned that English people, who normally find it weird and embarrassing to touch each other, will hurl their entire body at you if England score a goal. The embrace will be intense and it will go on for a long time, often accompanied by haphazard jumping and painful slaps. Please note that this uncharacteristic physical contact is not limited to hugs: the English will also bestow kisses, hair ruffling and unpleasant farts on you without a moment's hesitation.

4. On a similar note, the English, noteworthy for their extreme reluctance to betray their feelings, are dangerously volatile during a football championship and require a lot of emotional support. Take a look at the average Englishman's wedding photo. He looks reasonably jolly and - because it is a special occasion - he has done something he wouldn't normally do which is to look at his wife in a way that suggests he has minor feelings of regard toward her. Look, now, at a picture of the same man taken a few seconds after England has scored a goal. Tears of unbridled joy pour down his cheeks; his mouth is open as wide as it can be in an expression of pure ecstasy and his eyes say: I have never been, nor will ever be, this happy in my whole life. The world is so beautiful that I actually just wet myself and that's fine because I am in a transcendental state of joy.

5. English people, especially men, have a very unfortunate penchant for removing their tops during football championships. As you have probably noticed, this is a shame.

6. Referring back to characteristic #1, The English only know one song during a football championship. If we are to be pedantic, we would say that the English know only one line of one song during a football championship. Were you to suggest a rousing chorus of 'Land of Hope and Glory' during a match, the English person would stare at you uncertainly and then, after a confused pause, start singing "it's caamin ome, it's caamin ome, it's caamin..."

7. During a football championship the English don't go to work very often.

8. The English cultivate a mood of outraged victimhood during a football championship. They are very fond of declaring the referee to be a c*nt when he points out that English players have fouled. They also make known that every member of the opposing team is a c*nt, and all of their supporters too. It's definitely their fault. And the morning after another inevitable defeat, angry headlines will declare that the England coach is a c*nt. The hand of God goal will be cited. The English are very clear that it is NOT THEIR FAULT.

9. The English like to defend their unbridled insanity during a championship by saying that football is very important and it's basically all about international relations and foreign policy, yeah? When pushed to clarify exactly what football means for international relations - say between Israel and Palestine - they are less clear. Should you push them further on this point you will probably be met with a mutinous glare and a loud chorus of 'it's caamin ome, it's caamin ome.."

10. The English are - to a man - completely unable to deal with penalty shoot-outs. If you walk into an English pub and you find grown men pacing up and down, clutching their heads - or perhaps balled up in a foetal position, whimpering and crying, it is likely that a penalty shoot out is taking place. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that England cannot win a penalty shoot out and, while most England fans have convinced themselves that England is capable of winning a championship (see point 2), not even the most die-hard among them can extend this lunacy to penalties. They know they're going down. "I cannot explain to you the depths of the horror and the awfulness we experience during penalties," an Englishman said to me today. "It is worse than death."

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