Stella & Coke – Landan style by Jammy

Euro2020 in 2021 proved to be an interesting experience.  Having a cross-Europe (well for some) tournament never sounded like a good idea pre-pandemic, in the midst of a pandemic it seemed positively ludicrous.  Platini’s football legacy was always going to be tarnished, this simply added the cherry to the top of the cake.  I won’t dwell on our Baku excursions as another one of our intrepid correspondents is covering, but I will cover our weekend in Landan for the final. 

We booked it early thinking we had an outside chance of getting a ticket, but the closer Ingerland got to the final our chances of tickets receded quicker than a middle-aged mans’ hairline.  3 of us left the Pearl on the Saturday staying in Euston.  The atmosphere was good on that day, the locals excited and expectant that it was going to “come home”.  A turn of phrase once ironic & self-effacing, but nowadays bastardised by Brexit loving, anti-immigration, anti-lockdown, anti-vax, racist fothermuckers who see it as a return to the glory of the Empire.

Sunday started with a trip down Wemberley Way. We arrived early expecting plenty of excited locals.  We were not disappointing.  From 11am it was littered with white men, tattooed, sunburnt draped in flags, before later it became littered with cans, bottles & a sprinkling of coke.

S** S****s thought it would be a good idea for one of their female broadcasters to present outdoors at the end of Wemberley Way, a decision I think they came to regret when the predictable chants began.  You could see the way it was turning as early as 11am, and that’s not with the benefit of hindsight.  There was a hostility and aggression bursting out of the steroid induced veins of individuals larging it up on Stella & Coke from early in the day. 

We decided to move to Leicester Sq.  What an experience that was.  I have never seen so many sights of people openly shovelling coke up their nose in broad daylight, with the p****e seemingly content to let it happen, while filming and knocking on doors in the days following no doubt.  Individuals with pyrotechnics sticking out of their backsides was interesting to see.  They are dangerous when handling, imagine the damage it can do to you’re a**s.  Some people were there to enjoy the atmosphere, the majority wanting to go large, and go large early.

For the game we found ourselves a great spot outside an Italian restaurant.  We thought we were set for the night, until a group of young Ingerland fans in their early 20s decided to intervene which resulted in tables being cleared and people being moved on.

The game came and went, during which time social media was awash with footage of the Wemberley situation, which we predicted much earlier in the day.  Ingerland predictably lost on pens, and you suspected the worse when the 3 England players missed.  There is a colour blindness in society when things go well, but when it goes bad bigotry & hatred rears its ugly head.

I was glad football didn’t “come home”, but I must confess I do find something likeable about their current crop of players, which is very annoying.  The way the represent the best elements of society and speak out against the worst (delightfully calling out the liar and the anti-immigration tzar) is very admirable.

I came away from the weekend with a number of thoughts (which I’ve had before and will share).  There is something about nationalism of certain countries that moves from a sense of pride to a more obnoxious, aggressive, arrogant and superior attitude.  They are usually dismissed as the minority that spoil it, but there comes a point when the minority is too big to write it off as a minority. 

There is clearly a division in society, and football is where you see the most extreme elements of it.  What always surprises me about Ingerland is the number of individuals draped in flags.  I watch a lot of football matches, I understand the role of flags in football, but I usually see them hanging from fences/barriers in the ground, not hanging from people who wear them as coats.  Also the relationship certain countries footballs fans have with coke as well as alcohol is worthy of being explored further.

On that note, I’ll leave you. 

Yours, the Re-tired Sec

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