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Empathy For France At Wembley Stadium

The extraordinary show of empathy for France in Wembley Stadium on Tuesday was truly remarkable The Tricolore was everywhere: beamed onto the Wembley arch

Girl with Vive La France written on her forhead

By Matty Lawrence

Even the football landscape has now changed in this insane world of ours. The match has generally been a place of sanctuary: a place to escape reality at the end of the working week and immerse ourselves in the game that billions love.

A few days ago a conscious-less entity built a ruddy great wall on that beautiful landscape. Our game was compromised and the fan in the stadium felt threatened like never before. The fall-out of those acts of hatred that the world witnessed in Paris had immediate knock-on effects. Two International friendlies were cancelled within days of the terrorist atrocity. Any stray packages found in the vicinity of football stadia around the world will now be treated with stadium evacuations and cancelled matches.

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Life, of course, goes on and the human race, as ever, proved what a resilient bunch we are.Even the behemoth that is modern day football linked arms together in solidarity. For once, the multi-billion dollar TV deals, multi-million dollar transfer fees and the private jet lifestyles of the players paled into insignificance alongside the show of unison at Wembley Stadium on the night of Tuesday, November 17….Credit in bucket-loads goes to the French national team.

Only days earlier the team had been caught up in the eye of the storm at the Stade de France bombings. The German national team that was facing the French team that evening was forced to sleep in the dressing room, as the passage to their hotel was deemed too dangerous.


The French team hunkered down with them and proved that there is a togetherness in football that transcends any bitter rivalries. This act of kindness was not necessary: the French players could all have left the Stade de France in relative safety, but under the stewardship of coach Didier Deschamps, carried out this unselfish act. On top of this, to a man, the French team decided not to bow to terrorists and still play in that scheduled friendly against England – even Lassana Diarra, whose cousin was among the victims in Paris.

The extraordinary show of empathy for France in Wembley Stadium on Tuesday was truly remarkable The Tricolore was everywhere: beamed onto the Wembley arch, made in cards held aloft around the stadium and painted on the faces of men, women and children.

The players circled the centre-spot and linked arms with one another – England, France, England, France – and the crowd belted out La Marseillaise in their best pidgin French usually reserved for “une biere, s”il vous plait,” in the cafes of Paris. The French themselves were enamoured by the response they received. Every French newspaper on Wednesday morning hailed the solidarity of two great nations who have had more than the odd cross word, or two, in the past few centuries.

“Scoop: The English love us,” stated a wry little piece from La Liberation.

Sonia Delesalle-Stolper wrote, “we discovered that all the French-bashing ridicule – those digs about our smelly cheeses and us having garlic breath – was one big misunderstanding. We can say one thing for sure: the English know how to welcome people.”

Now, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, those generalised digs will surely return, but that night of solidarity was heart-felt and true.Both Football Associations, the police, all of the security services involved and the players and fans need commending.


And, just to prove that football rivalries remain intact..  ‘What a bloody result. I know I shouldn’t read a great deal into the game itself, but I’m going to anyway. C’mon, a 2-0 victory against a decent French team and the emergence of English players unabashed, not even a little scared to fail and with a mass of energy. I have to be honest I wasn’t sure I’d see it again.

Yes, England had seventeen regular squad members injured; yes, Eric Dier and Dele Alli probably don’t have enough playing time to warrant a call-up, but bloody hell, they were fun to watch. Add in Ross Barkley and a centre-half, in John Stones, who doesn’t believe the ball is a hot potato and we have the makings of a nifty little team.

On the night I cried “Vive la France,” but in the morning I picked up the sports pages and marvelled at the words of experienced football journalists who had written very similar things. Don’t worry, part two will bring you back down to earth with a bump:-

The Football League rebrand? Are you kidding me with this?

A marketing man’s wet dream and nothing more.Take a look at the logo and stare in horror at the spherical ejaculate. The only consolation is nothing fertilised, or we’d have at least one more of these advertising scumbags walking the planet.

So, from the beginning of the 2016-17 season the three professional leagues below the Premier League will be known as The English Football League: the EFL, if you will. Just to prove that our national game really is for the people, by the people, the rebranding has been described as a “comprehensive corporate and competition rebranding.”

Bollocks. This was just an excuse for a few people to wave their metaphorical dicks around in a meeting and prove how oh, so important they were. The Football League’s chief executive, Shaun Harvey, said: “The new EFL name rightly emphasise the central role our clubs play at the heart of English professional football.”

Yeah, sure, and we really needed an expensive rebranding to do that.

Are these people born idiots, or do they have to slowly grow into the role over a number of years? Probably, more to the point, how many of these people turn up, week in, week out, at their chosen Football Leag…….sorry, EFL team?

Because, if they do, they will know that most of these fans will turn up, rain, wind, or shine and scream their teams name from the rooftops. Not always through love, but quite often sheer bloody-mindedness. This is the team they support and they’ll be damned before you catch them at Stamford Bridge, or Old Trafford.

Every one of those fans will tell you to save the money you spent on an ejaculation on a page and plough it back into the game that they love: be that at grass-roots, or helping out teams like Northampton Town, who need the money. And all that took was me at my laptop and not a spare hand in sight to wave my cock about.

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