Come on, you Netherlands!


Everytime I see Declan Rice or Harry  Kane or Jack Grealish or Harry Maguire ( OK, forget about Maguire), I’m struck by their immense footballing talent and by a bitter little inner voice that says they should be playing for Ireland. I understand their choice of England rather than Ireland – more money, better team, more chance of winning trophies – but I still feel that small irrational sense of betrayal.

Because I don’t want England to win. I don’t want them to win tonight’s game against the Netherlands, and if they do win, I’ll be consoling myself with the thought that Spain will surely stuff them and Gareth Southgate’s long face will be longer as once again England bottle it.  I’ll not rest easy until they are stuffed and stay stuffed.

None of this does me any credit, but there it is. I have two daughters-in-law and a sin-in-law, all three of whom are English. I have three English grandchildren. I love them all to the bottom of my heart, but I’m glad they won’t be in the same room as me tonight when the England team trot out for one more Date with Destiny.

English people never quite understand people like me. “If Ireland were playing another team, we in England would cheer for you all the way!”  True. But I still will cheer for any team that is playing against England.

The English people I know are pleasant, decent, contemptuous of the Tories, love Ireland – they are an outstanding race of people. And yet I want the Netherlands or somebody else, anybody else to stuff them, so I can see their grief-stricken faces of their players and the gloomy demeanour of their fans.

Where does this anti-England sentiment come from?  A sort of parallel sentiment to that of Jim Allister, who complained in the House of Commons the other day that the Windsor Framework meant that a part of the UK was being treated as a colony, subject to foreign laws. Me too, Jim. I don’t like NEI being treated as a colony and subject to foreign laws. But you’re pissed off with the EU in recent months; I’m pissed off with England who have such a presumption of superiority, they probably wouldn’t understand if someone was to point out that they occupy the north-eastern corner of Ireland contrary to the wishes of the Irish people.No, no, they’d say. NEI is a part of the UK, not Ireland. They simply don’t get it, that their country has caused poverty, eviction, hunger, death,  emigration, and above all they have subjugated the Irish people, for a long time: all of them for centuries and in the last century a sizeable north-eastern number.

So here’s the deal, England. You go home (you can take the ball if you like) and leave us to look after ourselves. I mean, we’re all growed up so we can do it. You do that and I’ll be heading the queue to cheer you on as a decent neighbour. Deal?

4 Responses to Come on, you Netherlands!

  1. Surveyor July 10, 2024 at 3:08 pm #

    Blame Martin O’Neill for not capping them when he had the chance, Jude.

  2. Jack Britton July 10, 2024 at 10:35 pm #

    Truest article I’ve read on the Euro. saga. But God am I disappointed tonight. 89th.minute !!! It’s all up to Spain now

  3. Another Jude July 11, 2024 at 2:11 pm #

    If Spain beat England, fantastic. If however the nightmare continues I have contingency plans. Most people in the world don’t even know the Euros are on. The only people who will remember this are English football fans, naturally enough. Most of the world will shrug their shoulders when the referee blows the final whistle and get on with their lives. If England win, just keep away from the news for about a week. It will subside. How many people can tell you who won the last Euros? Apart from Italy supporters or those of us who “dislike” England? It will pass. Also it’s not the World Cup. Viva Espana!!!

  4. Donal Kennedy July 13, 2024 at 9:12 am #

    I don’t Begrudge the England team its thrilling victory over a superb Netherlands one.

    Should England, which is but part of a sovereign state, field a National team?

    The United Kingdom, a unitary state fields four “national” teams,

    Where Britannia made the rules,or waived them, anomalies are the norm.

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