Pretending that booing England is about ‘keeping politics out’ is cowardly | England


Romania’s players agreed to take the knee for the first time at the Riverside Stadium as a gesture of solidarity with their English hosts. As loud, angry boos rang out around the ground the Romanians must have wondered what they’d stumbled into here. What kind of weird, contorted, backwards kind of country is this England anyway? Didn’t they used to be someone? Welcome to England 2021. Divided, belligerent, set against itself – and reduced now by the formalities of a football match to debating the idea of “Englishness” until it falls apart at the seams.

This is England a week away from a de facto home Euros, two weeks away from the great unlocking after a year of angst-ridden isolation. This is England, and everything’s going to be OK. Probably.

Has there been a more fraught, muddled and downright weird buildup to an England tournament to date? Clearly not. The world itself has never been this punch-drunk while still attempting to stage…

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