Thursday, November 21, 2019

England players respond perfectly to abuse in Bulgaria

David Nugent in Editorial, European Championships 15 Oct 2019

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On Monday night, England hammered Bulgaria 6-0 in Group A of qualifying for the European Championships. Instead of talking about the result, or the ease in which the Three Lions swatted away the opposition, we are talking about the ridiculous behaviour of a section of the home crowd.

What made the behaviour worse was that Bulgaria head coach Krasimir Balakov seems to want to blame everybody but the fans show chanted racist songs and aimed racism at England’s black players. The former international stated he did not hear the chants and decided to have a go at the England fans for some reason.

Absolutely ridiculous behaviour in 2019

It is hard to believe that it is 2019 when incidents like this happen. It is absolutely ridiculous behaviour by some of the Bulgarian fans it must be said. It would be unfair to paint the whole country with the same brush. Obviously, every country has a small mindless minority, who have a problem with people just because they have a different colour skin.

Even in England, we are not completely innocent when it comes to discrimination. However, we have come a long way from the last three years. Unfortunately, there is still a small minority who are still narrow-minded idiots.

For Bulgaria boss Balakov to say that there is more racist behaviour in England than his own country is almost laughable if he was trying to be funny, unfortunately, he was not. His sort of attitude is part of the problem. Even the Bulgarian media attempted to deflect the blame away from their supporters.

This is the sort of attitude that breeds discrimination. Never taking responsibility for actions. Hopefully, UEFA will take strong action over the situation. It seems doubtful though, as they seem to be scared to punish discrimination.

Walking off would have let the racists win

England players have stated that they discussed leaving the field during the chanting. However, they took a decision as a collective to remain on the pitch. They did the right thing by letting their football do the talking.

If Gareth Southgate’s team would have walked off the pitch, then the racists would have won. Instead, those fans went home and will now have to live with the fact that their team were taken apart so easily by England. The players responded brilliantly to the horrendous abuse with great dignity and just got on with the game. It showed their sheer professionalism.

England one of the favourites to win Euro 2020

After Friday’s rare defeat in the Czech Republic, England bounced back in exactly the way that everybody connected with the team would have wanted. Southgate’s team went back to the one that comfortably defeated the rest of the opponents earlier in the group.

Maybe the atmosphere actually even spare England on to produce an even better display. After the Czech performance and even the Kosovo match before it, there were doubts about this team.

Their overall performance in qualifying has led to England becoming one of the favourites to win Euro 2020 at odds of 9/2. There will be tougher games than the one in Sofia and they will face far better teams once the Three Lions confirm their spot at next years tournament.

England have just one away trip left in qualifying, a trip to Kosovo. Hopefully, we will be talking about what happened on the pitch and not in the stands after that game.

What should the punishment be for the Bulgarian fans acts of racism?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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