I hope you enjoyed Sunday. I hope you enjoyed trashing Leicester Square, storming Wembley, abusing (both physically and verbally) police officers, stewards and people who had actually paid for tickets. I hope you aren’t too upset about your twitter account being hacked, unexpectedly, and racist tweets being sent out on your behalf. I’m sure that’s what happened based on the other tweets on your timeline, sounds completely plausible. I hope you enjoyed waking up on Monday morning and reflecting on the chaos, panic and hurt you had caused. I hope you are feeling proud.
I tell you how I feel on Tuesday evening. I feel disgusted and ashamed. I feel embarrassed to be an Englishman. I feel embarrassed to actually have the English flag tattooed on my shoulder because some people might think I share the same values as you. I’m confident there’s a few differences but maybe I’m wrong.
Let me tell you what I think being English is about and see if there’s any common ground? Before I do that, a little while ago our government in its’ wisdom introduced something called British values, four supposed cornerstones of our society. These are democracy, rule of law, respect and tolerance, plus individual liberty. Apparently that’s what being a British citizen is all about. I’ll let you tot up how many of those values you demonstrated on Sunday. Shouldn’t take long.
For me though, being English and a half decent human being is fairly simple. How about having some regard and respect for others? How about taking people for what they are as opposed to judging them because of the colour of the skin? How about having a little pride and respect for all of the communities and environments your operate in? Complex ideas I know.
You know what though, the funny thing is that amongst the estimated 8,000 of you who stormed Wembley on Sunday and the 2,000 tweets that were sent out targeting Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford, chances are a percentage of you will have family members that have actually been helped out by one of those players in particular. Just google Marcus Rashford and free school meals and have a read in case you’ve missed his work, and think then about the words you used about his missed penalty.
Maybe you can justify your actions. I am aware that I don’t know what it is like to be you. I am aware that I am by no means perfect. But I’m also aware though that your behaviour on Sunday has upset, angered and outraged many.
Do you know what I think of you, honestly? I think you’re a disgrace. I think you are selfish, ignorant and dangerous. I think you would have traumatised my children if we had met on Sunday. I think you demonstrated the very worst aspects of our society and indeed human nature. I despise that fact that you think it is acceptable to send abuse to people who have achieved more for this country than me and you will ever manage.
Something I’ve learnt though and this will really annoy you, is that love will always conquer hate. Always. Because despite your actions at the weekend, the vast majority of people, who have an ounce of decency, think you are despicable. They have covered up the messages of hate you posted on the mural of Marcus Rashford with messages of love. They’ve reported you to your employer for your hateful tweets because they love seeing justice. Ultimately, hate will only tear you apart and isolate you in the long run. Perhaps some of you are realising this now, particularly if you work at Savills.
It’s not too late if you haven’t. Please, just think about your actions at the weekend and ask what good has come from it? Think about how you would feel if that was your son being abused for representing their country. Think about how this group of players have donated millions to the NHS to support them during a global crisis and that instead of tweeting your admiration for them you have chosen to abuse them online. Think about the fact that because of your actions this country has zero chance of hosting another national football tournament for the foreseeable future.
Finally, think about what you would have done and how you would feel if Rashford, Sancho and Saka had scored? Which makes your actions, behaviour and choices even more deplorable.
Look in the mirror, think about your choices and open your mind to the fact that greatness comes in all shapes, sizes, colours and creeds. And until that day comes, and I’m not alone in saying this, I will continue to be disgusted by the shame you have bought on our country on what should have been one of our proudest days.
You do not represent me, but you do represent our country in the worst possible way.
I hope, one day, to meet a better version of you.