> > No flame intended, but isn't there an attitude of superiority in the
> > English football scene towards the rest of the world? Somebody quoted
> > some time ago the manager of the English team as saying that he hadn't
> > much to learn from other countries. This seems to be an extremist point
> > of view, but may be it shows something about the general view (I hope not!).
> I share your views, Walter, although I have to say that the vast
> majority of British fans on the net (most of them English) is pretty
> unbiased in their analysis. However, comments like someone made
> after last year's Milan trouncing of Steaua in the final of the EC,
> something like "watching the game I couldn't help thinking about how
> easy it would be for Liverpool to destroy Milan," were so pathetic
> and prepotent that it gives continental soccer fans reasons to believe
> that English people do have an arrogant attitude of superiority towards
> the rest of the world.
No flames taken. But I can't resist a counterpoint :-)
Thanks for saying we (most Brit fans) are pretty unbiased. I, at least,
will pan British teams as much as anyone when they deserve it! The
comment made about how Liverpool could have beaten Milan, in the original
poster's defence, is shear frustration. English teams were dominating
European Cup competition until the Brussels disaster. And now all we can
do is watch the Europeans reap the benefits due to the exclusion of English
teams. You've got to look from our side on this. It's ***y frustrating!
All we can wonder is how things would be with the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool,
Aston Villa, Notts Forest, et al, in the thick of things. Well since we've
just gone through a major discussion about if today's Liverpool is any
better or worse than pre-Brussels, I won't go into if English teams could
still dominate Europe today here. My point is, I don't believe we English
have an arrogant attitude of superiority as you suggest. As followers of the
best game in the world, the English know who play the game best. We've had
our arses kicked by great teams from South America and Western Europe enough
to know! Whenever England have to play Brazil or Italy or West Germany, for
example, *even at Wembley* we English have so much respect for these teams
that we know that England will struggle and if we win it's a bonus.
Similarly we have great respect for the top club teams from South America and
Europe. We know we aren't just plain superior against these teams. Even
teams like Liverpool play teams like Real Madrid or Bayern Munich or Inter
Milan, etc, with the utmost respect.
> > I thought that this attitude was something
> > that had been overcome long time ago... I remember reading that English
> > football didn't have much international exposure before the '50s, but
> > after the disappointing Brazil '50 and a couple of tough defeats (3-6
> > against Hungary in Wembley), the hard reality was accepted. But now
> > after these years of forced exclusion from team competitions, the same
> > song seems to emerge: "We are the best, but we can't show it because we
> > don't compete internationally". Do you follow any other European league
> > to say that? Do you know about the 3 goals per game of Real Madrid, or
> > the incredible streak of AC Milan, something like 10 wins and 2 draws in
> > the last 12 games in the best defensive league of the world? Liverpool
> > may have a very good team, I've seen some really impressive games this
> > season, but they have a long way to be considered the best team in
> > Europe not only by their fans, but by the general football opinion.
As I said, English teams have lost enough games to show respect to almost
everyone. When we haven't, we have lost at our peril. I still shudder how
we let Poland knock us out of the 1974 World Cup qualifers in October 1973.
I say again, it's frustrating not to be able to prove ourselves at the
club level anymore. Put the shoe on the other foot. Let's say for the sake
of argument that Italy had the best club teams in Europe, dominating all
the Euro cups, then they were excluded indefinetly from further Euro
competition. Now the Italian fans sit at home and watch the other nations
win all the cups they could have been winning! After a few years, wouldn't
they become a little frustrated? It's only human nature and nothing to do
with an air of superiority.
> I couldn't have summed it up better myself, Walter. In general,
> I think continental soccer fans are more willing to watch English
> soccer and make a comparison than English fans to watch continental
> soccer and then making up their minds. Keeping an open mind is always
> key in these cases, and many people isolate themselves in what they
> have and refuse to even look at and analyze what the rest of the world
> has to offer. I mean, how many British fans can tell me at least
> five or six players that currently play for teams like Napoli, Milan,
> Inter, Real Madrid, Barcelona, etc...? Or who is the league champion
> in Spain, Italy, France, West Germany, etc..? Well, on the other hand,
> I am sure continental soccer fans were planted in front of the tv
> last year in the FA Cup final... Also, I hear about Spanish games
> being shown in Sweden, Italian games shown in Spain, English matches
> shown all thru Europe, etc.. But are continental soccer matched shown
> in England?
But here, I have to agree with you. Generally English fans don't watch
too much European football and virtually nothing from South America.
Instead we only get to see what is shown on British television, and that
is either when British teams are playing or the Finals of a major tournament
which may or may not contain a British team. And for this reason, many
British fans can't come up with answers to the questions yoy posed above.
Only a few who read magazines and books will be knowledgeable enough to
give the correct answers because that kind of information isn't always
given on television for some reason.
However, since coming to the U.S., I have watched more European league
games and even games from South America (usually on the Spanish Network
when I used to have access to it) than I ever did in England. So now
I can compare the styles a little more. And when it comes right down
to it, I still prefer watching British football. It's more dynamic.
Perhaps I have more of a feel of the atmosphere and I have more understanding
of the traditions and history of the teams of British football. Whereas
when I watch a game from South America for instance, I can't get quite as
involved, because I don't know the players or how good the teams are.
The only time I have *really* enjoyed South American and European football
is during international club and national games (European Cup, World Cup,
etc.) because then I have more of a feeling of the teams. I know about
Real Madrid's great history, I don't know anything about Cadiz. I love
to watch the Italian national team because I know most of the great stars.
I'm lost if I have to watch Lazio or Bologna. Do you see what I mean?
I'm sure all the continentals do watch the English leagues and cup games.
England is the birthplace of the world's most beautiful game and so it
goes that it should receive such undivided attention! The analogy is that
nowadays, much of the world tunes in to watch the Super Bowl (American
Football). Many countries (especially in Europe) have taken American
Football to their hearts and have their own leagues... and yet Americans
don't even care to know the state of "their" came in the rest of the world.
Seen any European American Football results in the newspapers lately?
But I love all football, wherever its played and no matter who is playing.
I can't wait to see the World Cup because I want to see all the great teams
of the world again, not just to see England (or Scotland or Ireland).
I can't believe how long-winded I got. Many apolgies to readers who
have not hit the 'n' key yet! :-)
Health Systems International, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A.
"An Englishman never enjoys himself, except for a noble purpose." - A.P.Herbert