“Don’t Send Me Home!”
If the United Kingdoms’ referendum on leaving the European Union left England in particular divided, Britain’s largest home nation was at least able to rely upon her national football team to reunite her people… even if only temporarily.
Reunited in more anger & frustration at leaving Europe again, but reunited none the less. Only England could leave Europe twice in week, without entirely wanting to on either occasion.
In the wake of the Brexit division (and a 52 to 48 result is a division, not a decision), British mainstream & social media had one subject. From the front page, to the back page via the cultural, financial & business pages, Brexit ruled Britannia.
An old man, out of touch with modern Britain, had led the United Kingdom out of the European Union without much of an after-plan for his own victory.
A few bewildering days later and the English national football team had the opportunity to temporality alleviate the woes of the countrymen it represents, in Europe’s quadrennial soccer championships, and they could not have had an easier opponent. In theory.
Iceland, by British standards, is a large town or a small city in the neighbourhood of a Coventry or a Leicester.
This small, Nordic land, of some 300,000 people, exports fish & strong men. Not footballers of lion taming capability certainly. Until recently this little land was attempting to join the UK in the EU, a topic barely touched upon in the buildup.
Britannia herself is built on the Nordic mythology that Iceland is still draped in. Some may argue that the home nations decision to pull out of the European Union reflects a feeling of loss towards the lands founding cultures; Iceland however is so Nordic they may as well have arrived in the Allianz Rivveria by long-boat.
Brexit will not herald a return by the UK to its mystical past, though Iceland showed all nations of the British isles what it takes to survive on your own in a competitive market.
In a team game, squad unity defeats sole ability in every case. When unique talent has dragged a team forward in years gone by, the talisman has always had a team to lead, never a rabble of lesser talents. Bale leads a team whilst Ronaldo struggles with a rabble.
Iceland entered as a team, England, as ever, entered as a rabble of fairly good individuals.
Great Britain, with England at its heart, inadvertently confused their identity in the days leading up to this battle of North Atlantic islanders. The ice men though, were cool in their collective.
England joined the Republic & Northern Irish on the plane home. Iceland slipped through.
England howver left France 2016 with one present that would live on past their exit. A song, about not wanting to be sent home.
The Icelandic war clap, inspiring as it is distracting depending on which jersey you sport, may have been the fearsome sound of the victors on this occasion, but English supporters provided the most cross national song of this tournament, and it was sung in ever more desperation as England made Icelands’ slender lead appear gargantuan in Nice.
Even Will Gregs incendiary issues have not been translated into as many lexicons as “Don’t Send Me Home” now has.
Each of the four competing home nations along with a host of their continental cousins have belted out their own version of what began as a club song, bounded around by a few Championship and Premiership fan bases.
From the regional dialects of Lancastrians and Geordies to the curling accents of Belgians, the French, The Poles and more. Pleads to never be sent home coupled with declared intentions to consume all locals beers could be heard in games where no England fans could have had any tangible number. European Unity at its finest, the sharing of culture and charecter.
I leaded paper for this cartoon whilst the English were still favourites to defeat their new, non unionist Allies of the Atlantic.
The accompanying literature was intended to read: “Young high earning professionals continue to avoid returning to the Brexit Zone.”
Supporting England ensures you always prepare for the other outcome however.
“Young high earning professionals led out of Europe by old man with no plan” was substituted in at a later stage than Danny Rashford was by Roy, hopefully with more effect also.
Wales are the final British side left singing the song… yet they set off for France 2016 as net beneficiaries of the EU… perhaps their prolonged stay reflects a greater fear to return?
“Don’t send me home, please don’t send me home, I just don’t want to go to work. I want to stay here, & drink all your beer, please never ever send me home…”