Good Fan vs. Bad Fan — How Football Fans Make us Believe we Know a Nation (and Which Role the Media Plays)

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During the last two weeks, the omnipresence of football and the European Championship was remarkably. The media is full of articles. Not only is the mere sporting coverage noticeable in vast size, but also do the reports concerning the respective fan groups find great interest. Some of the reported nations stand out, in an either positive or negative way.

Heavily involved (in a negative way) are for example English fans. When searching for “English fans” in “Google” you can find articles with the heading “English fans go on the rampage in Lille”, “Outrages of English fans in Marseille”, or “English fans throw coins at begging children”. These citations can be seen as paragon and do not differ from the coverage of the Russian fans. In German we would say: “Sie sind alle über einen Kamm geschert worden”. We can find headlines like “Russian fans are observed fiercely“ or “France deports Russian fans”.

BUT when we have a closer look on other fan groups, it is interesting that we will not find bad news about the Irish. WHY NOT? Green gives us hope, and the news give us the feeling that we want to have the same fans. They make us believe that the Irish fans are singing all day long. There are rumours that the Irish sing for a child to fall asleep or make police officers sing with them.

But why is that?

The different reports show that comparably small groups of fans can stand for a whole nation and we might get the feeling that by looking at them, we have an overall image. Small groups either sing songs or use violence to call attention to themselves.

But why does the media not tell us how many people we see in the pictures? Is it true that ALL English and Russian fans damage the streets in France? Why do we think that they have only come to France for being violent? Which role does the media play?

We always have to reflect what is going on and what they try to make us believe…

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