Last week’s Hero of the Week Award goes to the 50,000 Welsh football fans who gathered in France to celebrate their nation’s first appearance at a major football tournament for 58 years.
I hope that this award doesn’t signal the kiss of death for the Welsh fans, because, thus far, they’ve been amazing, a source of great pride for the proud nation they support.
Their behaviour has been in marked contrast to that of their rioting English cousins, the organised Russian hooligans and the Marseilles Ultras who have decided to use the Euros to show the world just how completely fucking moronic they are.
I know, people will say, it’s only a handful of English fans who spoil it for the rest, but, the reality is that if you go to an England match, you hear the chants of ‘No Surrender’ and ‘Ten German Pilots’ ringing out from bars and street corners, whilst the atmosphere is one of arrogance as the English fans drape their flags in a symbolic fuck you to the locals.
The Welsh sang with the locals.
The Welsh danced with the locals.
The Welsh drank beer with the locals then sang and danced some more.
And, as their team did them proud with a really encouraging performance against a decent Slovakian team, the red corners of the ground rang out with traditional Welsh hymns and folk songs: Calon Lan (a clean heart), Cwm Rhondda, Hen Wlad Fy’n Nhadau and Men of Harlech. No defiant nonsense here, no arrogant boasts here, no goading another team or nation here, this was pure festival, groups of people (essentially working class men) enjoying the fun of being part of sporting event.
Today, they’ve arrived in Lille ahead of the big match against England – the match should be a cracker, I just hope that nothing spoils the party.