I’ve been with England and Scotland fans at Euros – there’s one big difference

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun20,2024

The difference between England and Scotland football fans can be summed up in one line comment on a video.

Last night, as English supporters partied ahead of their Euro 2024 clash with Denmark a German fan clambered to the wall beside a fountain and pulled out a flag.

The young lad had perhaps thought the gesture would be taken in jest by the thousand or so Englishmen but was soon ducking for cover as bottles and other objects were launched in his direction.

“W***ker, w***ker,” the crowd chanted as he fled.

I got a video of the scene put it on TikTok asking users “was he brave or stupid?”

The response was mixed, some felt it was provocative others an unfair reaction.

But there was one comment that stood out to me “we’re there to win it, not make ‘friends,’” they wrote.

Why, I wondered, would the fans need to have this mentality? The players certainly need to have a no-prisoners approach but it’s hardly the case that having a pleasant set of supporters has ever harmed a national team.

The reasoning behind the statement was all the more interesting in the wake of the two days I’d spent before that night with Scotland fans. Amongst the Tartan Army, the approach can comfortably be described as the complete opposite.

This is what separates the two groups. Although it would be totally wrong to tar all England fans with the same brush spending several days in the English crowd that follows the national team you soon realise the dominant attitude is ‘we don’t care what you think of us.’

That’s fine when behaviour stays on the right side of the line. As the crowds belted out Vindaloo and Sweet Caroline last night in Frankfurt the atmosphere was as good as amongst any set of supporters.

Germans were captivated by the spectacle and joined in the drunken fun.

The trouble is that there was always an edge, alongside the peaceful majority were fans who threw fists, beer and sung disrespectful songs at the earliest opportunity.

And, whilst it’s fair to say every group has this minority, because of the wider culture of not caring what people think the obnoxious ones don’t get pulled back in line or it’s difficult for those who might want to speak up.

Every night I’ve followed England I’ve seen people getting punched in the face, square up to each other and generally be obnoxious.

Most of the time the beef is internal and when well-policed, as it has been in Germany so far, limited in its impact.

But the contrast to the Scots couldn’t be greater.

During the two days I spent with the Scottish I didn’t see a single punch-up or even a set-to.

There were plenty of fans absolutely wasted throughout the time I saw them, but they never got lairy.

Why? Well, one of the reasons is that the fans leave their club allegiances at home when they watch the national team.

In Gelsenkirchen, Newcastle United and Sunderland fans still wanted to fight each other, but down in Cologne you wouldn’t even know someone was a Rangers or Celtic fan.

I’ve watched lots of football in Scotland and can reassure anyone who might have doubts that this is not because the rivalries are less intense.

Some of the most poisonous atmospheres I’ve ever experienced and fan violence I’ve seen was in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

But when it comes to the Tartan Army there is simply a different culture.

They drink as much as the English, probably even more, but the majority of the fans care about how people see them.

You could argue that’s because they have historically had a weaker team who rarely qualifies and maybe that’s a factor.

But if England fans did care a little bit more about making friends without reducing their desire to win it would be better for everyone.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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