Belfast Telegraph

England fans urged to avoid 'boring' songs about the IRA

As England prepare to face Scotland at Hampden Park on Saturday, the Football Supporters' Federation have said fans would be 'better off without' songs about the IRA.

In an editorial of the latest edition of Free Lions, the FSF fanzine, the organisation pleaded with supporters to steer clear of 'tragic' references to the IRA.

The statement, that also implored supporters not to 'be a dick', follows the FA's reminder to supporters that Scottish police can take action on behaviour that "references atrocities associated with terrorism or war". The FA are concerned that supporters may make reference to Islamic State in chants of defiance. Some England supporters did chant about the terrorist group in Marseille at Euro 2016 and Saturday's game takes place just eight days after eight people were killed following a terrorist attack in London.

And the FSF's editorial was keen to deter supporters from singing about other matters, such as World War Two or the IRA.

“English football fans have a great reputation around the world for the numbers in which we travel, the passion we demonstrate in supporting our team, and our ability to party enthusiastically well into the night,” the FSF said. “We are at our best though when our songs are imaginative and witty, and particularly when they’re related to the football and provide real motivation and encouragement to the team. That’s why we are firmly of the opinion that we’d be much better off without some of the lame and boring songs about World War Two or the IRA.

“Songs about German bombers are out of date, out of touch, and make us look and sound ridiculous. It’s over 75 years since the Battle of Britain. The Northern Ireland ceasefire dates back to 1994, and the idea that we need to proclaim our refusal to surrender to a banned terrorist organisation that gave up fighting 23 years ago is frankly tragic. We are so much better than that, or at least we should be.

“On a partly related subject, it’s been good to see so many new and younger fans starting to follow England away. It can be a fantastic experience, you can make new friendships that will last you a lifetime, you’ll have some real adventures and hopefully even see some great football along the way.

“So welcome, it’s great to have you here, but one simple request: please don’t be a dick. We all have our club allegiances, and therefore our rivalries, but apart from a bit of banter, we leave that at home when we’re following England. And call us old-fashioned, but some of us still believe beer is for drinking, not throwing.”

Scotland host England at Hampden Park at 5pm on Saturday in a World Cup qualifying match.

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