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NI provides a good example of how inclusive English football team can be

Jon Tonge


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Change: English football fans have shown this summer that they are a diverse group. Credit: Christian Charisius/PA

Change: English football fans have shown this summer that they are a diverse group. Credit: Christian Charisius/PA

PA

Change: English football fans have shown this summer that they are a diverse group. Credit: Christian Charisius/PA

An unexpected aspect of the Euro 2020 football tournament — aside from England’s progression to the final — was the effort to define “English identity”. It’s a harmless pastime, but also impossible. Another strange feature was the arguments over whether England should be supported by non-English folk.

I plead guilty to improperly defining identity. At every Northern Ireland election study, we ask people to categorise themselves as British, or Irish, or Northern Irish etc. In using questionnaire surveys, a complex question is reduced to box-ticking.


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