Gary Lineker calls on Wales fans to support England at Euro 2020
Gary Lineker has called on Wales fans to support England at Euro 2020.
The presenter and former professional footballer was responding to an article by England fan and author Laura Kemp, who has lived in Wales for 20 years and is married to a Welshman.
He praised it as “exceptional” and argued that it contained some “valid arguments”.
In her opinion piece Kemp argued that the current England team, which recently beat Ukraine 4-0 in the quarter final, is “challenging the establishment just like those in Wales who are sick of the privilege of the Etonian elite”.
She also hit out at Boris Johnson’s government for treating Wales like an “afterthought”, which she said has “endured centuries of oppression at the hands of England”.
The author criticised the “English media which bangs on about the Three Lions’ destiny”, and argued that the “intensity of the build-up to Wednesday’s semi-final against Denmark will be sickening”.
Gary Lineker shared the piece on Twitter, and said: “How about it Wales fans? Some valid arguments in this exceptional piece by @Laurajanekemp.”
The suggestion was not met with an overwhelmingly positive response from Wales fans.
Harry Thompson said: “Will never support England in any tournament because every time they do well they start a weird pressure campaign to force us into supporting them”.
Scott Arthur said: “I’ll admit, there is something very likeable about a lot of the English players/manager, Rashford especially. However, I won’t be supporting England. It’s called rivalry. Some Welsh people will cheer them on, lots won’t. I’m sure you understand, @GaryLineker?”
Amy Clement said: “I’m against all the hatred, being a bit of both I find it really horrible to see, however… no one likes being told who to support.”
Football writer and broadcaster Tom Williams said: “Asking Wales fans to support England is like asking Everton fans to support Liverpool or Spurs fans to support Arsenal. In sporting terms, England are Wales’s arch rivals. Yes, they’re a likeable team, with a likeable manager. But you can’t actively ‘support’ your rivals.”
In an article on WalesOnline, Kemp said: “Yet look at Gareth Southgate’s squad. Any Jerry-bashing didn’t just fall flat, it meant nothing.
“And there’s not a conceited ego among them who behaves as if reaching the final is God given. Because these footballers are everything that’s right about an emerging sense of what it is to be English.
“They aren’t just professional and playing with pride and passion – remind you of any other team close to your hearts? They’re also the role models they’re often accused of failing to be.
“In fact, they go much further – they are challenging the establishment just like those in Wales who are sick of the privilege of the Etonian elite.
“Even when Conservative critics have accused them of ‘tokenism’, the team has stuck to its guns to Take The Knee to protest against not just racism but beat the drum for equality for all, whether that’s gender, disability or sexuality.
“Amongst the social justice stars are Raheem Sterling who was given an MBE for his anti-racism campaign, Marcus Rashford who forced a u-turn of free school meals during the pandemic and Harry Kane who wore a rainbow captain’s armband to support the LGBT+ community to highlight Pride month.”