Whether you are a football fan or not, most of us could not argue about the positivity the England team’s success in the Euro’s brought to the nation.
I have friends who’d never really shown an interest, or ever watched a match, suddenly become engaged in cheering on our boys and it was a great thing to see. Not to mention the huge benefits it brought to our hospitality industry, which of course was in dire need of a much-needed boost to business. Speaking to some of my local pubs they said it had been amazing for business… just that they were pretty tired (don’t blame them!).
Sadly, there are a few not-so-good things attached to the beautiful game. Parts of central London were smashed up (thanks guys – really good impression of England!!), a small group managed to break through the security at Wembley and, worst of all, was the racist abuse some of the players received on social media after the game on Sunday. True, the perpetrators are a minority, but they’re certainly a very loud minority and it is totally unacceptable. I hope they find and punish those involved.
Again, the reaction of the people of the north west made me proud! Hundreds of amazing Mancunians attended a quiet protest against racism at the Marcus Rashford mural in Withington in the week after the match. The mural was defaced with racist abuse following the game, sadly, in a very similar way to the mural of the drag artist Divina Di Campo in the gay village was plastered with disgusting homophobic slurs recently. Some people have too much hate in their hearts – and time on their hands. We are lucky to live in a diverse, cosmopolitan city and the vast majority of people who live here love it being like that.
It’s this we need to remember, and as we approach Freedom Day on 19th July, we should all be proud of the way we have handled the past 15 months – and all look forward to what we can achieve together if we put our minds to it!
Here’s to the rest of 2021!