Can I just say a word or two about the England band? I was at the England v Poland Under 21 game last night at Ashton Gate. Unbeknown to me, my son and I had tickets for the South Stand (formerly the East End (?)) and it soon dawned us that we were about 20 yards away from the England band.
I had heard, and been massively irritated by, the England band for many years. They consist of three men with brass instruments and one with a big fat drum. They play the instruments constantly throughout the entire game, churning out the same old songs time after time after time. Apparently, they are there to help create atmosphere. In reality, they completely drown out the atmosphere. You could barely concentrate on the game, so incessant were the repetitive dirges.
By half time, I had had enough. I complained to the very helpful steward who told me the England band was nothing to do with Bristol City. They were employed by the FA. I demanded to be moved. The steward happily agreed and we went to the other side of the stadium. We were away from the tinnitus inducing row but you could still hear it, on and on and on.
Some people, mainly young children, clapped and sang along, which I found utterly depressing. They played constantly throughout the game, ramping up the noise for corners and free kicks. I hated it. Now, I knew at first hand, how ghastly the England band were.
I tweeted the FA and had several favourable replies. However, the best one, which was not favourable, read ‘Let’s all sit in silence and not get behind our country good one’. If he genuinely thought that you needed the presence of a dire brass band in order to enthuse people to get behind their country’s football team, I would suggest he had never before attended a football match in his life.
All right, I am old fashioned and old school. I happen to believe the passion of supporters comes from within, whether it is for their club or country. I don’t think you need some knob with a big drum to literally drum up support. I’d have merrily shoved their instruments up their rear ends, given half an opportunity.
My message to the FA is simple: ban the band. It’s a football match not a fucking circus.