Last night, I went to Wembley Stadium for the first time. When my friend got me and my best mate tickets for the England v France football game a while ago, she had no idea what sort of present it would turn out to be. Never has a friendly game been more deserving of the label.
After the terrible Paris attacks of last week, the match became more than just that. It was about paying respects to those who lost their lives, and just playing on in the face of adversity, a principle England embodies better than any other country.
The legendary arch lit up to French colours, our national motto of Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité proudly headlining the front of the stadium in a truly unforgettable sight. Tricolor flags outnumbered English flags, and you even attempted to sing our national anthem along with us!
Yesterday wasn’t just England at her best, it was football also. We spend a lot of time criticising federations and players, and mostly rightly so. But it’s important to acknowledge the remarkable uniting force football gives us. Every once in a while, we get reminded why it’s called the beautiful game.
I just want to say a massive thank you to all our English friends for your incredible tribute and show of support. Thank you for the spectacle, for the smiles, for bearing our colours and for standing by us in the face of evil. Yesterday we made history, showing the world we will not be bullied into fear nor bow down to terrorism.
More importantly perhaps, we demonstrated, en masse, how much compassion and solidarity there is left in humanity. You cheered me up when I was down, as I’m sure you did the thousands who attended. I’m proud to be a part of both those great nations.
Ps: oh yeah, well done on the win as well. Whatever..