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England vs Bulgaria: Bad behaviour, bum raps and a wonderful PR campaign

Author: Gabriel Hershman Date: Mon, Sep 05 2011 13 Comments, 7891 Views
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Bulgaria sure does get a bum rap, doesn't it?

English cities go up in flames as feral youth go on an orgy of mindless violence and looting. An Eastern European woman is forced to jump out of a burning building in an affluent area of the once civilised British capital. A Malaysian boy is viciously mugged and then robbed again as he reels from his injuries. To name but a few incidents out a few days of hair-raising savagery and sadism. And yet nobody demands that the UK be thrown out of the EU for its indecent behaviour.

And then...during the England V Bulgaria match a few Bulgarian fans – high on testosterone and adrenaline, doubtless pumped up with anger at the hiding their team was taking on the pitch, shout at some black players and allegedly make Nazi salutes. All hell breaks loose. Hundreds of comments in the UK tabloids demand that Bulgaria is thrown out of international competitions.

Others attacked eastern Europe in general for being hideously white and racist – note the subtext that cultural and racial homogeneity is a crime in 2011. Others even resurrect World War 2 and remind us that Bulgaria was on the side of Hitler in the war. (Bulgaria, it seems is irrevocably totalitarian in some people minds, either communist of fascist, it simply can't win!!)

Some well-intentioned Bulgarians –- who probably were not even there  – write grovelling comments excusing their compatriots' behaviour. Nice people, but who should be doing the apologising?

The reality of what I saw on Friday night was very different. Before the game England fans took over some of the pubs and bars in Sofia. Ok, nothing wrong with that but it was irritating to see how they draped their flags over every available surface. Then things took a turn for the worse. In one bar in Shipka Street a mother and daughter sat outside drinking coffee on the pavement.

I bet they wished they were somewhere else. A group of England fans came by, swigging from beer cans. They stopped in their tracks  and proceeded to gawp at the couple for 10 minutes, pointing at them and making obscene comments. "Look, it's a mother and daughter and the mother's ....... hotter than the daughter!" (Probably the idiots assume that no Bulgarian would understand English). The tattooed louts came up to have a closer inspection, virtually peering down at the mother's cleavage. The mother and daughter looked away and pretend they weren't there.

At the game itself England fans booed at the Bulgarian national anthem. (That, of course is no surprise to me. I'll never forget in Euro 2004 how they did the same whenever the Portuguese national anthem was played in the Algarve).

Then, during the match itself the English fans then kept up a barrage of abuse – "Where's your caravan?" "Bulgaria is a ****hole" being just sample of the milder terms of endearment.

English people sitting in predominantly Bulgarian sections received a generally warm welcome. Would the opposite have been the case? Like I say, Bulgaria sure does get a bum rap. Congratulations to the UK press for doing a wonderful PR campaign on behalf of your distinguished clients. But some of us saw a rather different story.

  • Profile preview
    Robert Rating: 8
    neutral
    #13 14, 57, Mon, Nov 14 2011

    Irony of this blog post, is that 90% of the trouble caused with the London riots, is because of people that migrated to Great Britian, not the true-blood British. Not to be racist, but Black people do not originate from the UK, and the number of eastern europeans that come over and cause trouble, gang culture and stealing is shocking. A large percentage of the British would like nothing more than to get out of europe, they are tired of seeing all these little countries join europe then have free reign to migrate to other peoples countries with no questions [...]

    Read the full comment asked. So many of these people lack common sense, education, or both.

    As much as you try to blame the British for anything, I suggest you look closer to home and wonder why the Bulgarian population has shrunk over the years, and crime in Britian has gotten more petty and raised in numbers.

    Evaluation
    -1
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    nos_vadum_victum Rating: 8
    neutral
    #12 23, 31, Thu, Sep 08 2011

    Dear ''fiko'' (with that name and your response you seem to have managed to drop your H's like a true cockney!): The politics of identity is a form of insidious reductivism that accentuates 'otherness' & sews the seed for conflict, we are humans first! I do not defend loutish behavior I only ask for objective and fair debate that has a sense of proportion and balance. As a rugger player soccer (Wendy ball!) leaves me for dead: “football is a gentleman’s game played by hooligans, and rugby is a hooligans’ game played by gentlemen”. I was mightily relieved that there [...]

    Read the full comment was no reported hooliganism that I am aware of by the English fans, in fact the only violence in the news was by a gang of youths in Sofia on one of the visiting fans, whilst the racism was reserved for black players representing the away team by a section of the home team supporters. ''Nos Vadum Victum''...we shall overcome bigotry my friend!

    Evaluation
        +1
  • Profile preview
    pirzada Rating: 5
    neutral
    #11 12, 29, Tue, Sep 06 2011

    Leaving aside past and present political issues; the fact remains that football fans (read 'hooligans') have been a source of trouble and embarassment to the British government and the British people for years. There is no denying these facts. All over the world, their behavior before and after matches is despicable whether they win or otherwise. As far as the British tabloids and press are concerned, it is a aprt of their culture to go up in arms if Britain is on the receiving end, however, if the situation is vice versa, they will all join hands in playing it [...]

    Read the full comment down as a minor incident.

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    stumpy Rating: 5
    neutral
    #10 11, 18, Tue, Sep 06 2011

    some times i think if hitler had won the war ,we would not have to put up with these S*^% head brits who think they own the world.

  • Profile preview
    filko Rating: 8
    neutral
    #9 08, 24, Tue, Sep 06 2011

    Oh and spot on, straight in the back of the overpayed English football fraternity net Gabriel, to use a quote it seems the English "dont like it up em!"

  • Profile preview
    filko Rating: 8
    neutral
    #8 08, 19, Tue, Sep 06 2011

    "They stopped in their tracks and proceeded to gawp at the couple for 10 minutes, pointing at them and making obscene comments. "Look, it's a mother and daughter and the mother's ....... hotter than the daughter!" (Probably the idiots assume that no Bulgarian would understand English). The tattooed louts came up to have a closer inspection, virtually peering down at the mother's cleavage. The mother and daughter looked away and pretend they weren't there."
    Mmmmmm now check out this and google "Tim nos vadum victum" surprise surprise! I wonder who wrote this moranic comment. I see no stereo [...]

    Read the full comment typing and dare say that the morons giving it such brave manly English mannerisms to this Mother and Daughter were adorned with such manly tats!!

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    raj Rating: 5
    neutral
    #7 02, 36, Tue, Sep 06 2011

    Raj
    Racists and criminals are racists and criminals, whereever they come from. Lets not let our national pride be a protective shield for those who do not deserve it. Rioters in England were bad, so were those chanting racism (English or Bulgarian). One does not justify the other. Decent people should condemn both, I do.

    Evaluation
        +1
  • Profile preview
    gojoe Rating: 8
    neutral
    #6 20, 00, Mon, Sep 05 2011

    No surprise really, even the UK Prime Ministers have previously critiqued the behavior of the English when out of the country. The article is spot on!

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    nicads Rating: 8
    neutral
    #5 19, 24, Mon, Sep 05 2011

    The phrase that springs to mind is "sour grapes"
    Still never mind,better luck next time!

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    Alaister Stuart Rating: 8
    neutral
    #4 19, 22, Mon, Sep 05 2011

    I see you fail to mention the prostitution rings that fill london with stench ran by Bulgarian mafia, or the gypsies that make millions from pickpocketing everyday folk on London's underground.
    99% of England fans that travel abroad to watch World Cup or European Championship qualifiers are get tickets through being art of team England membership, which is very strict and has a zero tolerance of one strike and your out in toleration of trouble abroad. I think your story is nothing short of propaganda, bullshit of the highest order, because of the embarrassment of watching the avg [...]

    Read the full comment Bulgarian (eastern european) football fan showing his racist antics on national tv..

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    Martine Brennan Rating: 8
    neutral
    #3 18, 46, Mon, Sep 05 2011

    Many of the UK rioters were not
    English, which I am surprised the
    Bulgarian press has not picked up
    upon - you only had to look at the
    TV. Yet apparently the Bulgarians
    were not slow to notice that some
    of the English team were not strictly speaking English either.
    As jp says the game of football
    attracts then worse minority that
    England has to offer.

  • Profile preview
    nos_vadum_victum Rating: 8
    neutral
    #2 17, 50, Mon, Sep 05 2011

    jp_uk I totally agree with you! I am a rugger fan and ex-player and loathe fottball however I was pleasantly surprised that the only violence reported was when 10 youths attacked an England fan on Vitosha Blvd. Naturaly it was reported that the police rounded up the culprits with near Teutonic efficiency! The hack in question would appear to be an ingrate with symptoms of BP (Balkan Pride) and LWS (Last Word Syndrome) which are so characteristic of the mainstream. He seems to ream over here in Sofia. He seems to be unaware that whilst he scrabbles around in the [...]

    Read the full comment dirt kicking up dust in his desperate attempt to find something to say he is writing in the language of Chaucer & Shakespere in an English speaking newspaper. I guess when TSE was taken over by the new media group to which it belongs the editorial line was loosened and pandering hypocrites were allowed under the radar? Or otherwise his talent for writing has reduced him to the very steeotyping he is so keen to distance himself from. Tying it into the London riots is the cherry on his merde cake!

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    jp_uk Rating: 5
    neutral
    #1 16, 41, Mon, Sep 05 2011

    OK I agree a minority of fans weren't best behaved but what has this got to do with the London riots, which again was a mindless minority??

    And please, commenting on draping flags is really scraping the barrel, not to mention stereotyping fans as 'tattoed louts'....

    It was a football game and this unfortunately often attracts the worst minority that England has to offer, in Sofia, the Algarve or a midweek game in rainy Rotherham. Let's not turn it into a history lesson and leave it at what it is...

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