- The Washington Times - Monday, June 26, 2006

I wondered why the three beauties decked out in the red and white of England’s colors and wearing identical white, red-striped wigs were having their picture taken with the man four seats up from me on the train.

Then I recognized him as former England national team coach Graham Taylor, who I interviewed in a Fairfax hotel in 1993. Taylor told me England would do well at the World Cup in the U.S. the following year. Well, Taylor did a wretched job, and England never made it to America. Poor Taylor was depicted in one mass-selling tabloid as a Turnip head.

• Sadly, some English fans have caused trouble in Stuttgart, spoiling it for everyone else with their loutish behavior. Thuggery has always been a sad side of British culture, ever since the Romans butchered Queen Boadicea. I remember having my hair cut in Houston in 1980 when an item on British soccer hooligans was on the TV. “Why don’t they just shoot them all?” asked my barber, expecting a confirming answer. I reminded him that while hooliganism was awful, the inner-cities of England didn’t have 200 plus gun-related murders a year.

Actually, the profile of the British fan has changed over the years. The traveling fan base used to be made up of working-class lads. Now, it’s more middle class because the tickets are so costly and there are more women following the team.

— John Haydon


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