Sport Wednesday, July 11th

The 8 Types Of People You'll Meet Watching England In Hereford

Sport Wednesday, July 11th

The 8 Types Of People You'll Meet Watching England In Hereford

The Jules Rimet may still be gleaming, but it’s got nothing on the surnburnt head of the fifty-something bloke in front of you, whose been holding down his front-row seat in the beer garden since lunchtime.

Watching England at this World Cup – a bit like the Olympics in 2012, and Love Island last night – has been one of those rare, collective experiences where heart-rates rise and fall as one, where for 120+ minutes you can almost feel like we’re all part of something bigger. That’s why it matters.

Watching England in public during this World Cup takes that and turns it up to 11.

Mexico might have recorded seismic activity when they scored in the groups, but we’re setting records for taking full pints of lager to face every single time ‘Arry buries one top-left.

And like everywhere, Herefordshire has its own distinct traits when in comes to football fandom. Here’s your guide to everyone you will meet down the pub tonight.

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The Sunday League-rs

These are the lifeblood, and volume, of the crowd. 'Used to play for Peggy', they'll be aged between 22 and 45, their faded England shirts working overtime due to a losing battle between metabolism and weekly post-game lagers. These boys booked off the afternoon to get down early, and probably should’ve booked off the next two days as well. They’ve spent the run-up to game; drinking, arguing about Sterling and reliving that time ‘they followed the England’ at the Euros.

This game means more to them than all but one other group in this article. You will end up jump-hugging/flossing with one of them in a shower of Carling, sweat and tears.

How to spot them: They’ll be down the front, in a group of 5 – 12, those red shirts from ’06 and England bucket hats.

Catchprases: “Worldie”, “Top bins”, “Peno, ref. Penooooo.” (prev. “Roooooney”)

The #itscominghome Insta Girl/Guy

A new addition, you can spot this group fairly easily. Having glammed-up after their shift at H&M, they’ll spend most of their time taking group shots of their friends, walking laps of the crowd hoping someone notices their 90s trainers they bought for £200 on Depop, while their attention for the actual game will last the exact time it takes to join in one chorus of It’s Coming Home. Aged 17-24 and love football as much as they say they love house music.

Bandwagons aren’t new. And given these tournaments happen every two years, we’re all bandwagon-jumping to some extent. This is a broad church. No-one owns England fandom. Post all the #ladsladslads #itscomingback lol Insta stories you want.  

However, if you walk across the screen at a crucial moment because you were busy checking your mentions, or block Big Dave’s view because you were taking a selfie during a penalty shootout, or spend any more than sixty seconds at an already-crowded bar trying to pick out what berry-infused cider you want, do not expect it to go down well.

How to spot them: Just open your Instagram account at any time during the game. They'll be live streaming from their seat.

Catchphrase: “So what happens if this doesn’t finish before Love Island?”



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College Kids

Hereford Sixth Form lets out early on Wednesdays, and the A-Level students have already finished up for the summer. This means that for three hours leading up to the game sixth-formers will have been getting wavy with a crate of Storngbow down the park, before trying to get in to whatever pub they can, in the knowledge that bouncers might be a little more lax in their door policy because It’s Coming Home.

If they’re successful, they’ll be huddled in a corner, smoking rollies and afraid to talk to any grown-ups in case they get rumbled, unaware that absolutely nobody cares.

How to spot them: They’ll be the only group chipping in to buy three pints between four of them.

Catchphrase: “Stirling’s amazing on FIFA.”


United Fans

Hereford, like a lot of places south of the M56, has a ridiculous number of United fans. Oh, and they’ve got opinions for you.

This World Cup has quieted a good deal of the usual club vs country rubbish, but if you’re sat near a United fan during the game, you can play United Fan Bingo.

Just tick off the first time you hear the following – Rashford Should’ve Started, We Should Sign Modric, Ashley Young’s Had A Great Season, What Is Henderson Doing, Get Sterling Off, Smalling Plays The Ball Better Than Stones and finally, Rashford Should’ve Started. My bet is you won’t make it past 20 minutes.

How to spot them: An old Rooney shirt, and the palpable sense of denial that Mourinho is killing Pogba’s career.

Catchprase: “Horrenderson – get him off.”

The Rugby Bois Back From Uni

Easy to spot – they’ll be the only ones in the pub referring to the game as ‘footy’ – these young bucks have recently returned from the red-trousered incubation chamber that is their Varsity Rugby Club, and are ready to drink some bloody beers and chew your ear off about diving.

They’ll talk constantly throughout the game, sing Three Lions as loud as anyone and mention Neymar about six times, because they saw a video on LadBible. The first time someone goes over easy they’ll throw around words like ‘embarrassing’ and ‘absolute joke’, although these future-Piers Morgans will pipe down pretty sharpish the second they get a look from one of the beer-ed up Sunday Leaguers.

How to spot them: Chino shorts, boat shoes, fresh-out-the-pack Official England T-Shirt

Catchphrase: “So, like, why isn’t JT playing?”, “Bevs, anyone?”, “That Harry Kane’s a bloody legend, isn’t he?”


The Welsh

Being a border county, every group has That One Mate who says he Welsh, supports Wales at rugby, but follows the England football team. Or he did. Until Gareth Bale took their lot to the semis in the Euros two years ago.

This has put the Plastic Daffyds in an awkward position. They doubtless burnt every bridge with their England-supporting mates about 30-seconds after the Iceland game, and now with Wales threatening to slip back once again to footballing obscurity, their Golden Generation aging or over, their manager recently relegated from the Championship, they have a decision to make. They either double-down on the rivalry like the Scots and turn up in a Croatia shirt, or they try and sidle back on to the bandwagon of a team they’ve actually supported for most of their life.

The latter will lead to derision during the game, but should England upset the odds, they will be welcomed once more back in on the beer-soaked celebrations at the final whistle.

How to spot them: Either cheering every Modric pass, or the plain shirt-wearing, muted butt of their friends’ jokes.

Catchphrase: “Typical English. I don’t know what all the fuss is about. We were in the semis, and no one closed early.”


The Football Hipsters

While far less common in Hereford than other, larger metropolitan areas, there will always be one bloke in a 1860 Munich shirt talking about “passing triangles” the whole game. In his head, he’d get on really well with Gareth Southgate.

He appears to be at the pub on his own, and during the game he’ll correct total strangers for saying ‘dink’ instead of ‘panenka’ giving a brief history of both terms and missing England’s winner as a result.

How spot him: Wearing a retro Gasgoigne Italia '90 shirt, between sips of IPA, he’ll be explaining the significance of the USSR’s football programme to Croatia’s development to the unfortunate girl sat next to him.

Catchphrase:Actually, advanced XG stats show Brozovic is more influential to this team the Modric.”



This is what it’s about, really. Sure, the hand of social media’s all over this unicorn-racing World Cup buzz, and there no-one under the age of 35 is taking one of those beer showers down at Croydon Boxpark, but nothing, nothing, is more impactful, and more relevant to this run, than watching a fifty-something man bite his nails to a nib, eyes fixed on Eric Dier – Eric Dier – walking up to the penalty spot.

Dad’s don’t get a lot thanks. They get crap presents on Father’s Day and phonecalls when your car breaks down. And they secretly relish the joylessness of responsibility and endless ability of the world to not live up to their high standards. Then, every four years, the World Cup turns them back in to twelve-year-olds, for fleeting seconds.

They wouldn’t admit it until we won the thing, and maybe not even then – but for a whole generation of Dads, watching England do what they’ve never seen them do it would make them genuinely, truly happy.

If somehow we get this thing done, men that didn’t cry when their kids were born, will allow one solitary tear fall silently down their cheek as Gareth Southgate conducts the away fans at full time.

How to spot them: Sat quietly, at sensible distance from the screen, veins swelling more and more with every Ashley Young corner that doesn’t clear the first defender.

Catchphrase: “Why can’t the VARs see that?”

(*No, the Tournoi does not count)

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