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09th Jul 2021

“If they win the whole thing, I think I will have to move home” – What it’s like being Irish and living in England right now

Lee Costello

“It’s as though when you arrive at Heathrow, you must sign a contract to support England in all of their endeavours.”

An Irishman and an Italian man walk into an English bar… sounds like the start of a good joke, but for half-Irish and half-Italian comedian, Vittorio Angelone, who currently lives in England, it’s pretty much his weekends.

Ireland is a nation that supports not only their own country, but also any other team that plays England, so coupled with the fact that Italy are the last roadblock to prevent “football coming home,” Angelone is the antithesis of the current Three Lions fan.

Growing up in Belfast, but moving to England in 2015 to enhance his stand-up comic career, the multi-cultural wisecracker was open minded about supporting England to begin with.

“In the 2016 Euros, I was living in England and with my English friends, I thought ‘okay, I’m going to support England, I’m going to give it a go.’

“I’m going to try and get rid of all of my anger, and just crack on and just accept that the past is the past, so I will get on board.

“I was in Leeds at the time and went to the O2 Academy, where there were a thousand England fans and maybe 10 or 12 Belgians.

 (Photo by Paul Ellis – Pool/Getty Images)

“It gets to the end of the game and I was wearing a white t-shirt, being vaguely interested in England doing well, but Belgium ended up winning the match and the whole atmosphere just switched.

“People started throwing pints of beer and pints of piss at the Belgians, so I kind of let it die down and went over to the Belgians, with a couple of English mates, to say ‘sorry that that happened, thanks for coming out and being so sound.’

“An English guy saw me talking to them and was like ‘What the f*** are you doing?’ and then he spat on me – I thought ‘that’s it, I am never supporting England again.’

“There’s just an attitude of England fans that doesn’t exist anywhere else. I was speaking to a guy who owns a club in Liverpool Street who told me that whether England wins or loses, he has to buy new furniture.

“Before the tournament starts, some people are blindly optimistic, and they heap on the pressure and talk about their amazing players and how Jack Grealish is the greatest player ever, even though he plays for Aston Villa.

“Then you’ve got the real pessimistic fans at the start who are like ‘This has never gone well, it’s never going to go well, I expect nothing from anyone.’

“Then as soon as they win one game, all the pessimists disappear and ‘it’s coming home’ and all of that. After they drew to Scotland, I had England fans saying that, ‘Yeah a draw is good for us’ and you’re like, ‘you should beat Scotland, surely?’

“It is weird, England fans don’t understand why no one likes them. I think they think it’s the empire stuff, but I don’t think that’s what it is.

“I’m not going to a pub for the final. I’ve been to pubs for other games and I don’t find them nice places to be. I remember talking to a bouncer in a beer garden and he said that if England fans lose, they start fighting each other, and if they win then they just break stuff.

“I watched the Ukraine game with my uncle and cousin and it was a good thing they didn’t score, because we did discuss what we would do, like would we be okay to celebrate? And the resounding answer was no.

“There’s that England thing of ‘How dare you support anyone that isn’t England because you’re in England’, it’s like that James McClean thing of ‘Well you’re happy to live here, aren’t you?’

“It’s as though when you arrive at Heathrow, you must sign a contract to support England in all of their endeavours. I’m not going to a pub, especially because I’m supporting Italy.

“If they win the whole thing, I think I will have to move home. I just don’t know how I would be able to do it, it’s unimaginable arrogance.

“It will be 2022 before you could go on a night out again without it coming up.”

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