By Nathan Lee
The first football shirt I ever owned was a fake replica Scotland kit delivered in a plastic box from Leeds market.
I wore it with pride. The navy blue top was striking atop a pair of white shorts and matching football socks and it never struck me as an issue donning a national shirt of another home nation.
But as I’ve grown older I’ve become familiar with a general hatred of the English shared by other British nations. In the last Six Nations tournament I felt like a stranger in my own country supporting England against France in a London pub filled with French supporters with Welsh, Scottish and Irish accents.
And the hatred has been palpable in this year’s Euro 2016 tournament. For the first time ever England qualified alongside Wales and Northern Ireland with the Scots the only country narrowly missing out on a place in the finals.
But this has caused more division than unity. When England met their inevitable demise in the last 16 sales of Iceland shirts in Scotland boomed. Kit makers said they had received thousands of orders from Scotland no doubt looking to revel in England’s misery. As for our other Celtic counterparts the support has been, well, lacking:
So asked whether I will be supporting a home nation tonight when Wales take on Belgium in the Quarter Finals my answer is no. I’m English, and I’m not feeling the love from the other side.