(War Minus The) Shooting From The Hip: On Football, Poppies & Remembrance

And so it ends. Ninety-three years of England’s ignominious and unpatriotic failure to wear poppies on their shirts comes to a deserved end, and a nation can rest easy, safe in the knowledge that now football has fallen into line, people will actually start wearing poppies for the first time ever. Or something like that. Football is not ignorant of military matters. Help for Heroes were the official charity supported by the Football League in 2009, whilst FA Cup final pre-match shows are really adverts for the practiced drilling of the armed forces, whilst uniformed comrades take care of the silverware, bringing it to view before the match to mass acclaim, and bringing it to the balcony before it is presented to the winning team. All this, and three seats for the Armed Forces within the FA Council. Yet despite this, and despite knowing for months that England would be playing Spain the day after Armistice Day, it seems to have only occurred to them last Saturday that it was a matter of supreme importance to a nation’s remembrance and sense of itself that the England teams have a poppy embroidered onto the shirt. That this was after a lot of people – journalists included – had seen all Premier League club do this in their last round of games before November 11th, is doubtless a crazy coincidence. FIFA,...

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