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


Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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16 Responses

  1. Kev, Swansea says:

    Hearing some of the incredulous reactions to FIFA’s policy on this the last few days has been nauseating. The poppy is a political symbol, it’s about remembering the war dead, and in each war there are conflicting ideals. Witness the reaction to the actions of some Celtic supporters last year with their anti-war protest. I’m not going to comment on the rights and wrongs of that, but it does illustrate that it is a political issue. And yet, that’s not even the main issue – it’s about the right to choose, the right to free expression, that’s a key outcome of any war. And those rights include the right to protest against war, and to hold whatever political views you want. Pressurising people into a mandatory wearing of a poppy renders it meaningless as a symbol of remembrance. The whole poppy on the shirt debate has been nothing more than a diversion from other matters that the FA and from the Government should be addressing. And as for Alan Brazil… man alive.

  2. Bunk Moreland says:

    Excellent piece. Sums things up pretty well indeed.

  3. Richard says:

    Fantastic piece.

  4. Mike Bayly says:

    Excellent article. This would make Alan Brazil’s disgrace-ometer blow up.

  5. Not political says:

    @Kev, “The poppy is a political symbol” – absolute tosh.

    I wear one every year and it is simply not political in reasoning.
    Remembering people who have suffered is not a political gesture.

  6. Dave says:

    I really hope they do the same for red-nose day.

  7. George says:

    “Not political”. Do you remember those that suffered AT OUR HANDS? Those executed/bombed/mailed with OUR bombs?

    Or are there worthy deaths and unworthy deaths in your worldview?

    ALL victims should be remembered but the innocent ones who didn’t sign up to be trained killers, who had the misfortune to not be able to leave their OWN COUNTRY to avoid the death squads deserve it more than those doing the killing.

    But you won’t see THAT in the media.

  8. Riffler says:

    The poppy used to be about remembering the dead of two world wars. That’s non-political, and no one should have a problem with it.
    In recent years, however, the poppy appeal has become polluted and perverted to the extent it now has more in common with the US’s Veteran’s Day (celebration of victory, honouring those who serve, glorifying war) than remembrance of the dead. It has been politicized by politicians and the tabloid press, who wished to justify their wars by associating them with the poppy appeal. One of this year’s posters, featuring a gurning Andy Murray, reads “Remember those who don’t return.” If it were pure to the meaning of Remembrance Day, it would of course, read “Remember those who didn’t return.” The inclusion of recent and current wars is a perversion. Are we honouring the dead of Suez now?
    Now a prescedent has been established, I look forward to the Argentinians wearing armbands with a map of Las Malvinas on them.

  9. Excellent article. The annual media poppy storm seems to get louder every year, and I seriously wonder how many people really wear it as a symbol of remembrance (and indeed how many people only think about the war dead for just one day a year). I don’t wear a poppy, partly because I think it has been hijacked by various parties for cynical purposes, and partly because its meaning seems diminished when there is such a (perceived) culture of enforcement.

    I’ve got a photograph in my hallway of my granddad in his navy uniform during the Second World War, along with his campaign medals, so I’m gently reminded every day of what he and so many others went through. I think that means more than wearing a poppy for a few days each year.

  10. Zoe says:

    It _is_ a political gesture. You can choose to remember WITHOUT wearing a poppy. Being bullied into wearing one doesn’t do anyone any good. And it’s not just happening in sports. At my girls’ school they are being nigh on forced to wear poppies – every morning for the last week you haven’t been able to get into school without having a poppy tray and donation box waved in your face, and there’s nothing like peer pressure when you’re little.

  11. Pedro says:

    @Not political You’re right. One man, wearing a poppy in solemn remembrance of those who died in combat so that he may live in freedom is not political.

    But eleven people, instructed to wear one, on an international stage is. If it were not political there wouldn’t have been this brew-haha in the first place.

  12. Nomadic U says:

    Fantastic article, can’t disagree with any of that. And if the FA are so concerned with the poppy, why don’t they give some of the revenue from Saturday’s game to the RBL. Much more meaningful than a sticker on a shirt

  13. ChrisP says:

    Agree with most of the other commentators, an excellent article. I only wear a poppy on Armistice day itself, I totally disagree with the current fashion (and that’s exactly what it is) of wearing it in the weeks leading up to the 11th.

    I think this has all been an advance ploy to detract from the fact that England are going to get pasted by the Spanish. Searching for some kind of moral sense of superiority as England are clearly lacking in any sporting ability.

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