Tag: Yugoslavia

European Championship Stories: 1992 – A New Europe, But Old Enmities

This, perhaps, was not the new Europe that the leaders of the continents nations had envisaged when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down in November 1989. The years between the European Championships of 1988 and 1992 were the most politically tumultuous since the end of the Second World War. At varying points over the course of those four intervening years, the geopolitics of the entire continent had been upturned. Entire countries vanished from the map. whilst others sprung up in their place. The political ideology and practices of the particular form of bureaucratic socialism as practiced to the east of the Iron Curtain was swept from power. And, by and large, this was achieved peacefully. If the west breathed a sigh of relief that the discredited dictatorships of Eastern Europe opted not to try and cling to power through shows of force that may have reignited the possibility of global conflict, though, that’s not to say that there were no political vacuums left by the toppling of so many governments. If the revolution was velvet in Czechoslovakia, it was blood-splattered in Romania, where thousands died as the Ceaucescus attempted to flee and failed, but even this paled in comparison with events as Yugoslavia disintegrated and collapsed into nationalist and ethnic hatred. Civil War in Yugoslavia had been a long time coming. This was a country of disparate cultures, religions...

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My Favourite Former Country: Yugoslavia

In the second of his pieces for us, William Abbs ponders whether having a second team at international level is a worthwhile endeavour. When Fulham’s improbable run to the Europa League final had writers in The Times and The Guardian trumpeting Roy Hodgson’s charges as everybody’s second favourite team, I asked myself the following question: how does having a second favourite team work at international level? In the case of Fulham, they earned the backing of British neutrals by virtue of being a Premier League club in a European final. The British love an unlikely hero; when Fulham defeated the best that Europe could throw at them (within the parameters of the continent’s second-ranked club competition anyhow), the London club’s place in the public’s affections was assured. With a few notable exceptions, any side in the country would have received such goodwill under the circumstances. For fans of clubs with nothing left to play for at the end of the season, supporting a British side in a major final is a harmless way to hitch a lift aboard another’s glory. But what about supporting another country? Developing an affection for a national side other than one’s own is, if anything, a more enduring affair. During a major tournament, with so many games being televised in such a short space of time, watching a group of players perform magnificently over...

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