Bootnotes

Q: Is it wrong to dress as a crusader for an England match?

BBC proves Betteridge's law, riles Daily Mail

By Lester Haines

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The BBC has simultaneously proved Betteridge's law of headlines and got the Daily Mail into a right tizz with an interactive piece entitled "Is it wrong to dress as a crusader for an England match?"

The question arises ahead of the forthcoming Euro 2016 tournament as the result of some England footie fans' penchant for donning St George's cross tabards and chain mail, and marching forth to sporting war.

History records that these bravehearts are destined for ignominious defeat, returning to Albion bearing their shattered dreams of footballing glory dead on their shields.

However, the BBC wonders if the choice of costume might be a tad off, given that crusaders "were the perpetrators of violent attacks across Europe and the Middle East on Muslims, Jews and pagans".

The short answer is no, according to Mark Perryman, of supporters group LondonEnglandFans, who told the Times: "There are all kinds of issues around racism and Islamophobia but I don't think this is one of them. I have never known any country to take offence to it and I'm sure they won't now."

Fancy dress aside, the BBC notes that the English flag "used to have connotations with far-right nationalism, but this association waned due to the increasing prominence of the flag at sporting events in the 1990s". It assures: "Today the flag is flown by local authorities and individuals in a purely patriotic sense."

England begin their Euro 2016 campaign on Saturday with a Group B match against Russia. The Band of Brothers then faces the might of Wales and Slovakia before either proceeding triumphantly to the knockout stages or crawling back to Blighty in disgrace. ®

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