Playing a quick game of word association with European soccer fans conjures words like hooligans, violence and racism.
When my family lived in the UK, my youngest son and I took in a match between West Ham and Liverpool at storied Anfield.
The section for the West Ham supporters was literally wired off with police on both sides to prevent mayhem. I had no clue that supporters of the visiting team needed protection (literally).
Needless to say, European soccer has a long history of out-of-control fans.
That’s what makes the happenings around the Irish fans at the Euro Cup so utterly astonishing.
They’re doing the opposite as they attend matches — enjoy a drink (or two) and pass the time.
Not taking themselves seriously.
I’ve captured a cross section of the Irish fans at their best in the following videos, each with a touch of levity.
Song for a Nun
If you’re going to sing to a nun, you need the appropriate tune. The Irish contingent does a beautiful job of rocking “Our Father.”
What Do You Get When You Mix the Swiss and the Irish?
Of course, they joined forces to belt out Dancing Queen by Abba.
Lullaby for a Baby
That’s right. This Bordeaux train finds our Irish friends singing lullabies to a French baby, first “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” followed by a rendition of “Hush Little Baby.” They even go a step further hushing their fellow travelers to be quiet, “We’ve got a baby on board.”
Riffing on a Cliché with the Swedish
After tying Sweden in the group play opener, the Irish improvise and invent the song, “Go Home to Your Sexy Wives.”
Apparently Frankie Valli Sells Well In Ireland
I think this the most popular bit with well over 2 million views. The Irish surround a French girl and proceed to serenade her with “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.”
Cheers to the Irish, who will be going home to their own ____________ wives (leave it with you to fill in the adjective) after losing to France on Sunday.