7 images that show why the Irish are the most loveable football fans
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The 2016 UEFA European Championship has been marked by numerous cases of hooliganism, notably among Russian and English fans during matches played in the French towns of Marseille and Lille. As an antidote to this news about violent fans, many people have been sharing videos showing the quirky, fun antics of fans of the Republic of Ireland's national team.
The Irish national team drew their first match in Euro 2016, finishing 1-1 with Sweden a week ago. However, on social media, the supporters of the “Boys in Green” – the team’s nickname – have perhaps already won the trophy of the most loveable fans. Quite a few videos, which have been widely shared on social media, showcase their enthusiasm and also capture touching moments of solidarity. Here are a few videos that are guaranteed to make you smile.
When the Irish fans make fun of the Brits and the Swedes
Football fans are known to chant mean slogans at their rivals. However, a week ago, a few hours before the game between Ireland and Sweden, Irish fans found a perfect way to make fun of their rivals. Singing to the tune of “Go West” by the Pet Shop Boys, the Irish fans told the Swedish fans to “go home to their sexy wives”.
These Swedish fans seemed amused by the Irish fans’ chants. They even joined them in singing “Dancing Queen” by the Swedish group ABBA at the top of their lungs.
Video published on Twitter by PaddyMcKenna.
When the Irish fans met the British fans, they once again broke into song, this time imploring them: “Please don’t start a riot”.
The man on the balcony
Intrigued by the crowd in front of his building, a man living above this Irish pub in the Paris neighbourhood of Montmartre came out on his balcony several times to take a look. The crowd quickly decided he’d be the perfect mascot and started cheering at him each time he appeared and booing when he disappeared.
In case of car trouble, look for a fan in green
But the Irish national fans did more than just sing. A group of them also decided to help out some strangers in Paris. When a car got a flat tire in the middle of the street in front of Paris’ iconic Moulin Rouge, fans quickly came to help the driver change his tyre.
Then, there was that time that Irish football fans decided to help a cyclist get where he was going a little bit faster.
"When Irish fans stop partying, they clean up!”On Tuesday night, Irish fans were spotted cleaning up a Paris park where they had been drinking beers. Declan Pierce, the fan who filmed the video and posted it on Twitter, spoke with France 24. He praised his fellow fans:
They cleaned everything up, both the rubbish and the beer bottles! Some social media users claimed that they were just picking up the cups to get them refilled at the bar [This theory was especially popular on Reddit], but that isn’t true. It was just a sign of respect! "
According to French regional newspaper Sud-Ouest, residents also witnessed Irish fans engaging in this civic gestures in Bordeaux, the town that hosted the Republic of Ireland vs. Belgium game.
However, these good manners weren’t on display everywhere: many social media users shared photos of Paris’ boulevard de Clichy covered in beer cans after the Irish fans had passed through.
"Saving football’s image”
So did someone coordinate the release of all these positive videos about Irish fans? Or was it just spontaneous? Most of these videos were first posted in online forums for fans, including "You Boys in Green" or in WhatsApp groups, which explains why they spread across social media so quickly. Declan Pierce explains further:
There was no call for positive videos. This wasn’t a publicity campaign or anything. But I will say that we were shocked by how some of our British neighbours behaved. We wanted to do as much as possible to balance out these disappointing cases of violence. I think that lots of different Irish fans felt like they needed to make an extra effort to save the image of football.
Whatever the case, it isn’t the first time that feel-good films of Irish football fans have made the rounds on social media. Four years ago, during Euro 2012 in Poland, many people shared positive videos of Irish fans, including this one of football fans singing “We love you” to a Polish policewoman and her fellow officers.