Black British Or Black In Britain? It Depends If We’re Winning

I’ve never been much of a big football fan. I put this partly down to living in a household of women where football wasn’t something we gravitated to. Plus, I never felt I could be part of football culture, aware from a young age that the sport was associated with being white working class. The only time you’d find me watching was during AFCON (African Cup of Nations) or the World Cup.

That all changed this year as the England team blazed their way through the Euros. Though I didn’t start following things properly until the semi-finals, I found myself actively trying to keep up with how the team were doing. And when we eventually made it to the finals, I knew I had to see the match and support England. As my friends and I talked about where we’d watch it, we came to the collective decision that it wouldn’t be in a pub setting.

And not just because of Covid. For Ashleigh Ainsley, 28-year-old founder of Black TechFest, being a Black football fan is knowing that going to a game could result in racist altercations. “You might not want to go to certain away games because you know the fans are quite hostile and there aren’t a lot of people there who look like me,” says the longstanding Arsenal fan. This is partly why Ainsley also chose to watch the final with friends, rather than at the pub.

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