DEEP INSIDE // Me and The BNP
Photo Credit: schnews.org.uk
Last Saturday afternoon (September 1st) as I made the venerable journey from the sanitised transport hub of Turnpike Lane Bus Station to the polarised periphery of North London that is Enfield. I was sat on the upper deck trying to psyche my loaf up preoccupied with my pre-match playlist which included a diluted cacophony of sounds that failed to get me into a focused frame of mind for the game which was only two hours away.
Eardrums suitably uninspired, I logged onto the capricious vidiprinter for part-time philosophers and banal banter that is Twitter. A re-tweet about a protest at King’s Cross station and workers threatening to walk out momentarily caught my attention. Yet, when I saw further descriptions of a similar demo at Blackhorse Road station near my childhood home in Walthamstow, it soon transpired that this story resonated with me in the form of enlarged pupils and raised eyebrows. The English Defence League had come to town to breach the peace and unload their uninvited codswallop outside the station.
In the meantime, I reached my destination and walked into the corner of the changing room (early for once) waiting for my teammates to arrive. As dressing rooms go you’d have thought we were primed to step out into Damascus rather than Donkey Lane, given the silence which coated the atmosphere like lumpy school dinner custard over apple crumble. A large, yet raspy fella (think Frank Butcher minus the dodgy aviators and Lizzy Duke sovereign) came into the space – full of shits and giggles – but fired up too. As he finished putting on the last of his kit, he then revealed that our opposition were a decent outfit who wore pink. In my head, I thought the fashion police would love em….but he said the team were sponsored by the BNP.
There was nervousness in the air overtly on show by the pink faces and cautious canned chuckles to pass off the news which we had just heard. Despite my deceptive serious expression, I joked with my teammates how I should be the Road Runner to the mass of Wile E. Coyotes who’ll be gunning (yes pun) for me on the pitch that tried to ease what we were about to tackle.
For me, the game ended prematurely shortly after I scored due to injury. Yet, during and after the match the opposition were concerned by what happened to me. Not a charm offensive in the slightest but maybe we had pre-judged a bunch of young people who came from a suburban town that had high anti-social crime rates and simply wanted to keep them out of trouble through the medium of sport.
Unfortunately those players will no doubt vote for the BNP in years to come mindful of the cash injection they received which has allowed them to come together in training mid-week and play on a Saturday to build a team rather than a crew of AWOL individuals. The London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics maybe finally over but I’ve got no doubt that on ‘Super Saturday’ when Mo Farah was running down the home straight in the Olympic Stadium the majority of those xenophobes I mentioned at the beginning were roaring him on to Gold in their living rooms.
Hopefully in years to come those clips will inspire young and old people in any creative capacity to realise their dreams and extinguish a minority who blame their hangover on alcohol from abroad.