The link between the Zenit manifesto, and the notion of the “English spine”

By Tony Attwood

When the largest fan club of  Zenit St Petersburg (champions of Russia) demanded the club not buy black or gay players there was a shudder throughout a lot of football.  What wasn’t mentioned (as far as I could see) however was that Arsenal got a mention in the manifesto.

And when I saw that, my mind started to ponder exactly where we had got to.

The Zenit fans attempted to justify their stance by saying that, “We’re not racists but we see the absence of black players at Zenit as an important tradition.”   I think I’m not the only one who shudders deeply when someone starts a sentence, “I am not racist but…”    I also shuddered at this one: “It would allow Zenit to maintain the national identity of the club, which is the symbol of St Petersburg.”

Zenit have never signed an African player and fan group said: “We only want players from other brotherly Slav nations, such as Ukraine and Belarus as well as from the Baltic states and Scandinavia. We have the same mentality and historical and cultural background as these nations.”

I wouldn’t have written about this, had it not been for the fact that one non-Arsenal supporter pointed out that there was no difference between that statement above and Mr Wenger talking about the value of signing British players, and recent positive press comments about the value of a “British spine” to the team – in contrast with their rants some years back when we had no English players in the side.

But it is when race, nationality, tradition and cultural background all come together that we get into choppy waters.

Consider Arsenal’s tradition.  From its very earliest of days Arsenal always had several non-English players in the team, and has maintained that tradition.   No one seemed to mind that several non-Englishmen played for Arsenal in their opening league games in 1893.

Thus it was that without any real logic, or attempt to make a direct connection, my mind wandered to other clubs that have been known to select players for non-footballing reasons. If I remember correctly Athletic Bilbao only sign players Basque players or players with an ancestry that comes from the Greater Basque region.   And I believe that for many years Rangers would only sign Protestants and Celtic only Catholics, although that ended some years back.

I am uncomfortable with all these discriminations whether they be legal or not.  Arsenal could say, “we will only sign English players” or “we only sign players who are historically associated with London”.  There would be nothing illegal about that since England and London are not racist terms.  The club could even say it would not sign Scottish players, because again Scotland is not a race.  But fortunately for all of us, these issues don’t arise.

What makes the Zenit statement particularly interesting however is that it links the demand for local players with a demand for a return of the people’s game to the people, and away from the corporations that now run football clubs.  That is interesting because it comes at a time when Zenit, through the “project” that injected so much money into the club, are champions.
In other words the implementation of the Zenit fans’ proposal about taking the club away from the billionaires, would undoubtedly reduce the chances of Zenit winning the league again.  But their desire for a “traditional” Zenit overrides their desire to be champions.

So what we see is a demand for the club to use “its own graduates, Russian players and foreign players with a similar mentality,” which is although not a racist statement in itself, a very dangerous one given that “mentality” is not defined, but turns up in a document which also says that they don’t want players who represent “sexual minorities”.

As I said at the start, Arsenal got a mention within this manifesto.  “Now we fear that the club is turning from this road and following the paths of Manchester City, Arsenal, Anzhi and others who buy packs of players from around the world who do not represent the city or region they represent. For us it’s important that Zenit preserves its identity. …We want to prevent the transformation of Zenit from unique auteur cinema into a Hollywood blockbuster.”

The original Arsenal teams were made up of men associated either with the locality, and the ordnance factories – but those men were not all men of Kent, nor even men from Kent and/or London.  The team regularly played with between three and five Scots in the lineup, and the man who did more than anything else to stabilise the club, and who was the first chairman of Woolwich Arsenal as a league team was born and bred in Co Durham.

So why then did people so criticise Arsenal for putting out teams with no, or few, Englishmen in the team when the club had been represented by non-Englishmen from the start?   Why is an English spine to a team better?  Is it about Englishmen being inherently better?  (If you are of a certain age you might recall hearing about the fact that the English national team should always play with a big strong centre forward because foreign goalkeepers couldn’t cope with them).  And why is it acceptable to talk about the positive nature of an English spine to a team, while the Zenit manifesto worries most of us.

I suspect that the fact that for a while we had no British players regularly in the first team and now we have several is just coincidence.   There is no Arsenal policy of discriminating in favour of English or English and Welsh players.   But if the newspapers and TV pundits that endlessly ranted against Arsenal during the period of our having no Englishmen in the regular first team were to be believed, Arsenal should have had a nationalist (if not a racist) policy.   Though quite why we should have done was never explained (unless somehow it would have helped England not miss so many penalties).

When we get into a tangle like this, things become difficult.  Compare the criticism of Arsenal for having no Englishmen in its first team on occasions, with this comment from the Zenit fans:

“We, as the most northern club of major European cities, never mentally were associated with Africa or to South America or Australia and Oceania.  We have absolutely nothing against the people of these and any other continents, but we want primarily at Zenit to have players who are close to us in spirit and mentality.”

The issue is one of the local identity of the club.  I support Arsenal because I was brought up near to the ground, and my father and both my grandfathers supported Arsenal.  That was the source of the local identity, not the players.   My early memories of Arsenal involve seeing Northern Ireland full backs, and a Welsh goal keeper.  Later a Scottish centre forward.  Of course I knew where these players came from, but it didn’t worry me.  Arsenal was my local club and I couldn’t care less where the players were from.

Now that local identity has gone.  I retain my season ticket while living in the East Midlands.  The trains from this region are packed with Arsenal fans on match days.  Does it matter that Arsenal was never fully identified with England, and is now not even identified with London?  Does it matter that we have fans all over the world?

For me, the answer is no.  I still call myself a Londoner, because of my origins in the city, and the fact that I worked in London for many years.  But I don’t worry about the origins of players nor other supporters.  That’s why the Zenit manifesto is so troubling but also so illuminating.

For me, it doesn’t matter where the players come from nor where the manager comes from, nor where the supporters come from.  I like the fact that we have become an international club and for me all the talk about the Arsenal’s new “British spine” is irrelevant.  I really don’t care where a player was born or brought up.  If he’s Arsenal, then I support him.


The books…

The sites…

43 Replies to “The link between the Zenit manifesto, and the notion of the “English spine””

  1. pffft LOCAL players and home-made players make for a tighter unit. This way avoids being out-bid for new players by stupid amounts of money. It is the only way forward for football. It has nothing to do with race.

  2. The Zenit proposal is unacceptable because it explicitly rules out any possibility of any non-Slavic person playing for them. What most of the English club supporters want is more English players, which is only natural. They want to see English players in the limelight, ready to play well for the national team. English pride. That is inescapable. But nowhere is there the same rabid call for the axe of all foreign players, nor are there demands that non-Englishmen be booted out.

  3. This has to take the prize of the most stupid, over-heated posting of 2012. Anyone who thinks that a club (Arsenal) that has often had a majority of black players on the pitch has anything in common with Zenit by wanting a core of UK born players (colour not being a factor) is in need of counselling care.

  4. “If he’s Arsenal, then I support him.”

    I don’t understand this point of view. I agree, in part, with the Zenit manifesto where it refers to an immediate local identity. But not exclusively I might add. Internationalism without localism is emptiness. If it is abhorrent to want/expect a certain identity to a club which is rooted in a given community and wanting “likeness” is unacceptable then why is the tribalism of club football acceptable? Thoughtless, uncritical adherence? Tribalism affiliated to what? Nike, Adidas, Coke, a faceless hedge-fund? Any chump in a red jersey? If Arsenal aren’t a social & community institution, searching for local talent from the family of it’s supporters, it’s nothing other than a neo-capitalistic parasite. A corporate entertainment enterprise performing a strategy of diversion to clean you of your wallets contents. If you want a wholly French speaking team then move to France or a former French colony in Africa. I want an Arsenal filled with Academy players and what that doesn’t provide, by all means, buy in. But don’t buy to the exclusion of everything else like MUFC. Buy the league, success? No! Win it through the talent of your the Academy.

    Remember you have no identity. Englishness is shit. Globalisation won. Fall asleep at the emirates as the Israeli Defence Force CCTV drones surveil you from the sky. American Express command you to enjoy the match.

  5. Sorry – meant to write Man City not MU. In fact there are quite a few mistakes. Under pressure to leave the bloody comp and start getting Christmassy!

  6. @Mr Attwood can you put up a link to this manifesto please. Or if i find it on-line do you mind if I do.

  7. Good question Mandy. never thought about it like that. Football is a sport of location but has been a globally played sport for along time, We in England should consider ourselves lucky that we have indulged in multiculturalism for a while now. Other areas of Europe and the world are still fairly segregated and wish to remain that way.
    Maybe it highlights disgruntled groups within Russia so they tend to lean to the right. Very similar in some other ex-USSR states.

    The first time I travelled to Slovakia I came across a group of people, who to me, looked like Inuit’s (it was winter -20 odd, fur lined clothes all around), I was informed that under communism they had an exchange programme with other communist states, and these people were actually Vietnamese who had settled in eastern Slovakia and integrated in to society, spoke an eastern Slavic dialect, sent their kids to the same schools indulged in Slovakian traditions, whilst bringing their own culture to the area.

    The point I try to make is that things are changing and people generally want to except others, even those that are different from yourself. Time, tolerance and more exposure is needed.

  8. Any Briton aware of and proud of the extensive colonial history of the country will know that a British club will have a hard time justifying the exclusion of any good player from any part of the world from the club. This, as well as the vastly more multi-cultural blend of a typical British city (especially London) are the major differences between the outlook of the ZSP fans, however well-intentioned, and the fans of most British clubs.

    ZSP fans are free to embrace their narrow focus. At the same time, no matter how well ZSP ever gets to perform, I hope ZSP owners, if they embrace the parochial focus of their fans can say goodbye to the possibility that it will ever be a global brand.

    Football may still be played in a locale but football viewership went global a long time ago. And this is why the EPL is the most lucrative and the most sought after by the best players in the world.
    No need looking backwards.

  9. Shakabula Gooner’s got a point. I grew up in a GLC area and a lot of the mates that I grew up with were Indian-British and Vietnamese (1st gen boat people) so it was normal for me to know all people as equals from day one. Whereas the old Iron Curtain countries experienced little or no economic migrants or refugees, and there attitudes are accordingly 50 years or so behind.

    I spend around half the year in Eastern Europe and don’t see a non white face month in month out, and I’m not sure the answer is always just to fine or ban them (a joke that the fines are) – it’s all about education and understanding.

    Go back to the 60s and it was OK to display signs with “No Blacks, No Irish”, racism was still rampant in the 70’s and 80’s, and we still get anti semetic and sectarianist abuse.

    Remember up until 1989 these were effectively closed countries, and whilst we were giving Thatcher a hard time about South Africa no-one behind the Iron Curtain had a clue who Nelson Mandela was.

    Not sure I know what the answer is, but players like Eto must be helping – as long as they’re banging them in and not salary surfing.

  10. @RobL “… no-one behind the Iron Curtain had a clue who Nelson Mandela was.”

    Are you sure about this? Because my personal experience was quite different. I even remember compulsory contributions into the fund supporting Mandela’s cause.

  11. Hi Andrei,

    Apologies, if that was the case in Russia – I had thought that communist links brought up in his trial were part of discrediting him.

    Modern history is a funny thing in that it constantly changes.

    I’ll rephrase then – the Poles, Germans, Czechs, Slovaks and Balkans I spend a lot of my time with have no idea who he is.

  12. @Adam You may have indulged in multiculturalism but even your leaders as well as leaders of other Western European countries have admitted that multiculturalism has essentially failed.

    E.g. “State multiculturalism has had disastrous results” this comes from David Cameron. “Is multiculturalism a failure in France? My answer is clearly yes, it is a failure” this is according Nicolas Sarkozy.

    The article brings a very good point about intensifying struggle between local/national identity and globalization. This struggle is pretty much the same across all Europe both Western and Easter though it may manifest itself a bit differently. Recent surge of xenophobic sentiments that we see around football is just a consequence of this bigger trend.

  13. Tony.
    Actually this situation is not so bad.
    I don’t know where you take these quotes, but I want you to know that these quotes are result of bad summary. This is not result of translation.

    My point – if you do use a quote sign this means that this is translation not summary.

    So I can take as quote that piece: “We’re not racists but we see the absence of black players at Zenit as an important tradition.”

    But next one was made from different parts of article and some word was added: “It would allow Zenit to maintain the national identity of the club, which is the symbol of St Petersburg.”

    “It would allow Zenit to maintain the national identity of the club” – word “national” was added by “translator” or “summarator”.
    “which is the symbol of St Petersburg” – this one was taken from other part of article.

    And I want you to see accurate distance from part where these guys saying about “symbol of St Petersburg” and where begins the part about “absence of black players at Zenit”.

    That piece begins with

    “Зенит” – символ нашего города – Zenit is the symbol of our city


    для нас принципиально важно, чтобы “Зенит” сохранил собственную идентичность – this is very important for us to preserve identity of Zenit

    And this part ends with beginning of part about black players

    “We’re not racists” – Мы не являемся расистами.

    So I do think that this was quite a work to glue so distant parts, and insert some words that was not in original text.)))

    “Зенит” – символ нашего города, а, значит, должен отражать его суть, быть лицом в современном спорте. Кроме того, для нас принципиально важно, чтобы “Зенит” сохранил собственную идентичность, а не превратился в среднестатистическую европейскую команду, со стандартным набором легионеров.

    В этой связи в качестве предложения просим руководство клуба рассмотреть следующий подход в вопросе селекционных приоритетов и работы скаутской службы: 4 приоритетных “селекционных” направления, от самого главного к менее значимому:
    Приоритетное направление №1. Санкт-Петербург и Ленинградская область.

    Этим людям не нужно многое объяснять, многие мальчишки родились и выросли здесь. Мы хотим видеть и слышать об усилиях наших селекционеров на чемпионатах города и области, районных соревнованиях, школьных чемпионатах, любительских турнирах. Мы хотим видеть результат работы селекционного отдела в виде появления новых местных “звезд” и “звездочек” в детских и юношеских командах. Для клуба это, к тому же, выгодно – содержание таких футболистов и их траты на переезд значительно снижаются. Кроме того, у клуба практически нет рисков по вопросу адаптации. Для нас это означает сохранение собственной идентичности понятия “Зенит”, лица клуба.

    Приоритетное направление №2. Северо-Западный регион и Центральная Россия.

    С Северо-Западным регионом, слово “Зенит” также имеет очень сильную историческую ассоциацию. В городе живет и работает огромное количество людей из Мурманска, Архангельска, Петрозаводска, Пскова, Новгорода и т.д. Сюда исторически стекались и здесь оставались в большинстве своем самые сильные и талантливые представители этих городов и регионов. Петербургский клуб можно ассоциировать и с этими городами и регионами.

    Если говорить о Центральной России, то здесь речь идет о самых талантливых русских мальчишках. Тех, для кого Зенит – мечта, шанс. И здесь мы готовы помогать клубу в вопросах адаптации молодых мальчишек, приехавших в Академию. Мы готовы знакомить их с городом и нашими традициями, чтобы зенитовский дух для них был напрямую связан с нашим великим городом. Впрочем, это же предложение касается и легионеров, приезжающих выступать за основной состав “Зенита”, но клуб и сам очень многое делает в этом направлении.

    Приоритетное направление №3. Остальная часть России, Украина и Белоруссия, славянские страны, страны Балтии и Скандинавии.

    Если необходимые таланты не находятся в вышеназванных регионах, значит приоритет селекции должен быть смещен в остальные российские регионы. При этом, беря во внимание, многонациональность нашей страны, очень важен момент адаптации для носителей других культурных кодов. Повторимся, мы исходим из того, что игрок, выступающий за “Зенит” представляет наш город на поле и за его пределами.

    Почему из других стран мы отдаем предпочтение “братским республикам”, странам Балтии и Скандинавии? Опять же, в силу исторических социальных и культурных связей. С Белоруссией и Украиной нас связывает многовековая история единого государства, со славянскими странами – близость менталитетов, привычек и поведения, как на футбольном поле, так и за его пределами. Нам также близки по духу скандинавы, жажда борьбы и самоотдача у них в крови. С балтийскими странами нас связывает долгая история межкультурные и деловых взаимоотношений, эти страны – наши соседи . Кроме того, по менталитету это – самые подходящие нам нации. Спокойные, ответственные, профессиональные, без склонностей к позерству и симуляциям, и т.д.

    Приоритетное направление №4. Остальная часть Европы.

    Любые другие континенты, кроме Европы, по нашему мнению, не должны быть в приоритете для “Зенита”. Это не означает, что это – табу. Но лететь в Латинскую Америку имеет смысл только, если мы честно и профессионально испробовали все возможности по поиску игроков в своем регионе, России и Европе.

    Почему? Ответ прост – в этом нет навязшего в зубах расизма или национализма, просто у клуба пропадает региональная идентичность, мы перестаем себя с ним ассоциировать.

    Принципиальные соперники.

    Для нас крайне нежелательно, чтобы в составе “Зенита” появлялись игроки, ставшие символами своих клубов у наших традиционных соперников – “Спартака”, ЦСКА, “Динамо”. При этом, мы категорически против того, чтобы игроки нашей команды, начиная с молодежного состава, переходили в вышеназванные клубы. Клуб, по нашему мнению, также не должен соглашаться на такие трансферы, усиливая наших принципиальных соперников.

    “Зенит” и чернокожие игроки

    Отдельно остановимся на этом моменте, поскольку он вызывает очень много вопросов у самых широких слоев общественности.

    Мы не являемся расистами

  14. And these words were never said:
    “We only want players from other brotherly Slav nations”

    These guys were talking about priorities not about ban.

    I would like to try to translate some part from original text.

    “Любые другие континенты, кроме Европы, по нашему мнению, не должны быть в приоритете для «Зенита». Это не означает, что это – табу. Но лететь в Латинскую Америку имеет смысл только, если мы честно и профессионально испробовали все возможности по поиску игроков в своем регионе, России и Европе.”

    “We are believe that other continents (Europe excluded) do not must to be in priority for Zenit. That does not mean that other continents are taboo. But to fly into Latin America have sense if we honestly and professionally tried all possibilities to find players in our region, in Russia and in Europe.”

    You can see that “We only want players from other brotherly Slav nations” sounds kind of not accurate translation)))

  15. Alex, Can you translate the whole manifesto for us please. I know it will be time consuming but some of us are really interested.
    Thankyou in advance.

  16. Andrei. I never voted these people in to power they do not speak for me. Never has my vote ended in leadership.
    I cannot see the disastrous effects multiculturalism has had on England according to you. Could you please let me know what I should look out for, so I can warn my family, friends and neighbours.
    Some industries in the UK have a large foreign contingent working within them, but this is more to do with British nationals either over-charging for services or not wanting to work. The only time multiculturalism won’t work is if people like you and I refuse to let it work.
    In all honesty Andrei more British people get on my nerves than foreign nationals.

  17. @Adam Whether you voted for the leaders I mentioned is immaterial. They are not culprits in fact they are behind the people. Their belated appreciation of the idea of national identity is but a product of political panic. Failed multiculturalism created nations within nations with newly established minorities unwilling to embrace national identity of the countries they settled in.

    You personally may be Ok with this development but increasing number of Europeans do you share your tolerance. The sudden awakening of EU leaders is among other things a response to an explosion of anti-immigrant parties that are taking away working-class voters from socialist parties and nationalist voters from conservative parties.

    Examples of these parties are National Front in France, the British National Party, the Vlaams Belang in Belgium, Freedom Party in Holland, the Swiss People’s Party, and the Austrian Freedom Party and Alliance for Austria’s Future. What these parties share is that all are anti-immigrant and ethno-national. They want to retain or restore a nation with its own history, holidays, heroes, language, literature, music and art. They are fiercely resistant to any diversification (or dilution the way they see it) of the ethnic composition or cultural character of their countries.

    As we all can see football is not immune and in some places is in forefront of this struggle.

  18. @RobL Actually during Soviet time the idea of multiculturism was forced along the party line on several generations in Russia and other Soviet republics. With severe penalties for those who wouldn’t comply. You can see to what degree of success the Party was able to instill ethnic and racial harmony in the general populace. That is why I’m so skeptical about ability of FIFA, UEFA or FA to combat racism in football.

  19. Adam, I can try to translate some parts)))

    Катализатором к рождению этого текста стала недавняя ситуация с публичным демаршем Игоря Денисова, но общий вопрос – «Каких игроков хотят видеть фанаты в футболках “Зенита”?» висел в воздухе над трибуной давно. В этом тексте мы попытались собрать воедино те комментарии, которые давали представители разных фанатских поколений, которых реально волнует этот вопрос, и они не поленились отписаться в ранее созданной теме на нашем форуме.

    The catalyst for this text to born was situation with public demarche of Igor Denisov. But question “What kind of players do fans want to see in Zenit” was hanging over spectators’ stand a long time. In this text we tried to collect all commentaries was made by fans of different generations, which interested to get answer to this question.
    Итого: что мы хотим от каждого игрока, выходящего на поле в футболке «Зенита, начиная с юношеских команд?
    – предельная самоотдача;
    – бойцовские качества;
    – постоянное стремление к профессиональному росту;
    – нет – симуляциям! Только честная победа;
    – стремление к победе в каждом матче до последней минуты, вне зависимости от счета на табло и статуса соперника.

    So this is summary of what we want from every player (beginning with youth team) when he goes on the pitch.
    – ultimate devotion
    – fighting qualities
    – permanent aspiration for professional development
    – no to simulations. Only fair win.
    – determination to win in every game till the last minute with no difference of score or status of the competitor
    Итого: что мы хотим от игроков «Зенита» за пределами футбольного поля?
    – достойного поведения в повседневной жизни, соответствующего культурным нормам Санкт-Петербурга;
    – уважения к людям, отсутствия «звездной болезни» в повседневном общении;
    – интереса к истории нашего города и страны, почтительного отношения к нашим ценностям;
    – взаимоотношений с молодыми игроками «Зенита» на основе взаимного уважения и помощи в профессиональном росте – мы все – «Зенит»!;
    – мы против того, чтобы в «Зените» появлялись «футбольные проходимцы», постоянно меняющие клубы
    – мы не хотим, чтобы игроки «Зенита» публично демонстрировали свое пристрастие к алкоголю или сигаретам;
    – мы против того, чтобы в составе «Зенита» играли представители сексуальных меньшинств;
    – уважительного отношения к корректным и профессиональным представителям СМИ, которые выполняют свою работу для болельщиков.

    So this is summary of what we want from player of Zenit beyond the pitch.
    – respectable behavior in everyday life which corresponds with cultural norms of St Petersburg
    – to treat people with respect, absence of star fever
    – interest to history of our city and country, respectful attitude to our values
    – interrelations with young players of Zenit on mutual respect basis and to help them to develop professionally
    – we are against football rogues which changes football clubs permanently
    – we do not want players of Zenit to demonstrate liking for cigarettes and alcohol
    – we are against gays to play for Zenit
    – respectful treatment to correct and professional members of press, which do their work for fans .

  20. Andrei, I can only speak about the BNP, As I have looked in to them. They have approximtely 15 points in their agenda and 12 of them most people would agree with, but the other 3 show their extremism when they start to talk about removing judges from power and replacing them with judges of their own liking, forcibly removing people from the country and re-instating the death penalty.

    Are these the same people you are talking about across Europe?

  21. I must admit that if acurate who could really argue with that so far only disapointing thing is to single out gays, Maybe Zenit should arrange a pre season friendly with Brighton who knows maybe they will like playing away?

    When you look at Athletic Bilbao who only employ players of Basque region you cannot call that situation racist as they have not set out any criteria banning players from other races from playing for them. But things change.

  22. @Andrei, granted the Soviet version of state enforced multiculturalism did not work, and taking an example of the factories we work in the average worker has no real experience or subsequent tolerance of other cultures. However, in those that have previously worked in the UK there is a massive difference.

  23. @Adam Here are some interesting statements in BNP manifesto:

    “Immigration — An Unparalleled Crisis Which Only the BNP Can
    – At current immigration and birth rates, indigenous British people are set to become a minority well within 50 years. This will result in the extinction of the British people,
    culture, heritage and identity.
    – The BNP will take all steps necessary to halt and reverse this process. These steps will include a halt to all further immigration, the deportation of all illegal immigrants,
    a halt to the “asylum” swindle and the promotion of the already existing voluntary repatriation scheme…”

    “Counter Jihad: Confronting the Islamic Colonisation of Britain
    -The BNP is implacably opposed to the Labour/Tory regimes’ mass immigration policies which, if left unchecked, will see Britain and most of Europe colonised by Islam within
    a few decades.
    -The BNP believes that the historical record shows that Islam is by its very nature incompatible with modern secular western democracy.
    -The BNP will ban the burka, ritual slaughter and the building of further mosques in Britain.
    -The BNP demands that Islamic immigration be halted and reversed as it presents one of the most deadly threats yet to the survival of our nation.
    -The BNP is the only party to correctly identify the twin causes of Islamist terrorism in Britain: (a) mass immigration and (b) a biased British foreign policy which serves to incite Muslims living in Britain…”

    “Renationalising the Welfare State
    -The BNP will halt the handout of benefits, housing, education and pensions to foreigners who have not paid into the system.
    -The BNP will ensure that the National Health Service is used to serve British people and not used as an International Health Service.”

    “The BNP will oppose the intrusion of non-British and alien cultural influences which undermine our traditional value systems”

    I can go on but you can read it yourself:

    I’m not advocating for or against BNP agenda. I’m simply using them as a good example of the struggle between national identity and globalism in Europe and in the UK in particular.

  24. Multi culturalism is a success in areas. I am 53 years old. It took me time to adjust. my secondary school was tollington park there was only 5 white kids in my class .it is the politically correct brigade who are mudding the water. we are all different but a good person is a good person and in time it. will come through but. All culture is not the same and should not be treated the same what is acceptable in some countries is not in others . Opinion is the most important value you can have I have many life friends from different upbringings Some live on Another planet with there views but argument is great . unless you can open your soul and speak the truth you can never have a true relationship with your own family let alone someone from far away lands

  25. @ Andrei, understood, but what you have to realise is the the BNP is only a small % of total assholes in comparision to the poplation as a whole. Also it’s an education thing again – if you ever hear Nick Griffin speak he doesn’t come accross well.

    Yes there are social problems with multiculturalism in some areas of the UK, but in general it works.

    Recently we had building jobs done by Poles and ex Gurkas and the plumbing by a devout Muslim. All jobs done politely and professionally and at a fair price, and to the current relevant regulations.

  26. Yes Andrei, I read that about 3 years ago, The BNP do not have a good reputation in England. Plus I don’t think this site is the best place to discuss them. I keep talking about tolerance and acceptance, The BNP for me will use all and any means to gain power then force their will on others. For me a very fractured and dangerous political party. so yes I now know what you mean by dangerous.

  27. Adam, I am Russian. This is enough to translate from Russian to poor English)))

    Here goes next part:

    Principles of selection

    We would like to thank management of club for that kind of attention to child and youth football, which had place last years. Zenit Academia – is the best transfer and long term investment in the club development.
    But we have understanding for from which clubs, regions and countries we want to see players in Zenit first of all . We want to repeat that we do consider Zenit as a symbol of our city therefore club must to mirror the essence of the city. In addition this is principal for us that Zenit to preserve his identity but not to turn into average European team with standard set of legionnaires.

    In this connection we want management of club to consider the following approach to the selection priorities: 4 priority-driven selection directions from the most important to less significant.

    The priority-driven direction #1. St Petersburg and Leningrad region.
    The priority-driven direction #2. North-West region and central Russia.
    The priority-driven direction #3. The rest of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, Slavic, Baltic and Scandinavian countries.
    The priority-driven direction #4. The rest of Europe.

    (For each priority-driven direction these guys did write some explanations why this direction to have more priority than ones which going next in listing. These parts maybe I translate later))))

  28. @Adam @RobL I agree that BNP is not a fair representation of the British population as a whole and they are not doing particularly well in the UK. However, they do represent a certain group of population and given increasingly fragmented British political landscape when it comes to immigration and national identity the votes parties like BNP can potentially get do influence policies of the mainstream Labour and Tory parties. If you look across the channel French National Front is doing increasingly well with Le Pen getting 18% presidential votes this year. Most importantly emergence of these groups represents a trend and the point is that challenges of multiculturalism are real and the struggle between localism and globalism is likely to intensify with lingering economic crisis and changing demographic situation across Europe.

    Finally, while I agree with Adam that this is probably not the best site discuss BNP and likes it is difficult if not impossible to discuss racism in football outside of social and economic context.

  29. Wow, amazing how far off the track a discussion can go on Untold. Don’t think I’ve ever read as intellectual a blog.:-)

  30. Agree with you Andrei, These groups are what we consider to be “far right”. I agree that these groups are forming partnerships across Europe and its a worry as history could easily repeat itself, The main issue for the main parties is to keep the majority happy and not disgruntled in to seeking alternative representation, which these far right groups will pounce on. In some weird way it keeps the Labour, Liberals and consevatives in line.

  31. It looks to me as if the Zenit fans are trying to get back to the situation that used to exist in the Soviet Union where football clubs were local entities with local players.

    I don’t know if it is possible for fans to ensure that a major football club with big money owners in Russia as it is today returns to being a local entity.

    The question of people in a country having different ethnic or national origins, different religious (or non-religious)views or different linguistic origins seems to me a different question. Most countries have a mix of people in them. Britain has. Russia has, as did the Soviet Union.

    To me the priority is that people realise they have a lot more in common than what separates them. Then people can live together in a friendly and co-operative manner.

  32. no matter what the fans want, any black player who would want to go to play where they know they are not wanted are foolish. I believe that Hulk, is having a massive problem there. Also, why does Arshavin not want to return to these loving fans ? I guess for these players, money is not as important as their safety.

    For me, if i was a player, i would choose somewhere else to play because it is too damn cold in St Petersburg. I once noted that Liverpool had no black players on their team for years. Wonder why ? The English leagues were famous for their racial problems in the years gone by or is that the current time period ? Spain is a hotbed bed for racism also. I love the Arsenal setup and way of operating. If you cannot find what you are looking for at home, think outside the country. It works!!!

  33. Adam, you welcome.
    I just checked out first-team squad of Arsenal. And I see small amount of players from other continents (Europe excluded). From Africa we have Gervinho (Ivory Coast – Official language – French) and Shamah (Place of birth – Tonneins, France). And from Brazil we have Santos. Shamah and Santos not a first choice. So we just have Gervinho who speaks French by the way.
    And all that has nothing to do with identity of Arsene Wenger)))

  34. I see that some people do not understand why black players have less identity in Russia than in France or in England. First of all Russia never had colonies in Africa. Therefore people from Africa as a rule do not speak Russian (but do speak colonizers language), do not understand Orthodox Christianity (but profess colonizers religions like Roman Catholic), do not quite understand culture of Russia (but understand culture of colonizer). And there is a small amount of black people in Russia because black people prefer to migrate in more rich and more identical (for their language, religion and culture) countries than Russia. They prefer to migrate to countries which
    – located at a short distance.
    – have Diasporas of their people
    – have warm climate
    – was their colonizers so they can ask for preferences to compensate damage made by colonizer in times of colonization.

  35. i have been a supporter of AFC since i was 6, and i am 30 now.

    i supported them through the leaner years before AW, and now in the lean years with AW.

    i am not a londoner, not european, i’m not even caucasian. but i support arsenal. they have always been my club.

    i live far away in asia, and can only dream of being a season ticket holder. i can’t even complain that i can’t get tickets, or that ticket prices are too expensive. yet i pour my money into the club as well, paying to watch them on tv, buying jerseys and wearing it on match days, my towel bears the arsenal crest.

    i feel pain when i see the club losing a match or a goal scored against us even when we are leading by a wide margin. sometimes there’s so much hurt i can’t even bear to watch anymore.

    i hate it when players claim to love or dream of playing for arsenal, only to “snub the club” after that. but who am i to judge another man in his shoes. i can only continue supporting the club and the people with the club.

    i feel an immediate kinship when i meet other arsenal supporters from all over the world (yes, i’ve met supporters from 4 different continents in various walks of life), but i loathe those that have a mind to exclude or rank supporters in a hierarchical manner with a “holier than thou” attitude.

    like many, i want to see the club traditions continue; i want kroenke out, i don’t want to see a single owner, i don’t like this money and power nonsense in the backroom and the board should be simply guardians of the club, for they are simply borrowing the club from our children and grandchildren.

    try telling me i’m not arsenal, and i’ll tell you who you are.

  36. I have a few probing questions about ¨British spine¨:

    1) Why British and not English?
    2) Does it actually exist or is it a myth?
    3) If it,in fact, is real then what is it?
    4) Can it be learnt, injected, developed, surgically implanted?
    5) Why spine and not brain, brawn, balls or another aspect of human anatomy?
    6) Does it disappear and then reappear at will or it is more magical in nature?
    7) How come Spain,France, Italy and other European champions don’t have Spanish Columna,French Colone or Italian Spina or the equivalent?
    8) Is having a British backbone the same concept as British spine?

    I could go on but I think everyone gets the point!

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