It’ll all end in beers: England fans’ performative Boxpark goal celebrations are leaving me cold

Instinctive reactions have been swapped for cosplaying that’s filmed and shared on social media, but the real travesty is wasting £7 pints, writes Laura Lawrence.

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There’s a TV producer’s handbook in every newsroom that seems to have a checklist of cliche VTs that must be included in certain categories of news items.

At election time they must go to an outdoor market to find the working people, because that’s where you find all working-class people, right? At tournament time, for the really important home nations games, the checklist says they must get some primary school to open at 5am and dress the children in patriotic paraphernalia. A newish checklist item that seems to have been added over the past few years is ‘scenes from a Boxpark’. This may well be the most galling of all.

Let’s set the scene. A Boxpark is series of shipping containers that have been turned into shopping units for independent business including microbreweries and bars. They’re rightly very popular and help regenerate local areas.

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One of their major selling points is on matchdays. In the centre of the stack of containers, benches of football fans crowd in to watch games on giant screens. Think Walkabout for Gen Z.

What’s become a favourite shot for TV producers is the Boxpark goal celebration. When a goal is scored, the crowd celebrates but there is something unnatural about their euphoria. They wait and wait then the contained fans grab their London-priced IPAs in safety plastic pint pots and launch them into the air. Excessive hugging and jumping into each other while the cameras watch on.

No one is that excited about scoring against Iran in a group match, yet the frenzy is performative.

It’s cosplaying for Peaky Blinders fans. The no socks and shoes brigade. People who enjoyed the sea shanty meme era. It’s become something to film and put on social media instead of to actually feel and relish.

We all remember certain goals that have evoked this real emotion. The goal that clinched a win in the dying seconds of a game or the screamer against a rival that righted a wrong. For me, it’s Ross Wallace’s 25-yard beauty against Brighton in the 2016 first leg semi-final at Hillsborough or Paolo Di Canio’s 88th winner against Barnsley in 1997. David Beckham’s last-minute free-kick against Greece in 2001 to ensure our qualification to the 2002 World Cup.

The raw emotion of how it feels to celebrate those goals is frenetic. The loss of control is justified but the Boxpark performances leave me cold. It’s just so fake. Think of all those £7 pints that are being wasted too. A travesty.

So, no doubt the checklist will be out for the World Cup quarter-final against France and if England do score, there will be a legitimate reason for real celebration. I’d just prefer the see a natural reaction to scoring an important goal and not the piss-throwing theatrics done purely for the cameras.

Follow Laura on Twitter @YICETOR

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