England manager Roy Hodgson pleas to fans over chants
Roy Hodgson has heaped praise on England fans while urging them not to sing 'religious or political' songs in next week's friendly with the Republic of Ireland.
The Republic encounter at Wembley on May 29 will be their first meeting with England since 1995, when a friendly in Dublin had to be abandoned due to rioting by the visiting supporters. An anti-IRA song 'No Surrender' continues to be sung by England fans and, after escaping a charge for the alleged behaviour of their supporters in San Marino recently, the Football Association are desperate to avoid more controversy.
In his programme notes for next Wednesday's game, published on the FA website, Hodgson wrote: "As much as we all want to win, respect for the game and for our opponents is paramount. This game is no different and I strongly urge everyone in the ground to show each other respect and not to chant songs that could be regarded as insulting to others - particularly from a religious or political perspective."
He added: "I hope everyone bears that in mind, and every time we come to support our national team."
England fans' reputation has been restored by their behaviour at recent tournaments, with Hodgson adding his praise, while underlining that it could be quickly eroded.
"In my time as England manager the support this team has received at home and abroad has been nothing short of fantastic," he said.
"I have been taken aback by the sheer scale of passion and commitment our supporters have shown.
"Long before I came into the job I knew that the behaviour and reputation of England fans has developed into something we all should be very proud of.
"World Cups in South Africa and Germany in the last decade are shining examples of this. So I hope everyone who follows England understands that position has been built by many fans over a long period of time and sadly it can be undone very quickly by a minority."
Related England News