Rarely mistaken for what Northerners might refer to as a "bluey" European Nights are not an opportunity to relieve oneself to the image of a coke-addled over-dubbed Barbie-doll but are in fact an opportunity to spend a midweek evening wearing your favourite Saturday afternoon nylon eulogising about the glamour / racism / poverty of the continental opposition.
European Nights used to mean scaring the living shit out of visiting Johnny-Foreigner in the controversially named European Cup before visiting Johnny-Foreigner and literally beating the living shit out him in his own back yard. During the 1970s and 80s England was so successful in scaring the former Nazis, their collaborators and assortment of actual and former Communists that even the notably polite Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest were able to lift the massive jug-eared trophy.
European Nights now involve the myriad competitions that Michel Platini happens to pick out of his English-hating arse any given Sunday. Most of which, are shit.
European Nights used to involve Bryan Robson and Diego Maradona slugging it out perm to perm. They would expose the failings of radio commentators unable to pronounce exotic names from Iceland, Hungary and Wales. Crucially, they would genuinely excite supporters, eager for possibly their only chance to witness the greats of their era at club level. Occasionally they would involve Norwich City, who claimed a remarkable two-legged victory over Bayern Munich in 1993 by convincing their more illustrious opponents they were the Bavarian rhythmic-gymnastic retard troupe providing the half-time entertainment. This was exposed during the second leg, during which Ade Akinbyi debuted, when Bayern realised that Leicester City's future record signing confused his ribbon for Bryan Gunn's pony tail and spent the rest of the tie smashing his goalkeeper's head into the turf.
Annoying assumptions of European Nights include:
- The atmosphere is always 'electric'. To date, no known cases of actual electrocution have occurred at a football stadium although Joey Barton was once tasered by the Fourth Official during a UEFA Cup tie involving Manchester City. When questioned by the media afterwards, the Swiss official calmly replied, "well you would, wouldn't you?"
- Supporters displaying their team scarves above their heads as if signalling to passing UFO's where to land. This is most pronounced shortly after the Fourth Official indicates the amount of injury time to be played at Anfield whereupon The Kop will present scarves and recite the 1945 musical theatre classic, You'll Never Walk Alone. A song written to comfort and encourage Julie Jordan (a Victorian millworker) when her husband, Billy Bigelow, is killed during a failed robbery. At no other time in history have Scousers associated themselves with criminality.
- Italian and Spanish teams referred to as 'Glamourous'. Despite most of the cities hosting these sides being the Mediterranean equivalent of Grimsby.