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ENG-ER-LAND: Celebrating football and 90s nostalgia

ENG-ER-LAND is a one woman show, written by Coventry City fan Hannah Kumari, and inspired by her experiences of falling in love with football as a mixed race teenager in the 90s. The play is set in 1997, one year after Euro ‘96, the tournament which defined the football decade in England. 

“Gina G came third in Eurovision and 13 year-old Lizzie went to her first game,” says the scene-setting promo material. “Coventry vs. Manchester City. Not the Man City of today, oil and superstars, but the old Man City – a bit rubbish but with good fans.”

The play combines storytelling, dance and music with 90s nostalgia, but the protagonist is forced to question her place in the stands as the play confronts experiences of racism, while exploring lad culture and working class identity. 

Hannah says the show celebrates football, the 90s, and looks at why we love the game so much, but she also felt it was important to tackle more difficult issues – “warts and all” – especially after seeing the racist abuse directed at England’s young stars last summer.

Hooked

Hannah got into football, as many kids do, by watching games on the TV when she was about 11. While most of her friends supported Manchester United, she chose a different path. 

“I just had this desire to go to a live match and Coventry were my local league team so I asked my dad for tickets for my 13th birthday,” says Hannah. “It was an FA Cup tie against Manchester City and it finished 2-2 with an equaliser from Dion Dublin.”

“I was hooked and I think, for me, the passion for football has always been tied in with going to live games, that walk up to the ground with everyone, seeing the scarves and shirts and colours, feeling the anticipation. It’s a shared experience, a bit like theatre.”

Hannah got a season ticket the following Christmas and started going to Highfield Road with her uncle, who was already a regular. That developed into following the Sky Blues away from home, and she’s even been lucky enough to see a couple of wins at Anfield. 

The FSA first became aware of Hannah’s work through the Fans for Diversity campaign, which is run in partnership with Kick It Out, and we helped support Hannah’s plans for developing the play, so it’s a real pleasure to see her take it out on the road. Check it out.

The Stage: “DECEPTIVELY SUBVERSIVE, A RAZOR SHARP PERFORMANCE”

Upcoming shows:

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball
  • SD Europe