A historian's guide to hating the French

NEED to stir up some resentment for the opposition ahead of tonight’s match? Historian Denys Finch Hatton explains the reasons to hate England’s longtime enemy.


The foundation of centuries’ worth of bitter hatred. Due to some balls-up with the English throne that’s too complicated to get into, the country ended up getting invaded by William the Conqueror who only won because our army had recently been battered by Norway. After losing at the Battle of Hastings we inherited loads of shit French words, like archer. Which is ironic, given…


Part of the Hundred Years’ War, a conflict so massive it makes all others look like chodes in comparison. This was another dispute over a throne, only this time England’s diminished forces struck a killer blow in the form of some f**k off big bows and arrows at the Battle of Agincourt. It’s probably also where our underdog and punch-above-our-weight mentality comes from, even though it only really worked on this one occasion.

All that Napoleonic shit

France seems like a pretty chill place, right? Nice bread, sexy people, admirably lazy workforce. You almost wouldn’t believe it nearly ruled the whole continent because that uptight little guy from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure got carried away. Luckily England put the frogs in their place at the Battle of Trafalgar. Quite how France remains an important player after this defeat still eludes and enrages us. It’s not fair.

World War Two

No, England still hasn’t forgiven France for surrendering to the Nazis. If they’re willing to lie down beneath the German jackboot, what other despicable acts could they be capable of? It’s obviously crass and stupid to think like this, but if the French team get one past Jordan Pickford expect drunken supporters to shout about it.

Euro 2004

Arguably the most egregious example on this list. England had secured an early lead courtesy of Frank Lampard and looked set to cruise to an easy win. Imagine the shock, anger and disgust as Zinedine Zidane promptly put two away in extra time. Yes, England still sailed through to the quarter-finals because Croatia and Switzerland were shit, but that’s not the point. Our pride had been hurt, and it’s time to take revenge.

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Harry Styles, and other pop stars that get away with a lot because they're fit

TODAY’S music stars do a plethora of questionable things, but we indulge them because they’re pretty. Here are some of the worst, and fittest, offenders:

Harry Styles and his acting

Like many other musicians before him, Styles has made the leap from hot person singing to hot person saying words in a film. The fact that he’s a poor actor, and even worse in promotional interviews, is a moot point. He’s gorgeous, so we’ll put up with his hammy attempts just to be able to look at his lovely face on the big screen.

Dua Lipa and her international faux pas

From openly globetrotting during international lockdowns to accidentally endorsing extreme Albanian nationalism,  there have been many occasions where Dua, to use her own lyrics, ‘should have stayed at home’. But if she did we wouldn’t get as many stunningly presented music videos and beautiful selfies, so it has to be allowed.

Shakira and her tax fraud

Unlike those famously truthful hips, Shakira is alleged to have told some porkies on her tax returns to the tune of £12.9 million. Prosecutors are seeking an eight-year prison sentence, but it’s not really fair to the rest of the world if her beauty is hidden away behind bars, is it? She should be let off for the good of humanity.

Rihanna and her lack of new music

Rihanna has only broken her lengthy new music drought with a lone single, so we should be asking ourselves whether she’s even relevant anymore. However, given her absolute hotness we would endure another 60 years with nothing but ads for her Fenty make up and still pretend she was a cutting-edge pop star.

Alex Turner and his own wankery

Unlike Rihanna, Arctic Monkeys have supplied us with plenty of music in the form of albums that have only become more and more niche and navel-gazing. Are we expected to lap it all up just because the frontman has the appearance of the perfect poet boyfriend we never had? Yes, we are. And we will.