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Published 08 July 2024 6 min read
England Men's Senior Team

England x Goal Click: Maurice Stewart

Written by:

Maurice Stewart

As England compete in UEFA EURO 2024, we have teamed up with Goal Click to tell the stories of the nation's diverse fan base. 


From Lancashire to London, and Southampton to Sheffield, fans share their footballing story and what supporting England both home and away means to them.

Mo Stewart is a journalist and DJ living in Liverpool, who finds inspiration at the intersection of sport and music.

Worlds colliding
My name is Mo Stewart. I was born in London, grew up in Kent and have lived in Liverpool for the last 20 years. I am 42 years old and work as a journalist and DJ.
Sports and music are the twin passions of my life and the driving force behind every major decision I have made since I was a teenager. I’ve been influenced and inspired by my father, invested in the magic and joy that sport and music can bring from the first moment I could kick a ball or sing along to a song. He worked very hard all week, then played football every weekend, before playing music. Very soon afterwards, so did I.
Moving to a city that cared about those things as much as I do was my only real option, as was making them my career.
As a Liverpool fan, we have an extensive songbook that celebrates our greatest players and managers, and also our greatest moments. It’s a way of expressing our emotions, but also an important way of inspiring those on the pitch and letting them know what they are fighting for, and that we are right there fighting with them.
The moments when my worlds truly collide, DJing for BOSS Night after the League Cup Final or Jürgen's farewell, the Anfield Wrap end-of-season party, or the official fan park for the 2022 Champions League Final, are some of my most cherished memories. Being able to orchestrate that outpouring of emotions, and leaving my mark in the memories of fellow Liverpool fans is a true honour.
08 Jul 2024 1:30

England x Goal Click: Maurice Stewart

Swept up
My journey supporting England came very early on. As a kid, I had no experience of live professional football, so the TV was my gateway to the magical world I wished to join. England was on more than most, and Italia 90 was the first tournament I remember absorbing every game. From the first game against Ireland until the third-place play-off with Italy, I was swept up on the journey that looked like it was taking us all to greatness.
I do not remember how it felt on the streets, but I remember the excitement in our household, between my dad, my older sister and me. As a Liverpool fan, I was already following the likes of John Barnes, Peter Beardsley and Steve McMahon, but in that tournament, I also fell in love with Paul Gascoigne, David Platt, Paul Parker and Gary Lineker.
I have never seen an England game in the flesh. My only visits to Wembley have been with my best friend to see his beloved Charlton beat Sunderland at the epic play-off final of 1998, and two years ago to see Liverpool reach the FA Cup Final by beating Manchester City.
Football for me was very much a TV sport for a long time. Sadly my dad and I have never been to a live game together. He stopped going when it became clear that it was not a safe place for people who looked like us, and that meant that he was reluctant for me to go as well.
These days I most often watch on my own, physically at least, with the handy accompaniment of social media to get involved in conversations and debates. Therefore my community of fellow fans usually happens online, or via WhatsApp chats with my sister, who is usually also watching.

Passion and pain
With England, I have watched every tournament since Italia 90, with varying degrees of optimism, but 2002 stands out. That was a team that looked like they had the talent and the belief to go all the way, with that game against Denmark the most positive I have been about an England team in recent memory. Sadly, Ronaldinho had other ideas!
2002 was also my first Glastonbury festival, and I have been to every one since, often overlapping with England in tournaments. EURO 2004, World Cup 2010 and EURO 2016 all overlapped. England's penalty loss to Portugal in 2004 was a real low point, but leaning on my other passion in music helped me get through the pain.
Reclaiming community
I am not usually one to paint a Union Jack on my face to show my support. Club allegiances run strong in Liverpool, but my support comes through engaging with the games as they happen on TV and online.
In my work as a sports journalist, I take an analytical eye towards what is happening, but when there are high stakes at play, in qualification and at tournaments, the emotions can often take over!
This summer I am attempting to reclaim an element of the in-person community - with potentially more Liverpool players in the squad, there will hopefully be a more positive atmosphere in the city for the tournament.
For the first two group matches, I tried to find that atmosphere, most likely at the newly opened BoxPark Liverpool, which already has a growing reputation as a great place to watch football. For the third group match, I watched at Glastonbury festival, earlier than most people as I have a job there in accreditation.
It was a tricky operation to find somewhere showing the game, but it was a challenge I was willing and able to undertake.


Red-tinted glasses
It may be predictable to announce that my favourite player in the England squad is a Liverpool player, but I truly believe that Trent Alexander-Arnold is such a generational talent that very few teams in the world can match. I understand the unique challenges of being Black, Scouse and English, and at times it feels as though those identities are in direct conflict with each other. His ability to navigate those lines in a way that makes all three groups proud should never be understated.
My all-time pick follows a similar pattern. For both Liverpool and England, my big bang was John Barnes. A man with a similar heritage to mine, whose birthday is the day before mine and who played the game with a spirit that I identified with, he was always the man my eyes were drawn towards.
Beyond my red-tinted glasses, I always had a soft spot for Sol Campbell. A man of few words but someone who could always be relied upon, regardless of what position he was asked to play. And those two disallowed goals in 1998 and 2004 would have made him an even bigger legend than he already is.

Changing of the tide
Supporting England is important to me, as there has been resistance in many different forms. Growing up as one of few Black families in Medway, a lot of the people waving St. George's flags and cheering for England were the same people shouting abuse at me in the street. It would have been quite easy to follow my granddad's lead and save my support for Jamaica and West Indies cricket. But I loved the game, and England is where I am from, so why should I let them steal the game I love from me?
Some fans across the country still abuse fans of Liverpool clubs with chants about poverty and terrible tragedies, to the point that some people here feel more Scouse than English, and prefer to support their clubs.
While I understand this, I believe that those on the pitch representing England deserve the love and respect that fans from Liverpool have been denied in the past.
The worst elements of England fandom were not who I wanted to represent me. I wanted to prove there was more than them supporting England.
Despite the racism I experienced growing up in my hometown and directed at the Black England players, sport and music have been a greater catalyst for acceptance than most other walks of life.
This latest generation of the England team represents a changing of the tide. The abuse suffered by Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho after missing penalties in the EURO 2020 final showed that we still have some work to do, but we are moving towards a place where the national team represents all of us.
The desire of the manager to speak out on social issues, despite resistance from some fans, media and even politicians feels like a turning point in the battle for true inclusivity.