‘The Final: Attack On Wembley’ Review: Netflix’s Documentary Shows The Ugliness Of English Football Fans

What is better than witnessing your country win an international trophy after fifty-five long years—that too on your home soil? For English football fanatics, the answer would probably be nothing. The reason I’m using the term fanatics here is because we’re talking about the Netflix documentary The Final: Attack on Wembley, which focuses on the extreme chaos caused by the English football hooligans outside the Wembley stadium before the all-important Euro 2020 final. England was playing Italy and was on the verge of finally lifting an international trophy for the first time since 1966, the year in which the English team won the World Cup. Naturally, the spirit was high, and the English fans were on cloud nine, anticipating the moment that would possibly define all of their lives! That, of course, didn’t happen, but what’s worse than that was what the English fans did before the game.


What Happens in the Documentary? 

On July 11, 2021, England was going to play Italy in the final of Euro 2020, arguably the second biggest competition in international football after the World Cup. Despite being known as the country that invented the sport, England hasn’t won anything since 1966. This was the first time in fifty-five years they had come so close. Gareth Southgate’s young team was brimming with confidence, and Wembley Stadium being the venue of the final was like the cherry on top. The English football fans, who had been desperately looking for a piece of silverware, were understandably ecstatic about the whole situation.

Almost unfolding like a movie, the documentary follows a straightforward narrative that starts much before the kick-off time of eight p.m. There are many narrators, all of whom were present at the Wembley on that day. They vary from fans to sports correspondents to broadcasters to Brent Council as well as Wembley Stadium Authority as well as security personnel. Through their narration, we get to know what really happened on that day. For Max, it was all about beer and football. Sports correspondent Keegan wanted to share the joy of a trophy win with his aged father-in-law. Young Englishman Dan didn’t have a ticket for the game but would do anything to get inside the stadium. For someone like Kevin, a non-white Englishman, the English team being filled with players of different colors and cultures is a symbol of hope. And then we have Gianluca, an Italian father with a half-English, half-Italian daughter named Maya.


As the day went by, the outside of Wembley Stadium was horded by thousands of people, the majority of whom were English fans. They sang, drank, and celebrated, but soon they lost their way. What started with throwing footballs and beer bottles soon became a gigantic mess that the Wembley authorities didn’t see coming. The situation turned absolutely wild, which basically allowed so many people without tickets to get inside the stadium. Wembley authority and the police did manage to get a hold of the situation and contain things. As the match started, so many of the mad English fans kept trying to get inside the stadium by overrunning a human barricade formed by the police in their riot gear. Had England won the game, they would have been able to breach, leading to catastrophic consequences. Thankfully, Italy managed to hold their nerve and win the penalty shoot-out, resulting in the mob outside turning back and heading home.

Of course, these English fans couldn’t move forward with their lives without abusing Rashford, Sancho, and Saka for their skin color. The three English players missing penalties and being black only added fuel to the fire and brought out the ugliness of English supporters. There was so much resilience against the racism, though, as people did come forward in their support. But the incident only proved that England, as a footballing nation, was a failure, and a lot of things needed to be done about that.


Final Thoughts 

For starters, The Final: Attack on Wembley did the smart thing of using many voices to tell the story, which only allowed us to see things from many perspectives. While it was absolutely frustrating to see all the ticketless fans trying to barge into the stadium and not hesitating to take the seats of those who actually did have tickets, having someone like Dan as a narrator does help us realize the madness. When Dan is asked whether he regrets his action, he firmly says no, and his justification is the rich parties during the pandemic, and how he got depressed by staying home. That is obviously stupid as hell, but it can be one of the explanations behind why so many people went absolutely crazy on that day. 

Of course, English football fans have a rich history of losing their marbles since forever, and this documentary is a testimony to that. The poor fans have absolutely nothing to boast about, and for many of the modern-day supporters, the 1966 World Cup win remains only a history lesson. Understandably, England reaching a cup final brought out the “best” from English fans, and they went full bonkers outside of Wembley. I liked how the documentary unabashedly showed every terrible thing these idiots pulled off on that day, from indecent exposure to attacking a father and his young daughter only because they’re Italians. 


I have always disliked the England football team fans, but since that Euro final, I have come to hate these morons. That obviously had a lot to do with the disgusting racism, and I am glad that The Final: Attack on Wembley addressed that. The way Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka were treated for missing the penalties by certain English fans was unforgivable, and the documentaries only echo that sentiment. With Euro 2024 only two months away, this was also the very right time to release this and remind the world once again what these English football fans are capable of. Football didn’t come home on July 11th, 2021. Why would it anyway if home is filled with such disgusting filth?

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Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra likes to talk about movies, music, photography, food, and football. He has a government job to get by, but all those other things are what keep him going.

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