Thursday, 21 August 2008

The Deepest Blues are Black

I caught the first ten minutes of the Scotland v Northern Ireland friendly at the pub last night (and yes, incidentally, I'm pretty glad I didn't stay to watch the rest of it, dire that it was). And I have to say I was appalled.

Not at the football, though it was pretty bad. I'm talking about what happened before the game. When the teams lined up for the anthems, I cringed. Not at Flower of Scotland - which I think is actually a great, stirring anthem but that's a debate for another day. No, I cringed when I heard the first three notes of the anthem played for Northern Ireland - God Save the Queen. Now, I'm no fan of that particular track but the treatment it got from the Scotland fans - and, it should be said, no small measure of those from Northern Ireland in the pub - was absolutely appalling.

The Tartan Army are wonderful ambassadors for Scotland when they go abroad. Hoards of Scotsmen in kilts having a great time at landmarks across the world, posing for pictures with locals and generally behaving themselves. But last night - and in several recent home matches during the anthems - they embarrassed themselves and our proud nation. That was potentially the first time in my life I have been ashamed of some of my fellow countrymen and I didn't like it.

UEFA should throw the book at them.


Jeff 21 August 2008 at 10:39  

Fair comment I suppose but it's all pantomime really isn't it? The girl beside me here was at the game and was offended at the "Are you England in disguise" chants.

I see it as harmless fun and falls into insignificance when you hear the racist abuse in Spain and Eastern Europe.

Malc 21 August 2008 at 10:59  

If the "Are you England in disguise?" chants were directed at NI because they were playing like crap then I have no problem with it. However, I think it was probably directed at the anthem.

And I totally disagree with you when you say it is harmless fun, not on the same level as racist abuse. Booing the anthem is on one level just hugely disrespectful. Its been seen at games against Georgia & Italy as well. But on another level it is bigoted, racist and has no place in football.

Jeff 21 August 2008 at 14:35  

See, I would argue that Oh Flower of Scotland and God Save Our Queen are bigoted and have no place in football but I still take your point. If people want to take national anthems seriously even if they do amount to nothing more than a pile of puff then I guess that should still be respected.

But, "God save the Queen"? Who exactly does she need saving from? "Sent him home to think again"? That's a rallying cry for racist abuse if ever there was one.

See, it all comes back to sloppy word usage ;)

Mono 22 August 2008 at 15:38  

i was at the game and i have to say the booing was very very minimal. Everyone around me clapped at the end of GSTQ. I think they must have just been selective in their micophone placing.

Stephen Glenn 24 August 2008 at 03:41  

If I'd been in Scotland I would ahve been watching said game at Almondvale while wearing my Northern Ireland top. I'd have love to have guaged the response of my fellow Livi fans. :)

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