Sport and politics don’t mix – except of course when they do, which is pretty much all the time. When I was a lad dizzy with hormones, I used watch Wimbledon on our blurry telly and was a passionate (yep) fan of Maria Bueno, a Brazilian beauty whose short little skirt had a delightful habit of flipping up when she served. Unfortunately, the British commentators seemed more interested in Christine Truman, who looked like Princess Anne and was in the Come-on-Tim category of tennis player. To my rage the BBC covered Christine’s every move off and on the court and grudgingly gave us Maria only when she was blitzing and flipping all before her.
In tennis, it does pay to be British. Andy Murray made the mistake early on in his career of emphasizing his Scottishness and in some south of England quarters, that’s never been forgotten or forgiven. They’ll not be too pleased with Craig Brown this morning, then. The former manager of Scotland has said “I would rather lose as Scotland than win as GB”, referring to plans to have a Great Britain soccer team in next year’s Olympics. Neville Southall, the former Wales goalkeeper, says “What flag are they going to put up if Team GB win the football? The Union Jack? Well it’s not my flag; my flag’s a Dragon”. There are even hints that N Ireland’s Jim Boyce isn’t wild about the idea. Have these people no sense of their proud British heritage?
As for the recent brouhaha about players from the north of Ireland pulling on the Ireland jersey, two Irish players sum it up rather well:
“Everyone from Derry wants to play for Ireland. I grew up supporting Ireland, so it was a natural choice for me”. – Darron Gibson
‘No disrespect to Northern Ireland, but I would rather be playing for my country” - Shane Duffy
And if you’d like a definitive dissection of the Everest of rubbish that’s been talked about players from the north playing for the Ireland team, you couldn’t do better than read
I wish I could say the author of the above piece is a slightly dim younger brother of mine but he’s no relation. And btw thanks to ryandelarge on Twitter for drawing my attention to it.
Yep, sport has nothing to do with politics. And they should ban northern players from travelling south.
Postscript: I stand corrected, as you'll see in the posts below - Daniel Collins, author of linked piece on N-S soccer players, is indeed a relation - second cousin, to be exact. I bask in the glow.