Tuesday, September 06, 2005


England or England Junior?

I came across this interesting piece by Robin Livingstone (hat-tip N.Irish Magyar) in which he writes of his hope that 'England give Norn Iron a good spanking'. Harsh words from a man who himself was born in the North!

I can kind of see where Mr Lvingstone is coming from, though that is not to say I agree with his position. He writes of his hatred for the term 'Northern Ireland':

"I’ve mentioned before in this column that the dread words ‘Northern Ireland’ never pass my lips. Not only that, but I physically wince every time I hear them. Indeed, when the plane bringing me back from holiday landed at Belfast and the flight attendant with a Ballymena accent said that on behalf of the entire flight crew she’d like to welcome everybody on board to Northern Ireland, I looked up from my book and fired off a dirty look, but she didn’t catch my eye and the gesture went fizzing past her averted head like a badly-aimed RPG."

I too dislike the term 'Northern Ireland' mainly as I feel the Irishness of the term has been sucked out. It sounds far too British for my liking. That's why I prefer referring to 'Northern Ireland' as 'The North' or my own personal favourite, 'Ireland's north'. With that being said, I don't think I would 'physically wince' every time I hear the term. They're just words at the end of the day.

Here is what Mr Livingstone wrote on England's match with Ireland's north on Wednesday:

"So it should come as no surprise if I tell you that come Wednesday night, I will be cheering not only for an England win, but an emphatic England win; a trouncing, a rout, a spanking, a tanking, an embarrassment (but not a national embarrassment, of course)."

I think I ought to give my own views on the 'Northern Ireland' team - I do not support it. Those of you who have read this site since the start will be aware that I've said some harsh things about the North's team even labelling it 'England junior' much to the annoyance of some NI fans. I stand by that view though and will continue to stand by it until:

- They get rid of God Save The Queen as the national anthem.

- They encourage the flying of Irish tricolours alongside the red-hand rip-off of the St. George's cross

- They do more to reach out to nationalists and stamp out the singing of sectarian anthems

If this is achieved, I'll gladly root for the North in their matches, providing they're not playing the Republic of course. I want the team to be inclusive towards all communities in the North but I don't feel it is.

Ultimately though, like Irish football legend George Best, I want to see an all-Ireland team as is the case with the rugby team.

I suppose the key question though is, who do I hope wins between England and 'Norn Iron'?

And, in all honesty, I'm completely indifferent towards it. That's not a cop-out, I just don't particularly care what happens. If you've followed this blog over the last week you'll have noticed how excited I am about Ireland's clash with France. I haven't given much thought to the North's game. Only one game is on my mind.

Do I hope the North get hammered? No. Would I be unhappy if they defeated England on Wednesday? No. (I'm Irish so I hardly want England to do well!)

Ultimately, I want Ireland to beat France. That is all I want. If the North's team wins, fair play to them. But there's only one Irish side I'm concentrated on right now.


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