Still singing at the end

So, apart from the 16 minutes where the 4 goals went in, not an appalling performance from Northern Ireland. There’s such an inherent gulf in quality between the players, you can’t really expect anything more than heart, and we got that. A bit of heart in the next game against the world’s minnows wouldn’t go amiss. The NI fans sung the English fans off the park for much of the game, and that’s what really counts…

57 thoughts on “Still singing at the end”

  1. “The NI fans sung the English fans off the park for much of the game, and that’s what really counts

    Actually it’s not worth a shite. It’s points that count, even if they are not much use to NI at this stage.
    Still, disappointed for NI, would have like to see then hold out for a draw.

  2. “Although there’s a lot to be said for holding your head high in the face of defeat.”

    Certainly!! It says a lot for the fans.

  3. It`s Our Wee Country win or lose and it was a great game…good atmosphere. Unfortunate not to hold out for the draw but Lawrie Sanchez is the man for the job.

  4. On the subject of “minnows,” perhaps NI will have the good fortune to play my country, plucky little USA.

  5. Maca

    I always remembering sharing a flat at Uni with a lad from Middlesbrough and a lad from Huddersfield. As luck would have it, the two were drawn together for a Cup game in Middlesbrough, which both attended, and which the home side won easily 5-1. I always remember the Huddersfield fan returning to the flat with a defiant ‘Ay, but we outsang ye…’

    Ever the meritocrat, I thought he was talking absolute nonsense as you suggest, but for some reason, I’m often reminded of that when NI plays away…!

  6. George

    Oooh ‘elp, I wouldn’t fancy being stuffed by them!! England I can just about stand (I’m even half-English in fact), but America would be too much to take…

    Mind, we could take you on at baseball. After all, they seem to sell a lot of bats around here… 🙂

  7. “The NI fans sung the English fans off the park for much of the game, and that’s what really counts”

    Why ? Was it a singing competition ? Nooooo, a mediocre England side toyed with the overpaid second-raters and their own supporters were probably too embarassed/lethargic to be bothered singing in such a one-sided contest.

    Yawn and ho hum – such a silly limited range of childish songs they have too.

  8. IJP
    Well i’d always be a strong believer in playing with pride and keeping the head high no matter what.
    What else can you do when it’s going against you? Unfortunatly without points all you can do is sing.

  9. Yeah, good goal. I can see the boys defending it until the bitter end.

    According to the Irish Times today, RoI haven’t won an away qualifier since 1987!

  10. They seem to be getting lots of space (according to the commentators) so hopefully another goal or two will come before too long.

  11. Bucket team supported by bigots, representing a non country, not even a province, should have lost 8 nil, for a Northern Nationalist a dilemna , who to be against, we support neither but usually support England’s opponents but not in this case, it would be like supporting the Garvaghy Road Orange March!!!!! Only good thing boy are they absolute crap!!!!!

  12. wouldnt support this load of shite “norn iron” if I was paid, bigoted non-entity, the BBC were BBC really taking the piss saying 1 1/2 million people were supporting them, I dont know a single who would touch them with John Taylors barge pole. GO ON THE ENG-A-LAND

  13. Very dissapointed in the renditions of “Hullo, hullo, we are the billy boys” on television from NI fans after the match. Wonderful advertisement for “Football for All”.

  14. I didn’t hear that myself. I did hear a ‘no surrender’ during GSTQ, but it’s hard to know which fans were behind it. Apparently the BBC had a clip before the game of a man with bagpipes doing The Sash.

  15. Sorry I didn’t make myself clear. It was fans on tv in the Bot that were responsible for the “Billy Boys” singing, not those at the match.

  16. What really tickled me was John Mottson just before half-time saying ” good result for the irish going in 0-0 at half time..” then protracted slience.
    I could just imagine loads of loyalist bigots throwing their beer cans at the telly fuming:
    “but we’re not irish , we’re british”
    yeah pull the other one!

  17. … or Northern Irish would have done…

    “wouldnt support this load of shite “norn iron” if I was paid, bigoted non-entity, the BBC were BBC really taking the piss saying 1 1/2 million people were supporting them, I dont know a single who would touch them with John Taylors barge pole. GO ON THE ENG-A-LAND”
    anyway it’s nice to see stephenfuller’s now an England supporter. It’s amazing how fast you can get over “800 years of oppression… blah blah blah” when it means you get to display your bitterness and hatred to those with whom you share this island.
    And as I said in response to your comment in another thread where you posted the same rubbish (except for saying that the NI supporters were all bigots and going on to say, without a hint of irony, that for nationalists the dilemma was “Who do we hate more?”) I know a number of catholics/nationalists who support NI, mostly in addition to the RoI. It actually amazes me that you cannot see the hypocrisy in your own writings re bigotry and hatred.

    Add to that the fact that quite a few in the South are happy to lend their support for an hour and a half, and I presume plenty of your friends would have supported NI in a “anyone but England” spirit. So no, I wouldn’t be surprised if 1½ million wasn’t far off.

  18. spirit-level, as a by the by, would you not have been annoyed had someone at the BBC referred to the RoI team as a British side? surely not since by your logic that would make you a republican bigot..

    We Exist

  19. I’ve always been an NI supporter, after ROI of course.
    Though now they have slipped to third of the three international teams I support 😉

  20. ‘According to the Irish Times today, RoI haven’t won an away qualifier since 1987!’

    Georgia 1-2 Rep of Ireland

    Euro 2004 qualifiers – 29 March 2003

    Not a result or a campaign to write home about though!

    I’m pretty sure there were quite a few since 1987.

  21. Sorry, mistype on my part. RoI haven’t won an away qualifier against anyone who could be considered significant since 1987.

  22. ‘Sorry, mistype on my part. RoI haven’t won an away qualifier against anyone who could be considered significant since 1987.’

    Against England in Euro ’88 in the qualifier for the Semi-finals! 😉

  23. Don’t think the point about not winning a significant qualifier away is valid. Qualification for major tournaments is based on beating the minnows twice, picking up points away from home against your main rivals and winning your home games.

  24. Think I heard someone say something similar, but they said RoI hadn’t won a world cup qualifier since 1987.

  25. Here’s the actual quote from the Irish Times.

    “The remarkable thing is that the last time the Irish headed off anywhere for a competitive away game against a team that might even vaguely have been considered qualification rivals and won was back in February 1987 when Scotland were beaten 1-0 in Glasgow. That victory helped Jack Charlton’s side to Euro ’88 but Ireland have subsequently made it to three World Cups, albeit without winning our qualification group, without repeating the feat.”

  26. Beano don’t Ulster sounds like Ulcer… Yukk
    “referred to the RoI team as a British side”
    that’s just plain daft;)

  27. As a non-American George I couldn’t care less if Northern Ireland played the United States.

    Having seen the game I thought England were streets ahead of Northern Ireland.

    It must have been depressing for NI fans as there is no way Lawrie Sanchez’s team is going to qualify for anything with that team. Not his fault, he’s doing the best with what he has.

    Unable to keep possession, unable to create chances, unable to defend for 90 minutes.

    Two goals in five games shows how blunt an attacking force NI have. Grim times ahead I fear.

    Is there any youth policy going on?

  28. “According to the Irish Times today, RoI haven’t won an away qualifier since 1987! “

    That is wrong. In World Cup qualifiers alone, the Irish Republic beat Malta in Valetta in 1989 for a start. Then they beat Albania in Tirana in 1993, same year as they beat Latvia in Riga, Liechtenstein in Eschen in 1996, Cyprus in Lefkosia in 2001, Andorra in Barcelona etc. etc.

    I believed they hadn’t won an away game for over 40 years until Jack Charlton arrived.

  29. S-L

    “referred to the RoI team as a British side”
    that’s just plain daft;)

    I remember watching Germany-RoI on German TV in 2002. Throughout the game even the know-all Germans referred to Ireland as ‘the Brits’, and after the game Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s first comment was ‘It’s always the same against these British sides…’


    Is there any youth policy going on?

    Therein lies the problem.

    There is some hint, with the appointment of Howard Wells as CEO of the Irish FA, that things will begin to change. Before that, the organization was totally amateur, just look at the website for evidence. Off the top of my head…

    First, they need to sort the local league out once and for all. Get rid of the silly Cup competitions, limit the number of games played. An Irish League, an Irish Cup, and an All-Ireland Cup will do, thanks (if we must have the regional Cup comps, play them early in the season and use them as qualifiers for the All-Ireland one).

    Second, abolish the regional associations – four associations in a country of 1.7m is laughable.

    Third, use county five/six-a-side comps to hone skills early in life – have an inter-county competition every Christmas/New Year for U15 and U18 (men and women) at the Odyssey and teach people that soccer isn’t all about kicking their nippy winger in the first 10 minutes, it’s actually about skill.

    Fourth, develop an NI Academy complete with its own (integrated!) school for 16-18-year-olds for the best players from these county comps, with a team that plays in the Irish League, and there’s your youth system.

    Fifth, build a new stadium, change the anthem, and use a new flag (why not just the IFA badge on green, as at the England game?)

    Sixth, sort the website out!

    Even then you’d expect England, with 50m to choose from, to play us off the park. But you might expect to get something from Azerbaijan…

  30. IJP,
    I have never seen such a huge gulf between a Northern Ireland team and a top European team before. Yes England are a top team.

    Nine years ago NI were drawing with Germany in Nuremberg while ten years ago they were drawing with Portugal in Porto.

    I fear there are too many blazers north of the border enjoying IFA prestige who don’t want anything to change regardless of how poor the team is.

    Rant begins here:
    However, with all the water that has passed under the bridge since that night in Windsor Park in 1993 such as the Loughinisland massacre, more and more I feel Irish people as a whole should completely forget Northern Ireland as a team.

    I don’t see the Northern Ireland fans ever voting for a new flag and anthem and now I actually don’t want them to. Let them keep what they have.

    I would much prefer northern nationalists to declare and play for the Irish Republic as a matter of course just like I want to see them take up Irish citizenship as a matter of course.

    Let Northern Ireland deliver as a state for all its citizens where both cultures are treated equally before it pretends this state exists on the football pitch.

  31. George

    With respect, I believe your plan is fundamentally divisive. The lesson from NI’s sorry history is precisely the opposite: allowing and even positively promoting division of this nature does not create mutual respect, but rather mutual ignorance, distrust, fear, hatred and conflict. It will lead to two separate tribes – one Green/Irish/Nationalist/Catholic/Celtic/RoI, one Orange/British/Unionist/Protestant/Rangers/NI. We are supposed to be merging these, not further segregating them.

    ‘Tribal balance’ whereby we try to treat/fund/respect each of these groups separately but equally does not work, because:
    – in practice the groups don’t work, very few people really fit into either of them perfectly;
    – in practice people have different priorities – language might be a priority on one side but not on the other, so what constitutes ‘balance’ is unclear;
    – the lesson from everywhere else in the world is that sectarian carve-up is impossible to reverse and leads inevitably to further armed conflict (again it’s that pyramid again: division breeds ignorance breeds distrust breeds fear breeds hatred breeds conflict).

    Why are you surrendering to sectarian bigots?

    It is frankly intolerable that people should abuse the NI team for any political motive – whether using its games to sing Loyalist political songs, or opposing its existence on political grounds. So let’s get together and sort it out.

    Surrender to sectarian bigots and you surrender to a future run by terrorists and marked by conflict. It’s ever been so historically, it’ll ever be so in future. It’s time for change.

  32. IJP,
    I know it’s divisive but seeing as it’s Easter Monday I felt like a rant as I for one have had it up to my oxters waiting for Northern Ireland to step up to the plate and deliver cultural parity for its citizens.

    By playing lip service to the idea that the failed economic, cultural and political entity that is Northern Ireland can reform itself and that the NI football team somehow represents all 1.7 million people I am slowly beginning to think I am actually playing into the hands of the sectarian bigots.

    I now say it’s time to stand up and tell it how it is. There should be no support for the Northern Ireland football team until they ditch completely the unionist cultural hegemony.

    In the meantime, the Irish minority and their political parties should actively support the Irish Republic and the Irish Republic should encourage this support.

    It is up to Northern Ireland to finally deliver an equal society ASAP. As there is no government, the NIO should withhold all funding to the IFA and put the Maze stadium on hold until an agreed anthem and flag are introduced.

    They haven’t because they aren’t interested in tackling this cultural hegemony either as it is part of a greater malaise so the only answer is to turn one’s back on the Northern Ireland team.

    They can be British all they like and celebrate their unionism till the cows come home for all I care. The Northern Ireland fans can sing whatever they like. As I said, I don’t care what they do but one thing Irish nationalists shouldn’t do is to lend this situation any credence by supporting it.

  33. George

    Your rant is entirely excused!

    Listen, I live here. I get fed up with the usual sectarian ranting. I am ashamed of watching the clowns people here elect to represent them embarrassing themselves on Question Time. I am appalled at the inability of people here to get beyond backward-thinking nationalisms. I have had it up to here with people MOPEing and moaning without considering what role they played in our conflict and what role they may positively play to end it. There’s a big brick wall in front of me as I type, and yes, often I feel like sticking a fist or a forehead through it!

    However, you yourself are guilty of blaming one set of people. Have you ever been to Windsor? You talk about ‘Unionist hegemony’, but do you know the reality? The truth is, as usual, that it’s nothing like as bad as Nationalists claim (and nothing like as good as Unionists claim).

    You say NI should deliver and you are right. But you clearly imply that Unionists should be delivering to Nationalists. Nationalists are equally guilty. They fail to see beyond their sectarian trench, they fail fundamentally even to recognize the Britishness and British world view of their fellow Northern Irelanders, they MOPE and moan and talk about exclusion but as often as not they exclude themselves (as you are advocating in this case).

    I want an NI team, and indeed an NI, which draws the support of every responsible democrat who lives in it. That won’t happen if people just say ‘Oh well bugger it I’m taking my ball and going home and once youse’ns have sorted it out by becoming reasonable enough to agree with me give me a call’. It is not up to Unionists or Protestants alone to deliver that NI, or to deliver than NI team. Everyone has a responsibility.

  34. I think soccer should be banned … along with all flags, emblems, anthems, music and religion. You can have them back when you start behaving.

  35. IJP,
    thank you for excusing my rant.

    I’m not blaming unionists, I’m blaming the construct that is Northern Ireland. Basically, what I’m wondering about here is whether apathy is not now the best policy.

    So rather than going on and on about how unionist symbolism must go from the Northern Ireland football team or how the Irish flag has to be removed from Northern GAA grounds let everyone just get on with it. If you want to play GAA, you’ll be lining out under a tricolour, if you want to play for Northern Ireland it’s GSTQ.

    So if I’m Irish living in Northern Ireland (as would be my right under the GFA) I simply let the British get on with their culture and I look for my own outlets.

    This policy could extend also to contentious parades for nationalists. There should be a new policy of completely ignoring parades, no counter demonstrations, nothing. They can’t be triumphalist if they mean nothing to you and the triumphalism would in time hopefully disappear as loyalists realise the last on nationalism’s mind is preventing them from expressing their culture.

    Northern nationalists are not excluding themselves by this policy they are instead including themselves in the Irish culture of this island. They are saying, “you can be British if you want, best of luck, I’m going for the Irish option myself”.

    Unionists are also not excluding nationalists by being British they are merely expressing their culture.

    When Northern Ireland has won the support of the entire population then maybe northern nationalists and unionists will look more to forging a common culture but in the meantime let them celebrate separately and freely.

    As I said, it is up to Northern Ireland to deliver. If it can’t then why pretend it is or it will? To me that is just living a lie.

  36. The irony is that the two teams in Ireland depend on players born in England but irish descent, and the England team depend on players born in England but descended from foreign(including Ireland) migrant workers, so, whatever of the three teams you support will probably be a distant relative of yours. Probably the reason english fans will support the irish teams when their mongrel lot are not playing. We would probably do likewise if it were not for the rabid tabloids and their neo-facist(usually anti-german) nationalism.

  37. I can understand being anti-british in a political sense, but being anti-England when you can suport english league clubs like Man Utd,Arsenal,leeds,Spurs etc(sorry if I left your favorite team out)is illogical.

  38. George

    No probs!

    Apathy is not an option. To use the old maxim: ‘all it takes for evil to triumph is good people to do nothing’.

    You are participating – even if posting on Slugger is all you do – and every post is helpful as it gives a worldview with which any other individual poster would not be overly familiar.

    I can well understand your point about NI and ‘Irishness’. NI is a false construct. But then, just about every other nation-state is a false construct, including RoI. What we have to do is live together.

    If you lived in NI, as someone from, shall we say, the ‘Irish-Gaelic cultural tradition’, I can appreciate why you would seek your own cultural outlets. But be assured that there are people who would rather share this culture. I’m from the British (even Anglo-Conservative) cultural tradition, but have come in due course to enjoy Irish dancing, take an interest in Irish-language place names, and follow Gaelic Football. There are aspect of Irish-Gaelic culture I do not like so much, but I can choose to ignore them. Likewise in reverse, I know staunch Republicans who travel regularly to Lord’s, Nationalist Ulster-Scots broadcasters, and a Northern-based Southerner who swears Premiership Football is by far the best anywhere (a view I don’t share). This is what NI should be – a cultural melting pot where any individual can mix and match.

    Unfortunately, however, most of the people who have a vision of NI where everyone can put something in the pot and everyone can mix and match don’t vote. That’s apathy. And apathy’s bad!

    Oíche mhaith, as they whisper in Bangor…

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