Once English, now a British referee…

This from the BBC site earlier today. I remember meeting up with a Scottish family in Switzerland back in the early eighties. They were still grumping about how the BBC kept claiming Glasgow Celtic as the first British team to win the European Cup back in 1967, and then it was wall to wall England when Bestie, Charlton and the rest won it a year later for England United. With Graham Poll, the ref who gave out three Yellow Cards (now heading home) to the same player in a single game (wouldn’t happen on Slugger – ed), it’s a variation on the theme: “They are English when they win, but just plain old British when they lose”. At least the residents of Tring are backing him come what may!

, , ,

  • Irish Republican

    Seriously? I can’t recall him being described as English. British, yes. Now an arsehole but never English.

    I sense a non-story perfectly suited to Sugger’s nature of seeking the offence in everything to satisfy audience bias regardless of if it exists in reality or merely in the heads of those too used to seeing the worst in everything and trying to create links to Ireland.

    Non-story elsewhere. Non-story here. But sure Slugger’s can see the sectarianism in anything.

    Typical! (what a pointless nonsense entry)

    Poll made a feck up. Nothing to do with Britishness etc.

    Get over yerselves, it’s the World Cup. He fecked up. He’s on his way home.

    Since when did anyone want to claim a ref anyway? BS!

  • Aaron_Scullion

    I’m sorry Irish, but Google begs to differ.

  • PHIL

    Typical BBC, they really are the UK state mouthpiece. They can’t call him English as according to the government there is no such nationality, so they use terms such as “England fans” to describe English football supporters implying that they are followers of a football team rather than a nationality, but the police that are there to asist the German authorities are called “British” even though they are all from English forces. It is all state sponsered propeganda and it will continue until the bogus UK “nation” and their version of Pravda are no more.

  • Mick Fealty

    Lighten up IR. It’s logged under the humour category. Maybe I should have tagged it more clearly in BLOCK CAPS.

  • Donnacha

    MAgnificent – he is being backed by the good burghers of Tring! This is parochial journalism at its very finest and one reason why I will never truly hate England. I can imagine the entire population gathering to give him a hero’s welcome, bunting strewn about the streets, a festive band playing him down the main street, and the local councillors threatening to boycott FIFA. It remninds me of the old Cork Examiner editorial about Stalin that finished with the line: “Be aware, Mr Stalin, the Examiner has its eye on you.”

  • Irish Republican


    I find this quest for offence (something flagged throughout your entry) offensive.

    Some take this whole event as the purely sporting spectacular event it is.

    Slugger’s quest to continually tie the World Cup to local political disputes (even when tagged as ‘humour’) is ridiculous and tiresome to some that enjoy the World Cup for what it is, like most of the world, the best sports event in the world.


    It’s tiresome hearing political whingers trying to spoil the fun, I as a sports fan have had enough of this crap.

    Get over yerselves, still.

    May they all play well, it entertains us.

  • “Be aware, Mr Stalin, the Examiner has its eye on you.”

    Is that true ?

    if so fair play to the CE, i bet auld Uncle Joe was shiteing his britches :¬)

  • Mick Fealty


    Humour, remember? Big in the sixties? Nah, clearly before your time.

  • willis

    I think the origin of this story is the Tsar and the Skibereen Eagle.

  • willis
  • Donnacha

    I stand corrected re the Examiner, although the Tsar must have been splashing his boots that mighty Skibbereen was signalling its involvement. And maybe the Examiner was just rehashing an old idea in the tradition of newspapers everywhere.

  • páid

    I disagree sharply IR.

    I am increasingly of the view that sport’s role in national identity is increasing to the point where it is crucial.

    I grew up mostly in England, and never saw the English flag. Now it is everywhere, with sharp contrasts at the Welsh and Scottish borders.

    Where else can green and orange shout proudly together for Ulster and Ireland other than at rugby grounds?

    PHIL is observant. It is going to be a tough decade for British unionists – UUs will have to rethink their position. There are shades of Montenegro about NI.

    The constitutional wrangle has robbed UUs of participating in normal political development; they will have to work out their future with the people they live beside.

    This will be increasingly easier as the people they live beside stop killing them.

    The UUP is slowly but surely imploding, and it is not a leadership problem. All faith is now in the DUP – led by a churchman who believes in the literal truth of the Bible, and has trouble with the Pope. It cannot last.

  • Aaron, the top result from the google search you link does indeed refer to the English referee being sent home. Another story, written before the blunder, also refers to him as English.

    I won’t dignify Phil’s self-pitying rant with a full response, just point out the same link.

    “English referee Graham Poll expects a difficult World Cup this summer because of Fifa’s high expectations.”

    Surely being the first British team to win the European cup is an even more spectacular achievement given the number of other teams that could have…

    “The English referee has paid the price for his yellow-card blunder in the Australia versus Croatia game when he booked Josip Simunic three times.”

    They tend to use English/England rather than British because that’s the way the associations are set up in football.

  • Sorry, the Surely being the first British team… paragraph above should have been attached to the end of the post, not in the middle of it.

  • IJP


    Nice try with the humour, pity others didn’t pick up on it!

    In my experience, out of interest, it is utterly the other way around from the way most Scots claim.

    It is factually true that Celtic was the first British team to win the European Cup – occasionally it’ll even be noted that it was the first Northern European team to win it, would Scots grumble about that description?

    The truth, however, is that with most sportspeople it is specifically pointed out that they are Scottish or Welsh if they are, but they are usually left with plain old ‘British’ if they are English (although this varies from sport to sport – in athletics, tennis and motor racing people tend to represent “Britain”, in snooker, soccer and bowls it’s each individual country).

    The exception, in my experience, has always been Northern Ireland, which does suffer from the very syndrome that Scots claim applies to them. Memorably this was picked up by Rory Bremner in 1999, with a line which went something like “And Hakkinen comes through to win the final Grand Prix of the season, which means Britain’s Eddie Irvine… will go back to being Ireland’s Eddie Irvine”.

    Humour, lads, humour…

    (Should have been “North Down’s” Eddie Irvine, of course…)

  • Donnacha

    Sometimes I picture some of the posters to this site as a group of people frantically scanning the web for something to get upset about. Isn’t there enough to annoy in everyday life? I’m with you on this one Mick, humour, humour, humour.


    It remninds me of the old Cork Examiner editorial about Stalin that finished with the line: “Be aware, Mr Stalin, the Examiner has its eye on you.”

    And that reminded me of the not so distant past when George Bush visited Hillsborough.
    After the event the newsmen were talking to the local politicos who had spoken to him.It came the turn of Mark Durkan, and when asked about his meeting he physically puffed himself up and told the journalist about how he had made it absolutely clear in no uncertain terms his opposition to the Iraq war

    The only pity was that the journalist didn’t ask the obvious question…..

    And did President Bush look like he gave a fuck ?

  • Ronnie Delaney had British nationality extended to him 5 yards form the finishing tape at Melbourne.
    Plenty more examples I am sure.
    Though the way the loyal citizens of Belfast treated Wayne McCullough was not very nice.
    The Irish play this game of pas the citizenship quite well. At least most of the Engliosh players are English.
    Not that the players give a shit about that. At least Vinnie Jones learned the Welsh national anthem and sang it at full voice. Look at Spain: group of perennially under performing prima donnas. Maybe this guy has the right idea:

    Oh! And why no mention of Denis Law?

  • Harry Flashman

    I seem to recall that many nice Irish people referred to Barry McGuigan as “Barry the Brit”, when he fought in the Commonwealth games.

    It ain’t all one way traffic folks.

  • Nevin

    The Clones Cyclone aka “Barry the Brit”

    [i]McGuigan did not endear himself to everyone – He was castigated by certain groups for marrying a Protestant, and for taking British citizenship to further his career. “Barry the Brit” ran the headline in the Sinn Féin-Provisional IRA newspaper, Republican News. He always insisted that he was fighting for all the communities of Ireland. On the night of his world title fight, neither the tricolour nor the union jack flag was raised, but a neutral one (a blue flag with a white dove of peace). For any other person, the sincerity of this gesture might have been questioned, not so McGuigan.[/i]

  • IJP:

    “In my experience, out of interest, it is utterly the other way around from the way most Scots claim”.

    It’s worth adding that we are quite good at misappropriating second and third generation Irishmen and women when it suits.

  • Della

    To dispel any myths about England –

    John Prescott said, “There is no such nationality as Enlgish” (Prescott is Welsh)

    The government manage to produce England only policies, without once mentioning the word England.

    The government will only say Nations and Regions, or Scotland, Wales, NI, English Regions.

    England is the only nation that does not have and is not allowed its own Parliament or national assembly.

    England is certainly not getting favourable treatment, especially from the BBC, who are doing their utmost to equate anything English with racism, especially the COSG flag.

    They know, as do the government, that if they lose control of England, their Empire is a gonner. “We” are doing our best to make that happen.

  • PHIL


    If objecting to the destruction of English institutions by a UK government that doesn’t even acknowledge our existance as a nation makes me self-pitying then so be it, I must have learned from the Irish, Scots and Welsh masters.


    Agree 100% with everything that you say.

  • The People’s Front of Judea

    And did President Bush look like he gave a fuck ?

    I thought for a second that we’d uncovered a journalistic genius! Had that question been asked then the readership of that guy’s paper would have just increased by one.

  • woof mcdog

    on Barry McGuigan Nevin posted:

    McGuigan did not endear himself to everyone – He was castigated by certain groups for marrying a Protestant

    Utter bollocks, I live within spitting distance of Clones and I have never heard anything like this EVER.

  • http://www.clones.ie/htmfiles/vtour/famous/mcguig1.htm

    Woof chan: Here is a Clones site, which refers to barry the Brit as Barry the Brit. I remember seing him going up Dublin’s Dawson St on an open deck bus after the won the World title. Old white headed men waving their canes like he was Caesar back from ethnically cleansing Gaul. A week later no one gave a fuck about him.
    Boxers and others, McGuigan, McColloough and htat wrinkled old West Brit hyag, Sonia O’Sullivan have to take every chance they get. Thus the Shankill boy fought fot the Fenian South, Barry the Brit challenged anyone to call him Barry the Brit to his face (PIRA are not that suicidal). As ofr Sonia, maybe she wil win the old hags’ 3 legged race. Unfair that. I remember Eamonn Coughal nfinishing 4th in Toronto and some dickhead saying “I lost a fortune on you”. Coughlan said he was going ot do a barry the Brit on the guy.

    As regards the thick witted English referee (aren’t all refs a bit thick when we lose): they nly look bad now because cameras and Monday morning quarter backs are all over the place.

    What is the Portugese for: Ariba Portugal. Vamos Portugal.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “It remninds me of the old Cork Examiner editorial about Stalin that finished with the line: “Be aware, Mr Stalin, the Examiner has its eye on you”

    actually it was the “Skibbereen Eagle” warning the kaiser in 1914

  • http://tinyurl.com/fzbtw This one about the Brit loving CIRA and RIRA is too good to leave out. Apologies to Barry the Brit.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    One of the all-time classics occurred the time Stephen Roche won the Tour de France. The guy on BBC led into the story with:

    “And Stephen Roche made history in Paris today by becoming the first British or Irish cyclist to win the Tour de France…”

    We should try that out.

    “And Didier Deschamps made history by becoming the first ever Irish or French player to lift the World Cup…”

    “Neil Armstrong became the first Irishman or human being to walk on the moon.”

    “Nelson Mandela became the first black man or Irishman to end apartheid and become President of South Africa.”

    This is fun!

  • English

    Certainly from my perspective I am English and proud. Like most people I certainly do not want to be compared with the Welsh, Scots or Irish. English people are just as foreign to Irish people north and south of the border as they are to the Welsh and Scots – we are not the same. We are all Europeans, but we live in seperate countries and have different cultures. I know, being English, and living in Northern Ireland – you will never be my countrymen. The Union will not survive, it has outlived it’s purpose (we are not at war with our European neighbours anymore!), and devolution is the starting point por it’s much needed break up.

    I still think that Graham Poll is a good English ref by the way, he just had a stinker!

  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/world_cup_2006/5130166.stm

    Well said English. And shame to all those who sent our Graham back to the pub leagues.

    Billy Pilgrim: Do you know that over half the population of the world speaks either Irish or Chinese?

  • IJP


    DON’T get me started with that…

    the Belfast Telegraph is nothing short of desperate in its attempt to appropriate this and that for “Ulster” (wherever the hell that is…)

  • today’s info letters: Gerald Morgan of TCD (Letters, June 22) urges the English FA to introduce an anthem “for England”. He seems curiously unaware that ‘God Save the Queen/King’ is precisely that. He should have a look at the last verse:
    “Lord grant that Marshal Wade,
    May by Thy mighty aid,
    Victory bring!
    May he sedition hush,
    And like a torrent rush,
    Rebellious Scots to crush . . .”
    And so on.
    He should remember that the confusion between the English and the British is a matter for the English and/or the British (English, Welsh and Scots) to sort out for themselves. Ulster unionists of various kinds might also want to contribute to the process if the others are prepared to let them, but the rest of the population of Ireland, the great majority, would not be particularly interested either way.

    The people in the pub in Howth he noticed cheering for German goals against England all those years ago were probably not that interested in arcane distinctions between Englishness and Britishness.

    Had a combined British team been playing, the German goals would have been greeted with equal enthusiasm, as would those of any other country.

    Finally, if he can spare the time from football to go and see Ken Loach’s recent film he might remember that the British prime minister at the time of the events in question was a Welsh-speaking Welshman and his Conservative counterpart, a Scottish Canadian of Ulster Protestant origins.

    Neither were particularly noted for their “sensitivity” in their dealings with Ireland.

  • PHIL


    England needs a national anthem because GSTQ is a song about a person (who’s Englishness is questionable anyway) and not the country. Personally I would prefer Jerusalem.

  • Nevin

    Taigs, Wade, er, was an Irishman – “Wade was born in Kilavally, Westmeath, Ireland. He joined the British Army in 1690 …”

  • abucs

    Poor guy – the ref that is.

    I wondered what would have happened if Australia hadn’t qualified for the next round and had protested.

    Surely they’d have had grounds to get the game replayed. That would have made the re-organisation of the tournement very interesting.

    FIFA obviously did the right thing and got the next referee to dump Australia from the finals with a dubious last minute penalty for the Italians. :o)