‘Football for all’…

PEOPLE can hang whatever they like outside their own homes, as far as I’m concerned. Public property is another matter. While flying an unofficial Northern Ireland supporters flag on lampposts might cause less offence than some of the others currently on display, is it really the brightest of ideas to try to associate the NI football team with one section of the community? The fans seem divided. While many fans have benign motives for flying their ‘Our Wee Country’ flags outside their front window, some have been spotted (on a UTV Live report) at the bonfire site beside the City Hospital where builders were reportedly intimidated by loyalists, and flying beside UVF flags in Glengormley.

Note to OWC readers: This is not an attempt to wind you up, but to follow up on some of the excellent threads on your forum!

  • a sweet left foot

    say YES to the MAZE!

  • Belfast Gonzo

    LOL! But that’s enough trolling already…

  • derek

    perhaps it dispels the myth of n.i football team supporters being less bigoted than they were a few years ago.

    The IFA only started to attempt to address the sectarianism within Windsor Park when it was embarrassed all over the world with the sickening sectarian treatment and death threat directed at Neil Lennon. Alas this was to late for the likes of Anton Rogan who was subjected to constant sectarian abuse by home supporters during his 19 game international career.

    Pat Jennings had also talked of being subjected to sectarian abuse throughout his many years playing at Windsor Park.

    With regard to the our wee country flag, if it is unofficial why does it have the official IFA crest on it. Surely this is illegal and in breach of copyright etc..

    The flag is being manufactured and sold by the union jack shop on the Newtownards Road in East Belfast, a shop which sells a huge ammount of loyalist paramilitary flags and associated merchandise, including uff, uvf, uda & rhc products.

    Is it right that a football association which claims to support and promote a neutral environment to play & watch football, is silent eventhough the origins of the flag (and assorted other merchandise)is clearly illegal and the profits from the sales of such material, is going into the hands of ‘certain’ individuals.

    The IFA seem quite happy to be associated with the website, as their community relations officer posts regularly on the site. Strange however, that he had no replies to make when a number of regular posters tried to justify the Murder of young catholic teenager,Michael McIlveen in Ballymena and the associated slurs against his family.

    n.i supporters have always been associated with sectarianism and this latest issue were supporters are flying their flag alongside the flags of paramilitary organisations, simply reaffirms that fact.

  • skinbop

    whatever derek, are you seriously trying to link the IFA with this? don’t see why the IFA would publicly comment on the murder of the wee lad in Ballymena – i am sure i have missed the connection.

    …for the flip side – check the “GAA top” thread.

  • Realist

    Derek,

    “Strange however, that he had no replies to make when a number of regular posters tried to justify the Murder of young catholic teenager,Michael McIlveen in Ballymena and the associated slurs against his family”

    No doubt you would to share the thread in question with the rest of the Sluggerites…in the interest of balance, you understand?

    My memory tells me that the overwhelming majority of OWC posters were rightly horrified by young McIlveen’s killing.

    Maybe you can produce evidence to the contrary.

    On the flags issue, the real issue is that paramilitary flags should not be tolerated anytime, anywhere in Northern Ireland.

  • owen

    “On the flags issue, the real issue is that paramilitary flags should not be tolerated anytime, anywhere in Northern Ireland.”

    Why do you think supporters are erecting northern ireland football flags alongside paramilitary flags in different loyalist areas?

    As mentioned above, northern ireland football flags were put up with uff flags at a bonfire site close to Windsor Park along with ‘kill all taigs’ & all taigs are targets’ slogans.

    Is it just a reality that those who have abused their own players with sectarian chanting & abuse down through the years are never likely to change and the erection & support of fans for loyalist paramilitaries is just another indication of this.

    The questionable origin & sale of the our wee country flag should also be of concern to the football association, considering the paramilitary products being manufactured & sold with the football merchandise.

  • Mainlander

    Gonzo
    I’m a regular reader on the OWC site and am greatly heartened by what I read on there about the fight against sectarianism, which, let’s be honest, still does exist within certain elements of the support.

    However,the reason that I, (and the vast majority of OWC contributors) have decided not to get involved in the inevitable slanging matches on Slugger with the likes of “owen”/”derek” and the various other anti-NI trolls, is that we know at heart they have absolutely zero interest in joining in what should be our common fight to remove sectarianism from all NI sport.

    The sole motivation of “owen”,”derek”,”billy”.. ad infinitum, in popping up on these threads here is simply because it provides a public outlet for them to spew out their hatred and bitterness towards our team and its supporters, simple as that. And according to the standards of their own limited imagination, they believe the more threads they ruin with their trolling, the greater damage they do to our team and its supporters.

    I’d suggest if people wish to read more balanced debates on such issues as the inappropriate flying of football flags, they should indeed check out the threads on OWC.

    And finally a wee bit of poetry for neutrals or those who still have an open mind about both the Northern Ireland team and its supporters.

    “Go from the grave. The shrill flutes are silent, the march dispersed.Deplore what is to be deplored, and then find out the rest.”

    (and yes, before any smart-alec points it out, I know exactly who the poem refers to, but its sentiments are still appropriate in this case)

  • Billy

    Realist/Mainlander

    I’m quite willing to accept that many OWC contributors did genuinely condemn the murder of Michael McIlveen.

    However, the disgraceful main OWC article about the murder of young Michael basically started by saying that it condemned the murder – it then went on to effectively say that some Nationalist youths (such as Michael) had been wearing Celtic tops in Ballymena and this was clear provocation and probably incited the murder (or alleged murder as the DUP put it).

    It was typical of the half-hearted condemnation from unionist politicians when innocent Catholics were being killed during the troubles i.e. we “condemn” it BUT….

    Funny – last time I was in Ballymena, there were a lot of youths wearing Rangers shirts but none of them got killed.

    The IFA not only ignored sectarianism (Linfield, NI) for 50+ years, it encouraged it.
    As Derek rightly says, the only reason they are “tackling” it now is due to it being highlighted by the death threat to Neil Lennon and the ensuing bad publicity.

    As I have said in a previous post about the NI team – any Catholic who attended internationals at Windsor Park in the 70’s or 80’s has every reason to despise the IFA.

    If people are genuinely trying to remove the sectarianism from soccer in NI – good luck to them. However, I suggest that there’s a long way to go – at the England match in Manchester – there were clear renditions of the Billy Boys and
    the Sash.

    I’m an honest man – if the sectarianism can be removed, I’ll be the first to applaud it. But, I certainly won’t stand quietly by and let the IFA peddle the myth that NI is a cross-community team and that there wasn’t really that much sectarian influence in the past.

  • seanniee

    Instead of our wee country,what about “our wee dump”.Now that sounds better.

  • Fair Deal

    Johnny Adair used to run around in a Celtic jersey, should Celtic Football Club be considered culpable for his actions? Should CFC be expected to go onto websites and issue press statements disassociating themselves from loyalist paramilitary murders?

    Or perhaps some have the good sense to realise that once you sell something you lose all control over its use and that the repugnance that these organisations feel for paramilitary killings can be taken as read?

  • owen

    The IFA need to address the illegal use of its emblems by counterfeiters, especially when the people responsible produce huge ammounts of material with banned loyalist paramilitary emblems on it.

    I think it needs to be asked why those who ordered the our wee country flags etc..use a source which clearly is used by paramilitary organisations to produce items that glorifies the murder of thousands of catholics & protestants.

    n.i supporters who have been putting up the n.i supporters flag alongside the flags of the uff & uvf obviously bought them in the same shop.

    The IFA need to take action to distance themselves from these counterfeit flags and condemn the many supporters who use the IFA emblem to glorify mass murderers by combining the IFA & loyalist terrorist flags.

    I doubt if the IFA would be comfortable with the following

    http://www.unionjackshop.com/product_info.php?id=276

    http://www.unionjackshop.com/product_info.php?id=282

    http://www.unionjackshop.com/product_info.php?id=293

    http://www.unionjackshop.com/product_info.php?id=353

    http://www.unionjackshop.com/product_info.php?id=320

  • james

    I think its up to the irish football association to use the courts to stop the use of their name & logo on illegal merchandise.

    The PSNI have been very pro-active when dealing with this sort of thing in the past & the IFA will hopefully work in conjunction with the authorities to put a stop to it.

    Not sure about the paramilitary stuff, illegal etc..but i do recall the copying of a George Best shirt recenty, which was being sold to raise money for the foundation.

  • Realist

    Billy,

    “I’m quite willing to accept that many OWC contributors did genuinely condemn the murder of Michael McIlveen”

    Good. “Many” = EVERYBODY who posted on the thread in question.

    “However, the disgraceful main OWC article about the murder of young Michael basically started by saying that it condemned the murder – it then went on to effectively say that some Nationalist youths (such as Michael) had been wearing Celtic tops in Ballymena and this was clear provocation and probably incited the murder (or alleged murder as the DUP put it)”

    What was “disgraceful”? Adult debate?

    “As Derek rightly says, the only reason they are “tackling” it now is due to it being highlighted by the death threat to Neil Lennon and the ensuing bad publicity”

    Is iot a bad thing that they are trying to tackle it? Should that not be encouraged?

    “If people are genuinely trying to remove the sectarianism from soccer in NI – good luck to them. However, I suggest that there’s a long way to go – at the England match in Manchester – there were clear renditions of the Billy Boys and the Sash”

    When? During the match? I was there and can assure you there wasn’t. Watch the tape again.

    “I’m an honest man”

    Doubtful, given your comments above.

    “if the sectarianism can be removed, I’ll be the first to applaud it”

    We’ll do our best, but frankly your applause is of secondary importance to the main aim.

    “But, I certainly won’t stand quietly by and let the IFA peddle the myth that NI is a cross-community team”

    It is, was and alweays will be a “cross community team”. All NI teams are represented by players from both main traditions in NI.

    “that there wasn’t really that much sectarian influence in the past”

    There certainly was – hence the need for change.

    However, the blunt truth is that our detractors and begrudgers will play absolutely no role in making that change happen.

  • dantheman

    I have heard many comments about loyalists slating the GAA. See this video. It is a loyalist flute band at windsor park drunig half time of the linfield rangers match.

    By the way this is the same pitch where a certain “international” team play their matches. It is also the club which profits from such matches. So the next time anyone goes to WP park remember they are contributing to this hatefest.

  • dantheman
  • Realist

    dantheman,

    I believe that the pocket of Rangers fans doing the offensive chanting during the Band’s rendition of “Follow Follow” may have added some words that are not part of the original song script.

    Deeply offensive to the numerous Catholics who represented both clubs that evening, let alone the thousands of fans in attendance who want the sectarian element to shut up or get out.

    Bigoted actions and chanting should be denounced whether it be at Windsor Park, Celtic Park or GAA grounds.

    I’m sure the unionists in atttendance at the 1981 Ulster GAA Championship Final would agree.

  • dantheman

    I agree with your point about the chanting. However this was organised by Linfield Football Club. So theres a bit of work to be done by them and the IFA before others commentators slate the GAA (which also has issues to address).

    Maybe moving the 6 county XI out of this stadium may alleviate some of the inherent bigotry. An anthem and a proper flag would also help. Much work for the IFA to do, little will to do so.

  • Realist

    “Maybe moving the 6 county XI out of this stadium may alleviate some of the inherent #######. An anthem and a proper flag would also help. Much work for the IFA to do, little will to do so”

    Similarly, moving Antrim GAA out of Casement, the GAA ditching Rule 16 on flags, doing away with the need for the ROI Anthem being played at county games, and ditching all the divisive political rhetoric from the “Official Guide” might attract some new fans to the sport.

    Much work for the IFA and GAA, it would seem.

    Only one showing any real signs of having a will to change unfortunately.

  • dantheman

    Realist,

    Bit blinkered here, rule 28 and 42 both gone in the last few years. Still no sunday soccer in HM realm. unable to sort out the passports row yet whinging when the irish gov intervened and did it for them.
    aybe you are not such a ‘realist’ after all.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Billy said;
    “However, the disgraceful main OWC article about the murder of young Michael basically started by saying that it condemned the murder – it then went on to effectively say that some Nationalist youths (such as Michael) had been wearing Celtic tops in Ballymena and this was clear provocation and probably incited the murder (or alleged murder as the DUP put it)”

    Realist said;
    “What was “disgraceful”? Adult debate?”

    Eoghan said;
    Are you actually advocating this argument in your defence of adult debate? Is it not disgraceful?

    Billy said;
    “If people are genuinely trying to remove the sectarianism from soccer in NI – good luck to them. However, I suggest that there’s a long way to go – at the England match in Manchester – there were clear renditions of the Billy Boys and the Sash”

    Realist said;
    “When? During the match? I was there and can assure you there wasn’t. Watch the tape again.”

    Eoghan said; Any Linfield fans mixed in with their Scottish brethren here?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOrMPFjk6TU&mode=related&search=linfield

    Billy said;
    “I’m an honest man”

    Realist said;
    “Doubtful, given your comments above.”

    Eoghan said;
    Judge and jury eh?

    Realist said;
    “However, the blunt truth is that our detractors and begrudgers will play absolutely no role in making that change happen.”

    Eoghan said;
    Too late, international spotlight and condemnation put EUFA and FIFA on your tail. How does expulsion sound?

    Billy said;
    It was typical of the half-hearted condemnation from unionist politicians when innocent Catholics were being killed during the troubles i.e. we “condemn” it BUT….

    Realist said;
    “####### actions and chanting should be denounced whether it be at Windsor Park, Celtic Park or GAA grounds.

    I’m sure the unionists in atttendance at the 1981 Ulster GAA Championship Final would agree.”

    Eoghan said;
    Seems pretty honest about unionists where you are concerned realist.

    Realist.

    I thought you were on holiday? anyway hope you had as much fun as me when I read your post about the cross community team.

  • Realist

    dantheman,

    What was Rule 28?

    I’m aware of the removal of Rule 21 – although this was resisted bitterly by all but Co Down in Northern Ireland.

    Rule 42 has not “gone”.

    Rule 44 as it now is, has been amended temporarily, during the period Lansdowne refurbishment.

    Perceived British sports are not permitted on any GAA Grounds, other than Croke Park during the temporary period.

    This is the rule that allows PIRA colour parties on GAA Grounds, but not a charity soccer match in aid of the Omagh bomb victims.

    I agree with you on the Sunday football issue…69% voted for the current rule to be ditched. Interestingly, this would have been enough to have a rule ditched at GAA Congress. IFA requires a 75% majority in favour on such occassions.

    The rule will shortly be history – watch this space.

    Regarding passports, I can assure you the Irish Gov played no part in having the row blow over. FIFA were quite angry with their intevention, preferring to deal directly with IFA Officials who sorted it.

    If you wish to debate with me, please do so based on the facts.

  • Prince Eoghan

    LOL.

    Realist, I thought Unionists were trying to equate the OO with the GAA, now they are to be compared to the IFA. *hears cries of children “Mammy, Mammy the circus is here”* My these GAA boys must have been really baaaaad!!!
    Wonder how much attention the GAA have recieved due to sectarian acts?

    Oh I loved the David Murray type quote about the sectarian singing from Rangers fans “It is only a minority” Oh dear that is why UEFA have decided to punish Rangers then, because of said small minority. More to come as well.

  • Tochais Siorai

    ‘…….Johnny Adair used to run around in a Celtic jersey, should Celtic Football Club be considered culpable for his actions?………’

    That’s being very disingenuous, f_d, I think you know why he wore the Celtic top.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Tochais.

    Re-Adair. Much more convenient to the current crazy reckoning, if auld Johnny had worn a GAA top when murdering Taigs.

  • Realist

    Och, Prince Eoghan.

    How nice of you to join in, and have some fun.

    “Are you actually advocating this argument in your defence of adult debate? Is it not disgraceful?”

    No, I’m not. Have you read the thread in question? Seems like a rounded discussion to me.

    “Too late, international spotlight and condemnation put EUFA and FIFA on your tail. How does expulsion sound?”

    Eh?

    “Any Linfield fans mixed in with their Scottish brethren here?”

    I’m sure there was. Is that Old Trafford?

    “I thought you were on holiday?”

    I was. I’m back now.

    “anyway hope you had as much fun as me when I read your post about the cross community team”

    I had a great time thanks. Is the team not “cross community”?

    Better tell the Assistant Manager and several nationalist players of this revelation.

    You’re a quare geg – I’ll give you that! 🙂

  • Realist

    “Oh dear that is why UEFA have decided to punish Rangers then, because of said small minority”

    Better talk to a Rangers fan about that Prince.

    I’m not one of their number.

    Better try again!

  • Prince Eoghan

    Realist.

    Sometimes it is good to be pedantic, let’s me see it from your side so to speak;¬)

    Glad you enjoyed your holiday, I am off to entertain the weans wi ma clowns outfit.

  • Realist

    “I am off to entertain the weans wi ma clowns outfit”

    Aye…stick to what you know. Enjoy. 🙂

  • owen

    realist What’s your thoughts on the flag issue, i.e the illegal IFA flags etc.. being sold by the paramilitary shop in Belfast.

    Surely the supporters should be distancing themselves from paramilitaries, not putting up their flags with those of the uvf & uff and using suppliers (owc flag) who glorify the actions of loyalist killers

  • Realist

    “realist What’s your thoughts on the flag issue, i.e the illegal IFA flags etc.. being sold by the paramilitary shop in Belfast”

    Owen,

    I’m not sure whether or not the IFA have copyright on the crest?

    My thoughts are:

    1/ The shop in question (which featured on a national BBC documentary recently) should be closed down for selling paramilitary regalia.

    2/ Illegal Paramilitary groups’ flags should not be permitted to be flown anywhere in public.

    3/ I have no doubt there are some Northern Ireland fans who support the activities of loyalist paramilitaries. They would form a minority. Similarly, it would seem that some GAA members support IR paramilitary groupings.

    4/ I have no objection at all to the flying of an IFA flag anywhere in Northern Ireland, providing it is not flown along side paramilitary flags.

    5/ The world is awash with “unofficial” sporting flags and gear. It’s a very difficult thing to police effectively.

  • Ziznivy

    I find the clutching at straws indulged in by the anti-OWC brigade incredible. The IFA are supposed to be culpable now for all those who bootleg or buy a flag with their crest on. They are also answerable, not only for the behaviour of Northern Ireland fans, but of Rangers fans as well. They are supposed to make a statement on a murder which has nothing whatsoever to do with them or any member in any capacity. They are responsible for Linfield arranging a flute band as half-time entertainment in a pre-season friendly! Utterly utterly pathetic. And all these factors are supposed to prove that Northern Ireland fans are incurable raging sectarian bigots.

    Reality check – there are sectarian bigots in all walks of life in Northern Ireland and they can be football fans as well. The vast majority of Northern Ireland fans have proved their will to self-police and help in the IFA’s football for all campaign time and time again.

  • Ziznivy

    “5/ The world is awash with “unofficial” sporting flags and gear. It’s a very difficult thing to police effectively. ”

    So are you seriously trying to say Realist that every club who has a football top bootlegged and sold at market shouldn’t necessarily be held responsible for all the actions of the criminal gang who bootlegged it or wear and when it is worn! >:-( Madness!

  • Realist

    Ziznivy,

    You know fine rightly that the anti Northern Ireland brigade like to clutch at straws nowadays.

    In this thread alone you’ve witnessed a home made video of Rangers & Linfield fans at Windsor Park being used as evidence of sectarian singing during a game at Old Trafford.

    That’s how sad the detractors and begrudgers have gotten.

    God, they hate “Football For All” and the progress that has been secured by it.

    The straws just don’t seem as easy to hold onto as they used to be!

  • Mike

    Realist –

    “In this thread alone you’ve witnessed a home made video of Rangers & Linfield fans at Windsor Park being used as evidence of sectarian singing during a game at Old Trafford.”

    Indeed. This sort of thing just shows the ridiculous lengths they have to go to to try and get some sort of ‘proof’ (!) for their own prejudice.

    You’re right, they despise the idea of Football for All and a cross-community NI team, and will do their best to denigrate it and stamp their fett and thcweam and thcweam that themmuns are all evil b!gots. Seems to be infinitely more comofrtable for them to believe that, and they’re desperate for others to believe it too.

  • Realist

    “Indeed. This sort of thing just shows the ridiculous lengths they have to go to to try and get some sort of ‘proof’ (!) for their own prejudice”

    Indeed Mike.

    Up there along with the “loyalist flute band” at the NI v England game – Er, that was the regimental band of the Irish Guards who had no flutes… and the reports of “Sammy McIlroy’s Protestant Army” chanting – er, that was “Sammy McIlroy’s Green & White Army”.

    Methinks the little game is near it’s end, when the detractors & begrudgers simply resort to “making it up”.

  • james

    n.i supporters putting up football flags with loyalist paramilitary flags is hardly progress, especially when they are accompanied by signs saying ‘kill all taigs’ & ‘all taigs are targets’.

    Many supporters seem happy to have the football team associated with the orange order and all the bigotry that goes along with it & loyalist paramilitary bands marching round bonfires with n.i football flags seems to support this.

    But at least they are being honest, and it perhaps explains why supporters insist on shouting ‘no surrender’ during the english anthem at Windsor.

  • Ziznivy

    1) As you very well know it is the anthem of the United Kingdom. No amount of wishy washy factless nationalist nonsense will make this any less so. No Surrender has been practically eradicated in any case.

    2) A large proportion of supporters on the thread mentioned (have you read it?) don’t wish the flags to be displayed as part of the 12th celebrations. Those that like to see the flag rationalise this by saying it is merely being displayed as a mark of pride in the team rather than connecting it with the Orange Order or loyalism. Whether you agree that this is possible or not it shows where the majority of fans’ heads are and it’s not in a place where they want their team to be synonymous with the Orange Order.

    Clearly the win against England has seen an explosion of interest in OWC. This means that some undesirable people will be interested in the team. That doesn’t reflect either the ethos of the IFA, nor does it belittle the massive achievements made by the hardcore fanbase since the Lennon debacle.

  • Realist

    “Many supporters seem happy to have the football team associated with the orange order”

    james,

    Would that be a majority view of Northern Ireland fans?

    Similarly, it would seem that many GAA fans are happy to have the organisation associated with militant republican extremists.

    Republican Paramilitary Flute Bands playing at GAA Clubs, and the naming of trophies in honour of dead members of sectarian murder gangs would seem to support this.

    Would that be the majority position of GAA fans?

    “But at least they are being honest, and it perhaps explains why supporters insist on shouting ‘no surrender’ during the english anthem at Windsor”

    Insert “a small minority of”, and make your observation more truthful.

    Oh, and the anthem you refer to is, of course, the national anthem of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland.

    Now, I would prefer something uniquely Northern Irish – but, for now, that’s what we’ve got.