Alternative money-spinner needed after Euro failures…

GORDON Brown has said he supports a one-off revival of the home internationals – reigning champions, Northern Ireland – after all the British teams crashed out of Euro 2008. One of the reasons the British Home Championships ended in 1984 was because of England’s desire to play ‘stronger’ teams – an excuse it no longer has. (…or maybe England is now regarded as so weak, we should just push for a Celtic Cup and get the Republic involved?!) The PM said: “I know every football fan in Britain was looking forward to a summer of football next year, so it’s very disappointing. I know some people have called for a one-off revival next year of the Home Internationals. That’s something for the football associations and clubs to consider. I would certainly enjoy that. I’ve got great memories from the 1960s and 70s. But that’s a decision for the football associations and the clubs.”

  • cut the bull

    I think a celtic cup is a good idea.
    Then what would the anglo saxons do?, play with themselves
    I believe looking at thier performances thats exactly what they have been doing too much of.

  • Valenciano

    They could at least spice it up a bit. The four Celtic countries plus two guest nations in two groups of three with the group winners meeting in the final which would alternate between the four countries. England could even be one of the guests.

  • Frank Sinistra

    As the main failings of all the teams is an inability to deal with European and World football at top or middle levels, surely a competition based on the British/Irish version of the game will only further weaken their ability to challenge?

    Playing English style football loses matches and guarantees limited progression in competitions for all the national teams. If any team wants to win this is exactly the wrong tactic to adopt. Less of playing with themselves more of playing against the teams that win or progress in competitions.

    The English Premiership teams that advance at European level don’t really have many Irish or British players.

    It’d be a backward step and just a competition for those that can’t adapt to the changes in soccer.

  • BonarLaw

    this could solve the Team GB football problem for 2012- the winner of the Home Championship in 2011 could represent the entire country at Olympic level without endangering their separate FIFA identities.

  • IJP

    No harm in a one-off, but I’m against such a competition becoming regular.

    It doesn’t solve the basic problem. The “home nations'” players play “British-style” football every week – then when they come up against continental skill levels and tactical systems they collapse.

    I say the more practice we get against the patient game and players who know how to keep the ball, the better. And we’ll not get that playing against each other.

  • Joey

    ‘The “home nations’” players play “British-style” football every week – then when they come up against continental skill levels and tactical systems they collapse’.

    Like against Sweden, Denmark and Spain? All have far more skilful players than Northern Ireland, reasonable leagues (with Spain’s one of the best in the world), and significantly greater numbers of players to draw on in their populations. That’s the only way Northern Ireland can play – the 9-1 formation – to achieve the excellent recent successes they have had, and it’s been a joy to see David (Healy) slay Goliath, else all football matches and results would be boringly predictable.

    I remember reading a terribly smug piece by a British football journalist this time last year who said: ‘There have been many calls for a Home Nations side to pool the “strength” of the United Kingdom players. I have my team ready, here it is: Robinson, Neville, Terry, Ferdinand, A. Cole, Beckham, Lampard, Gerard, J. Cole, Owen, Rooney’. Very clever, but I’m afraid the joke is on that sad wee chap now: the performance of Scotland and Northern Ireland in tougher groups puts the English complascent arrogancy to shame. It would be a fine one-off to try something like a mini-Home Nations tournament with perhaps the Republic joining.

  • We’re being spared a summer of football. Why ruin it with a home international?

    Maybe we can have something decent on the telly instead – or even get off those couches!

  • agh

    When would it be played – during the euroes – surely not. After the euroes, then it’s too close to the start of the premiership.

    For developing players it would do little or nothing, but it would be a great spectacle as a 1-off. The competitive nature of some of the games may put big name players and their managers/clubs off the idea. For example, the likes of rooney would be in for some ‘rough’ treatment.

    A Celtic cup would be more of a runner, although would it attract the crowds? Probably, as a 1-off it would.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    This is a great idea. Would be a good money spinner too for the associations. Maybe the RoI could join in if invited.

    Also the idea of a GB soccer team isn’t so bad after all, I suppose. At least it would increase the chances of the British being represented at international soccer tournaments. Don’t know why the UK football associations are so dead against it. Is it because England would dominate it (as they have all the money, with the preference of mainly English players in the team.

  • GOF, they’re against it in the olympics because they don’t want it made permanent. Or was it the permanent team you were talking about?

    5 Live were saying there was going to be an announcement today about a Celtic Cup being formed.

    They also pointed out that Northern Ireland have risen above the Republic again and are in the 3rd pot for the world cup draw.

    Our Wee Country
    San Marino

    That looks like a winnable group! COME ON!

  • Jim

    I think the delights of watching the Euro Championship should be the only focus next summer. Why detract from what will be a great competition.

  • agh

    Hmm, your group doesn;t really have many exciting fixtues to look forward to beano. Realistically, our chances of ever qualifying for a major tournament are pretty slim to none. I’d like to see 1 big side in the group – always makes the campaign more interesting. England would be perfect. 🙂

  • interested

    A Celtic Cup is hardly going to get stronger teams involved….. is Cyprus being invited or something?

  • nmc

    It sounds like a chance for the various national teams that didn’t make the cut to stop themselves siezing up over the summer. For that alone it’s probably a good idea, it would be some craic posting on here for an NI ROI match. On the other hand it’s just a minor distraction from the main event, and it would feel pretty wierd sitting down to watch a friendly international at the same time as Euro’08.

  • Valenciano

    “It doesn’t solve the basic problem. The “home nations’” players play “British-style” football every week – then when they come up against continental skill levels and tactical systems they collapse.”

    Which is exactly why my suggestion of a kind of “Celtic Open” with two guest teams would make sense. Two groups each containing a home country and a guest played in May/June in odd years as well as possibly in “disaster years” (ie when all four fail to qualify). Each team would then have one game against a home country and one against an international side, with the group winners having an additional game. First game on a Saturday, second game midweek and then the final at the weekend.

  • Boff

    A British or Celtic Nations tournament would be excellent as a one-off but EUFA wouldn’t allow it to be played at the same time as European Championships.

    Frank Sinistra, IJP

    Totally agree with your point that we should all be getting more exposure to the “patient game” and learning how to cope with it. The trouble is that we’ve had decades of playing other teams and we ain’t progressing. If you can’t beat ’em… give up occasionally and enjoy a bit of kick and rush.

  • Picard

    Nothing to be gained by it.

  • pith

    I’m a bit nostalgic for the old Home International championship. However I don’t think it would be the same thing in this day and age. I certainly wouldn’t like to see us give up our current champions status. If it’s money we are after we should be able to get a couple of sides better than England to play us.

  • DK

    The BBC article linked seems to suggest that the Celtic cup is quite likely:

    “Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will announce their participation in a new competition, called the Celtic Cup.

    The quartet would play fixtures in February and March with the conclusion to the competition coming in May.

    England have about a week to come to an agreement if they wish to take part.

    An FA spokesman said: “We have no firm plans in place at this stage and there have been no discussions over a Home International tournament.”

    The Celtic Cup remains subject to confirmation but it is likely to be played every two years”

    Maybe England could play the winner of the Celtic cup in a grand Anglo-Celtic winner-takes-all final

  • Oiliféar

    “Maybe England could play the winner of the Celtic Cup in a grand Anglo-Celtic winner-takes-all-final”

    – Now that would be a gas! I love the sound of it! Would really play up on the “support the other team”-ism towards England – even if it does sound like the celts have to fight for the change to play England. Would all depend on tone.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    This idea is essentially a series of meaningless friendlies.

    How about a real Celtic cup or whatever you want to call it competition. Replace all the meaningless domestic League Cups with a knockout club competition involving all league clubs in Britain and Ireland (premiership and top SPL clubs maybe joining in a later round like the FA Cup).

  • The Third Policeman

    There already is an Anglo-Celt cup DK, Tyrone lifted it this year. 😉

  • sportsman

    Luxembourgers are of Celtic origin. They could join in.

  • DK

    OK third Policeman – what the fuck are you on about? What English team was beaten by Tyrone in the final?

  • Prince Eoghan


    I reckon that you are putting forward a great idea, why no-one has recognised your brilliance is beyond me. Some of the complaints seem to be about staleness, well a bi-annual event played outwith world cup and EUFA championships, with guest spots for two nations would be ideal. Personally I wouldn’t want the English involved at all, it would take all the fun out of it. Two worthy teams off the top of my head could be Norway and Denmark.

  • agh

    Personally I wouldn’t want the English involved at all, it would take all the fun out of it.
    Posted by Prince Eoghan

    Is that just because you hate the english? With England in the comp, it becomes a viable money spinner. Sponsership will multiply exponentially, TV money increases, stadiums are packed and the media becomes interested. Without england, it will be the football equivalent of the magners league. Yes, it gives a few die hards something to shout about, but will fail to attract wider appeal. Why would anyone not want to see household names such as rooney, gerard and terry. No offence to the danes, but they are hardly household names!

  • The Spectator

    I wonder if some of the Commonwealth/Former Colony countries with Large English ex pat communities and footballers in Europe might not see some value in a similar tournament in England in off years.

    GROUP 1 Celts Group: NI, RoI, Wal, Sco
    GROUP 2 World Group: USA, Australia, Jamaica, Nigeria

    3 group matches plus “place final” (1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8) each.

    More realistically, perhaps, I’f often thought that if we can have a global and continental competition, we should consider -regional- ones as well on the off years – A Nordic Cup, A Black Sea Cup, A Celtic Cup, A North Sea Cup, A Baltic Cup, A Balkan Cup, an Alpine cup, etc etc – at least would add some flavour to the off years, and friendlies would mean something.

    I think UEFA has 53 members – if the minimum were 4 and the maximum six teams per cup, could it be divised?

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Personally I wouldn’t want the English involved at all, it would take all the fun out of it.
    Posted by Prince Eoghan

    Is that just because you hate the english?- agh-<

  • IJP


    I’m delighted NI beat Spain, Denmark and Sweden, not least since I have many friends in each of those countries!

    Nevertheless, Sweden and Spain actually qualified, and NI didn’t. And NI’s overall qualifying record post-Cold War is hardly impressive (and nor is Scotland’s or Wales’). So I’d say my point stands.


    Well, I too had said I wouldn’t mind a one-off. But to be frank, I wouldn’t be paying much attention to it, because I’ll be watching the real thing!

  • Tochais Síoraí


    Ulster Football Championship trophy is called the Anglo-Celt Cup – after the Cavan newspaper who I presume originally bought it.