“This is bad, unacceptable Government..”

The Belfast Telegraph has gotten hold of a leaked memo from the Finance Minister, the DUP’s Peter Robinson, which, contrary to the figure quoted in the official report, calculates the cost of a Maze stadium at £379m over the next seven years. The paper quotes the ministerial memo

And the memo, sent to ministers by Mr Robinson, added: “The case is unusual in that both accounting officers have concluded that a value for money case has not been demonstrated.”

And they have some political reaction – with Sinn Féin’s Paul Butler threatening to veto any alternative, again – and from the UUP

[UUP] deputy leader Danny Kennedy accused the First Ministers’ Office of ” a year of incompetence and indecision”, and pointed out his party has tabled a motion calling on Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness to set up a Maze Development Corporation along the lines of the Laganside Corporation. “The site at the Maze has been lying idle for years, while the First Minister’s Office has spent millions of pounds on consultations. This is bad, unacceptable Government and we need to see movement on the Maze,” he said.

, , , ,

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Willow

    There’s really no need to be calling names. It’s thuggish.

    “…it was a broadside against NI fans generally. “

    I would point out that in my first contribution I specifically said: “Sadly it now seems that the DUP are going to kowtow to a vocal MINORITY of NI soccer fans.”

    “And NI fans generally are opposed to the Maze not because it involves sharing with the GAA, but because of the location and the size of the stadium. “

    How can you state categorically that sectarianism doesn’t inform their opinions? You can only speak for Willowfield. Even then, no-one actually thinks they themselves are sectarian.

    “Your apparently sectarian mindset prevents you from acknowledging this – you prefer to focus on the minority who conform to your sectarian stereotype and deliberately give the impression that such views are representative.”

    But I have said all along that I was talking about a minority – as you have described them. Check my posts again and you’ll see that. Sorry, but I feel no shame – and frankly I find it distasteful to be told “shame on you” by an apologist for some of the worst excesses of NI fans.

    “You made an unjustified broadside attack, condemning NI fans as sectarian, based not on any evidence or truth, but on your prejudice against those fans based on their perceived political views.”

    I said a minority. You may have missed that part. Now that I’ve pointed it out, perhaps you’ll apologise for your viciousness towards me?

    “It shouldn’t have anything to do with football, but the Lisburn cabal, the Direct Rule government, and the Paisley-McGuinness Executive, have linked the shrine with the stadium, hence its relevance to football supporters and other sports fans. And regardless, no doubt you will be aware that football fans do not exist in a vacuum: they live and function in wider society and consequently have views and opinions that relate to things other than football.“

    You seem to be suggesting that NI fans can be assumed to be a sort of sporting branch of the unionist community – something which, if I were to suggest it, would undoubtedly provoke more viciousness from you.

    “They have (made efforts to build alliances with other sports).”

    Enlighten me. Have they made overtures to the GAA?

    “Their strategy has been to scotch the Maze first and then talk about alternatives when the Maze is killed off.”

    If so, that’s a really stupid strategy.

    “So you’re suggesting that seating would be removed and replaced by terracing for GAA games? That doesn’t sound very practical. It also sounds expensive.”

    It’s simple. You build a terrace, designed so that you can fit removable seats on it. You put the seats in and take them out as required, as they do with Hill 16 in Croker and as they did for many years at Lansdowne. (You know the way Lansdowne held 33k for soccer and 49k for rugby?) And no, it’s actually rather cheap and very easily done. It could allow for a much bigger capacity for GAA and rugby – though perhaps the all-seated capacity would have to rise to about 28k to allow a 40k GAA capacity.

    You are still coming across as resistant to the idea, even though I’m presenting you with a solution to what you have raised as a problem. Why are you being so resistant, and even acting stupid? (A tactic I recognise from the big Willow-digs-in-the-heels playbook.)

  • oneill

    Billy Pilgrim,

    From your very first post on this thread:

    Give the OWC crowd something to think about on their way over to Ibrox for their “home” games. Maybe that would shock them out of their breathtaking arrogance, and it might eventually dawn on them that any new stadium would not be theirs to be excluding anyone from.

    The “OWC crowd” are who exactly in your book?
    A “minority” of NI fans or the entire Northern Irish support?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    O’Neill

    “The “OWC crowd” are who exactly in your book?
    A “minority” of NI fans or the entire Northern Irish support?”

    I was thinking specifically of most of the guys over on the OWC website, who have some of the most hair-raising views on the GAA I’ve ever come across. But I suppose I was responding more generally to what I see as the breathtaking arrogance of the self-appointed spokesmen of the NI support, who seem to think they can demand everything they want, even if they render the stadium unusable to the GAA.

    I can’t help but point out that I don’t think they’d treat the rugby crowd so disrespectfully – indeed as Willow has opaquely suggested (at least I think he has), there have been attempts to build an alliance with rugby. However there have been no such overtures towards the GAA.

    I can’t help wondering why that would be the case – though the strongly loyalist reputation of NI fans would seem to provide one possible answer.

    I’ve repeatedly said I’m talking about a minority of soccer fans here. However, this minority does seem to shout loudest.

  • oneill

    Billy Pilgrim,

    I was thinking specifically of most of the guys over on the OWC website, who have some of the most hair-raising views on the GAA I’ve ever come across.

    Well, that’s the problem all over with you on this thread Billy. That wasn’t specified in your first comment, it would be all Northern Ireland fans who would have been inconvenienced. Secondly, if you did indeed read OWC regularly you’d see there is a wide selection of views displayed, eg the core of the guys (like Realist) who are behind FFA are also regulars on there. Some ( and I speak as someone who has watched 4 GAA games in the last couple of years,albeit not in Ulster)indeed have “hair-raising” views on the GAA, but, again, you are doing the majority a disservice by claiming that it is most with such views.

    But I suppose I was responding more generally to what I see as the breathtaking arrogance of the self-appointed spokesmen of the NI support, who seem to think they can demand everything they want, even if they render the stadium unusable to the GAA.

    We, they and anyone else interested in the matter are allowed to express an opinion, people can decide whether to listen or agree to it or not. It is not our fault that we have been better organised in this matter.

    However there have been no such overtures towards the GAA.

    I don’t know that for sure, do you?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    O’Neill

    “That wasn’t specified in your first comment, it would be all Northern Ireland fans who would have been inconvenienced.”

    I did refer to the “OWC crowd”, though I can see that I didn’t make myself as clear as I might have.

    “…but, again, you are doing the majority a disservice by claiming that it is most with such views.”

    To be honest, I’m passed my point of tolerance with seeing issues kicked into touch with platitudes about how decent “the majority” are. It looks like we’re not going to get a shared stadium, and the reason for this is a tiny minority of soccer fans.

    “I don’t know that for sure, do you?”

    In the absence of any evidence to the contrary I must assume there hasn’t been any overtures from the NI supporters lobby towards the GAA. I imagine had there been, we would’ve heard about it.

    (By the way, I don’t necessarily mean back-channel stuff. I just mean even to once hear a spokesman acknowledge the need to accommodate the GAA.)

    But my original point stands. If soccer fans are allowed to scupper the new stadium, I sincerely hope they are not rewarded.

  • willowfield

    BILLY PILGRIM

    I would point out that in my first contribution I specifically said: “Sadly it now seems that the DUP are going to kowtow to a vocal MINORITY of NI soccer fans.”

    By whom you actually meant the vast majority of NI fans, since the vocal opposition had and has the backing of the vast majority (you elected to describe them as a “vocal minority” in order to avoid or deny the fact that they represent the majority). Later, for example, you actually explained that the “minority” referred to NI supporters in the context of all football supporters in NI.

    You were caught out with your sectarian broadside and are trying to squirm your way out. You’re also squirming in response to Oneill pointing out your references to the OWC crowd.

    If you were only annoyed by a minority, how come you want the majority to “suffer” (as you put it)?

    How can you state categorically that sectarianism doesn’t inform their opinions?

    Where’s your evidence that it does? I know from my experience of being involved in football supporters’ groups and belonging to online communities that NI fans generally are opposed to the Maze not because it involves sharing with the GAA, but because of the location and the size of the stadium. You have no evidence. Your assumption is the result of your prejudices and nothing more.

    You can only speak for Willowfield.

    And you can only speak for Billy Pilgrim – yet you attribute sectarian motives to others without any evidence.

    Sorry, but I feel no shame – and frankly I find it distasteful to be told “shame on you” by an apologist for some of the worst excesses of NI fans.

    Are you BILLY LIAR writing under BILLY PILGRIM’s name? Please retract your accusation that I am an apologist for for some of the worst excesses of NI fans. That is a scandalous, unfounded lie. Your behaviour on this thread is shameful.

    You seem to be suggesting that NI fans can be assumed to be a sort of sporting branch of the unionist community – something which, if I were to suggest it, would undoubtedly provoke more viciousness from you.

    I made no such suggestion.

    Enlighten me. Have they made overtures to the GAA?

    To GAA supporters, yes.

    It’s simple. You build a terrace, designed so that you can fit removable seats on it. You put the seats in and take them out as required, as they do with Hill 16 in Croker and as they did for many years at Lansdowne. (You know the way Lansdowne held 33k for soccer and 49k for rugby?) And no, it’s actually rather cheap and very easily done. It could allow for a much bigger capacity for GAA and rugby – though perhaps the all-seated capacity would have to rise to about 28k to allow a 40k GAA capacity.

    I suggest you send your ideas off to DCAL and the SIB.

  • Billy

    Willowfield

    Billy Pilgrim can speak for himself, I don’t use any other names.

    I see, as usual, that you respond to my comment with your typical crying whinge and don’t address the points.

    As a matter of fact, I don’t care one way or the other if a stadium gets built at the Maze or about a CTC.

    I do care about the IFA being prevented from repeating the abuses of the past – a deal with Linfield to play NI matches at WP for decades ahead! No normal business would make such a commitment. Of course, as we all know, this decision wasn’t motivated by purely business reasons.

    What WON’T be allowed to happen is for the GAA to be shafted and I totally stand with both the SDLP and Sinn Fein on that.

    If the money is allocated to each individual sport then it should be based on the amount of supporters that each sport brings to the table – a clear win for the GAA there.

    If they ever do agree to a shared stadium, then it must be built on “neutral” territory – not somewhere that suits Unionists or OWC. I regret the necessity for that but it is the reality of life in NI even today.

    The bottom line is that the IFA will NOT be allowed to walk over the GAA, the days of croppy lie down are long gone.

    Unionists and OWC may have the power to prevent the new stadium being built at the Maze. As I said, I don’t really care one way or the other about that.

    However, Nationalists have the power to ensure that either the GAA get a fair deal or there is total stalemate.

    Given the deteriorating state of WP, the IFA and OWC would be the clear losers there.

    Whether you admit it or not, there is a strong element among OWC who just don’t want to share a stadium with the GAA (or Fenians if you’re honest).

    The bottom line is that there will either be a shared stadium solution that suits the GAA as much as OWC or, if it is individually distributed, the GAA will get their fair share.

    I don’t care which. However much an element of OWC don’t like it, they are NOT calling the shots here.

    They can either reach an agreement with the GAA + Rugby or they’ll get nothing.

    If they don’t like it, that’s tough.

  • willowfield

    BILLY LIAR and BILLY PILGRIM – are they one and the same person?

    BILLY LIAR (what job is he doing today?) gets ignored until such time as he retracts his lies:

    1. He said that the IFA had only made strides against sectarianism “because the publicity they got from the Neil Lennon death threat forced them to do so”. Yet it was pointed out to him several times that the IFA’s anti-sectarian campaign had begun many years before said death threat.

    2. He said that “In a match prior to the death threat, Neil Lennon had endured a torrid 90 minutes where his every touch was booed by the majority of NI fans”. Yet in reality only a minority booed him and the majority was horrified. He failed to mention that Lennon was roundly cheered by the vast majority of fans at the next match.

    3. He also said that the IFA “said nothing” about the booing of Lennon. Yet they condemned it, held a press conference about it and introduced a code of conduct as a result.

    He also made personal accusations against myself:

    (a) claiming that I denied “that Windsor was ever a cold house for Catholics” (I have never denied this);
    (b) claiming that I denied “that Linfield didn’t sign Catholics for many years” (again, I have never denied this); and
    (c) claiming that I “think [I] can deny the anti-Catholic sectarianism that blighted NI football for decades” and that I “try to portray that everything is perfect now” (totally untrue).

    Billy Liar was unable to back up these personal allegations, yet refused to retract them.

  • Bill Pilgrim,

    “What am ambiguous statement! You make it sound as though bigotry is something you have heard of, but never actually seen!”

    And you make it sound that bigotry is something exclusive to unionists.

    ”But that’s simply not the case Chekov. I indentify sectarianism only where I see it, and with the vast majority of unionists I debate with, I feel no need to accuse them of sectarianism. If I identify sectarianism in you, it’s because I have rarely found anything else in your contributions. That’s hardly my fault. If the quality of your contributions were to improve, you would find me most willing to engage with you.”

    And where you identify bigotry is wherever unionists launch an argument which you do not agree with. In the case of the Maze, despite the fact that you actually favour a Belfast stadium yourself (!!), you have decided to ignore a myriad of arguments offered by unionists and by Northern Ireland supporters whom you have chosen to characterise as uniformly unionist and instead impute a sectarian motive to their objections, i.e. that they do not wish to share a stadium with the GAA or with ‘fenians’ (your choice of phrase). That is not identifying sectarianism where you find it. That is implying sectarianism where you want to find it. That is projecting your prejudiced notions on a whole range of people (not just me).

    As for Billy Liar’s post and evoking the phrase
    ‘croppy lie down’, it simply speaks for itself. How thoroughly, indescribably pathetic.

  • raven hill

    Somebody’s got up in a bad mood this morning,eh Willowfield?

    As you’ve already said you don’t support Rangers, you must have a sore head after celebrating Celtic’s title success last night,

    It’s a funnly old game….

  • Aye. Because if you’re not a Rangers supporter you’d necessarily be a Celtic supporter! FFS!

  • “you don’t support Rangers, you must have a sore head after celebrating Celtic’s title success last night”

    What is it with people in this country that they think the world revolves around the cesspool of tedium that is the Scottish football, or specifically the old firm? Plenty of us couldn’t give a shite, especially those more interested in how our local teams are doing.

    Billy, I think when removable seating was discussed a year or two back on OWC someone pointed out that it broke UEFA/FIFA regulations (I’m not 100% sure TBH) and that Lansdowne Rd had a temporary exemption until it was redeveloped. If I’m incorrect and FIFA/UEFA have no problem with it the idea’s fine by me.

    Once again though (if my memory’s correct) I’d just highlight that someone was looking for solutions to the problems in the first place and not just throwing problems up for the sake of avoiding sharing with the GAA.

  • raven hill

    oh dear, hit a raw nerve there,didn’t we, Chekov?.

    Congrats to the Celts for three in a row.

    As for Rangers, just desserts following the disgraceful behaviour of their fans in Manchester last week.

  • See Beano’s post above.

  • raven hill

    I’m sure you lads would be the first to congratulate former Northern Ireland legend and crowd favourite, Neil Lennon, in helping the Celts to the title in his new role on the coaching staff.

    You just can’t keep a good man down.

  • gram

    The laughable thing is the anti-maze NI crowd can’t even convince their chief executive of the case for a different location.

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/article3558211.ece

    Maybe they should be lobbying internally in order to develop a more coherent and consistent case.

  • oneill

    Beano

    If I’m incorrect and FIFA/UEFA have no problem with it the idea’s fine by me

    You’re not wrong, FIFA/UEFA does have a problem with it. However, in Germany, several of the bigger city clubs (eg Borussia Dortmund and Hamburg) have controlled standing sections at normal league matches which are then reconfigured for Uefa club matches and competitive internationals. In Dortmund they have two tiers; in the upper tier they release seats which are built into the crash barriers and in the lower part bolt in removable banks of seats.

  • barnshee

    Rugby is going ahead with redevelopment at Ravenhill- http://www.ulsterrugby.ie/6854_6855.php
    They will be able to raise the £4m via sponsorship and loans

    The shared stadium is a beaten docket

  • Barnshee, rugby was always going to continue that development regardless of what happened at the Maze.

    O’Neill, I’m not clear on what you’re saying. Are either of those solutions viable for international football? (I suspect not, but just to clarify…)

  • jaffa

    Beano,

    Interested in why you find Scottish football so tedious. Is it the dominance at the top of the table, this split table thing which seems to aggravate that, or the fact that with only 12 teams everyone’s playing everyone else four times?

    Or all of the above.

    Related questions which have been distracting me.

    Suppose we kicked off an all-Ireland league with 16 teams with the top 4 IFA teams joining the Irish league. Population/potential attendancewise that seems about right as 16*1.7/6 = a bit more than 4 1/2 and NI already has Derry City.

    That’d be Distillery, Linfield, Glentoran and Cliftonville joining/merging with the Eircom premiership.

    What do you think that would do for ground attendance at “our” clubs. I suppose that’s a question of the support base of the Eircom league vs the support base of our current “bottom” 8?

    What would it do for TV receipts?

    And what would that do it turn for stadia?

    And would any of this potentially make this Maze question obsolete?

  • oneill

    O’Neill, I’m not clear on what you’re saying. Are either of those solutions viable for international football? (I suspect not, but just to clarify…)

    Sorry, my orignal was a bit confusing.

    For UEFA/FIFA approved games all spectators theoretically must be sitting, but whether on permament or retractable seats, it doesn’t matter. Dortmund’s ground in its present format has been used for a UEFA cup final, international games and the World Cup in 2006.

  • raven hill

    No sign of any congrats to NI folk hero, Neil Lennon, yet. Quelle surprise.

  • willowfield

    Suppose we kicked off an all-Ireland league with 16 teams with the top 4 IFA teams joining the Irish league.

    The IFA teams are already in the Irish League.

    What do you think that would do for ground attendance at “our” clubs.

    Those included in the all-Ireland league would have increased attendances. Those excluded would have dramatically reduced attendances.

    What would it do for TV receipts?

    Would depend on whether and what TV deal was negotiated. Probably increase TV receipts for
    those included and remove all TV coverage from those excluded.

    And what would that do it turn for stadia?

    Nothing immediately, although revenue would increased for those included which could be spent on stadia. For those excluded, revenue would dramatically reduce and stadia would probably deteriorate.

    And would any of this potentially make this Maze question obsolete?

    No (although it probably already is obsolete).

  • jaffa

    Thanks Willowfield.

    I’m not sure though why a 16 team “all-Irish” league wouldn’t potentially make the question obsolete. We need a good quality 20-30,000 seat stadium for association football. If we have that the question goes away. Rugby can always use Landsdowne (and Rugby fans would probably prefer this), GAA have access to a variety of grounds in Ulster and Dublin.

    Sharing’s nice but if we try to apply it in the wrong place we twist our decision making to the point that reasonable people become resentful of each other.

    There are (I think) 116 “national” teams in the England & Wales leagues from the premiership down to the national football conference. Sharing revenue between 16 Irish teams should/could be like averaging out England and Wales revenues across all their national teams, from Arsenal to Altrincham.

    In English terms in that scenario there might not be so many Emirates but there would be a fair few lovely modern Falkirk (oops – Scottish example) style places.

    So we might hope to see substantial privately funded “organic” investment at the Oval, Solitude, Windsor Park and Ballyskeagh with one or more potentially developing the decent 20,000-30,000 all-seater we need for NI internationals.

    Side-track. Ballyskeagh. There’s a ground you can walk to from Botanic (or could if you could cross the M1) down the Malone Road. It’s surrounded by fields. The potential pitch is already overlength as it has a running track around it. 10K closer to town and a stone’s throw from Casement. How about an Antrim/Distillery groundshare if we want to see a positive case for a GAA/football combo?

  • Ahem

    Just to say thanks again to all the knowledgeable NI football fans who have expertly exposed Billy Pilgrim’s tedious, bitter sectarianism. All the more disreputable coming from the poster on Slugger more prone, as he loses argument after argument, to laughably smear others as being sectarian. An excellent thread.

  • Democratic

    Congratulations to Neil Lennon on Celtic winning the Scottish Premiership yesterday – no problem there Raven Hill – any chance you’ll do one off to an appropriate thread now instead of boring everyone with complete tangential irrelevancies surrounding what amounts to Republicans beating Loyalists in some very poor Scottish football league……..

  • raven hill

    Good man, Democratic-It was a bit like pulling teeth but fair play to you for breaking the mould. The silence of your fellow posters speaks volumes, however.
    As to being a tangenital irrelevancy, I beg to differ.The reason why NI fans are afraid to move to a 38,000 capacity stadium is because you know they would struggle to get the place half filled, primarily because of the ongoing sectarian outlook of NI fans exemplified by the treatment of Lennon and continuing up to the present time through the loud chanting of the sectarian ‘no surrender’ chant during GSTQ.

    Now hurry off back to your Thesaurus to lift some further verbose whaffle to make you feel smug rather than address the above unpalatable facts.

  • Democratic

    “The reason why NI fans are afraid to move to a 38,000 capacity stadium is because you know they would struggle to get the place half filled, primarily because of the ongoing sectarian outlook of NI fans…..”
    Yes Raven Hill the first part of this statement is quite true and is very much one of the viable reasons NI fans don’t want the Maze (and incidently why people like you and your ilk on this thread do in my opinion as they believe it would spell the end for the Northern Ireland team)The second half of your post about Neil Lennon again is quite simply like I said before irrelevant….Yeah Northern Ireland supporters don’t want the Maze because of the Neil Lennon debacle….as shameful as that incident was – it has do clout in this debate about the best interests of a Football/Gaelic/Rugby shared stadium.

  • Democratic

    Incidently Raven Hill – the “No Surrender (to the IRA” sentiment during GSTQ is not something I approve of and have said so many times – however in my opinion it contains no more “sectarianism” than Celtic supporters singing the like of “Boys of the Old Brigade” or shouting “Sinn Fein/IRA” during the Fields of Athenry – something to ponder perhaps……

  • jaffa

    I want to test this ground sharing thing a bit more.

    If Distillery did become an all-Ireland premiership side and wanted a bigger ground and a move closer to the ancestral home they might conceivably consider a groundshare up the road with Antrim GAA.

    Would the GAA/west Belfast welcome this? Would we have support for the new local all-Ireland club. For those (like raven hill) that need an overt political content to their sporting allegiance, even if Distillery was a bit too non-aligned for them they would have the prospect of at least 10 previously FAI clubs coming to visit each year.

    If so this would give us Solitude (once Ireland’s ground), Casement, the Oval (or its successor) Windsor and Ravenhill as our key Belfast stadia with at least one GAA/soccer share. One would be bound to grow to the NI team requirement.

    Incidentally, what was Paul Maskey on about last night? Has he looked at the criteria the FAI applied when the set up the premier league. Has he noted that while the FAI allocated only 30% of the score to results the IFA allocated 33%? If anything the IFA gave greater weight to Donegal Celtic’s points performance than the FAI would have.

    Maybe the IFA should have engaged the FAI as their independent assessor. That would have been fun.

  • willowfield

    Jaffa

    The GAA bans in its constitution “planter sports” from using its property, so the Whites sharing Casement is a no-no for them.

  • raven hill

    Yeah Democratic,
    a predictable bit of whataboutery from you.As for Jaffa’s comment about those who need overt political content within their sport, is he referring to the ‘No Surrender’ chanting cretins at Windsor? No? thought not..

  • jaffa

    Willowfield,

    I guess that’s what needs testing.

    Raven Hill

    You’re right. I was referring to you. We’re talking about GAA/soccer ground sharing. I’ve just suggested an all-Ireland soccer league and placing one of its teams in a GAA ground share, giving west Belfast a local all-Ireland team and maybe driving a bit of sharing and non-sectarianism into northern Irish football.

    Why does that upset you.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Could a moderator please remove Ahem’s blatant ad hominem attack (12.02) on me?

    Is there any sort of virtual equivalent of a restraining order that I can have applied to Ahem? He seems to have a psychotic vendetta against me, though we have never even engaged in an actual debate with each other. I find it quite sinister.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Willow

    “The GAA bans in its constitution “planter sports” from using its property, so the Whites sharing Casement is a no-no for them.”

    You have put “planter sports” inside inverted commas, implying a direct quotation. Could you please provide a link to where the GAA has a rule banning “planter sports”?

    Are you sure you don’t mean “games not controlled by the Association”?

  • willowfield

    Others find your first few postings on this thread to be quite sinister.

  • willowfield

    The quotation marks indicate a phrase attributed to others and which I would not ordinarily use.

  • Ahem

    Can I have Billy’s absurd attack on me soundly laughed at? He’s the *first* poster to smear other posters as being sectarian, despite being amongst the most sectarian posters on this site, being absolutely unwilling to engage with Unionists with anything like good faith. And, for which I once again give thinks, poster after well informed NI football-fan poster on this thread has once again amply demonstrated this unpleasant fact. Mote. Beam. Eyes. Yours.

    Oh, and your hysterical, personalised hyperventilating, pace ‘psychotic’ & ‘sinister’ are, of course, just what we can expect from Slugger’s most risibly super-sensitive poster. Only you Billy could whine and berate the language of others while in the very same post engaging in baroque, self-deluding pomposity of such a high order. Please, please keep coming back to Slugger: simply no one else manages to be quite so unwittingly entertaining.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Willow

    “You have no evidence. Your assumption is the result of your prejudices and nothing more.”

    There is no evidence that sectarianism exists among NI soccer fans? Are you fucking kidding me? I’m not saying every NI soccer fan, or even a majority is a bigot. (I have no way of knowing, but I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt.) Nor am I not saying that being an NI fan necessarily makes you a bigot, but yes, of course bigotry is something that exists among NI soccer fans. How on earth could it not, in a society like this? My acknowledgment of this fact is not “prejudice” – “an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge” (Merriam Webster dictionary). It’s post-judice. The behaviour of many, many NI fans over several decades could be argued as “just grounds” or represent “sufficient knowledge” to form an “adverse opinion” of NI supporters. But I’m not even saying that. I have consistently referred to “a minority”.

    But let’s move on. Clearly we’re not going to get anywhere with this. The rest of your post isn’t worth replying to.

    No, Billy and Billy Pilgrim are not the same person. I have only ever posted under one name here.

    “To GAA supporters, yes.”

    I’d be interested to hear more detail. Please, go on.

    Chekov

    “And you make it sound that bigotry is something exclusive to unionists.”

    Sorry, but that’s just total nonsense. Here, in case you’ve missed all the thousands of times I’ve made this point before: bigotry exists within the nationalist community, and it’s a big problem.

    “And where you identify bigotry is wherever unionists launch an argument which you do not agree with.”

    Again, total nonsense. Do a Google search of “Billy Pilgrim” and “Slugger O’Toole”. I’ve had many, many fruitful debates with hundreds of unionists over the years. You can read through some of them if you want. However, I’ve never had a useful debate with you. Maybe you could provide a link to some of the fruitful debates you have had with nationalists?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Ahem

    Are you interested in engaging in debate or just in personally attacking me? Because there are rules against ad hominem attacks on this site – again, I would ask a moderator to enforce those rules.

    Willow

    I’ll dismiss your last post as something typed in the heat of the moment.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    That’s your No 11 by the way. As for your No 12:

    “The quotation marks indicate a phrase attributed to others and which I would not ordinarily use.”

    Could you provide a source for the quote? And could you acknowledge that the “quote” doesn’t come from the GAA? (The implication in your post, whether intentional or not, was that it was attributable to the GAA themselves, when in fact the GAA would roundly condemn such nomenclature.)

  • willowfield

    Billy Pilgrim

    There is no evidence that sectarianism exists among NI soccer fans?

    Another straw man. Your increasingly-desperate resort to straw men isn’t fooling anyone. No-one has claimed that there is no evidence that sectarianism exists among NI soccer fans. Stick to the topic, please.

    My acknowledgment of this fact is not “prejudice”

    You’re not acknowledging any fact: you’re making an assertion – with no evidence – that the reason why NI fans are opposed to the Maze is because of sectarianism (opposition to sharing with the GAA and “not wanting a “Fenian” about the place). That assertion is the result of your prejudice.

    Could you provide a source for the quote?

    It’s not a quotation.

  • Ahem

    Billy, before you become still more of a self-parody, *you* least of all can drone on about ad hominen attacks when you are the site’s guiltiest repeat offender (pace ‘psychotic’, ‘psychotic’, et-tedious-cetera).

    Go away and think why poster after poster on this thread has pointed out your blatant, smearing sectarianism. And when you’ve gone away and thought about it, and self-righteously concluded that it’s all due to their evil, predictable, innate, ineradicable, original sinned-Unionist sectarianism that you’ve been accused thus, have a good long hard look at yourself.

    Nationalist posters and Unionist posters in their dozens on this site can engage with one another in good faith, and not attribute the arguments of others to base, sectarian motives. Sadly you can’t, as post after post on this thread has had to point out to you. Seriously, you’d a much happier fellow if you tried being a marginally less bitter one. Sectarianism, like most hatreds, hurts the hater worst.

    Otherwise, by all means keep going in your usual canting vein – you really are the best fun to be had on a gray Friday afternoon.

  • jaffa

    Another point re groundsharing!

    This one on relative pitch size.

    I will go on..and on..

    Anyone know how wide the athletic track is at New Grosvenor? Is it wider than the difference between the width of a GAA and a soccer pitch?

    http://blue.srv2.com/~lisburn/Pix%20-%20New%20Grosvenor%20-%20aerial%20shot%20Permission%20to%20LD%20net.jpg

    Lot’s of football grounds have a ring around their pitch.

    Including at least one smart national stadium;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laugardalsvöllur

  • jaffa

    Stupid slugger does seem to let you post links with funny accents in.

    Stick this in wikipedia.

    Laugardalsvöllur

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Mods

    Please, could someone do something about this guy? (Ahem)

    Willow

    Right. Very bored now. Let’s move on.

    “It’s not a quotation.”

    Then why did you put it in quotation marks?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Jaffa

    Looks like a very good stadium. I really don’t think that pitch size is an insurmountable problem at all. In fact I don’t think there are any problems with ground-sharing that couldn’t be sorted out.

    Have you any suggestions (and I throw this out to Willow, Realist, Chekov, even Ahem) as to possible sites in Belfast that could be used by all three sports (and by both communities safely?)

    Ormeau Park might be a possibility, though there would be concerns about the safety of GAA fans around Annadale/Lower Ravenhill. I think a better possibility – though it’s one I haven’t seen suggested anywhere, so perhaps there are very good reasons why not – might be Musgrave Park. It’s a park that is totally underused and I’m not sure that it’d be greatly missed in the area. It’s right beside the motorway (so provides a quick getaway for fans from outside the city), right beside Balmoral railway station, a short distance from Windsor and an even shorter distance from Casement. It’s a short walk from the Lisburn and Andersonstown Roads – and indeed Boucher Road, with all its thousands of car parking spaces. There aren’t that many local residents to inconvenience (the people of Stockman’s Lane – how many would that be, maybe a couple of hundred?) It’s an area that (I think, though I could be forgetting some salient detail) would be safe for soccer, rugby or GAA fans to congregate in.

    There are probably good reasons why it hasn’t been suggested before now, but it seems like a reasonable site.

  • willowfield

    Billy Pilgrim

    Right. Very bored now. Let’s move on.

    We got bored a long time ago of your sectarian broadsides, your disingenuous attempts to squirm you way out of them, and your straw men.

    Then why did you put it in quotation marks?

    Post 12 might assist you.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Willow

    “Post 12 might assist you.”

    Sorry, I’m still none the wiser. Indulge me. I must be thick or something.

    In post 12, you said: “The quotation marks indicate a phrase attributed to others and which I would not ordinarily use.”

    Okay. If it’s not a quote, we’ll go with your description: it’s an attribution. To whom were you attributing the phrase “planter sports”?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Incidentally, I totally reject your allegation that I have been guilty of “sectarian broadsides” or anything else.

    Since we agree that this has long since become boring, I think we should move on.

  • willowfield

    To those who have traditionally used the phrase, Billy: typically rather strident nationalists within the GAA or supportive of the GAA.

    Haven’t you heard the phrase before, Billy?

  • willowfield

    Incidentally, I totally reject your allegation that I have been guilty of “sectarian broadsides” or anything else.

    Well I’m afraid that’s a bit silly, Billy, because they are now published on the internet for all to read!

    The horse has bolted, Billy, and your disingenuous attempts to shut the stable door were pointless. Indeed, they only exposed your prejudice even further.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Willow

    “To those who have traditionally used the phrase, Billy: typically rather strident nationalists within the GAA or supportive of the GAA. Haven’t you heard the phrase before, Billy?”

    Honestly, no. In more than twenty years as a GAA member, I have heard verious GAA members say various things or varying degrees of justifiability, but I have never once heard another GAA member use that phrase.

    I have however heard it used often by people who hate the GAA, to describe what they think GAA people think.

    But since I have honestly never heard another GAA member use that phrase, I’d have to reject your suggestion that it has been “traditionally used”.

    As for the rest, yes, our posts are here for all to see. People can make their own judgements. You, Chekov and Ahem have condemned me, as is your right. Others such as Beano and Jaffa have engaged in meaningful debate with me, for which I thank them. Some posters have been good enough to defend me from your accusations, and I thank them too. So, since everyone’s position is clear, can we leave it at that?

    Please, since I know you’ll have to have the last word, just say yes.

    What do you think of the Musgrave Park idea?

  • Ahem

    How characteristically weird, given your pedantic quote-mark-related quibbling with Willowfield, to see you invent a remark – ‘”sectarian broadsides”‘ then attribute said invention to someone else in quotation marks. Truly, no other poster on this site comes anywhere close to your heroic lack of self-awareness.

    As far as your blatant and persistent sectarianism goes, doubtless were it simply one poster pointing it to you, you could of course ignore it. That after all would, seemingly, be the approach of a lifetime for you. As it is, poster after poster on this thread had amply illustrated the sectarian malice with which you have approached the specific topic of the thread. I fully agree with you that your sectarianism is boring, I still think it’s a pity though, and always hope for one less prodigal bigot on Slugger. Let go of the hate – you really will be a better person for it.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Mods

    Please do something about Ahem. This just isn’t funny.

  • Ahem

    Dear God, the posters, he intones, who agree with him have engaged in ‘meaningful debate’, unlike those of us who are just too bored for words of his griping sectarianism. That clinches it – nobody could be so lacking in self-awareness as to be so astonishingly pompous. This is thus clearly a Unionist wide-up, but by whom? The dark sage of Limavady is my bet.

  • willowfield

    Billy, you’ve been exposed on this thread and there’s no getting away from it. An intemperate rant, based on sectarian prejudice – click “submit” – and that’s it: saved for posterity. There for all to read.

    On the other point, would “garrison games” be a phrase with which you’re familiar?

  • Ahem

    Mods, please don’t do something about would-be Slugger Censor-in-chief Billy: he *is* funny. Sectarian too, obviously, but hilarious nonetheless.

    Presumably for your next trick you’ll affect to believe people are calling for you to be censored (presumably because of their evil, supped with their mothers’ milk, Unionist bigotry) and be outraged by that? It would be the par for the space cadetish course.

  • Paul

    Billy,

    I also think the Musgrave Park site has potential, for all the same reasons.

    The only drawback would be car parking and egress from the motorway.
    The Musgrave siet just won’t be able to accommodate the car parking required.

    Most users of a new stadium will be gaelic football fans, predominaantly coming from the south and south west of uslter.

    The absence of any meaningful public transport in these areas dictates that most of these fans will travel by car.

    The current exit at stockmans Lane is not designed to take cars from the M1 and get them parked as quickly as possible.

    It would always have to facilitate other, non-stadium traffic on match days.

    This is where the Maze has the advantage – a new slipway, engineered with the sole purpose of getting stadium trafic parked, would be far more effective.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Willow

    So I suppose the answer to my question is, no, we can’t just move on.

    I tell you what. We’ve bored everyone else long enough. I’m happy to continue our debate via email. Email me and demonstrate my “imtemperate rant based on sectarian prejudice”. But let’s spare the other Sluggerites further boredom.

    “On the other point, would “garrison games” be a phrase with which you’re familiar?”

    Again, never heard anyone actually use that phrase, other than media commentators and people who hate the GAA. “Foreign games” is a phrase I’ve often heard, all right.

    But you didn’t answer my question: to whom were you attributing the phrase “planter games”?

    And what about that Musgrave Park idea?

  • jaffa

    “On the other point, would “garrison games” be a phrase with which you’re familiar?”

    We’re all familiar with it from c19 Irish history.

    The question is whether it’s a phrase in common parlance today. To my recollection I’ve seen it written a few times but never heard it used – except maybe by people attacking the GAA.

    I had a long conversation today with a good friend who’s a Blues (Linfield) supporter (enough to have bits of himself coloured in with Blues iconography).

    You could not find a sectarian bone in this guy and I believe he reflects the modern club (ie the only one that exists outside memory/imagination)
    absolutely entirely.

    There is more sectarianism in Scottish football than northern Irish (even if we export some!) and that’s just that.

    So that’s me on the fence!

    Ahem,

    “agree with him have engaged in ‘meaningful debate’, unlike those of us who are just too bored for words of his griping sectarianism”

    How does pointing out that inter-club collaboration, in a better financed sporting environment, to give us four or five solvent right-sized grounds rather than a no-man’s-land constitute agreement, or even disagreement, with anything?

    Or is the absence of attack around here agreement?

    You’re not an undergraduate lawyer on 24 hour argument patrol are you?

  • circles

    This ‘Ahem’ character really is a rather odious, cowardly bully.

    Billy, if I were you, I would leave him and the ‘Copy and Paste’ pedant, Willowfield, to mutually arse-lick each other over the Bank Holiday weekend. Clearly they have nothing better to do. No wonder their beloved NI team can’t half-fill a decent-sized stadium. The prospect of having to sit beside either of these 2 prats is enough to put the rest of us off straight away.

  • Ahem

    Golly, we’re doing well measuring Billy by the company he keeps now, aren’t we Circles? If Billy didn’t want to be exposed for his sectarianism, he shouldn’t, as poster after poster on this thread demonstrated in detail, have exposed himself still further as being sectarian.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Ahem

    It’s just you, Willow and Chekov. Don’t lie.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Paul

    Good post, some very good points raised.

    As regards car parking, there are thousands of car parking spaces on the Boucher Road. Perhaps a deal could be worked out with some of the retailers there? (Say B&Q;could charge a couple of quid to let people park there and so on.)

    Egress from the motorway might be a problem that could be handled by a few cops directing traffic at key points? (Not sure, but maybe.)

    “Most users of a new stadium will be gaelic football fans, predominantly coming from the south and south west of uslter. The absence of any meaningful public transport in these areas dictates that most of these fans will travel by car.”

    These same fans are hardier than most, and used to walking a bit from car park to stadium. Since Musgrave and Casement are so close, I imagine most GAA fans would park where they’ve always parked when going to Casement. They’d still get parked a lot lot closer than they usually at Clones.

    But in terms of accommodating vehicular traffic, the Maze would indeed have the edge on just about any city site. However, a city site would have other advantages. I agree with some of the problems with the Musgrave site you mention, but I think they might be soluble.

  • Ahem

    True enough Billy, it’s just me, Willow & Chekov. Other than Democratic, iluvni, oneill, Beano and Bonar Law. Still, I can see why you reached for the word ‘lie’. There being, after all, only 60 seconds each minute in which to get those smears in, eh? I can also see why you’ve given up trying to refute the painfully obvious sectarianism you engaged in earlier in this thread.

    So one more time – set yourself free, let go of the bile, and become likes dozens of other posters on Slugger, both Unionist and Nationalist, by dropping the sectarian rancor that currently infects so many of your contributions.

  • jaffa

    “ahem”

    Given this degree of repetition shouldn’t that be

    “burp”

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Ahem

    You’ve posted almost a thousand words on this thread in which you have heaped one insult after another on me. Not once have you proffered an argument, and not once have you got anywhere near the ball.

    Why are you expending so much energy on me? Why are you so exercised by me? Where does this wellspring of bitterness come from?

    And where the fuck are the moderators?

  • Ahem

    Is there something sociopathic about you, or are you being paid by the fib at the moment? For your latest offering we have, “You’ve posted almost a thousand words on this thread in which you have heaped one insult after another on me. Not once have you proffered an argument, and not once have you got anywhere near the ball”. Or alternatively, on the thread’s very first page, we have me saying:

    And to pour salt in SF’s wound, Chekov, they’re not going to get it even then! As far as Danny Kennedy is concerned – a man I admire, and deeply wish was leader of the UUP – let’s be honest here. If Robbo’s Yes Minister-style playing of the bureaucratic system has resulted in a.) the monstrosity at the Maze *not* being built (at a cost of hundreds of wasted millions) & b.) a visibly impotent SF being tied up in knots, then for once, it’s a few million quid of public money well spent in Norn Iron. This is leadership, and for all that is unshowy and slow in its preparation, it’s agreeably subtle and conclusive in its ultimate effect. Way to go Punt.

    ***********

    Look, I’m hardly an apologist for the Punt, but you really, Willow, do have to give him credit on this one. It was plain to anyone who spoke to anyone in his coterie a year ago and more that he didn’t want this project to go ahead. Given the devolved governmental structures dear old HMG obliges us, or rather, him to work through, nixing the Maze project required, however, a goodly dose of softlee, softlee, catchee monkee (eg paying lip service to it as a real possibility, while all the while working to deep six it). And acting thus when, at the best of times, subtly, indirection and long term planning are rare words indeed in the Ulster political lexicon.

    Doubtless the TUV are right, and saying No to the Maze (Provo shrine et al), from the beginning of this project, and seeing it stopped as a result would have been the most satisfying way to proceed. But let’s face it, would, in this instance, that tactic actually have worked, or, following such a loud and unambiguous No, would we now be, say, 7 months into the building of this near-Dome-like fiasco, it’s cornerstone having been laid by Hain, as one more sop to SF?

    As I say, a great victory for the Punt, and all the more tasty for demonstrating, even to the dimmest of SF voters, quite how inept their leaders actually are.

    Which oddly enough, your ego notwithstanding, didn’t touch upon you even once.

    Here’s the thing Billy, you can tell as many lies as you want, and be as sectarian as you want, but once you’ve been foolish enough to hit that ‘submit’ button, you can’t then deny that you’ve done all those things. So by all means, keep shouting for mam! mammmm!!, sorry, I mean, Mod! Modddd!!! But it won’t redact one solitary thing you’ve earlier contributed to this thread, and that includes all the sectarianism you’ve rightly been called on by poster after poster after poster.

  • jaffa

    That was just 359 words Ahem. Let’s see the rest! (only joking).

    Re mods, where’s this week Brian Feeney column?
    His column’s been free to view for two days now.
    C’mon – fingers out.

    Actually he’s doing Israel this week and he’s almost civilised.

    I was hoping he was going to attack Mugabe a bit more so I could compare the anti-colonial, tribally biased school-teacher who accuses reformist liberals of being a british front with Mugabe.

    But I didn’t get to so I’m just slabbering here.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Ahem

    You’ve posted almost a thousand words on this thread aimed directly at me. They have all been highly unedifying.

    The thing about making a public accusation of sectarianism is that it’s not something you can easily disprove. People will make their judgement of the veracity or otherwise of the allegation based on what they know of the person in question. I’m rather proud that a number of posters have defended my reputation on this thread, based on their knowledge of me.

    I don’t know if you’re sectarian or not, but I stand by my earlier diagnosis: psychotic.

    I wonder who will rush to defend you, Ahem?

  • Ahem

    Jaffa, if you want to know why poster after poster after poster has called Billy Pilgrim on his sectarianism, it’s precisely because of his personal lack of generosity (never mind the pomposity) when dealing with other posters.

    It’s the very fact that he seemingly can’t accept the bona fides of Unionists, that they’re arguing in good faith, and conceivably free from sectarian intent, that in itself is not merely a sectarian trope on his behalf, but grindingly tedious.

    I’d like to see a Slugger much like the Norn Iron I’d like to see – where not merely are people *not* sectarian, they’re not affecting to believe that everyone of themmuns who speaks to them is, at heart, a bigoted hoor. I’ve no idea whether Billy really is as sectarian as he comes across, or whether he’s trying it on, as a sort of catch-all pre-emptive smear against ‘the other side’, but gosh it’s dull. But if you want the measure of him, just look to the sort of terms he flings at the people he dislikes. You know, over-excitable words like ‘psychotic’. Creepy, isn’t it? And revealing too of course. Much like his pitiful, blubbed, ‘who will rush to defend you?’

    Billy, one of us has been called umpteen times on this thread for his sectarianism, one of us hasn’t. Hint. When you told that little lie up at post 14, page 11, the instant rebuttal gives you the clue as to which one of us it is.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    That’s 1,628 words so far Ahem.

    Why?

  • jaffa

    If you say so

    I’m off to buy some wine, burn something and see if my dipso neighbours are in their back garden so we can all start the week with a headache.

    love and kisses.

    enjoy your sporting week-ends

  • jaffa

    start the week-end I meant. I don’t plan to drink ’til Monday.

    although…

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Actually, Jaffa is quite right. To hell with this. Goodbye one and all. See you next week.

  • Ahem

    Good rebuttal Billy. You’re on sparkling form. But since we’ve all now learnt you can count, maybe you could address yourself to the sectarianism you’ve displayed on this thread that poster after poster after poster has called you on. Of course, I say you can count. When you claimed it was just three posters who had called you on your sectarianism, it was in fact eight thus far. So maybe baby steps first as far as the counting goes, and then we’ll move you on to the whole, stop being so sectarian stage of your personal socialisation?

    Anyway, being the humanitarian I am, I’ll say it again – take that first step Billy, let go of the prejudice, themmuns really aren’t as bad as you keep insisting they are. Yes you made some sectarian posts on this thread, yes you’re despite that infamous for your willingness to smear other people as being sectarian, but you don’t have to stay like this. As David Trimble almost said, just because you’ve had a sectarian past, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a non-sectarian future. Come, join us, join the rest of us in the shared space that is Slugger. Walk into the light Billy . . .

  • Ahem

    Golly, I hope he doesn’t meet any Unionists on his long weekend – won’t it just ruin it for him? Poor sod.

  • circles

    Last one out, turn the lights off on Ahem-Lonely Pint or what?
    Bye!

  • Ahem

    Circles, my Sweary-Mary chum, pubs, pints, and the internet have long since ceased being strangers in this wonderful wireless world of ours.

  • oneill

    Our Culture Supremo’s being doing a bit of belated research into the subject himself this week:

    The Northern Ireland sports minister today told the people of Wales they should be proud of the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

    Mr Edwin Poots was speaking during a visit to the home of Welsh rugby as part of an official visit to Wales in his role as Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland. He said:”The Millennium Stadium is hugely impressive and excellent for the image of Wales. It has also been great value for money given the cost of other stadiums that have been built in the UK over the last few years. Welsh people can be proud to have an asset such as this.

    “Value for money” would now, at last, seem to be the criteria we should be all looking out for.