Northern Ireland and anthems

Last Friday, the News letter front page was taken up with UUP MLA Basil McCrea’s suggestion that the IFA should consider developing a unique Northern Ireland anthem at international games. The DUP, predictably, came out shooting from the hip. The problem with their reaction, is that it was typically arrogant, assuming that as the DUP have a view on a matter, that must surely be the view of all right thinking Protestants of Ulster. They’re the all consuming DUP after all, all other views are neo-Lundy nonsense! Problem is, they don’t speak for Northern Ireland football fans, even if they claim they do.

Today’s Newsletter carries several comments from the Our Wee Country forum (a forum I haven’t been able to get into all weekend). Some of the comments are below the fold. Notable is the NL’s overview “The overwhelming feeling expressed in more than 90 messages posted about the topic was that finding a Northern Ireland anthem could benefit the team. ““I heard Poots spouting some (rubbish) about how Northern Ireland fans wouldn’t stand for a change — how dare he speak for all fans? Why not ask them first?”
“As for Poots, a very arrogant response really.”
“For those who think it will diminish their ‘Britishness’ watch how hard Sinn Fein fight against this and ask yourselves why,”
“Mr Poots is more and more increasingly out of touch with grassroots unionism…I resent the fact that he would label anyone that disagrees with him as a lesser unionist.”
“Me being proud of being Northern Irish and wanting us to use a Northern Irish anthem doesn’t make me any less British than you, or devalue my unionism. And not all Northern Ireland fans are unionists anyway, you fool.“
“Poots’ reaction was totally predictable. Its just a stupid ‘I’m more British than you’ points scoring exercise.”
“It’s a small step in raising this important issue and it deserves discussion at all levels, no matter the outcome.”
“Good on you Basil. DUP/Sinn Fein axis not in favour — what a surprise.”
“This would be a very positive step in my eyes. The one and only chant I hate hearing at Windsor is the old ‘no surrender’ as it offends many of our own players. I am pro-union but that is neither here nor there and has nothing to do with supporting all 11 players wearing our green shirt.”

  • oneill

    fair deal (btw are you the Fair Deal who blogs on here>)

    Which is irrelevant to the general point I was making. Whenever people have been talking about NI matters that is exactly when they have been attacked as quasi Ulster nationalists on here. So how come Basil gets a bye ball when he does the same?

    Apart from a few meaningless friendlies and the very occasional Olympic tournaments there has never been a footballing United Kingdom; according to FIFA anyway we are an independent “nation”. That being the case, I can see a justification in this case for McCrea’s “ourselves alone” approach.

    The importnat thing though is that it is up to the Northern Irish fans themselves to make that decision, it is extremely presumptious, bordering on arrogant for Poots to speak on their behalf.

  • Realist

    Chris Donnelly,

    “Those who believe Irish nationalists are going to row in behind the GAWA in droves if the British national anthem is dropped are as guilty of naivety or misplaced optimism as those nationalists who believe unionist support for an all-Ireland team is just around the corner”

    Bang on the money.

    “Northern nationalist support for the Republic of Ireland should not be something which sways the IFA in one direction or the other over the anthem issue.”

    Absolutely spot on.

    “And, in light of the fact that the issue has been raised following a game against Scotland, it would appear that a desire to row into line with the practices in Scotland and Wales has sparked the debate at this stage.”

    In fairness, the issue has been raised amongst Northern Ireland fans for quite some time now.

    “As the example of the Olympics has provided, affording mutual respect to the choices of athletes/ footballers and supporters is the key to not only defusing the sometimes heated arguments over sporting identity, but also opening up opportunities for a more shared appreciation of identity which extends far beyond the sporting realm”

    Very true.

  • Realist

    “The importnat thing though is that it is up to the Northern Irish fans themselves to make that decision, it is extremely presumptious, bordering on arrogant for Poots to speak on their behalf.”

    Absolutely correct oneill.

    Many Northern Ireland fans know Poots’s arrogance only too well.

    Out of touch with the fans over The Maze issue, and in denial over the anthem debate.

  • RG Cuan

    Pootsie is out of touch with everybody and everything… basic science, evolution, the Irish language community. The list goes on…

  • Rory

    Sam Maguire,

    If I ruffled your feathers, Sam, it was reaction to your ruffling of mine caused by your use of the term “Our lot up there”. That sensitivity is formed by a lifetime of southern treatment of all northeners as somehow alien and not really Irish. I am also mindful that what you might term “the other lot up there” are “our lot” too and with time and the right attitude might become “your lot” as well.

    We are all stuck with each other on this island not just the communities in conflict in the north. But steps have been taken to end that conflict and to heal old wounds and breaches. It will prove to be a long painful process and there will be much back-sliding but for all the rancour that we might see on Slugger for example I do believe that the good will is there to continue to move forward.

    Having said that and having read your response to me I do realise that you had no intent to disparage and I apologise that my over sensitivity triggered a knee jerk.

  • eranu

    “BTW…. what if the GSTQ anthem of England was replaced by something more apealling to everyone in NI, and more and more folk from an Irish Nationalist background supported the NI team. So much so that the trappings and symbols of an Irish identity began appearing in abundance at the NI games?

    Posted by Greagoir O’ Frainclin on Aug 26, 2008 @ 01:59 AM
    you mean like green shirts, shamrocks and celtic crosses? they all there already…

    Posted by dub on Aug 26, 2008 @ 02:45 AM”

    thats interesting greagoir. what did you have in mind? dub has listed a few already in use. i would assume that an irish harp would be as unacceptable for a football team as it is for a police force?

  • RosleaNaEireann

    Darth Rumsfield

    “Hmmm
    I wonder if this sad and twisted little man would feel if he saw the members of the GAWA with their carrier bags stuffed full of goodies they’d bought in the Cellick superstore en route to Hampden. Oh yeah, he’d just dismiss the evidence of his own eyes.
    Cos it would never do if themmuns were actually- normal adjusted and typical sports fans, wlecoming to any sho follow their team. Still he’s probably a wee bit delicate after the shock of thon hun actually having the nerve to play Gaelic… ”

    Probably just getting items to put on top of the Bonfire for the next 11th night “celebration”,

  • Robbie Keane

    The only reason NI fans might now discuss changing the anthem is because they were made to look like English lick-arse-lackeys by the Scots.

    NI fans were EMBARRASSED by fellow UK members for their pathetic attemmpts to rub Britishness in everyone’s faces all the time. The Scots found it laughable and sad, just like Irish nationalists have for so long.

    Unionists aren’t comfortable being Irish and from the north of Ireland so they have to attempt to be overtly British at every attempt. Yet when the Scots laughed at them for their lack of indentity they get all insecure and want to change the anthem.

    It’s amazing they didn’t blame Irish nationalists for organising the booing. Oh how the truth hurt the poor Loyalist fans.

  • Cuairteoir

    This issue does indeed have its roots in the fact that many people from a traditionally unionist background appear to have some type of identity crisis.

    “We’re British but we live on the island of Ireland; we’re Northern Irish but dislike Irish culture; we sing GSTQ but everybody else in the UK hates it; hold on a minute… what do we stand for? We need to sort this one out lads…”

    Hopefully they will someday soon.

  • Realist

    “The only reason NI fans might now discuss changing the anthem is because they were made to look like English lick-arse-lackeys by the Scots.”

    One, small, flaw in your analysis Robbie – Northern Ireland fans have been discussing the issue for years ie. long before the Scotland game.

  • eranu

    LOL robbie, sounds like you’re still in a bad mood from all those extra nights at the olympia you had to do !

  • Charlie

    Actually wrote to Howard Wells on this issue (I personally find the use of GSTQ as a pre-match anthem for N. Ireland inappropriate and borderline offensive) and his reponse was to say they were committed to removing all ‘barriers to inclusivity” and ended by thanking me for my ‘patience’ on this issue…am I clutching at straws to believe that this indicates they may actually be getting off their butts and making moves to grasp the nettle and change the anthem?? Thoughts on this and any evidence either way would be welcome!!

  • Briso

    Posted by Dewi on Aug 25, 2008 @ 07:32 PM
    I know it might be a bit tearful but Christ I love this:

    Carrickfergus Would be a brilliant anthem

    Cripes, the last thing I expected was a suggestion which would actually appeal to me!! What a fantastic idea. If it wasn’t for the fact NI couldn’t be my country because I don’t consider it a country, I’d be right with you. In fact it’s making me feel a bit wistful. “Arconada! Armstrong!!!”

  • Realist

    “am I clutching at straws to believe that this indicates they may actually be getting off their butts and making moves to grasp the nettle and change the anthem?? Thoughts on this and any evidence either way would be welcome!!”

    Charlie,

    My bet is that Wells will be long gone from the IFA by the time this is worked through.

  • iluvni

    “My bet is that Wells will be long gone from the IFA by the time this is worked through”

    The moment that smug git goes, we should change our anthem to the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’.

  • Ulster Native

    UMH: “”before the Irish Gaels invaded in the 3rd century AD””

    What?
    According to a well respected English Celtic historian (Peter Berresford Ellis) the Gaels populated the Island in and around 1015 BC!! A date most often accepted and chronicled.
    Check out the book ‘Erins Blood Royal’ by the historian, or even look it up on Google for a eye opener, which is clearly needed.
    I’m not going to go into the norths Gaelic heritage (my heritage and Ulsters) of countless and multiple Gaelic Kings, subject even to a ruling Irish ‘High’ King in periods as well, dispelling the ‘Nation’ myth.

  • Cruthin

    Im a real boy !!!!

  • Llamedos

    Daft as a Brush Basil put his great feet into something he does not remotely understand. He is hardly a well known or well respected culture vulture more like that well known guru Alf Garnett slightly narrow in perception. The thing is that Irish Football is just a boring and continuous re-enactment of the same boring bigotted tribalism feeding internicine working class hatred that Pappa Doc and all the other lobotomised local politicians feed off just like Nero when Rome burns. Basil wants to attend to his brief and not be mislead by the so called UUP chief whip and go round shouting his mouth off at every ill perceived so called mortal insults to their highly reactionary so called private constituency. Both need severe re-education and told to either belt up or go and get into bed with the DUP.

  • Robbie Keane

    One up to the Scots anyway is all I say. They really have made our poor Unionist brethern have a good look at themselves. Ulster-Scots, Scots-Irish bla bla bla. There was no big media issue or political talk about changing anthems before the embarrassment of that night.

    Protestant Irishmen from Armagh, Derry, Antrim, Down, Tyrone and Fermanagh may have different traditions to Irishmen in other counties of Ireland but that doesn’t make them less Irish.

    So get an anthem representing the island of Ireland; where you’re from. Not all this clinging to endless English cultural symbols – The English Queen, English Westminster, English anthems. Even the NI flag is the English flag with only a small difference!

    Take Scotland and Wales out of the UK and the Queen is still English, Westminster is still England’s parliament, GSTQ is still England’s anthem. It’s time Unionists started to look deeper at their own Irish heritage, because clinging to an English one isn’t healthy and it’s isn’t who you are.

  • Dewi

    A bunch of Serbian nutters Pretty damn cool tough – Star of the County Down.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    dewi, there’s semtex in them there fields.

    Best to stay away from any Irish songs.

  • RG Cuan

    A bunch of Serbian nutters Pretty damn cool tough – Star of the County Down.

    Iontach maith! I thought some of our own bands would have had some of the funniest folk videos but these fellas probably beat them to it.

    Get them over to Windsor for the next match 😉

  • “The bigoted hateful songs that the VAST MAJORITY of the NI fans sang at Hampden Park last week…”

    That sort of deliberate self-delusion says everything you need to know about the value of the contributions of certain commenters. This debate has precisely f**k all squared to do with you, you may as well move along.

    There was nothing bigoted or hateful. Not even a Sash or Derry’s Walls (I don’t even know what you were thinking of) within earshot of me – and I was probably as close as makes no difference to smack bang in the middle of the NI end).

  • LURIG

    Beano,

    As I have already said on another post earlier my generalisation of ALL NI fans WAS unfair and I acknowledge that. There are many decent NI supporters and the IFA deserve all the plaudits for their attempts to change the perception of NI football. However the caller to Talkback was genuine and he was very angry at some of the sectarian singing and booing that went on amongst SOME of the NI support at Hampden. You cannot deny that the Celtic players on the Scotland team were abused for 90 minutes and there were bigoted pro-Rangers chanting going on with the NI fans. I have heard from Scottish friends that some of the NI fans were giving it Rule Britannia, the Sash & Derry’s Walls in Glasgow on the day of the match. Do you deny this? How is that cross community? Anyway getting back to the topic, NI need their own anthem. Remember when Wayne McCullough won the Gold medal at the Commonwealth Games? The Danny Boy song sung by an official when he collected his medal had lumps in my throat, a Catholic from North Belfast, for a Protestant from the Shankill.

  • Dewi

    God I get a bit maudlin with Carrickfergus:

    “And in Kilkenny it is reported
    On marble stone there as black as ink”

    All the rest of the words are wonderful but I love “On marble stone there as black as ink”

    Shivers….

  • Realist

    LURIG,

    “However the caller to Talkback was genuine and he was very angry at some of the sectarian singing and booing that went on amongst SOME of the NI support at Hampden”

    Let me get this straight – you’re supporting your analysis of what happened in Glasgow on the account of someone who phoned Talkback…but you weren’t there?

    Did this caller to Talkback detail the “sectarian” songs, allegedly being sung by Northern Ireland fans inside Hampden Park?

    What were they?

    Was this a Scotland supporter who made the call?

  • Congal Claen

    Whatabout Lilliburlero?

    World class tune recognised throughout the world through the world service.

    An Irish jig with loyalist connections, anti monarchy and gaelic thrown in for the Gaelic speakers.

    It’s the obvious choice!

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Have you ever read the lyrics…..

    Do you think that this would be acceptable to both communities Congal Clan?

    Lillibullero

    Ho, brother Teague, dost hear the decree?
    Lillibullero bullen a la
    We are to have a new deputy
    Lillibullero bullen a la

    Refrain:
    Lero Lero Lillibullero
    Lillibullero bullen a la
    Lero Lero Lero Lero
    Lillibullero bullen a la

    Oh by my soul it is a Talbot
    Lillibullero bullen a la
    And he will cut every Englishman’s throat
    Lillibullero bullen a la

    Refrain

    Now Tyrconnell is come ashore
    Lillibullero bullen a la
    And we shall have commissions galore
    Lillibullero bullen a la

    Refrain

    And everyone that won’t go to Mass
    Lillibullero bullen a la
    He will be turned out to look like an ass
    Lillibullero bullen a la

    Refrain

    Now the heretics all go down
    Lillibullero bullen a la
    By Christ and St Patrick’s the nation’s our own
    Lillibullero bullen a la

    Refrain

    There was an old prophecy found in a bog
    Lillibullero bullen a la
    The country’d be ruled by an ass and a dog
    Lillibullero bullen a la

    Refrain

    Now this prophecy is all come to pass
    Lillibullero bullen a la
    For James is the dog and Tyrconnell’s the ass
    Lillibullero bullen a la

    Refrain

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>Did this caller to Talkback detail the “sectarian” songs, allegedly being sung by Northern Ireland fans inside Hampden Park?

    What were they?<< Realist Some of your guys did let the side down. On the day of the game a large group on a bus let out a few Loyalist chants before some of the group indulged in shouting "Fuck yer Pope". Someone I know was on the bus and was afraid for herself and child as the atmosphere turned nasty. As far as the story goes there was no-one amongst the group shouting them down. All in all though I don't think the vast majority were up to anything untoward, I witnessed various groups large and small who all seemed to be enjoying themselves.

  • Nae tae O’Donnell Abú

    O’Donnell Abú is nae fra Norn Iron

  • Realist

    Prionsa Eoghan,

    Sorry to hear of the bus incident….such base sectarianism is, frankly, pathetic.

    As someone who attends many football matches with my young son ( he was with me in Glasgow), I can empathise with the fear factor if the smell of trouble is in the air. We’ve been there.

    As you’ll be well aware, most football teams have followers who would not be best described as angels.

    I believe that the vast majority of Northern Ireland fans who travelled to Glasgow had a fantastic day out, behaved themselves, and enjoyed the company of the locals.

    Over 6,000 Northern Ireland fans travelled to the game, and there are no reports of any arrests or of major violent incidents that I am aware of.

    I have to say that I was a little concerned before the game – we had intelligence passed to us from Strathclyde Police that groups of Celtic supporters were planning a spot of bother in the vicinity of Hampden before and after the game.

    Thankfully, this threat did not materialise.

    LURIG made reference to “sectarian”, “bigoted” and “hateful” chanting inside Hampden Park.

    I wasn’t on the bus that you describe, but I was inside Hampden Park.

    I look forward to his reply.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>I believe that the vast majority of Northern Ireland fans who travelled to Glasgow had a fantastic day out, behaved themselves, and enjoyed the company of the locals.< < I'd certainly agree, and am in total agreement with you regarding eedjits giving the whole a bad name. If I should be so bold as to give a slight critique of where Rangers fans go wrong. They simply do not have enough guys willing to stand up to the eedjits and stop them hence incidents like Manchester and others I could mention. At Celtic we make it our duty to stop trouble amongst our support, especially when traveling. I've been there done that a few times, it works if enough do it. Thus the reason I mentioned on the bus that even though it was only a few who were shouting amongst the larger group, no-one saw fit to shout them down. >>I can empathise with the fear factor if the smell of trouble is in the air. We’ve been there.<< Too true!

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Greagoir,

    “Have you ever read the lyrics…..
    Do you think that this would be acceptable to both communities Congal Clan?”

    Yip. And without an explanation they would have meant fek all to me. I wasn’t suggesting that we necessarily need to use those words. For a start there’s too many. We’d simply need a few verses and then everyone would be able to join the chorus which would take seconds to learn and is gibberish anyhow.

    Another tune I quite like is Weela Wallia. But maybe for the Ireland rugby team.

  • Tochais Si­orai­

    I know Rugby can get a bit violent betimes, CC but stickin penknives into babies might be a bit strong even for them.

  • Tochais Si­orai­

    I know Rugby can get a bit violent betimes, CC but sticking penknives into babies might be a bit strong even for them.

  • rubin

    Pretty sad that after years of trying to stamp out the sectarian behaviour of Northern Ireland supporters, it continues to happen.

    Sectarian singing and chanting around the stadium,no surrender chants, rule britannia etc….

    “Are you England in disguise” sang the Tartan Army, how very true.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Tochais,

    I know what you mean. But the song is strangely uplifting and begs to be shouted. Just what you need before a game.

    Bucketful of Mountain Dew?

  • G

    “The only reason NI fans might now discuss changing the anthem is because they were made to look like English lick-arse-lackeys by the Scots. NI fans were EMBARRASSED by fellow UK members for their pathetic attemmpts to rub Britishness in everyone’s faces all the time. The Scots found it laughable and sad, just like Irish nationalists have for so long. Unionists aren’t comfortable being Irish and from the north of Ireland so they have to attempt to be overtly British at every attempt. Yet when the Scots laughed at them for their lack of indentity they get all insecure and want to change the anthem. It’s amazing they didn’t blame Irish nationalists for organising the booing. Oh how the truth hurt the poor Loyalist fans.”

    Emmm … I think we are quite aware of the sentiments on SOME in Scotland towards the Union and God Save the Queen. We don’t do anything just because the English do it and we won’t change something just because the Scots do it differently.

    If others want to throw out their own Britsih heritage, that’s their own loss. We are our own people and we’ll make our own decisions regarding anthems and anything else. Irish nationlists such as (I presume) yourself cam try as they might to beat us over the head with Scottish nationalism, but I think you should be aware that it won’t work.

    I want Scotland to stay in the Union and be proud to be British, but if they decide otherwise that is their own affair. We’ll make our own minds up here, so giving up goading us about Scotland.

    We’re our own people now.

  • slug

    Someone on OWC has come up with the following:

    ONE TEAM

    From every County, from city and town,
    From Antrim’s Green Glens, from Fermanagh and Down,
    From Derry’s Walled City, Armagh and Tyrone,
    We gather together, to honour our own.

    With every player, who answers the call,
    With Pride and with Passion and Belief above all,
    With all that unites us, in following our Dream,
    One Purpose, One Vision, One Country, One Team

    [Sung to the tune of Be Thou My Vision]

  • G

    Slug,

    All of these elegant efforst to compose something completely new are not going to be successful I am afraid. Regardless of whether the anthem is changed or not, any change will have to be to something that is already existent and to some extent present in the psyche of people here.

    Even Flower of Scotland (released 1967) was not adopted at rugby matches for 23 years after it was composed and not for 30 years at football matches. If there was to be a change, it would have to be to something that already exists, already inspires patriotic emotion.

  • Rory

    Reference to ” stickin penknives into babies might be a bit strong even for them.”

    But that’s why it’s so appropriate. Sung with sufficient malice it’ll scare the opposition shitless. Even the Maoris.

    I’m convinced anyhoo.

  • eranu

    slug, that sounds good enough to me. certainly something that could be up for consideration.

    G, i dont see why it has to be something old. perhaps something new would suit a new northern ireland.

  • slug

    Eranu, G

    I agree with Eranu – why not go for new words?

    Those are not my lyrics, by the way, its Ealing Green from OWC forums where a very positive debate is taking place. The words seem fine to me, might be changed a little. The efforts of any budding lyricists would be welcome.

    There are some alternatives including the one featured in the News Letter today.

    The tune Be Thou My Vision IS of course an old Irish one, making it suitable for the (original and best) Irish FA.

    My older relatives still call the Northern Ireland team Ireland, as was customary in the 1950s. So the tune would link to the all Ireland origin of the team and make it maximally attractive to people in NI – and beyond – without diminishing its appeal to the existing fans.

    Its also instantly recognisable and quite stirring.

  • Cap’n bob

    The best things in life are free
    But you can tell me ’bout the birds and bees.
    Now gimme money THAT’S WHAT I WANT WE’re spongers
    That’s what I want THAT’S WHAT I WANT
    That’s what I want, ye-ye-yeh,
    That’s what I want.
    Money don’t get everything it’s true.
    What it don’t get I can’t use.
    So gimme money THAT’S WHAT I WANT WE’re spongers
    A little money THAT’S WHAT I WANT WE’re spongers
    That’s what I want, ye-ye-yeh,
    That’s what I want.
    Yeh gimme money THAT’S WHAT I WANT WE’re spongers
    A little money THAT’S WHAT I WANT WE’re spongers
    That’s what I want THAT’S WHAT I WANT
    So gimme money THAT’S WHAT I WANT WE’re spongers
    That’s what I want, ye-ye-yeh,
    That’s what I want.
    Your lovin’ give me a thrill
    But your lovin’ don’t pay my bill.
    Now gimme money THAT’S WHAT I WANT WE’re spongers
    That’s what I want THAT’S WHAT I WANT
    That’s what I want, ye-ye-yeh,
    That’s what I want.
    Money don’t get everything it’s true. WE’re spongers
    What it don’t get I can’t use.
    So gimme money THAT’S WHAT I WANT WE’re spongers
    A little money THAT’S WHAT I WANT WE’re spongers
    That’s what I want, ye-ye-yeh,
    That’s what I want.
    Yeh gimme money THAT’S WHAT I WANT WE’re spongers
    A little money THAT’S WHAT I WANT WE’re spongers
    That’s what I want THAT’S WHAT I WANT
    So gimme money THAT’S WHAT I WANT WE’re spongers
    That’s what I want, ye-ye-yeh,
    That’s what I want.

    Seeing as the Chelsea and Millwall fans who infiltrated Hampden (like they did Manchester) did not like your official one here is an amended one which takes into account Northern Ireland’s identity.