The ‘Englezes’ V ‘The Boche’ and our complex ties with ‘de udder’ island

This afternoon at 3pm and the latest round of the conflict will kick off when the old war and soccer-ball adversaries take to the football field.

Perhaps the bestest football chant of all time Two world wars and one world cup provides the sporting and historical context for the tie – although the damned Boche might quibble that the chant needs updating to take account of their 1970 and 1990 World Cup victories over their deadliest rivals.

And we can thank our good friends the Yankees for this, their last minute goal against the Algerians sending them to the top of the table and leaving the Limeys as runners-up (in the easiest group imaginable) as headlined optimistically by the Daily Star Job done now for the Hun.

In Ireland it’s time to dust off our trusty old, tried and tested, WW2 anti-English neutrality policy and settle down for a very nervy afternoon in which we will have to rely on the clichéd efficiency of the Krauts to overcome our badly behaved neighbour and in particular, the explosive potential of the boy Rooney who so far, luckily, has been hobbling about like an oul fellah.

Quite how Irish fans can cheer the same Rooney and Gerard and co throughout the premiership season and then wish the cruellest of sporting deaths on them, ideally by penalties, at the hands of their sworn enemies is a bit of a puzzle.

But that is what we love to do and perhaps mirrors the somewhat more serious political complexities and contradictions that still rumble at the heart of Anglo Irish relations.

Few Nationalists I have ever met display any animosity towards their English (civilian) neighbours but as soon as we hear that song or see that flag then somehow the centuries of bitterness are remembered, Premier League affinities are forgotten and we are cheering on perfidious Albion to painful and inglorious defeat whilst presumably most Ulster Unionists -though not their Scottish cousins -are lining up loyally behind the Englezes?

Can anybody explain it better than the BBC pundit, Tottenham manager and urban philosopher ‘arry Redknapp who oft opinions that it’s a funny old game?

Sammy Mc Nally is a Prod fictional character bestowed on us by James Young who accidentally kills his pal, who not suprisingly, given that it is Belfast, is also a Prod. The friend is sent to the after life place (Heaven/Hell) and finds it is an exact replica of Belfast – with one important difference – it is run entirely by Fenians and with the pope himself in residence in Stormo and it seems no sign of the Belgian quarefellah D’Hondt anywhere. To be continued…

Living History 1968-74

A unique, once-in-a-lifetime 10-week course at Stranmillis University College Belfast featuring live, in-depth interviews with leading figures from this tumultuous era in Northern Ireland’s cultural and political history.

Live interviews with: Bernadette McAliskey, Austin Currie, Brid Rogers, Baroness Blood, Dennis Bradley, Baroness Paisley, Lord Kilclooney, Tim McGarry, Danny Morrison, Sir Kenneth Bloomfield and others…

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