Former R.O.I. boss acknowledges ‘picking’ National allegiance is unfair…

Brian Kerr, Republic of Ireland Football manager from 2003-2005, has admitted publically that the current conveyer belt of defections from Northern Ireland to the Republic doesn’t ‘sit right’ with him. He goes as far as saying that

 It’s not a good situation

and

I hope it will change, because it’s not good for a lot of reasons

Brian also professes a belief that the Republic is manipulating the Belfast Agreement for selfish disadvantage, and sympathy with the Irish Football Association. Barry McElduff criticised Mr Kerr’s sense of ‘Irishness’. Brian Kerr was born in Dublin in 1953 and has also managed Shelbourne United (Dublin) and Shamrock Rovers (Dublin) at a reserve level, and Drogheda United (Louth) and St Patrick Athletic (Dublin) at a senior level.

  • stewart1

    “The players you have mentioned all differ from the defectors here, the likes of Norwood weren’t wanted by their senior teams.”

    That’s not true, England actually contacted Norwood wanting to know why he had defected from his own national team to the IFA.

    The lad had played for England at U16 & U17 and there was every possibility that he may have been involved with England again.

    However the underhand approaches by the IFA for Norwood, without the knowlwdge of England, ensured that they lost their player.

    I don’t recall the IFA offering compensation for the years of development put into Norwood by the English FA?

  • Spud

    Local Hack

    So at what age do you think children should make up their mind as to what flag they should play under.
    Are you saying that students that go through the education system here in the north are not entitled to take up a job in Dublin.

  • Neil

    The financial thing is a bullshit argument. First of all any money that goes to the IFA from Government is from the same taxes that Nationalists pay. Secondly lets not kid ourselves that the IFA spends fourty fortunes training anyone, they can’t even afford to fix Linfield’s stadium. If NI manages to win a game with the help of a future Ireland (32 county) international player, they should be grateful for all the help they can get.

  • Mike the First

    Neil

    “The financial thing is a bullshit argument. First of all any money that goes to the IFA from Government is from the same taxes that Nationalists pay”

    And the money that doesn’t come from Government…? You might want to note, BTW, that NI Executive funding comes from HM Treasury, not simply from the taxpayer in NI.

    “Secondly lets not kid ourselves that the IFA spends fourty fortunes training anyone, they can’t even afford to fix Linfield’s stadium.”

    Linfield are responsible for the upkeep of their stadium. The IFA pays them six figure sums every year (unfortunately). Can Ulster Rugby and the GAA not even efford to fix Ravenhill and Casement, in your eyes?

    “If NI manages to win a game with the help of a future Ireland (32 county) international player, they should be grateful for all the help they can get.”

    This is simply nonsensical.

  • Mike the First

    Neil

    “For a young Irish (northern) player coming up they can make their own decision. One question they might ask themselves: what are the chances of me getting sectarian death threats if I opt for Ireland (32 county team)? None.

    What are the chances of getting death threats if I opt for NI? Small? Hmmm. Fuck that.”

    Utterly lacking in logic.

    Do you think that whatever scumbag or scumbags like threatening people with Celtic connections, including players from NI, would give them a bye ball because they played for the ROI?

  • Neil

    Do you think that whatever scumbag or scumbags like threatening people with Celtic connections, including players from NI, would give them a bye ball because they played for the ROI?

    I could be wrong, regularly am as it happens, but I don’t recall that happening historically. To predict the future one only has to look to the past, as the man said. I know of no Ireland player who have been on the receiving end of death threats, though as I say I could be mistaken.

  • Charminator

    I think if we want to promote genuine equality, we would all accept that a youngster in the North can be Irish, British, Northern Irish, Ulster, Northern – whatever designation he or she is comfortable with.

    Likewise, in his/her sporting preferences. It really isn’t that complicated and the fact that there seems to be a reflexive urge to force youngsters to represent “Northern Ireland” (by closing off all other avenues available to them) actually speaks volumes about the sort of forced nature of affiliation with an identity some people seem to want to advance. Such forced compulsion is no substitute for genuine soul-searching about the reasons for this reluctance to represent “Northern Ireland”. If I were a soccer administrator in the North, I would instead be intensively reviewing my outreach programmes and looking at where the disconnect is developing with young Nationalist or Republican youth. Of course, it may also be more simple and straightforward: many Nationalists and Republicans simply do not feel “Northern Irish”, viewing it as a derivative British identity, but simply feel just “Irish”.

    If a young Nationalist or Republican “loves Northern Ireland”, he’ll play for them. If he doesn’t, he won’t – a position which is entirely consistent with the principles which animate the GFA arrangements.

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    Mike the First

    “Ranger1640 is ONE INDIVIDUAL” – Fair point. I do accept (and have done on many of these threads) that there have been efforts by NI fans to eradicate the sectarianism of the past. I am on record as praising the efforts of many of the founders of Our Wee Country.

    They at least accept that there was disgraceful trreatment of Catholic players and fans at Windsor for many years and are actively trying to sort it out.

    I do have a tendency to jump at those who deny that this ever happened and Ranger1640 is the worst sort of NI “fan” – trying to force Britrishness down the throats of players who are clearly uncomfortable with it instead of making it a more neutral environment..

    It’s not right to tar all NI fans with the Ranger1640 brush and you have my apologies for that.

    As for singing “if you cannae do the bouncy you’re a taig” , I didn’t say it was sung at matches. However, I am saying that it is sung by groups of NI fans at certain pre and post match venues thereby showing the the old NI is a “loyalist” team attitude is still alive and kicking amongst a proportion of NI supporters.

    This isn’t coming fro me by the way. You’ll actually find admissions and examples of this from decent NI fans and contributors to the Our Wee Country website. To be fair, these contributors are universally condemning the practice. It’s clearly not in their interests to make these things up so I certainly believe them.

    I’m a Belfast born Celtic and RoI fan. I’m delighted to see Paddy doing well – the only time I’d want him to do badly is if he was playing against the RoI. Incidentally, I recently attended a meet the players evening when Celtic were here in Melbourne. The 2 largest cheers of the night (and 2 most sought out photos and autographs) were Neil Lennon and Paddy McCourt. There’s no problem at all within the Celtic support about Paddy playing for the North.

    Ranger1640 however is frankly sickening. It’s like he’s waving Paddy in the faces of Nationalists and glorifying in the fact that he has to stand for the British National anthem (inc No Surrender) and calling him the Londonderry Pele in full knowledge that Paddy would never address the city of his birth as anything other than Derry.

    I respect the work of those who are genuinely trying to make NI support a genuinely cross-community activity (although they are fighting against a long history of bigotry and the pathetic attempts of the IFA to deny Nationalists their right to opt for the RoI).

    However, the attitudes of Ranger1640 and a few others on here will simply ensure that young Catholics/Nationalists will opt for the RoI in increasing numbers.

    They are detremental to the prospects of the team they purport to support. I suspect that getting one over on the taigs means more to them than the NI soccer team does.

  • “But don’t use IFA’s youth scheme for your development just cause it is close to home that’s the real sickner”

    Absolutely………Local hack…..but thats the bit that I love. We do want our cake and we do want to eat it.

    The point the Norn Iron followers hate is that there are defections which can only be mitigated by changing their mindset and accepting what theyd see as a watered down version of Norn Iron.
    It wouldnt stop the defections (as they would see it) but it might help.

    But there are some Norn Iron followers who would change. And just as many who love it just the way it is. Either way its a win-win situation for Nationalists…..which is brilliant.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Ah the McElduff-Paradigm. Make these simple changes to ensure a beautiful Oirish future for all.

  • grandimarkey

    Local Hack

    “But don’t use IFA’s youth scheme for your development just cause it is close to home that’s the real sickner”

    Should the FAI be allowed to have training centres in the North then? One in Newry, Belfast, Derry and Strabane perhaps?

  • Neil

    Should the FAI be allowed to have training centres in the North then? One in Newry, Belfast, Derry and Strabane perhaps?

    Of course not grandimarkey, any young footballer of the Nationalist tradition should assume the position dictated to him by Loyalism or forsake any opportunity of a career.

    In fact spread it on out and just say Nationalists shouldn’t be allowed to ‘pick their national allegiance’, and just be happy Brits as common sense dictates to our Loyalist neighbours.

  • grandimarkey

    Neil:

    “Of course not grandimarkey, any young footballer of the Nationalist tradition should assume the position dictated to him by Loyalism or forsake any opportunity of a career.”

    In that case I suppose it’s a good thing that GSTQ is lyrically and musically rather simple.

  • Coll Ciotach

    I do not consider that the opting of playing for the republic is primarily to do with the bigotry, real or imagined, at Windsor park. Neither do I think the changing of playing the old French anthem has much to do with it either, the issue, as the say on the Lower Newtownards Road, is one of nationality.

    The Irish want to play for an Irish team not a British one.

  • stewart1

    “But don’t use IFA’s youth scheme for your development just cause it is close to home that’s the real sickner”

    All 20 of the IFA grassroots development officers across the North are funded by the councils. So if Shane Duffy or James McClean benefited via the grassroots officer in Derry for example.. good for them, their parents had been funding him via their rates etc… The IFA made little or no financial contribution.

  • WindsorRocker

    This isn’t about training kids. This is about ADULTS playing in u21 and u19 teams which act as a pipeline for the senior team. It would be wrong to force any u18 to choose. Any grassroots work would include defectors. However at u19 and u21 level those playing should be prepared to play for the main team. Surely that’s fair?

  • stewart1

    Windsorrocker

    How then is it fair for the IFA to approach players like Alex Bruce who has already played senior international football for Ireland and ask him to defect to the north?

    How come it was ok for the IFA to persuade former England U21 international Lee Camp to defect, surely if the IFA where attempting to hold the moral high ground they would not be sneaking behind the backs of other associations attempting to steal players?

    Complete Hypocrisy from the IFA and it’s supporters

  • Backbencher

    Can someone born in the south with no family connections to the north, opt to play for the north?

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    Backbencher

    “Can someone born in the south with no family connections to the north, opt to play for the north?”

    I’m not sure. The solution of anyone born in the 32 Counties being able to opt for either RoI or the North was offered by FIFA as a compromise arrangement at one point.

    If I remember correctly, the IFA rejected this and proceeded to take their case to CAS.

    IMO, I think that it should work in both directions and I imagine that it does (despite the earlier rejection from the IFA).

    However, I’m frankly not sure and I’m happy to stand corrected by anyone who is better informed on this aspect.

  • Mike the First

    MDWDH

    No problem and apology accepted. Ranger1640 is behaving like an arse but most of us are intersted above all in the welfare and success of our team. There are always those who enjoy “sticking it to the other lot” more than seeing their own team do well – the glee of some over players from NI choosing the ROI seems to stem from the same source. I certainly recognise the poor behaviour including singing of some in the fringers around matches – however it should be recognised Celtic and the ROI for example seem to have similar problems: it’s difficult to eradicate outside of matches.

    On eligility, players aren’t eligible for NI via a connection to the ROI. The main reason being that FIFA only recognises British nationality as qualifying a player for NI. If they did recognise Irish nationality as qualifying a player for NI, then the same rule that prevents any old Englishman/Scotsman/Welshman/Bermudan/etc playing for NI, or any Continental Dane playing for the Faroe Islands, would kick in: and NI-born ROI nationals would no longer be able to turn out for the ROI without a birth/ancestry/residence connection to the ROI! God knows how FIFA’s “indecent proposal” would have worked – IMO the IFA were quite right to reject it, as it would simply have resulted in two all-Ireland teams.

  • Mike the First

    Neil

    “I could be wrong, regularly am as it happens, but I don’t recall that happening historically. To predict the future one only has to look to the past, as the man said. I know of no Ireland player who have been on the receiving end of death threats, though as I say I could be mistaken.”

    I would assume that whatever scumbag sent bullets to McCourt and McGinn, like the Scottish lowlife sending bullets to Lennon and others, specifically has a hatred of Celtic and more generally of those from the Irish Catholic/nationalist tradition – perhaps specifically Northern Irish Catholic/nationalist people. I’m not sure how you think that a player playing for the ROI would mitigate such a scumbag’s hatred (if anything, it might even make it worse). Do you think Darron Gibson, for example, if he had been playing for Celtic, would have been spared by this lunatic because he plays his international football for the ROI?

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    Mike the First

    Thanks for the clarification on eligibility.

    Again, I do accept the points you make.

    There are certainly those on both sides (hopefully an ever decreasing minority) who are more interested in getting one over on “the other side” than in supporting their team.

    There are also idiots ( again on both sides) who sing unacceptable songs – hopefully an ever decreasing minority. I guess the best thing is for the decent majority not to let these idiots ruin it for them.

    For what it’s worth, I think (as I note a majority of NI fans on OWC do) that NI should adopt a more neutral anthem as opposed to GSTQ.

    I think it would certainly increase their chances of retaining Nationalist background players. Frankly, I don’t see it as either an insult or assault on your Britishness as neither Scotland nor Wales use GSTQ and, indeed, there are moves for England to adopt something like “Jerusalem” to establish a more uniquely English identity.

    My understanding is that the aim of OWC/Football for All is to move on from the past and establish a NI identity as opposed to an Irish or British identity.

    Having lived in London for many years, I find that the NI hardline “fans” who oppose any changes as “assaults” on their Britishness display few of the characteristics of tolerance/humour/reasonableness that I associate with the UK.

    Conversely IMO the more relaxed forward thinking NI fans who are trying to generate a neutral NI identity are much more indicative of my notion of Britishness.

    Just an opinion.

  • Hopping The Border

    Mike The First,

    I specifically stated the ” our country” phrase was symptomatic of the attitude of a number of NI fans I have met and spoken with – therefore it is based on my experiences.

    My earlier point was that there is a serious problem of mutual respect and acceptance of any form of irish cultural expression by some PULs as if it would somehow dilute their Britishness. Political representatives of that part of the community are some of the worst offenders for this. (Willie McCrea deciding to translate Peadar Heffron’s being a minor example of this).

    So the “our country” aspect of the point was an example of this, not a way to paint all in that section of the community as culpable in doing it.

    Also, I note you negated to answer my question (as did all other NI fans it seems) do northern ireland fans take issue with northern born fans supporting the republic?

    Finally, I would prefer if you didn’t capitalise entire words, its childish in the extreme, akin to shouting and thus has no place in a supposedly civilised discussion.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Mike,

    “The main reason being that FIFA only recognises British nationality as qualifying a player for NI. If they did recognise Irish nationality as qualifying a player for NI, then the same rule that prevents any old Englishman/Scotsman/Welshman/Bermudan/etc playing for NI, or any Continental Dane playing for the Faroe Islands, would kick in: and NI-born ROI nationals would no longer be able to turn out for the ROI without a birth/ancestry/residence connection to the ROI!”

    That would indeed have been enough. A question though, did the IFA ever argue otherwise. They would have had the Good Friday Agreement to back them up.

  • Lionel Hutz

    I only ask Mike, because I recall the whole fracas about that issue about 5 years ago. Seem to recall the likes of Dermot Ahern sticking his nose in and Sinn Fein and SDLP waving the Good Friday Agreement.

    I also seem to recall some criticism directed against the IFA for being sectarian and demanding the UK passport. I remember thinking that the criticism was baseless but that all the same, I dont recall the IFA really forcing the issue.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Backbencher

    “Can someone born in the south with no family connections to the north, opt to play for the north?”

    Actually yes, anyone who gains GB&NI citizenship born outside of GB&NI that is uncapped is eligible play for any GB&NI side, if they are also eligible to play international football.

    I’m sure that would make many ROI exiles eligible.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Two points

    1. The rules are universal, so they advantage no one. The rules don’t govern individual choice, the only difference is that of citizenship between nations. This applies to other international sports, and it is enforced to be fair by the CAS and to be honest, soccer is a lot less liberal than other sports. Northern Ireland could be recruiting Commonwealth GB passport holders, or playing the granny rule or using their limited squad numbers and focus on disciplining them to do a Montenegro or a Slovenia … but they complain about defections.

    Think of the players Poland “lost” to Germany.

    2, Northern Ireland sits on a body that determines the rules of the game, it has one seat, as does England, Scotland and Wales. The rest of FIFA have four seats. FIFA has 204 other members, that’s 51 nations per seat, equivalent to the rest of UEFA, All of CAF, CONCACAF & CONEMBOL combined or AFC and OFC combined. In other words NI has the same voting rights as an entire continent, 50 times the voting power of a world cup winning nation like Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Argentina or Uruguay!

    In this modern era where it is difficult to justify GB, particularly GB outside of England holding such a monopoly is that fair?

  • I dont know why people are so worked up about people being born in Norn Iron and eligible to play for two countries.
    But am I right in thinking that players born outside, England, Scotland, Wales, Norn Iron but brought up in any of those places are eligible for all four……..(er Maik Taylor who plays for our wee country was born in Germany).
    So whats the problem with

    “As the holder of a British passport who was born abroad, Taylor was eligible to represent any of the Home Nations at international level.He is a regular in the Northern Ireland national team, and has over 80 caps for the team…”
    (thank you wikipedia)

    So as Darron Gibson is the holder ofan Irish passport but born “abroad” (Norn Iron), surely no supporter of our wee country can possibly object.
    Except of course its the Republic……and thats ….er different. So it is.

  • DT123

    “Can someone born in the south with no family connections to the north, opt to play for the north?”

    No they cannot,unless they met some of the other FIFA criteria.If they have no family qualifications ,that would only leave residency.Namely they would have had to reside in Northern Ireland for four years to become eligible to represent the NI football team.

    “Actually yes, anyone who gains GB&NI citizenship born outside of GB&NI that is uncapped is eligible play for any GB&NI side, if they are also eligible to play international football.

    I’m sure that would make many ROI exiles eligible.”

    Wrong again ,the Home Nations have a “gentlemans agreement” that has been lodged with FIFA ,that disallows the picking of players,who are not otherwise qualified.Namely birth,parents,grandparents or residency.Maik Taylor(or somone like him) would no longer be eligible to be picked by NI.

  • Mike the First

    FJH1745

    You really, really need to learn to just read the thread. Your last post there is already dealt with just a few posts above.

  • Mike the First

    MDWDH

    I’m all for NI adopting a NI-specific anthem – been arguing the case since I wrote some fanzine stuff about it back in the mid/late 1990s. I don’t feel any more or less British because of what anthem is played at NI matches, nor do I feel having a specifically Northern Irish anthem is an attack on Britishness as unfortunately some do. I find it kind of hard to really see into that sort of mindset. The end logic would surely be that we shouldn’t have out own flag either, or our own team. I think England should adopt a specifically English anthem too.

  • Mike the First

    HTB

    No, what you actually said was: “By the way, the fact some on here, and many others outside continue to refer to NI as “our country” and therefore exclusionary by default”.

    You were claiming the phrase “our country” was “exclusionary by default”. If you want to row back on that, this is very welcome, but at least admit you’re doing so.

    “Finally, I would prefer if you didn’t capitalise entire words, its childish in the extreme, akin to shouting and thus has no place in a supposedly civilised discussion.”

    It doesn’t really matter to me what you “prefer” – you’re one poster among hundreds, and my post was specifically addressed to someone else. So – tough, really. And it’s not “akin to shouting”, nor “childish” – it’s a simple way of highlighting a particular word or phrase that I would normally italicise (or embolden), as I don’t know how these functions work this forum. Feel free to explain how though…

  • Dec

    I don’t think a new anthem is going to affect anything in terms of changing the Nationalist communities almost total lack of engagement with the NI team (in terms of support) – it’s still delivering the message that northern Irish people aren’t really Irish. A no anthem/IFA flag is undoubtedly the best pathway to encouraging true cross community support (which is at the heart of the issue, ultimately) – and I doubt I’ll live to see that scenario come to pass.

  • FuturePhysicist

    “Wrong again ,the Home Nations have a “gentlemans agreement” that has been lodged with FIFA ,that disallows the picking of players,who are not otherwise qualified.Namely birth,parents,grandparents or residency. Maik Taylor(or someone like him) would no longer be eligible to be picked by NI.”

    This honour code has no sports arbitration standing I believe, and has been interpreted different ways by different members of each association. It’s implemented by the sides but can be broken without sanction, just annoyance from the other three sides. The Republic of Ireland hasn’t signed up to the honour code, and frankly neither have the other 203 national associations.

    The same honour code would in effect ban Channel Islanders, Manx and Gilbraltese from playing international football, unless they have ancestry or residence … so a three generation Manx person would only be eligible to play in whatever nation he is resident in … so basically if a Manx player who wasn’t schooled or born in England, plays for an English club, ends up playing League of Ireland football (for the sake of avoiding argument said club isn’t Derry City), wants to play for England … can only play for the Republic under this rule.

    Or is there some gentleman’s agreement that the nationalities of Crown dependencies are either automatically English even though such a gentleman’s agreement hasn’t been agreed with the local associations of the dependencies.

    Not sure if the Le Saux’s and Le Tissier’s had English ancestry, but it seems rather unfair that these non-UK nation’s existences should be undermined by the UK nations.

    For that reason alone I believe there are still plenty of loop holes in the Gentleman’s agreement.

  • Mike the First

    Dec

    I really do think that taking the position that the NI team having ANY (oh for the knowledge of how to italicise/embolden…) anthem at all is “delivering the message that northern Irish [as distinct from Northern Irish I assume] people aren’t really Irish” is totally unreasonable.

    It requires some unpicking too. What do you mean by “Irish”? By “really Irish”? How does a NI team playing (say) “Danny Boy/Londonderry Air” negate that? Is the Irishness of any NI Commonwealth Games participants affected? Does the fact the Ireland rugby team uses any sort of anthem send a message that some of the players aren’t British , or indeed Northern Irish? As you might be able to tell I’m kind of nonplussed by that comment.

  • Mike the First

    FuturePhysicist

    You’re completely wrong. It’s not a gentlemen’s agreement any more, it’s a FIFA rule.

    —————————————————
    Player who, under the terms of art. 15, is eligible to represent more than
    one Association on account of his nationality, may play in an international
    match for one of these Associations only if, in addition to having the relevant
    nationality, he fulfi ls at least one of the following conditions:
    (a) He was born on the territory of the relevant Association;
    (b) His biological mother or biological father was born on the territory of
    the relevant Association;
    (c) His grandmother or grandfather was born on the territory of the
    relevant Association;
    (d) He has lived continuously on the territory of the relevant Association
    for at least two years.
    —————————————————–
    http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/generic/01/29/85/71/fifastatuten2010_e.pdf

    In the case of Channel Island and Manx footballers, they’re now eligible only for England, as the (English) FA is the governing body (with the Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man FAs having the status of “county” associations under the FA), so they are from “the territory of the association”.

    Gibraltarians are indeed excluded from international football (unless they have one of the connections mentioned above). The Gibraltar FA wants to field a national side, but quite disgracefully has been refused admission by UEFA despite a CAS ruling that they had to admit Gibraltar back in 2007. (Falkland Islanders are also excluded – some other British Overseas Territories have their own teams).

    It’s worh noting this rule doesn’t just apply to British nationality – it applies in the case of French, Danish, Chinese and American nationality and perhaps others.

  • Mike the First

    PS – previous to this rule, under the old gentlemen’s agreement between the UK associations, British citizens from outside the UK were free to choose from among the home nations. This included Channel Islanders and Manxmen (as well as presumably Gibraltarians and Falkland Islanders, and indeed “parentage” Britons born abroad or naturalised immigrants) – Le Saux and Le Tissier chose to play for England. Trevor Wood from Guernsey got one cap for NI back in 1995.

  • Dec

    ‘Does the fact the Ireland rugby team uses any sort of anthem send a message that some of the players aren’t British , or indeed Northern Irish? As you might be able to tell I’m kind of nonplussed by that comment.’

    Mike

    The rugby example is irrelevant as the name of the team is Ireland – that’s truly inclusive and should threaten nobody (and I would willingly vote for a ban on the home anthems being played before Rugby internationals.)

    I’m not surprised you’re non-plussed as a quick scan of the comments over at the OWC site should tell you that 99% of NI supporters literally have no clue as to what makes northern Nationalists click in terms of sporting allegiance. I’ve read comments ranging from comparing ‘defectors’ to a US citizen declaring for Canada (‘We’re totally different countries like them’) to one hilariously plaintive plea – ‘why can’t Nationalists be proud Ulstermen?’ (I’m not making this up).
    The reason players defect is that they’ve grown up supporting the Republic as it most closely represents their nationality. Engineering the partial transformation of a team that does not represent that nationality into a team that STILL does not represent that nationality is a waste of time. However if you can create a team that forces all fans to ditch their political allegainces at the turnstiles for 90 minutes and rather focuses on our shared geographical location then you may be on to something.

  • Mike the First

    And how exactly would playing (say) Danny Boy, or a specifically-written anthem prevent that?

    I still can’t see where you’re coming from here. Where does the requirement for the NI team to have no anthem whatsoever come from? It’s utterly unreasonable and lacking in any logic.

    Especially so when you think that an all-Ireland rugby team is “truly inclusive and should threaten nobody”, even when it uses an anthem.

    PS please dont start pretending I don’t understand nationalists’ identity. I get that, on a pretty good level – really, I do. I’ve just never, ever, heard this assertion that nationalists would be unhappy with a NI team playing any sort of anthem whatsoever, no matter what the piece of music is, but they would be happy with the NI team if no anthem were played. And I sure as hell don’t get the concept that playing [insert any piece of music here] is “delivering a message” that anyone “isn’t really Irish”.

  • FuturePhysicist

    I believe you misinterpret Rule 16, it’s overridden by Rule 15 which states:
    Principle
    1. Any person holding a permanent nationality that is not dependent on residence in a certain country is eligible to play for the representative teams of the Association of that country.
    2. With the exception of the conditions specified in article 18 below, any Player who has already participated in a match (either in full or in part) in an official competition of any category or any type of football for one Association may not play an international match for a representative team of another Association.

    Part 1 says passport ensures eligibility, Part 2 of Rule 15 clarifies situations such as the breakup of the CIS, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, the unification of Germany … dare I say it even a United Ireland if such a thing were to happen. It allows players to play for two different countries under very specified rules… i.e. an Albanian Kosovar may play for Kosovo in the future despite an Albanian cap because an independent Kosovo did not exist when he got the cap, but this may not specifically apply to a Kosovar Albanian. No Kosovar would be “forced” to play for Serbia under this agreement.
    Also the reason why Gilbratar and the Falkland’s/Malvinas aren’t recognised is because Spain and Argentina would boycott club and international football if they were which basically shows that “gentleman ’s agreements” are nothing more than what they say on the tin, if the term isn’t derided for being sexist anyway. The FIFA rule here is that UN recognition must be recognised with the exceptions like the four associations, Hong Kong and the Faroe Islands, Palestine is recognised by the UN so it’s eligible, Kosovo isn’t so it is not, similarly with Northern Cyprus, South Ossetia and similarly with the Isle of Man.
    As for the county status of the crown dependencies, that’s merely a convenience to allow for registration. The defence forces have county status, so despite the gentleman’s agreement England is within its right to do an Anti-Taylor and poach any “brat” with Northern Ireland parentage, the only difference being that the other associations have shut the door. All professional Lichtenstein sides play in the Swiss Leagues, all professional Canadian sides play in the MLS, and many other expatriated clubs around the world. They all have special dispensation and bares little to no relation to what side a person may or may not play for, because the kicker is that you don’t need to be a national to play for these clubs anyway.
    The term “territory of the association” is a very flaccid and controversially disputed term, it does not mean that any Manxman or Channel Islander can only play for England, as a) both the granny rule and residence rule still apply … so if Jersey man has a French “papa”, the FFA can still “poach” him, similarly if the Manx man goes to UCD and becomes eligible to play for ROI on residency rules, but also because these region’s associations would not be entitled to FIFA membership under the UN rule, and would be subject to the same constraints of the Northern Cypriot and the Kosovar.
    Simply put Manx citizenship isn’t recognised as English by FIFA, it’s possibly recognised as British by FIFA and unattached to any association regardless of where their clubs are registered. They may opt to play for England in the same way a Northern Cypriot may opt to play for Turkey instead of Cyprus or a Kosovar choosing Albania instead of Serbia.

    Hope that clarifies things.

  • Dec

    ‘And how exactly would playing (say) Danny Boy, or a specifically-written anthem prevent that?’

    My view is that if you’re reaching around to the extent that Danny Boy is a suitable anthem then you’re straying into an anthem for anthem’s sake territory. A specially written one? I’d love to read the lyrics of that.

    The bottom line is that the vast, vast majority of Northern Nationalists don’t actively support NI. This was never a problem for anyone (especially the IFA)until players for that community who have supported the Republic all their lives, started switching associations. The core issue as I see it is not to attract players to play for Northern Ireland but to get kids from all communities supporting NI; after that everything else will fall into place. I’ve suggested what I see as the most obvious wayy to achieve this – it isn’t a recommendation just my view. I’m perfectly content with the status quo.
    But please don’t labour under the misapprehension that in the Irish vs British argument, Northern Irish is a neutral position.

  • Mike the First

    FuturePhysicist

    There’s not much I can say other than that you’re getting this wrong. FIFA has a specific rule that prevents British nationality alone qualifying a player to play for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Bermuda etc. It’s widely acknowledged that Maik Taylor wouldn’t be eligible to begin an international career with NI now. Scotland wanted to pick naturalised British citizens playing in England about a decade ago but can’t now do so.

    (The Channel Islander/Manxman thing is a complete side issue but the fact remains that the English FA is the national association for Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man as well as England.

    As for citing the fact that a Channel Islander could play for France under parentage/grandsparentage…well, shaking my head in disbelief a bit here – obviously. Did you really think I was saying the only country Channel Islanders could play for in the world is England? Clearly we were talking about what British association they would qualify for by means of their Channel Island birth.

    By the way, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man could join FIFA on the same basis as the Faroe Islands if they wanted to. However nowadays UEFA, unlike FIFA, will only accept sovereign independent nations – they changed their rules specifically to ensure Gibraltar were excluded.)

  • Mike the First

    Dec

    “My view is that if you’re reaching around to the extent that Danny Boy is a suitable anthem then you’re straying into an anthem for anthem’s sake territory. A specially written one? I’d love to read the lyrics of that.”

    Two words to consider then: Ireland’s Call.

    “The bottom line is that the vast, vast majority of Northern Nationalists don’t actively support NI. This was never a problem for anyone (especially the IFA)until players for that community who have supported the Republic all their lives, started switching associations. The core issue as I see it is not to attract players to play for Northern Ireland but to get kids from all communities supporting NI; after that everything else will fall into place. I’ve suggested what I see as the most obvious wayy to achieve this – it isn’t a recommendation just my view. I’m perfectly content with the status quo.”

    I really don’t think removing any anthem whatsoever is “the most obvious way” – it’s not obvious at all. Any other nationalist commenter who has said there are steps that COULD be taken, have said that replacing GSTQ with a different anthem would be part of the way forward.

    Your suggestion simply smacks of wanting to draw attention to the NI team and say: “Look! This is a horrible anomaly! This team and this entity shouldn’t exist”. All the while being hapy supporting the team you really wanted to support anyway.

    “But please don’t labour under the misapprehension that in the Irish vs British argument, Northern Irish is a neutral position.”

    Similarly, moving to try to obliterate any sense of Northern Irishness isn’t a neutral position either.

  • Dec

    Mike

    let’s see how the IFA get on with Northern Ireland’s Call then.

    ‘Any other nationalist commenter who has said there are steps that COULD be taken, have said that replacing GSTQ with a different anthem would be part of the way forward.”

    I’m just questioning how successful that would be? Remember, you’re talking about attracting people to actively support Northern Ireland over at least on a level par with the Republic. I would argue the futility of dropping GSTQ on that basis. (Though i would say I fail to understand the mindset that expects Catholic schoolkids to stand with their heads bowed at Victory Shield matches as they currently have to).

    ‘Your suggestion simply smacks of wanting to draw attention to the NI team and say: “Look! This is a horrible anomaly! This team and this entity shouldn’t exist”. All the while being hapy supporting the team you really wanted to support anyway.’

    No. I’m happy with the Status Quo. I support the Republic. I just believe given the divide in society, making things slightly less British is a waste of time if your intent is to attract people back from supporting the Republic. Ultimately, my view is continue on as you are (the IFA/GAWA etc) and good luck to you but next time a player decides to declare for the south, shut up.

  • DT123

    “No. I’m happy with the Status Quo. I support the Republic. I just believe given the divide in society, making things slightly less British is a waste of time if your intent is to attract people back from supporting the Republic. Ultimately, my view is continue on as you are (the IFA/GAWA etc) and good luck to you but next time a player decides to declare for the south, shut up.”

    Most Northern Ireland fans “get” this whole hatred thing,from Northern Irish republicans.A lot of us have came to accept (despite the unfairness) the FIFA position.The question is now what to do about it?

    I have read republicans going on about the IFA being funded by the tax payer and thus should have some sort of obligation to nurture players who wish to play for the Republic.This is one thing that has to stop.The vast majority of the IFA’s resources are gathered from the national team,through gate receits,TV rights,sponsorship and merchandise.With such a limited amount of money and coaches I’m sure any decent minded individual cannot expect the IFA to waste time on Republic of Ireland players.

    If young nationalists wish to represent the RoI then the best of luck to them.Just have the decency of your convictions and when called into a Northern Ireland youth team politely decline and that is the end of the matter.

    Why did James McCLean play for NI at all junior levels ,including 7 times for the U21’s if he wanted to play for the Republic?Surely he knew his political aspirations at least 3 or 4 years ago?

  • Neil

    Most Northern Ireland fans “get” this whole hatred thing,from Northern Irish republicans

    Neatly ignoring the cause of that ‘hatred’ as you put it. That being the Linfield Village stadium, Neil Lennon death threats, completely Loyalist atmosphere complete with anthems, songs and sectarian chanting.

    Still, them damn fenians eh?

    A lot of us have came to accept (despite the unfairness) the FIFA position.

    Unfairness, in your humble opinion. You will be aware that FIFA, CAS, the Irish peopl, Northern Irish Nationalists and the FAI don’t see it as unfair. Maybe the rest of the world isn’t wrong dude, maybe it’s you.

    The question is now what to do about it?

    Learn from your (the IFA’s) previous mistakes and suck it up. Instead of wasting further of your limited resources actively making your situation worse. Nah, that would be daft eh?

    I have read republicans going on about the IFA being funded by the tax payer and thus should have some sort of obligation to nurture players who wish to play for the Republic.This is one thing that has to stop.The vast majority of the IFA’s resources are gathered from the national team,through gate receits,TV rights,sponsorship and merchandise.

    And then paid right back out again. To Linfield. And stop with the line that the IFA fritters away fourty fortunes on players when they can’t even afford to fix their crumbling stadium without tens of millions of taxpayer’s money (much of which will come from Nationalist taxpayers). I would be interested to view the IFA’s accounts to see how much more than 10 million a year (the taxpayer’s donation) they earn. I suspect the taxpayer has footed the majority of their income over this period.

    With such a limited amount of money and coaches I’m sure any decent minded individual cannot expect the IFA to waste time on Republic of Ireland players.

    But they aren’t you see. If they are lucky enough to have a future Ireland (32 county team) player in their youth squad they should be grateful. They could do with all the help they can get,

    If young nationalists wish to represent the RoI then the best of luck to them.Just have the decency of your convictions and when called into a Northern Ireland youth team politely decline and that is the end of the matter.

    Thereby gauranteeing no international football career. So any young Nationalist can fuck off to Dublin aged ten if they want to play football as they shouldn’t be allowed to play in NI unless they swear allegiance to the state they don’t want to live in or have anything to do with.

    Thanks but no thanks. The kids will play until such times as they are well noticed and able to get a career with a decent team, at such times an offer from Ireland may come through, or not. You’re absically saying if you can’t commit to NI as a child you shouldn’t play. So if you live in Belfast and are a Republican just forget about football and do something else? Nah.

    Why did James McCLean play for NI at all junior levels ,including 7 times for the U21′s if he wanted to play for the Republic?Surely he knew his political aspirations at least 3 or 4 years ago?

    To get his career going is why. And 4 years ago he may well have known what he wanted, but 4 years ago the Ireland squad weren’t asking him to play for them. Thanks to his skills at Derry and his exposure through playing for the NI youth squads he’s been noticed and he now has the option to play for his national team.

    If you got your way he would never get that chance as he’d be obliged to turn down any opportunity to play as he lives in a contested state with two national identities.

  • Ah DT123 thats the beauty of it.
    Coaching begins at 12,13 and the people being coached are children.
    By what mechanism can the IFA deny them training? Even if was possible to get undertakings from children, I cant see how that could be enforced when the children change their mind as adults.
    Ah but their parents can sign undertakings?
    Easy enough to repudiate later.

    And if you seriously think that a lot of nationalist parents would sign those undertakings for their kids at 12, 13…..well you can see the court case now. Good news for the guys and girls at the Law Library.

    Of course that means all those wonderful “county” teams in the Milk Cup bringing communities together and all that image….might get a bit lop-sided.

    The beauty of it is that the IFA and our wee country cant win.
    Adapting to a new reality “might” work with some players. Not adapting to new reality will create more James McCleans.
    And lets be honest …those Norn Iron fans criticising Caral Ní Chuilín for disrespecting “our national anthem” just dont get it. Cos Caral is getting cake and eating it too. And a very nice cake it is too.
    And a lot of Norn Iron fans just like their own (outdated) image of Norn Iron.
    The struggle is not between unionist and nationalist football fans.
    Its between Norn Iron hardliners and modernisers.
    And an interesting spectator sport in itself.

    Shola Ameobi……..Newcastle United…….pretty decent player. Born in Nigeria. Brought up in Britain. Underage player with England. Norn Iron should be looking at him. Hes eligible.

  • Incidently….I dont know James McCleans political aspirations. Nor does anyone else. As nothing can be read into his “choice”.

  • DT123

    “Neatly ignoring the cause of that ‘hatred’ as you put it. That being the Linfield Village stadium, Neil Lennon death threats, completely Loyalist atmosphere complete with anthems, songs and sectarian chanting.

    Still, them damn fenians eh?”

    The stadium has been where it is for a 100+years and realistically there has never been an opportunity to move .

    The Neil Lennon “death threat” stick is constantly brought up by republicans in these type of conversations,yet no one knows who made the phone call/calls.It could have been a “loyalist” nutter,but could just as easily have been a republican looking to blacken the NI fans.

    Anthem,fair enough ,a lot of NI fans want to change it as well,maybe SF and the DUP could agree on a NI specific one for future use.

    Loyalist songs and sectarian chanting,haven’t been heard at Windsor Park in years.

    “Unfairness, in your humble opinion. You will be aware that FIFA, CAS, the Irish peopl, Northern Irish Nationalists and the FAI don’t see it as unfair. Maybe the rest of the world isn’t wrong dude, maybe it’s you.”

    Unfair in as far as no other FIFA member has another country able to select it’s players.Argue about wether NI is a country all you want ,but in FIFA terms it is and the rules should be the same for all.
    Were I so inclined ,despite have a UK passport and having been born British ,I could never play for England(age and lack of ability notwithstanding) according to FIFA rules.

    “And then paid right back out again. To Linfield. And stop with the line that the IFA fritters away fourty fortunes on players when they can’t even afford to fix their crumbling stadium without tens of millions of taxpayer’s money (much of which will come from Nationalist taxpayers). I would be interested to view the IFA’s accounts to see how much more than 10 million a year (the taxpayer’s donation) they earn. I suspect the taxpayer has footed the majority of their income over this period.”

    What money do the Govt pay to Linfield?If you are referring to the money for redeveloping Windsor,Casement and Ravenhill,then it has nothing to do with what the IFA generates for their own use.If you have a link to a yearly pay out to the IFA I’d like to see it.

    “Thereby gauranteeing no international football career. So any young Nationalist can fuck off to Dublin aged ten if they want to play football as they shouldn’t be allowed to play in NI unless they swear allegiance to the state they don’t want to live in or have anything to do with. ”
    ” Thanks but no thanks. The kids will play until such times as they are well noticed and able to get a career with a decent team, at such times an offer from Ireland may come through, or not. You’re absically saying if you can’t commit to NI as a child you shouldn’t play. So if you live in Belfast and are a Republican just forget about football and do something else? Nah.”

    Why so,if they are any good ,I’m sure the FAI will cover expenses to take them to training camps wherever they take place.If it stops the IFA wasting time and resources,I’m sure they would permit the FAI to hold training somwhere closer to hand.Where did I say they shouldn’t be allowed to play football in NI?If they hate the state so much why on earth would they want to represent it?

    “To get his career going is why. And 4 years ago he may well have known what he wanted, but 4 years ago the Ireland squad weren’t asking him to play for them. Thanks to his skills at Derry and his exposure through playing for the NI youth squads he’s been noticed and he now has the option to play for his national team.

    If you got your way he would never get that chance as he’d be obliged to turn down any opportunity to play as he lives in a contested state with two national identities.”

    Decency and integrity don’t come into it at all then?Why can he not declare for the RoI and play for their youth teams?I’m sure the FAI have a presence in the Letterkenny area,hardly a long way to go to play for your country of choice.

  • DT123

    “Shola Ameobi……..Newcastle United…….pretty decent player. Born in Nigeria. Brought up in Britain. Underage player with England. Norn Iron should be looking at him. Hes eligible.”

    No he’s not.

  • Dec

    DT123

    ‘If they hate the state so much why on earth would they want to represent it?’

    Another tiresome MOPE rolled out by the GAWA. If you don’t wish to paly for Northern ireland, you’re a hater, bigot, etc, snore. What part of ‘support the Republic’ don’t you lot get?

    Btw I don’t recall Wendy Houvenghal getting labelled a hater when she represented England in the commonwealth games.

  • DT123

    “Another tiresome MOPE rolled out by the GAWA. If you don’t wish to paly for Northern ireland, you’re a hater, bigot, etc, snore. What part of ‘support the Republic’ don’t you lot get?”

    I have no problem with them supporting the Republic.Why do they then wish to play for NI under age teams?Go and play for the Republic,just don’t use the IFA to help you along the way.

  • Charminator

    DT123:

    “I have no problem with them supporting the Republic.Why do they then wish to play for NI under age teams?Go and play for the Republic,just don’t use the IFA to help you along the way.”

    Would you allow the FAI to open youth training facilities across the North, Newry and Derry, to start let’s say?? I’m sure the IFA would permit that, if that’s the crux of the problem.

    OR is the problem something else: that some people here, in their anger and bitterness, want these youngsters to play for no one, if not the North?? Isn’t that the real kernel of it.

    Many here would be up in arms if the FAI moved North to capture – as surely they might well – the hearts and minds of the vast majority of Nationalist and Republican youngsters?

    If youngsters play for the North in their youth – when there is no other alternative available – that’s fine. But do not then complain, when after reaching a more mature age and seeing that they then can represent the Nation of their birth (as they see it), that they choose to do so.

    People cannot have it both ways. If IFA supporters are stressed about the provisions they make for youngsters in their youth, only for them to then desert the camp as they reach adulthood – then do not merely allow, proactively tell the FAI, they should open youth training facilities in the North to cater for their future footballers.

  • Charminator

    I might add that – like rugby – I simply do not see why we cannot have a single team. Remove any sight of a Tricolour or Union Jack from view, unite with a common sporting ambition, and go on the world stage, head held high (be it as “Irish” as I construe it, or as “Irish” as Field Marshal Montgomery did – as something at one with being British too).

    I have little doubt that the vast majority of Irish across our island would make every concession and compromise possible to facilitate such reconciliation.

    One “Green Army” would be grand: and we’d still be a “Wee Country” too.

  • Fortlands

    There’s a simple solution – one Irish team. Not an original thought, when you consider hockey, rugby, cricket – most sports in fact. Did Brian or Nigel comment on that possibility?

  • DT123…you really need to get a campaign going for our Shola.

  • DT123

    “Would you allow the FAI to open youth training facilities across the North, Newry and Derry, to start let’s say?? I’m sure the IFA would permit that, if that’s the crux of the problem. ”

    I have already said that I would prefer the FAI to train these youngsters themselves.If they want to play for the Republic ,fine ,but do it from the start not after having played for the IFA for years.
    Letterkenny and Dundalk aren’t exactly very far away.

    “I might add that – like rugby – I simply do not see why we cannot have a single team. Remove any sight of a Tricolour or Union Jack from view, unite with a common sporting ambition, and go on the world stage, head held high (be it as “Irish” as I construe it, or as “Irish” as Field Marshal Montgomery did – as something at one with being British too).

    I have little doubt that the vast majority of Irish across our island would make every concession and compromise possible to facilitate such reconciliation.

    One “Green Army” would be grand: and we’d still be a “Wee Country” too.”

    There was one Ireland team ,up untill the Republic decided to go it alone.I’m sure if they want to come back to the IFA somthing could be worked out.
    However if the rugby scenario is peoples idea of an all Ireland team,I’m sure most Northern Ireland football supporters will opt for the staus quo.

  • Charminator

    “I have already said that I would prefer the FAI to train these youngsters themselves.If they want to play for the Republic ,fine ,but do it from the start not after having played for the IFA for years. Letterkenny and Dundalk aren’t exactly very far away.”

    No, in every town and village, right across the North, where there is a demand expressed for it. Children will not travel miles at 10, 12, 14 years of age on buses like the Deep South to satisfy some folk’s hostility to the sight of the FAI actively recruiting across the North.

    No FAI, no IFA: let’s not create stumbling blocks. Both were products of their times. How about the AFI – probably the best alternative!

  • grandimarkey

    DT123:

    “I have already said that I would prefer the FAI to train these youngsters themselves.If they want to play for the Republic ,fine ,but do it from the start not after having played for the IFA for years.
    Letterkenny and Dundalk aren’t exactly very far away.”

    Indeed. But would you support the FAI operating youth training camps in certain locations across Northern Ireland?

  • Charminator

    It’s really rather plain and simple.

    If the problem is the IFA training younsters who then desert – a not unreasonable gripe, I can acknowledge – then I think we need to have an FAI presence in the North.

    No right-minded person here, obviously, if the real problem is training youngsters who will later desert, would obstruct their training in the North by the FAI. They could perhaps lop a 100K of Delaney’s salary and still comfortably start the ball rolling in Newry. Of course, I’m saying nothing of Belfast, where ultimately, they must also have a presence if we need to cure this awful problem of children being trained by an outfit they desert upon reaching maturity.

  • DT123

    “No, in every town and village, right across the North, where there is a demand expressed for it. Children will not travel miles at 10, 12, 14 years of age on buses like the Deep South to satisfy some folk’s hostility to the sight of the FAI actively recruiting across the North.”

    I don’t think that the IFA have training in every town and village,that would be local clubs.I presume that many children called up by Northern Ireland already have to travel to play for Northern Ireland.We are only talking about the “top” players here,those that have been called up to the national team.

    Does any other country in the world allow training camps for an opponent on their “territory”?I doubt if FIFA would even allow it.However if having one in west Belfast ,put an end to the waste of time and effort put in by the IFA ,I don’t see a problem.For Derry you have Letterkenny and for Newry you have Dundalk.

  • Charminator

    “We are only talking about the “top” players here,those that have been called up to the national team.”

    At age 10 or 12, determining “top” is a little tricky. I say, best option, to avoid it happening again and causing ructions for IFA supporters, more training camps, not less.

    “Does any other country in the world allow training camps for an opponent on their “territory”?I doubt if FIFA would even allow it.”

    That’s irrelevant to helping me try to help you to solve the problem. It’s not positive. Forget FIFA: they’ve been no help to the IFA and if the North applied to join the UEFA today, they’d be politely told to go away (like Gibraltar), since only recognised countries may join.

    “However if having one in west Belfast ,put an end to the waste of time and effort put in by the IFA ,I don’t see a problem.For Derry you have Letterkenny and for Newry you have Dundalk.”

    Err on the side of caution. To be sure this problem does not arise again, we need as many training camps as possible. Were all the deserters so far only from West Belfast??
    And DT123, try also to remember these youngsters are somebody’s children, travelling several days a week to training, Derry won’t do for Letterkenny and Newry won’t do for Dundalk. It’s not obstacles or increased travelling distances we’re trying to create here, but a solution to the problem you’ve highlighted.

    For someone who has described his problem “Why do they then wish to play for NI under age teams?Go and play for the Republic,just don’t use the IFA to help you along the way” – you’re not engaging as much as I’d have hoped in solving it.

    As many FAI camps, as funding allows, seems to me the best way to make sure we avoid a risk of this happening again.

  • stewart1

    It would seem that even those young players from the North who wish to play for NI are going to find it ever more difficult to get a place in the IFA youth teams, if current IFA plans are anything to go by.

    Armstrong has stated that he will trawl England, Scotland, America and Canada looking for players with any link to NI.

    And if you consider that they have already recruited over thirty English born players over the last few years into the IFA youth teams, that number can only increase.

    For example, seven of the fourteen players who played for the NI under 21 team on Wednesday were born in England.

    Perhaps the IFA need to set up training camps in England to reduce the cost burden on the English FA !!!!!

  • Mike the First

    “Children will not travel miles at 10, 12, 14 years of age on buses like the Deep South to satisfy some folk’s hostility to the sight of the FAI actively recruiting across the North.”

    Oh dear Lord, that’s hilarious. By far the best MOPE I’ve read in a long time.

  • Neil

    Nah it’s not a mope, no oppression involved. We’ve won this argument already, the only people in any doubt about that are the GAWA. It’s more of a taunt than a mope. The mopers would be those who see themselves as the most oppressed people ever, and in this instance, tain’t us.

  • Hopping The Border

    MTF

    My thoughts on the phrase “our country” were and are based in the sentences/context it used in – for example it’s our country, if they don’t like it move down south

    These instances and those like them are what I’m referring to.

    As for your thoughts on capitalisation: http://bit.ly/mjvsYe

    Finally, and for the third time, can you (or any NI fan) not provide a simple answer:

    Do the northern ireland fans here have a problem with folks born in NI supporting the ROI as their team?