#Euro2020: Professor McWilliams open letter from Northern Ireland to the Faroe Islands…

Having made a expression of interest in hosting Euro 2020, the FAI, SFA and WFA are not actually committed to bid and presumably won’t until they work out: 1, whether even together they can afford it; 2, whether they have even a pup’s chance of getting before spending a penny on any prospective campaign.

Having noticed that the poor IFA has been once more jilted by its neighbours, Professor Billy McWilliams is trying to broker a rival bid for Northern Ireland to jointly host Euro 2020 with, erm, the Faroe Island, which the Professor tells us “luk a bit like the Copelands’…

Billy has written to the Faroes with his proposal:

I’d like to make a suggestion for your football federation. As you may know, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales are together making a bid to host the 2020 European Football Championships. I am a bit angry that no one invited us to take part, and was thinking that perhaps our two countries should get together and make a bid? This plan would allow both our nations to qualify for the Euros, and for both our Federations to make a lot of money. We use pounds here, what do you folk use?

Our two nations have much in common. Your nation is quite small, and so is ours. No one ever takes any notice of either of our countries and we both talk in quite odd accents. Neither of our nations is very good at football, but we still play and don’t like being picked on by our bigger neighbours. Here in Northern Ireland we have a place called Strangford. Vikings gave it that name, and you folk are Vikings. Jim Shannon lives near it, you won’t have heard of him, but he is very famous here, and a bit mental.

Go read it all

, , ,

  • PaulT

    It’s all kicking off in football today, we never saw this commeration on the horizon, clever spot by someone, and right thing to do.


    “The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has said its players will wear black armbands during the Italy match at Euro 2012 to mark the 18th anniversary of the Loughinisland tragedy.”

    does that have an impact?

  • Mick Fealty

    Neither did I. Slightly puzzled by the reasoning behind it.

  • PaulT I wasn’t expecting this gesture, but it’s going to give some little comfort to the relatives of the loughinisland victims. Already on taklkback we have the whataboutery merchants queueing up to show themselves up. It’s pretty obvious why those murders in the Heights Bar were carried out. The point was to scare Nationalists out of celebrating their team in the World Cup since, for the UVF and their fellow travellers in the DUP/UUP, only their football fans should be celebrating with triumphant displays in this benighted place.

  • CW

    Slightly off-topic here, but in the run-up to this weekend’s “All-Ireland” Heineken cup final there’s a good article in today’s Irish Times about the changing attitudes towards rugby in the north and how creed and class barriers are gradually being broken down.


    Perhaps one of the regular Slugger bloggers would like to take this up as a separate blog post? (Hint, hint).

  • PaulT

    possibly an all Ireland identity is emerging in the Irish team thanks to FIFA and the FGA,

  • PaulT

    Daniel, it should give them comfort, and they should know that few people will disagree with the gesture and the vast majority agree with it

    CW, we’ll have none of the ‘getalongism’ on this site

  • Mike the First


    “The point was to scare Nationalists out of celebrating their team in the World Cup since, for the UVF and their fellow travellers in the DUP/UUP, only their football fans should be celebrating with triumphant displays in this benighted place.”

    What a cheap attempt to use the Loughinisland atrocity for petty point-scoring.

    It’s pretty obvious that the UVF, as a sectarian organisation, carried out this atrocity with the simple aim of murdering multiple Catholics, following their time-“honoured” modus operandi of shooting up a busy bar (or other publc place).

  • Mike the First. It’s no such thing. In fact shortly before the finals in ’94 a unionist politician warned nationalisdts about indulging in triumphalist behaviour during the tournament.

  • Mike the First

    As to the “Professor’s” blog post – the most enthusiastic response (positive or negative) I can muster up for it is…”meh”.

  • PaulT

    actually I apologise for sidetracking the Professors blog, I think it’s always a good read (and good practice for learning a 2nd language)

  • Mick Fealty


    Your 1.16 is worth a discussion of it’s own… fancy a guest slot?

  • john

    Billy McWilliams joke aside for the moment. The thing that has disappointed me the most regarding this bid is the typical negativity and cant do attitude. A load of Irish people just like to moan and couldnt take a once in a lifetime opportunity when it is handed to them on a plate.
    So the bid at first glance has some flaws yes but at the same time I dont see many other countries who could offer 6 ready to go stadia over 50000 (only 2 that size are needed). The big problem seems to be the smaller 30000 grounds. Not being funny but its not that diffcult to sort it out with new builds or GAA conversions any expense easily outweighed by the millions that would pour into the economy. So lets all get behind the bid. A shame N.Ireland cant join the party but at the moment we could only offer the redeveloped caesment as the new Windsor will be far too small!

  • Mick Fealty

    Only asking because I’d genuinely like to know, why the IFA is not in this deal?

  • salgado

    Mick – I would imagine it’s because they have no suitable stadium to contribute. I’d read that the original plans were for Scotland and Wales, but a few extra stadia were needed so the Republic was invited.

  • john

    Mick Scotland Wales and Republic are struggling to find the stadia as noted earlier, Northern Ireland offers nothing,. infact they would only complicate things more as 3 hosts to qualify seems excessive but 4 I think would be taking the pi$$

  • john

    Mick regarding the all ireland identity its fairly straight forward. Players from Northern Ireland have always been eligible for the Republic nothing to do with the GFA and many did make the switch. I remember reading that both Irish associations had some sort of gentlemans agreement but dont know how true that was but their definitely was a lack in clarity as to who was eligible for what team so it all remained fairly quiet.. What has brought it all too a head is the IFA going to the CAS and when they lost their case it seemed to clear things up with no more grey area or uncertainty it was crystal clear that Northern born players can indeed declare for the Republic.

  • Drumlins Rock

    John, I think the youth teams might also have alot to do with it, its ok for the players to represent NI at that level and take advantage of the development programme the IFA have in place, but are then approached by the FAI when they come of age.

    As for the likelyhood of a bid, I though joint bids are out of fashion now?

  • john

    Not going to get bogged down on the youth team arguements because I think its been done to death on slugger, as for joint bids I think during this economic climate they are a more realistic option. Note also none of the big FA’s (spain, italy, england, germany etc) seem interested – bit strange!

  • john

    Regarding the black arm band debate for the faint hearted I would stay away from the politics.ie board some of the tribal point scoring is really disrespectful

  • Republic of Connaught

    Ironic indeed that Ireland will be playing Italy again in a major tournament exactly 18 years after the massacre. It’s a nice gesture to remember those people.

    As for why the IFA aren’t involved in the Irish/Scots/Welsh Euro bid, Mick; why would they be? They don’t have a stadium to offer. If it was held in Ireland then the north of Ireland will logically benefit anyway. We might even have a united team by then 🙂

  • Mick Fealty

    Stadia looks like the real reason IFA is not in the starting position. Shame, since there was a plan which none of the big three associations could agree on.

    As for P.ie, it is the NI section, it’s full of red carded ex Sluggerites.. not surprised…

  • When the Republic of Ireland played Iceland shortly after the death of Lady Diana, I believe they wore black armbands.
    The people who died in Loughinisland were supporters of the Ireland football team. It is fitting to wear black armbands as a token of respect.
    I understand Liverpool players wear armbands to commemorate their supporters killed at Hillsborough so Id be surprised if anyone took umbrage about the Ireland gesture to their supporters.
    Especially as the match is against Italy.

    I did in fact blog yesterday . The title was “Ulster (Rugby) is the New Norn Iron (Football)”.

  • John [5.34] I was reading the thread on this, on Pie NI section. the NI board should be renamed ‘Pavlov’s Blog’ as it’s packed with kneejerk responses and whataboutery.
    Some unionist politicians [surprise, surprise] operate a double standard on commemorating victims and this is shown up by the oft repeated suggestion that when dealing with catholic victims of loyalists or state killing, the form ‘all victims of the troubles’ is wheeled out to avoid embarassment to unionists and loyalists, while marking deaths of victims of republicans require no such censoring and are to be marked individually. nice distinction there.

  • Mick Fealty


    Which unionist pols?

  • Mick. Sorry, that should have been posters, as I was referring to the thread on Pie which has dozens of posts advocating that the FAI and UEFA should relly have allowed armbands to mark all the victims over 35 years rather than the specific event in loughinisland. Today’s anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan atyrocity didn’t get a look in over there, btw.

  • Mick Fealty

    I think the rule over there (i.e. the NI forum, as opposed to P.ie in general) is that each behaves as badly as the other expects them to. so there’s a high degree of mutual reinforcement.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Best of luck to Northern Ireland qualifying for the tournament as of right. To invite them in to host the tournament when they have no stadium of suited quality to host matches according to UEFA rules, would be irredentism by the Republic even if they had a separate team. And the Northern Ireland supporters, (well some of them) don’t want that.

    2 stadiums with 50,000 seats
    3 stadiums with 40,000 seats
    4 stadiums with 30,000 seats

    without resorting to rugby and GAA as yet let’s see what can be made. Getting the final four proves a problem.

    1. Millennium Stadium (Wales) 74,500
    2. Celtic Park (Scotland) 60,832
    3. Hampden Park (Scotland) 52,063
    4. Aviva Stadium (R. Ireland) 51,700
    5. Ibrox Park (Scotland) 51,082

    Using the best of Welsh clubs in English leagues and Scottish Premier League clubs you struggle after that…

    6. Cardiff City Stadium (Wales) 26,828
    7. Pittodrie Stadium (Scotland) 22,199
    8. Easter Road (Scotland) 20,421
    9. Liberty Stadium (Wales) 20,532

    for reference…
    Windsor Park (Northern Ireland) 12,950 (seated capacity)

    For Scotland it could bring in Murrayfield
    Murrayfield (Scotland) 67,200,

    With the GAA’s help Republic of Ireland could bring in…

    Croke Park (76,500), McHale Park (42,000), Semple Stadium (36,000), Gaelic Grounds (35,000) and possibly a redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh (60,000)

    Maybe an expanded Cardiff City Stadium could help Wales’ case too.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Thalmond Park might be one for expansion as well I dunno

  • FuturePhysicist

    A Scandinavian bid might be possible but the Faroes and Nordirland would probably not be in the mix.