Stop making football fans feel bad about bitter, passionate rivalries.
Ken what makes football special? How tribal the game is.
That sentence might come as a surprise from ‘Untribal Politics’… but it actually highlights something very important as well. Football has nothing to do with politics. Making those ties is precisely what’s wrong wi the game.
The number of politicians calling out ‘bitter nationalists’ for supporting Germany last night obviously misunderstand what football is all about. Take rivalry out of football and it's nowhere near as special.
I’m not justifying bad blood or criminality when folk take it too far but that shouldn’t spoil it for the rest of us. I’ve been to many an Edinburgh derby, in which for 90 mins you might hear me shout things I’d never shout anywhere else towards the other end of supporters. And, despite that, I’ll also go out for a drink wi those folk the following weekend. One of my best pals supports Hearts and we actually have a laugh at some of the things we say about each other on derby day.
Just because it means so much to us, to the point we act irrationally from time to time, doesny make us bad people. It’s true love. As the saying goes, you can change yer pals, yer wife and yer religion… but you canny change yer fitbaw team. And by the way, folk do a lot worse for other stuff.
And ken what? I like it that way. So do aw the other staunch fitbaw fans across Scotland. We take pride in the fact we dinnae handshake and say ‘commiserations’ to one n other like they dae wi rugby. Sack that. Our passion is uncontrollable. It's what makes Scottish fitbaw.
That video of the Scot down south wi aw the Sweden kit on is an absolute beauty. Sky News going over to interview him thinking he’s a Swede… to which he goes ‘Well a couldny support England could a?’
Video: 'Fitba Patter' on Twitter.
What an absolute belter man. That’s the beauty of the game. He’s no causing any harm. He’s not making some wild political statement. He’s just a passionate football supporter wi decent patter. If you dinnae find that funny or think he’s out of line for not supporting a 'home' nation then you need to have a word wi yersel honestly.
And aye, rationality of fans is varied. A lot of Scotland fans had nothing but delight for the Lionesses yesterday. But for those that didny, again, let's get one thing straight… this isny a political thing. If you want equality for the men’s and women’s game then surely we keep the same attitudes. Scotland and England have a long, historic rivalry. Why should I treat the women’s game any different? Why should I be any more level-headed? I'm a proud dafty.
I was doon in London for the euros last year and some of the patronising England fans I met that looked down on you as if we were a bunch ae loonies was wild. The media rubbing it in our faces, hinkin they’d won the tournament after beating Germany in the quarters. I was delighted Italy stopped them in that final.
Does that make me a ‘bitter nationalist’? Well I’ve started a movement that challenges divide in Scottish politics and tries to provide a balanced, accessible portal for people to come learn about it. So you couldny be any mare wide of the mark there.
I’ve also got plenty family and close friends in England. They ken what am like and love me aw the same. In a footballing world where Scotland competes as a nation in its own right… why do I have to be a sook to aw them lot?
I’ve gone through two decades of supporting a nation that barely wins. We celebrated getting to a tourney like we’d won the World Cup. And by way, England fans dinnae let us forget about it.
So news flash… this might come as shocking to surprise to folk but I’M A BLOODY SCOTLAND FAN!
In football you have fierce competition… course I dinnae want England to win. Ask any Celtic fan if they wanted Rangers to win in Seville. Ask any Manc if they wanted Liverpool to beat Madrid in Paris. Grab yersel a pint in the Beechwood by Hampden Park and ask the regulars who they were supporting that day England got to the Euros final.
Get over yersels man. It’s just part of the game.
Ken what I was delighted about… the publicity of the final, the number of fans attending the game and the lassies right across Europe who were watching with hopes and dreams one day that could be them. Those getting the buzz off the tide turning in terms of how women are treated in the game. What a brilliant tournament to advertise it.
Another news flash but… just cos England hosted the hing & ended up winning it doesny mean we should have all been supporting the Lionesses. Keir Starmer didny even acknowledge Northern Ireland at the start of the tournament when they were sending out words of encouragement in Parliament.
And it’s that ignorance specifically that feeds the rivalry. I’ll be digging out my ABE toap this Christmas and wearing it with pride. Come ahead. I’ll be cheering on that country from the middle east on the opening day. No ties to that country, no allegiances. Just sheerly out of being a sad, bitter fitbaw fan. Ken what? Wouldny change it for the world.
(Anyone but England, for those wondering).