Thursday, September 08, 2005

The English, the English

There's surely no one in Ulster this morning not happy to see our soccer stars trouncing England. Crumbs - every single one of the England players has a transfer value higher than the entire NI team put together. Or should I say "had" - Mr Healy certainly did his career no harm last night. A cracking goal.
Ironic, isn't it? Soccer in Northern Ireland is mainly a Protestant thing (the Catholics are having a lot more fun playing Gaelic), but yet we love stuffing it up the English. If an image consultant were called in he'd probably tell us to cool it a bit so as not to destroy the image, in Catholic eyes, that we love the English so much we want to be in their pockets, worshipping their every move.
The truth is, however, that Ulster Protestants are very sceptical of the English. Unfair as it may be to tar everyone with the same brush, we tend to regard them as fickle, superficial, arrogant and untrustworthy until they prove themselves otherwise.
At the political level, Ulster Protestants have long been sick of English people coming over here, thinking they know better than anyone. Which was one reason Tony Blair appointed Glaswegian John Reid Secretary of State for NI some years back. Protestants breathed a sigh of relief (until they found out he was - gasp - a Catholic, but I digress). Mo Mowlam thankfully also ran counter to this stereotype.
There's an important distinction - and I mention this for the benefit of non-Irish readers - between English and British. Most Ulster Protestants are happy to belong to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", that uneasy (and - many would say - unnatural) grouping of English, Scots, Welsh and northern Irishfolk, but are equally uneasy with the economic, social and political dominance of England within the confederation.
Which goes some way to explaining why Northern Ireland is revelling this morning in a well-earned victory at Windsor Park. That and the fact that England are justifiably one of the best teams in the world.


At 2:08 p.m., Blogger Rhys Wynne said...

Although it leaves us (Wales) with no chance of catching you up now, it was great to see the crowd at Windsor Park[?] jumping up and down for the last 15 minutes after I switched channels when our match with Poland ended.

At 2:35 p.m., Anonymous John said...

Cymru am byth, Rhys. Diolch yn fawr am ddarllen fy mhlog. BU.

At 4:05 p.m., Anonymous beano said...

Rhys you'd have had no chance of catching us after you come to Windsor anyway ;)

I don't think everyone in Ulster was happy with the result. Your bloke from the Angrytown News (Robin Livingstone) had hoped England would give us "a trouncing, a rout, a spanking, a tanking, an embarrassment"

Nice to see one of the head bigots of republicanism shown up for what he is - someone who hates his own countrymen more than the colonial masters he blames all his hardships (which must be many for a newspaper editor) on. But what do we expect from a man who fires dirty looks at air hostesses who dare to utter the words "Northern Ireland".

Anyway, rant over, I'll end up as hate-filled as him otherwise.

It was a great night. I nearly fell over a chair when Healy blasted the ball home!

We've waited a long time, so long may it continue!

At 8:42 p.m., Blogger Hugh Green said...

Soccer in Northern Ireland is mainly a Protestant thing (the Catholics are having a lot more fun playing Gaelic)

Of course, quite a few top Gaelic players have also played soccer to a decent level.

At 11:50 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reminds me of a great quote, 'The Irish love the English but not England, whilst the Northern Irish love England but hate the English'.

Nick Jay

At 11:03 a.m., Anonymous ConorPatrick said...

im glad you finished beano. rant it was. and an unnessesary one at that. i agree with robin livingstone. 'bigot' eh? what about the bigots for fans yous have down at windsor park. sure didnt you's bigots send that many death threats to neill lennon that he couldnt play for his country anymore?! aye go on, answer that. livingstone: bigot? my arse you hypocrite.


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