world cup


I have been very busy. Things calming down now though so should have some more regular posting.

A small point though. BBC were saying tonight that New Zealand were the only team ever to go out the world cup without losing a match. This is completely untrue.

Several teams have been in this position but the unluckiest were in fact Scotland in 1974 who won one game and drew 2 but still managed to go out.

Here is a BBC photo to prove it…


No joke, I have. And since it is South Korea playing at the moment I will recount the story.

When you are in another country you do things you just wouldn’t consider at home.

I was in Korea during the world cup last summer (this article was written in 2007). Due to the time difference between Korea and Germany some of the games were at 4am Korea time.

It was Korea’s last match and they needed to beat Switzerland to qualify for the next round. A few of the other foreigners and myself decided to go and watch it with the Koreans on the big screens in the local stadium (which is the one where Korea beat Italy in the 2002 world cup).

The problem with watching a game at 4am is that there is quite a lot of drinking time before the match.

We had been out to a few bars and then made our way to the Daejeon World Cup Stadium. It was amazing that at 4am it was completely full and we nearly didn’t get in.

Anyway, we smuggled some more booze in too. Before the game two of the expats ran on to the pitch with a Korea flag, which went down very well with the locals.

The game didn’t go too well for them and they ended up losing 2-0 and exited the tournament, so they were no longer exactly in the mood for fun.

It was at this point that I dropped down the ten foot wall (you can see it in the picture) to the pitch and ran on with another guy. He started to crawl under the huge Korea flag in the centre of the pitch so they would have to go under it in order to fish him out.

I made straight for the goals. I have never scored a goal in a huge stadium before so that was my mission. I didn’t have a ball though, so I scored (left footed volley, top right corner) with the only available thing, which was my cigarette packet and then proceeded to do a Klinsmann dive celebration.

Ok, job done. The next thing is to get back into the crowd. I tried unsuccessfully to climb up the wall. A Korean dropped the end of a scarf down for me to grab onto so I could pull myself up but the scarf snapped.

At this point the security came over. I was now shitting myself because if you invade the pitch in Scotland you are most likely off to the cells for an evening or two.

I had one burly security guard on each arm and was convinced I was going to the cells/going to be sacked/ deported (which would have been extreme). The two security guards frog marched me…..wait for it….wait for it….. back to my seat!

Then they just left me to get on with it.

Unfortunately my camera had been stolen a week or so before so I don’t have any pictures of the night in question. The pictures here are from the same stadium but at a different occasion.


A nice little world cup “f*ck you” to get us going before the tournament starts.

An Italian politician has suggested that the Italian team, if they do well, should donate some of their bloated wages to the Italian government to help with the economic problems which that country is currently undergoing.

This idea sounds like something you might hear from a very left wing country and taken in itself might not be such a bad idea. We all know that footballers get paid too much.

However, the suggestion was made by a member of the Lega Nord (Northern League) who are a nasty rightwing bunch of people who have at various times advocated secession from Italy for some of the Northern States of Italy. It also comes from politicians who are amongst the highest paid in the world.

Anyway, in response to this the Italian football team have said they will donate a portion of any monies gained to the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy.

Here is a picture of the Italy team bus. If you don’t know what it means then look it up…


The most galling thing about Scotland not qualifying for major tournaments is that we have to put up with the same nonsense every 2 years about Scotland supporting England…or more accurately…NOT supporting England. At least the next time we qualify, we will have less of this stuff.

I won’t be supporting England (better known as “them“). I don’t know any Scottish person who will. The media of course will be frantically trying to find people who will be supporting them and I am sure they will find a few. Also, the polls that tend to be published in the run-up to these tournaments will say that a percentage of Scottish people will be supporting England.

However, I challenge you to go into any bar or ask the majority of people in the street and you would be lucky to find one in 20. The polls won’t say that though. I think it may be a mix of dodgy polling and the kind of the thing that used to happen in England with polls in the Thatcher years where people were ashamed to say that they would vote Tory – some people answer that they will support England just because they know how they will be painted in the media if they say they don’t support England.

The first such story (and it will not be the last) this time around appears to be about the t-shirts currently on sale in Scotland with A. B. E. (Anyone But England) written on them. According to the BBC, Grampian police went into the shop and…

“advised a store worker to consider whether the display was appropriate and should be removed.”

The shop in question responded with…

“To be honest we’re absolutely flabbergasted. We have been selling this T-shirt for the past three months and we’ve had a great response. Even the English people who come into the store think it’s a laugh and just a bit of tongue-in-cheek football banter.”

This kind of t-shirt is nothing new. There are countless others on sale like in the picture at the top of the article. It is all being made an issue of now because the media  tries to promote a pro-union “we are all in this together” kind of narrative  in these situations.I explained it in the article I wrote about all this when it happened 2 years ago. I think it is worth the read because, as I said before, there is going to be a lot of this in the next few months. The paragraph I have highlighted is just to demonstrate that this kind of thing is nothing new.

Just before that article though, in an email exchange I had yesterday about this incident yesterday there were two comments from friends that more or less take the position of the shop…

“a disgrace that sums up the current social climate and the police.”


Q. Who do you want to look after your financial affairs?

A. Anyone but Nick Leeson

Q. Who do you want to babysit your kids?

A. Anyone but Ian Brady

Q. Who do you want to win the World Cup?

A. Anyone but England.

What’s the issue here? I also fail to see what is racist about giving your support to 31 footballing countries from outside the UK. It’s very open minded if anything.

Here is the older but entirely relevant article..


The next major football tournament, Euro 2008, starts next month and given that neither Scotland nor England has qualified it is a chance to talk about something a bit more rationally than it is usually discussed.

England qualified for the last tournament (World cup 2006) and Scotland didn’t. When it started and Andy Murray the Scottish tennis player said he wouldn’t be supporting England there was a massive fuss in the English tabloids – and he reportedly received hate mail about the Dunblane massacre (that is where he is from). Murray had previously been reported as walking on the court when being introduced as ‘Andy Murray from England’ whereupon he corrected the umpire and walked off again and returned when reintroduced as ‘Andy Murray from Scotland’.

Murray eventually made a joke about his statement about not supporting England but I suspect this may have something to do with where he gets some of his funding.

When it happens that England qualify and Scotland don’t, the BBC in particular tend to start publishing opinion polls saying that X% of Scots are supporting England. Where they find these people I have no idea. I challenge anyone reading this to go into a pub full of Scottish people when there is an England game on the TV (doesn’t really matter what sport) and see who people are supporting.

You will find that the vast majority, like myself, would not only not be supporting England but will be actively supporting Englands opponents, probably going as far as to sing the national anthem of the other team (in a ‘da da da da’ style obviously).

The BBC, ably assisted by the tabloids, tend to paint the people doing this as ungrateful degenerates hellbent on causing unnecessary discord.

There is an obvious response to it all, which is simply..

It’s my support and I shall apportion it however I see fit.

But here are the things they usually say…

1) We’re all British.

2) The English support Scotland when they play.

3) Scotland don’t have a hope of ever winning the entire tournament.

4) If you don’t support England it means you are a racist.


1. Geographically yes, but culturally we are not and politically we don’t all want to be…a large percentage of Scots want out.

2. We didn’t ask them to.

3. That is not the point and it is just the sort of arrogant attitude that makes me want them to lose, badly.

4. Behave.

With regard to point 2, this is often said but I have been in pubs in England and watched England and Scotland games (though not a Scotland V England game) and what I found was extremely far from universal support for Scotland.

With regard to point 4, are Dutch racist for not supporting the Germans? Are the Belgians racist for not supporting the French? Are the Koreans racist for not supporting the Japanese? Are the Ukrainians racist for not supporting the Russians? And so on and so on and so on. Can you find many examples of countries that actively support their neighbours?

There are some interesting other little stories I heard about all of this.

There was an English-owned sports store in Inverness that was told to play the England world cup CD in the run-up to the tournament. Due to the staff receiving verbal abuse daily from customers who didn’t want to listen to it the manager stopped playing it. She was then sacked for doing this.

A journalist put on an England strip when the tournament was on and walked around town in Scotland to see what would happen to him. Aside from a few shouts of ‘english bastard’ from some people going by in cars the funny part was a 70-odd year old man shuffled by him and said the same thing!

To finish, I just want to say it is obvious what the people are thinking. If Argentina beat England you suddenly see loads of Argentina shirts around the streets, if Portugal beat them then you see Portugal everywhere. I read a fantastic thing that sales of Argentinian wine in Scotland briefly doubled when Argentina beat England.

Scotland has been greatly oppressed by England through history – does one ask a slave to support his ‘owner’?