5/26/2006

No Irish need apply

I see that FIFA has ruled that any player who wishes to play for 'Northern Ireland' must have a British passport; you can't play with an Irish passport. The controversy came to light when it was revealed that underage players from Derry were told to bring British passports when representing the North.



Now I will set out my stall for the start, I don't support the 'Northern Ireland' Football Team. I never have and I never will. From a young age I have always supported the Republic for very simple reasons. They play under my national flag and they stand for my national anthem.

Nationalists and Republicans across the North have always supported the Republic and whether people like to admit it or not, the North's team is a Unionist team.

I am not saying that Catholics haven't played for it or that all Catholics don't support it because a small minority in both cases have.

My first real experience of 'Northern Ireland' fans was when I went to University. I remember walking into the Union to be greeted by British and Loyalist flags and cries of "Ulster till I die". I did wonder if that included Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal but decided not to test their intellectual rigour at this time. I was on my way to a Cumann meeting and recieved calls of "Republican bastard" and "fenian cunt" on my way up.

This was not from the QUB supporters but from the Sandy Row element that come to the Union before their matches. We have had election posters ripped down and members threatened on these occasions. In my second year while they were leaving the Union on Ash Wednesday they walked past the Catholic Chaplaincy and proceeded to abuse Catholics who were coming from their place of worship.

These are not the sorts of people that I would wish to go to a football match with. I want to make it clear that I have known and do know many decent 'Northern Ireland' supports that are not like that but they do seem to be in the minority.

I would never go to Windsor Park, primarily out of personal security, and also because I would never stand for "God Save the Queen" or enter a ground that is named after the British Royal family and call it home.

Most Nationalists and Republicans feel the same, this ruling by FIFA has just reinforced what we already new.

Windsor Park is not for us!

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