I always quite look forward to the World Cup, but when it actually comes along I usually don’t pay as much attention to it as I expected. But on the 31st of May 2006, I can say that I am looking forward to the World Cup.
Of course, here in Scotland the big debate is: Who should Scots support? And is it wrong not to support England?
Once, a few years ago, my brother said something like, “There is nothing better than England getting beaten, but there is nothing worse than all the crowing about it at school the next day.”
I’m a bit of the opposite. I don’t really mind to see England win, but the media is just unbearable. Even the most tenuous link to 1966 is pounced upon by smug commentators from every angle. It is very tedious, especially when they are referring to England as “we” when there is no “we” about it for anybody who happens to be living in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, which is roughly 20% of the entire population. And the wall-to-wall coverage of Wayne Rooney’s metatarsal really is not needed!
The recent case with Mars is a prime example. Digbeth explains here. I didn’t believe it at first, but I have seen two of these billboards in Kirkcaldy. It really is terrible. They have clearly considered Scotland as an afterthought. Shoddy. It would have been better for them to just not advertise north of the border at all. Have they done the same in Wales?
STV’s trailers for the World Cup are also tragic. STV, the Scottish ITV broadcaster, has obviously taken the ITV network’s promo and slapped the STV logo on the end. This efficient tactic works with most programmes, but there is a slight problem in this instance: every single player featured in the promo is English! Honestly! Did they not think it through?! What would people in England be saying if a broadcaster produced a promo featuring nothing but German players?
When England is shoved down your throat all the time even when you don’t live there, it shouldn’t be a surprise. It is probably fair to say that the majority of Scots will not be supporting England in the World Cup. This year, the trendy team for Scots to support is Trinidad and Tobago, who have four players based in Scotland, one of whom happens to be called Scotland. Oh, and there is the small matter that they are in England’s group as well.
Jack McConnell got himself into a wee bit of hot water when he said that he wouldn’t be supporting England at the World Cup. But when Gordon Brown said he’d be supporting England he got even more stick from it, particularly from the SNP (who else?).
English people have been known to complain about the rivalry between Scotland and England. They protest that they are happy enough to support Scotland, so why shouldn’t Scots support England? Well, as David Farrer excellently points out in this post, that is completely missing the point.
Because, in footballing terms, itâ€™s not a fellow team, but is perceived by Scots to be the number one rival. If Celtic are playing against Barcelona in a European match, do Rangers fans cheer on their â€œfellowâ€ Glaswegians? Aye, right! Were Chelsea, Spurs and West Ham fans in tears over Arsenalâ€™s recent defeat in the Championsâ€™ League final? I don’t think so.
…Scotland arenâ€™t (sadly) a threat to England. Itâ€™s no big deal for English folk to support Scotland in those circumstances.
Who says Scotland aren’t being represented in the World Cup though? We all know that isn’t true!
It is perhaps true that Scotland’s rivalry with England is a little childish. But then again, England has its own childish rivalries with Germany, Argentina, France, Turkey……