it is just a little sad to listen to the moanings of the English media, mainly tabloids, at the fact that Scots refuse to support England's bid to win the World Cup.
It does of course force us Scots to ask questions of ourselves:
Q. do Scots really hate the English?
A. No (well some do, but it's usually a sad individual who hates anybody)
Q. Do we really not want them to win anything?
A. if truth be told I think most Scots don't really care that much ... however ...
in 1966, when England did win the World Cup I was a boy of 12, I remember many Scots people watching the game and supporting England; all seemed happy enough when they won. What we did not know at the time was the unrelenting triumphalism within the English media that would ensue from then on, and it has finally removed any feeling of supportiveness many Scots, Irish and Welsh might have previously held for the English at sports.
The main reason Scots football fans want England to go out of any tournament early is so we can watch the rest of that tournament in peace. TV commentaries are usually given by partisan English presenters; that means when we are watching a game between the likes of say Brazil and Italy, commentators very often think that it is okay to spend much of the game discussing the England team.
If England wins at anything, any live tv programme that evening, no matter the subject, will have references made to the win completely disregarding the fact that England is just one of four countries that make up Great Britain. Don't we all remember the day they beat Germany 5-1?
Why does it bother us? The UK is an invention of the English, the way it has been set up has suited England in so many ways. England is the biggest country on these islands and the English can have no idea what it is like to be dominated, and at times even bullied by a larger cousin the way Scots, Irish and Welsh do. When it comes to celebrating good fortune it can all be a bit unfortunate for ordinary English folk. Most other nations would celebrate in the same manner when they win something without annoying their neighbours, but it is difficult for England to do that due to the way the United Kingdom is set up. The other countries in the British Isles have their own national tv, radio and printed media and can go over the top in their celebrations without affecting anyone else. The English media by design is pervasive within the UK and does affect all the other nations, and it may well be they are paying for that now.
I've heard it said that we Scots are a bit jealous that England has actually won the World Cup. What nonsense, we know that winning the World Cup is a bit beyond us. We just love being there and we would be happy to stay there longer by getting to the second round ... boy would we celebrate then. So, roll on 2010.
What is also a bit sad about this little stramash is that it has brought to the fore some real English resentment, especially the feeling that we Scots are ungrateful for all the English have done for us. One writer and historian on tv the other day reminded us that England pays all our bills. He does of course have a very clouded view of how Britain operates politically, but then that's historians for you. One would need to ask why one nation would spend hundreds of years pursuing the domination of another sovereign state just to pay its bills. If that was all they wanted they just had to say and we could have been spared all that blood and gore. As it is, and as Robert Burns quite rightly wrote, the Scots were: "bought and sold for English gold",
and cheaply bought at that.
All that said I, like many other Scots, have relatives such as nephews and nieces, and also friends who are English and whom we love dearly. They will be gutted when England get beaten and we don't want them to feel like that. There are also a few English players who I like and admire as people, as well as for their footballing skills, and I would like to see them get just rewards for their skill and hard work, but the thought of another 40 years of gloating by the English media and football pundits is just too much to bear. So, sorry to my English friends and loved ones, but I hope youse get gubbed!
C'mon Trinidad and Tobago!