Monday, November 19, 2012

What do we make of this?

Whatever one thinks about the issues behind wearing the poppy in Ireland – and I chose to wear one - you have to admit that the decision made by James McClean to take the field against Everton the weekend before last wearing a shirt without a poppy was certainly a brave one.

Those who laud his decision to stand alone refer to his upbringing and his closeness to the troubles, citing the fact that several victims of alleged British Army over-exuberance, or murders, lived on the estate where he grew up.  The counter argument is that most of McClean’s formative years were in times of peace; that he now is happy to live and make a living in the UK as opposed to staying in Free Derry; and finally that the poppy is as much a remembrance of Armistice Day when peace spread across Europe as it is a tribute to the fallen soldiers in British and other armies.

Despite the courage displayed in making his statement, it is hardly surprising that he was booed by the Sunderland away supporters at Fulham yesterday and it remains to be seen how long he survives at the club, before moving on to a more suitable clime – like Parkhead, where such ill-judged shows of loyalty are regularlry feted by the ignorant masses.

And what of the club's role in all this - always treading a balance presumably between the pampered supperstars and the supporters who pay to put them there.  The decision to allow him to take the field without a poppy was a curious one which may alienate local support, and therefore one which must be viewed with a degree of concern by the club’s investors.  Oh shit, but I forgot, they’re Irish as well.

Contrast this with the very different approach taken by Hibernian Football Club and reported in today’s Irish Times. “All in the Game” refers to the sacking of the Hibernian Stadium Announcer Willie Doherty for playing the Beatles “Taxman” at half-time to wind up local rivals Hearts because of their well-publicised VAT problems with Her Majesty’s Revenue Commissioners. A petition has been launched to get him re-instated.

A world gone mad.