That this House records its congratulations to Ryan Giggs on the 20th anniversary of his debut for Manchester United on 2 March 1991; is aware that throughout his illustrious career he has developed a deserved reputation for sportsmanship and fair play; recognises that his skills have been admired throughout the world; that 20 years on he is now the country's most decorated player, and that he is widely seen as a role model for team mates and young footballers everywhere; thanks him for his contribution to the national game for both his club and his country, Wales; and wishes him all the very best for his future.
Might this dent Giggs' prospects of a knighthood?
I'm very disappointed to read that the prospect of seeing Jessica Ennis wrapped in an England flag and humming along to Jerusalem is going to be denied me.
England absentees include Olympic track cycling champions Victoria Pendleton and Bradley Wiggins, world gymnastics champion Beth Tweddle, and World and European heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis.
England have been hard hit. Wiggins has won seven Olympic medals, three of them gold, and Pendleton was sprint champion in Beijing. In addition to Ennis, athletes who have snubbed Delhi include World 800 metres bronze medallist Jenny Meadows, World junior 100m champion Jodie Williams, Martyn Rooney and Perri Shakes-Drayton, European bronze medallists this month (400m and 400m hurdles), steeplechaser Hattie Dean (fourth in Barcelona), Gemma Simpson (fifth in the 800m there), and Michael Rimmer, currently fifth fastest among men’s two-lap runners in the Commonwealth rankings.
You'd think these athletes would move heaven and earth to be out in India representing their country at the Commonwealth Games, but apparently they won't.
In a debate on a British national football team Mark Field has spotted the Labour goalkeeper off his line and lobbed him:
The Prime Minister's risible Britishness agenda disguises the fact that his Government's ill thought through devolution a decade ago has destroyed British people's—English, Scottish and Welsh—understanding of Britain as it has existed since 1707. We are at an interim stage. There is no going back from a Scottish Parliament. We have an asymmetrical feeling of devolution throughout the UK, which means equal powers. Heaven only knows how that will be worked through. It is a mess at the moment, and to go on about Britishness risibly attempts to disguise the fact that Mr. Brown is a Scot. He represents or is from a country of 4.5 million people out of 60 million. That will be very evident as time goes on. I would not have wished to make that argument before 1997, but his Government have brought it on themselves. It will resonate loudly during the next general election campaign—very regrettably, in my view.
And all because the English Minister for Sport, Gerry Sutcliffe, has insisted that there will be a Team GB even if it is made up of only English players, an insistence that Britology Watch finds dubious at best.
Lord Coe is pressing ahead with his ludicrous plan for a British football team:
The creation of the team has been opposed by the Football Associations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who are concerned it may compromise their individual status within Fifa.
But he said the BOA, which selects teams for the Games, has decided to press ahead with a football squad despite the opposition.
When asked last night about the opposition from the Welsh and Scots, Coe replied bluntly: “F*** em!”
|British heroes welcomed home|
|Scottish heroes welcomed home|
|Welsh heroes welcomed home|
The following is a post that I made on the 12th Sept, 2005, on the CEP News Blog.
Here is what UEFA said about England on their Euro 2004 website:
"While the vast array of mysterious Neolithic monuments - most famously Stonehenge - are testimony to a history which stretches back as far as 4000BC, the indigenous people of England had been overrun by invaders many times before the 19th century, therefore making any concept of an English nation dubious."
Their latest offering that I would like to highlight on these pages is from the UEFA.com magazine, which informs us that:
British Olympic Association boss Craig Reedie, himself a Scot, believes a UK team would improve the tournament. ""There are all sorts of ways of doing it and I do think the Scots' concerns are misplaced,"" Reedie said. Former Scotland captain Colin Hendry supported Reedie. ""I think it would be a good idea,"" he said. ""But only for the Olympics. I wouldn't want it for the other competitions."
If you are opposed to the creation of a British football team then you might like to email Craig Reedie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Why only for the Olympics? What is so special about the Olympics that we have to merge our football teams? And if we merge them for the Olympics then why not just merge them for all competitions? It seems to me that certain people are more interested in the Olympics than they are in football. Football fans, be they English, Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish, should oppose a British football team.
Three years later I'm delighted to read that Sir Craig Reedie has recently failed to win election to the International Olympic Committee executive board. IOC president Jacques Rogge offered the following words of condolence:
"I understand the natural disappointment and you are a great sport and come from a country that invented sportsmanship. You have our total confidence."
Scots invented a lot of things - great and wondrous things - but, with the greatest of respect Jacques, I don't think sportsmanship was one of them.
Craig Reedie was knighted in the 2006 New Year's Honours list, one of many involved in the London 2012 bid to have been gifted a gong for their services to Britishness.
"In 1980, in Moscow, I shared a room with Allan Wells, a fervently patriotic Scot, and me an equally patriotic Englishman. We never gave that a thought. The Olympics was and is far larger than that.
"I want to see young Scottish footballers have the chance to be part of it in 2012, and I rather fancy there will be many young Scots who would like to be part of it as well.
"We are committed to a GB football team. I have said it before: There will be a GB football team.
I'm not so sure that Allan Wells could give a tartan toss about a British team. In a 2000 Daily Mirror interview on whether there should be a Sporting Devolution and a Scottish team, Wells offered the following:
Wells said: "Nothing could compare to winning gold at the Olympics and I felt very proud to win it for Great Britain.
"But I'm a Scotsman first and foremost. That's my country and most Scots are deeply patriotic. It means everything to them.
"I would love to see more Scots on the medal podium and enjoying that success. It makes everyone feel so proud."
Hardly unequivocal. When I was a kid I was such a huge fan of Seb Coe that I whined on to my mum until she bought me the same Nike trainers that he ran in, much to her annoyance. But these days I think Seb Coe is a complete bell-end. His insistence on a British football team has nothing to do with football or the wishes of the fans, it is purely political and driven by his fanaticism for making the 2012 Olympics a success. He knows that it is football that will generate the huge crowds and interest that he wishes to see. The Olympics needs football, football does not need the Olympics.
Coe is aided and abetted by Lord Moynihan, who uses the same fatalistic language:
We must have a team at the 2012 Games, and we will have a team.
The Union flag fluttered in the away end at Hampden during a Scotland game for the first time since England last visited, back in 1999...Some of this lingering distaste was evident last night. "You're just a small part of England," sang their impressively vocal fans. There later came the perhaps more wounding "Are you England in disguise?" as Scotland struggled to break down their doughty opponents. "Are you Rangers in disguise?" was the predictable response from the Tartan Army.
In anticipation of a British team Gordon Brown has even approached a fellow Scot, and England hater, Alex Ferguson, to manage it:
"I have talked to him about it," Mr Brown said on BBC1's Olympic Breakfast.
"I think he would have to be approached formally by the relevant authorities but he is one of the people mentioned and he has not turned it down."
What the fuck? When did it become the business of the Prime Minister to appoint football managers?
Warning: This is not politically correct!
Just 0.34 Englishmen in the average Arsenal line-up!
However, to the horror of Arsne Wenger, FIFA have just approved a motion to support a quota of at least six home-grown players in club football teams. I expect it will be declared illegal in England and ignored, but it may well lead to a European-wide debate on the issue of foreign players destroying the character of our national leagues.