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Team talk

Craig Williams | 12:44 UK time, Wednesday, 7 June 2006

I might as well be up-front about this. I will not be supporting England in this World Cup. Or indeed in any World Cup. Or any other game for that matter. I don’t actually wish any ill to Sven’s boys. But the fact is I’m not English, my team isn’t playing, so I can support whoever I want. This year, as in most competitions in which Scotland don’t appear, I will be shouting for the French, though I do like the Croatian strip.

Newsnight logoShould Scots support England? The question comes up every time our neighbours play. In the past few weeks, the public prints and airwaves up here have been full of it. Most of the coverage has centred on the Chancellor’s declaration that he will be supporting England, while his colleague, Scotland’s First Minister, Jack McConnell, says he’s a Trinidad and Tobago man.

That stance led to equal praise and brickbats, and much subsequent punditry about why we can’t ever bring ourselves to support England. As a programme editor, this is a gift as we slip into the silly season. There’s nothing like football, mixed with a dose of sectarianism and dirty politics to get an audience interested.

In truth, no matter how much time we devote to discussing this, it tells us very little about the Scottish character. But it is amusing, it takes us away from the every day reporting of grey politics, and gives us the chance to show THAT GOAL by the great Archie Gemmill time and time again. And no Scot will ever tire of that.

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