Take a few moments to ponder the following scenarios:
- You are in a church having seen a good friend get married.
- You’ve just passed your driving test.
- You’ve had a decent win on the lottery.
- Your five-bet accumulator has come in.
- You’ve made a soufflé which has turned out perfectly.
- You thought you were going to miss the bus to work, but the driver held it at the stop for a few extra seconds so you could get on.
- You are waiting in for a delivery and it arrives exactly when they said it would.
All of the above would give you cause to experience joy, albeit to varying degrees.
But would that joy immediately prompt you to start belting out a song about being ‘up to your knees in Fenian blood’ or one about ‘Fenian bastards’?
No, of course it wouldn’t. It is unlikely to prompt anyone to start singing such songs.
And yet in one very peculiar corner of Scottish football, the joy of seeing one particular team scoring a goal seems to trigger some* people to sing those songs. And also on occasion the utterly loathesome ‘Famine Song’.
[*NB For the benefit of the hard-of-thinking, I am not saying ‘all’]
I wonder if when asked the most basic of questions – ‘how are you today?‘ by a friend or family member over breakfast or in the pub etc these folk reply “brilliant thanks: happy and full of angry hate!”?
Because their apparent view of the world seems utterly bizarre.
Personally speaking, I would rather enjoy a joyful moment for what it is and – if appropriate – sing a song of celebration.
But that is clearly not the case for this unfortunate element, whose default reaction seems to be one of hostility where football and ‘Irishness’ is concerned.
For the avoidance of doubt, I am fully aware that the fan bases of numerous football clubs have unsavoury elements and unwelcome songs, and think we would all be better off without them.
However, the repeated bile-filled spectacle which was once again heard on on Sky Sports today is of a particularly odious kind.
Whether the authorities – policing, political and footballing – will ever manage to do anything about it remains to be seen. I suspect they won’t because – for various reasons – it will always remain ‘all too difficult’ to confront.
This is a great shame, because the image it portrays of our national sport and society is one of deep-rooted intolerance and anger.
Most of us see ourselves as living in a modern progressive country with a footballing set-up that is once again becoming vibrant and hopefully more attractive to broadcasters and potential sponsors. As such, anthems of hate are an anachronism and a festering open wound which could almost be hilarious if they weren’t so downright ugly.
The blood-waders ought to take a long hard look at themselves. Preferably in the face rather than at their imaginary blood-soaked knees. Because ultimately they aren’t even doing themselves any favours, never mind the rest of us or the sport they profess to love.