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Is Barry Bannan the key to independence?

Posted on May 02, 2012 by

We’re not sure how to feel about the continuing prospect/threat (depending on your perspective) of a British Olympic football team with Scottish players in it. Sepp Blatter, the immovable president of FIFA and a man who enjoys the patronage of a great many smaller footballing nations who jealously eye the UK’s anachronistic presence in the game, has made the position on the matter about as clear as he ever makes anything.

If you start to put together a combined team for the Olympic Games, the question will automatically come up that there are four different associations so how can they play in one team? If this is the case then why the hell do they have four associations and four votes and their own vice-presidency?

“This will put into question all the privileges that the British associations were given by the Congress in 1946.

In other words, picking players from all four UK nations DOES represent a threat to their continued separate status. There has never been more pressure on qualifying places for the World Cup and European Championship, and Blatter would not find it hard to mobilise enough votes to change the status quo if he thought it might be in any way to his advantage.

Clearly, then, having players like Stephen Fletcher and Barry Bannan conspicuously announcing their willingness to play for such a team places the very existence of the Scottish national side in peril, and as such the reaction of all patriotic Scots would logically be one of horror and anger. We can’t imagine that any but the most fervent diehard Unionist in Scotland wants to see the Scottish team wiped out of existence, and any player prepared to risk that possibility – and it IS a possibility, as Blatter’s words make plain – for the sake of their own tiny personal gain as a second-string player in a third-rate competition ought to expect nothing but justified contempt.

But from a nationalist perspective, perhaps we all ought instead to be urging Barry Bannan and his pals to do everything in their power to pull on the Team GB shirt this summer. Maybe we should all write heartfelt letters to the SFA pleading with them to withdraw their objections to the principle. Because we can think of no single event that would be more likely to push support for a Yes vote in the 2014 referendum past critical mass than for FIFA to forcibly eject Scotland from world football.

Naturally, independence would see the national side restored, this time as of right rather than by a special bending of the rules resented by the rest of the world. Rather than being shunned, despised and booed every time he kicks a ball for the rest of his life, Barry Bannan would become a Scottish national hero on a par with William Wallace, Robert The Bruce and Wee Archie Gemmill. There would be statues of him in every city, and stirring folk songs in his honour would be sung every year on Barry Bannan Day. His money would be no good in any pub in the land.

In an age of cynicism, Scotland is crying out for modern-day heroes. Will Barry Bannan be the man to hear the call and lead a nation to its destiny? (Possibly by way of the nation taking a detour across some fields while running away from a car crash smashed off its nut, in true Scottish style.) Only time will tell.

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    20 to “Is Barry Bannan the key to independence?”

    1. Cozmiester says:

      It really amazes me the modern day footballer and their self indulgant, egotistical nature. Can you imagine Dalglish, Bremner, Jordan et al pulling on a Team GB strip.

    2. NorthBrit says:

      I think you should be encouraging as many players as possible to participate in the British team.  

      There are far too many people in Scotland who define themselves as Scots not British but who are anti-independence – many of them are also anti-English in a quite unpleasant way.  

      Being relegated to regional status would confront them with the logical outcome of their political stance.

    3. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Isn’t that essentially what I just did do?

    4. Doug Daniel says:

      An interesting idea, but I’d far rather just boo the little idiot if he ever gets picked for Scotland again. Which he will, because he’s been very good when he’s been picked and is just about the only creative threat we have in midfield.

      Still, no point in having a creative midfielder if you have no football team due to said creative midfielder enabling Blatter to destroy the football team.

      It’s sad, I really thought no Scottish player would want to take the chance. I also think the SFA should have said outright, “play for Team GB and you will never play for Scotland again.”

    5. NorthBrit says:

      I thought you weren’t sure based on your first line.  I’m supporting a turn to the dark side.

      A side benefit you haven’t mentioned is that foreign commentators will refer to the UK team as “England”.

    6. MajorBloodnok says:

      Eamon Bannon was at my school.  I know he’s not related but I just thought I’d mention it anyway.  As you were.

    7. John Lyons says:

      “and you will never play for Scotland again.”

      Barry Fergusson and Alan McGregor are living proof that such threats are meaningless.

      North Brit, you say some Scottish Nationalists are anti English, well, some BritNats are anti Scottish. Every party has it’s lunatic fringe, but none of them wished Ed Millibands dad dead this week. You sound like everything that is wrong with the union.

      “Being relegated to regional status would confront them with the logical outcome of their political stance.”

      Or in Unionspeak, “You people in the colonys of the British empire are worth little and should remember that without Britain you would be worth less. Now remember to say thank you when I throw you and your family off my land in favour of sheep.” Something like that?

      As for the Football, professionalism has ruined the game. It’s only a matter of time before Rugby is the same.

    8. Dál Riata says:

      BBC Sports-Football

      “The original list contained 191 names. Pearce now has to cut the 80 names down to 35 players by 8 June and submit a final squad of 18 players, plus four reserves, by noon on 6 July.

      Pearce will be unable to select anyone who plays for England at Euro 2012.”

      “Steven Fletcher has made the latest list of players …”

      “BBC Scotland has learned that Celtic winger James Forrest is also on the list.

      And at least nine other Scots remain in manager Stuart Pearce’s plans.”

      “The seven players who have said they do not wish to be involved are reported to be from across the home nations, including at least one Englishman, and are from a variety of clubs.”

      As far as I can tell, Steven Fletcher seems to be the only Scot who is definitely on the list of 80 players for “Team GB”.

      What I don’t understand is why the secrecy about the names of those 80 players on the list. Why are those names not released to the general public? Strange. I’m not suggesting anything offhand. I just find it odd that it hasn’t been done. Anyone know why? Contractual? IOC rules? Etc.?

      David Beckham is included in the 80. As it’s a competition for players under 23, with 3 ‘over-age’ players allowed in a squad of 18, I think I can go out on a limb here and say he will be one of the ‘over-agers’! Now I respect the man as (he was) a good player and I’m not going to disparage him here. But, for sure, the London-based media will try to turn it into a Beckham ‘frenzy’, with headlines such as, “Beckham’s [sic] GB Team …”, as is their wont.  

      If “Team GB” should go on to win the gold medal the Unionists will, undoubtedly, try to make political capital from it. But that’s for them. It’ll mean nothing to me. I’ve never supported such a thing and I’m not about to start now.  

    9. Dál Riata says:

      And by the way, FIFA is an allegedly corrupt organization, with an allegedly corrupt man, Sepp Blatter as its president. For alleged evidence, a five minute Google search should suffice.

      Oh, and the IOC? Same shit, different animal – allegedly. 

    10. Chris says:

      Are the FA not wary that their ‘special’ status is at as much risk as the other home nations’ independence?  Seems a touch cavalier on the basis that the new UKFA would likely be dominated by England/the FA, but there’s a few other perks at risk if the home nations are swept away (rules committee, vice-presidency, friendly votes, etc).

    11. NorthBrit says:

      I didn’t say Scottish nationalists are anti-English.  I don’t think many of them are.  I said lots of Scots simultaneously manage to be pro-union and anti-English – which is a pretty negative way of thinking.  

      If you look at my other posts on the net you will see I do not approve of the biased and negative output on Scotland from most of the Unionist press.

      I was brought up as British and that’s how I feel.  But the SNP is a more British party in its ethos than any of the other parties (fair play, good humour, sympathy for the underdog).  Lots of English people like Alex Salmond.


    12. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I didn’t say Scottish nationalists are anti-English.  I don’t think many of them are.  I said lots of Scots simultaneously manage to be pro-union and anti-English – which is a pretty negative way of thinking. “

      Indeed. It was those people who Jim Sillars so memorably labelled as “90-minute patriots”. And while the post was supposed to be quite light-hearted (as I’d hoped the last couple of paragraphs made clear), the underlying point is valid. I suspect a lot of Unionists would find their attachment to the UK considerably less compelling if it came at the expense of a Scottish national football team. And as such, for the reasons you cite, it would be – in the context of a means to an end – a good thing.

    13. MajorBloodnok says:

      Not much evidence of that in how the Unionists and their compliant press are scaremongering their way through the independence debate.

      Ever considered that it is the case that the positive atributes you identify as British, are in fact the Scotish contribution to the Union and the ‘mainstream’ UK parties are just moving back to their natural positions: i.e. as Scotland’s positive influence wanes, realising that our neighbours are a lost cause, their true natures will out.

      Wonder why they can’t sort themselves out and curb their impulse for self harm, demonstrated by repeatedly voting the Tories in?  Must be that British sense of fair play.

    14. Juteman says:

      As a mediocre marathon runner, i often dreamed about being a world record holder.

      My times were amazing, and i was a cert for the Olympic title, but refused to pull on the British vest.

      Unless i could wear that Scottish vest, i refused, and the rest of the worlds athletes raised a storm wanting me to compete.

      Unfortunately, i was a shite runner.      

    15. NorthBrit says:

      I think that might be true to a point but you don’t see many of the characteristics I’ve described in Scottish Labour.  Totally agree that we haven’t seen anything remotely amusing (at least not intentionally) on the Unionist side of the argument.

      However I think that the British (particularly the ironic) sense of humour comes from all parts of the UK (and Ireland) and the English are a large part of that (although comedy in England has quite a strong left wing bias) and I don’t particularly like any of the current crop of Scottish comedians (except Gerry Sadowitz).  There seems to be a lot of hamming it up in current Scottish comedy.

      Voting in New Labour was a fairly material exercise in self harm too, but one of the risks that the SNP is going to have to deal with is that based on the opinion polls right now Labour would win a UK General Election.  That might have an adverse effect on the number of people who would vote for independence.

    16. Christian Wright says:

      Yes, it would prove useful were young Barry Bannan to wear an undergarment whilst playing for team GB. Should a goal be scored or a game won by we British, the little tyke could remove his jersey in celebration, to reveal an undershirt properly decorated in the red, white, and blue flag synonymous with this Sceptred Isle. 

      By this action Bannan would serve to unite all the peoples of this island realm in celebration of shared Britishness.  The crowd in their patriotic fervor and with a song in their hearts, would be encouraged to offer up a chorus of “Jerusalem” with that glorious ending: . .”Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand, Till we have built Jerusalem In England’s green and pleasant land”.

      What a splendid sight that would be. What better evidence to present at the next  plenary session of FIFA of the need for Britain to be recognized as a united realm, and to take its rightful place in the world community of footballing nations!

    17. Stuart M says:

      I actually look at this issue from the economic perspective rather than the nationalistic one.
      Lose the Scotland, Wales and NI national teams, and you can probably shut down Hampden. The Millennium Stadium loses a major revenue stream. The Scottish Football League will become more part-time and smaller.
      How many jobs is that? I’ve not even got to the pie vans, scarf sellers, coach firms…all because a wee tit from Airdrie wants to play in a Mickey Mouse tournament.

    18. Suth says:

      Nail on the head here. A lot of people are living in a blurred and confused viewpoint of the union, trying to imagine it both ways. If confronted with the reality via their beloved sport it would force them to deal with it one way or another.
      @Stuart M 

      If people don’t spend their money on the football in that scenario, they’ll spend it elsewhere. There are plenty places begging for it. One area would go up, another down.

    19. Seasick Dave says:

      How come fitba is an Olympic sport onyhow?

      Are they going to score the most goals in a game ever?

      Maybe they’ll get a medal for the hardest shot or the longest shy.

      In which case, Bannan will no be on the park.

    20. Kenny Campbell says:

      Regarding Eamon Bannon trivia , he taught PE at my primary school at the time he got his first cap…..personally I don’t support Team GB Football but I’m not bothered if players want to take part. I think the ‘threat‘ to Scottish football is blown up and the whole Team GB thing is leveraged by some folks for political reasons. Olympic football will be total guff and that in itself should be enough to get the whole thing dropped.

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