10 December 2005

Scotland to Cheer on Trinidad and Tobago

My prediction for the world cup is that there will be a high demand for Trindad and Tobago shirts here in Scotland.

With Dundee keeper Kelvin Jack, Rangers defender Marvin Andrews, Falkirk Midfielder Russell Latapy Dundee United Striker Colin Samuel and St. Johnston Striker Jason Scotland all hailing from Trindad and Tobago, not to mention Dwight Yorke, Shaka Hislop, Dennis Lawrence, Scotland fans loved England's world cup draw.

Devon Mitchell, Errol McFarlane, Jerron Nixon, Anthony Rougier, Brent Sancho, Arnold Dwarika and Lyndon Andrews have also all had spells in Scottish football. They even have a Gary Glasgow on the squad who like Scotland is aptly named though has never played in Scotland. Indeed the full list of clubs in Scotland for whom these players have plied their trade is Rangers, Dundee, Dundee United, Falkirk, Hibernian, Livingston, St. Johnston, Raith Rovers and East Fife.

In fact if you see the full list of players who are currently playing in Britain it makes some interesting reading:

Chris Birchall (Port Vale), Russel Latapy (Falkirk), Jason Scotland (St Johnstone), Stern John (Derby), Kenwyne Jones (Southampton), Kelvin Jack (Dundee), Marvin Andrews (Rangers), Dennis Lawrence (Wrexham), Carlos Edwards (Luton), Shaka Hislop (West Ham), Brent Sancho (Gillingham), Hector Sam (Wrexham)

So be prepared for cheers of Marv, Marv, Super Marv, Super Marvin Andrews whenever a ball is cleared from defense leaving Owen, Rooney or even Crouch looking stupid.

3 December 2005

Best's Final Journey 3

Here is the text of the poem that Calum Best son read by Belfast woman Julie McClelland, the one that brought him and me to tears earlier today.

Farewell our friend, but not goodbye.
Your time has come, your soul must fly.
To dance with angels, find the sun,
But how we'll miss our special one.

He walks among us just a while,
Weaved your magic, made us smile.
Your life was so full of light and tears,
We lived it through you, through the years.

The golden days, they went so fast.
The precious times, why can't they last?
So many loved you, did you know?
We were not ready to let you go.

The stars from Heaven are only lent.
A gift from God, that's why they're sent.
We won't forget our Belfast boy,
He filled our lives with so much joy.

Your star will shine now in the sky.
Farewell our friend, but not goodbye.

I've just being reading the comments on the BBC website and am astounded at the number of people complaining about the coverage amongst all the tributes. Why now? Why today? Why mock a man for the disease of alcoholism? Something which as his doctor put so eloquently today he was made too well by the transplant that he returned to drink.

Many of the comments however do refer to the fact that yet again today George Best has done more to unite the people of Northern Ireland than many a politician has tried and been unable to do.

Best's Final Journey 2

Since I last wrote I've been griped by the coverage on the television. I tried to identify the scarfs that were thrown unto the hearse. As well as Northern Ireland and Manchester United I'm sure I also spotted Linfield and Celtic showing that yet again George has united the people of Northern Ireland.

The service was very moving. The second poem that Callum read out got to me as well so I'm not surprised he reached the point of tears. Hearing all the anecdotes for his friends, family and doctors shows the light he will be remembered in. Yes there was the down side but he was a light that was extinguished too early.

Best's Final Journey

I have the TV playing in the background showing live pictures from the Cregagh Estate as the funeral procession of George Best prepares to pass through thousands of mourners to Stormont. Already in scenes reminiscent of Diana flowers are being thrown from the masses unto the hearse in what is the biggest funeral in Northern Irish history.

The location of the funeral service is somewhere I used to walk to during my lunch breaks from one of the government departments just off the estate. It's at the top of a mile long wide avenue that leads up to Parliament Buildings and will undoubtedly provide exception pictures of crowds later on today as the masses stand either side of Prince of Wales Avenue watching the service on big screens.

Best marks a period of Northern Ireland football history where the fans did not care which side of the community the players came from, it was a form of escapism. Sadly for the last few years Neil Lennon has been hounded out of the Northern Ireland team by sectarianism. Best debuted alongside Pat Jennings, two young lads from different sides of the community who both enter the hearts of al football fans in the province.

It is a shame that in relative peace the national football team has become a target of sectarianism, while at the heights of the troubles it was one thing we could agree upon, largely.