Soccer has been called a gentleman’s game played by hooligans. It remains to be seen why any intelligent human being should wish to run up and down a pitch for ninety minutes kicking a ball in an attempt to put it in the back of the opposing team’s net. Ludicrous though that proposition may sound, countless millions of people worldwide not only play this game but watch it. Leading soccer players receive massive paychecks, sponsorship and endorsements worth millions of dollars. A few, like Diego Maradonna, Pelé, and Britain’s own David Beckham, become bigger than the game, and are idolised, even worshipped. If that scenario also sounds ludicrous, how much more ludicrous must it be to assault or even attempt to murder a man because he manages a football team?
This, sadly, is what is currently happening in once Bonnie Scotland. Since especially the 1993 murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in South London, we in Britain have seen unremitting campaigns against “racism”, but the irony is that the deadliest form of racial bigotry in these islands is, and always has been, between the two warring white tribes, in particular those who profess the Catholic faith, and those who profess the Protestant one.
Ireland is of course the place where this war has always been most pronounced, but there are also pockets in Scotland and even the North of England. In Scotland, the bigotry revolves mostly around the so-called beautiful game. Two months ago, the manager of Celtic F.C., Irishman Neil Lennon and two high profile fans, Paul McBride QC and the former Labour MSP Trish Godman, were sent parcel bombs.
Last month, at a press conference and public appeal, Detective Superintendent John Mitchell of Strathclyde Police
said the packages were designed to cause “real harm”. On Wednesday night, Neil Lennon was the target of an assault at a match on the touchline at Tynecastle Stadium.
Yesterday, a twenty-six year old Edinburgh man was charged with breach of the peace aggravated by religious prejudice and assault aggravated by religious prejudice. He was remanded in custody.
In the original investigation
, two men in their forties were arrested under the Explosives Substances Act, 1883
following police raids in Kilwinning, Ayrshire. The BBC late news announced that they had been charged in connection with these raids.
Men have killed for both religion and ideology from time immemorial, but killing a man over a game of football is an act so stupid it beggars belief anyone should even contemplate it. Let this madness end now, before we see this happen in Scotland.