James McClean

James McClean has been selected to play for Ireland in the European Football Championships. Born in Derry, he has previously played for Norn Iron’s Under 21 team and has elected to represent the “Republic of Ireland”. He tweeted yesterday.  “Absolutely honoured and couldn’t be happier to have been called up to represent my country at the Euros” (my emphasis).

He has however been subject to sectarian abuse online and his life has been threatened. This is of course the stark sectarian reality behind much but not all of Norn Ireland football supporters.

The Norn Iron football authorities have made efforts….belated but sincere….to outreach to “Catholic” players coming thru the ranks. Certainly World Rankings show that Norn Iron needs all the players it can get. Including Lee Camp (born in Derby, England), Maik Taylor (born in Germany), Lee Hodson (born in Watford, England) and Jamie Ward (born in Birmingham, England). All raised in England and gone thru English youth football. Norn Iron currently languish in #100 in Football rankings. The “Republic” are in #19 place.

Norn Iron supporters claim to want a level playing field. James McClean and fellow Derry man Darron Gibson have played youth football in Norn Iron before being “poached” (in Norn Iron mythology) by the evil folks from the South. Actually the players have merely exercised their right to be Irish citizens to play for their national team.

There is no legal mechanism to stop McClean or Gibson so doing. There is no legal mechanism to compel them to play for Norn Iron. Nor is there any quasi-legal “football rule” that can make them do this. The Norn Iron football authorities have already taken their case….their unique situation (as they have it)  to “World Football” (FIFA) and humiliatingly lost. In fact even taking the case was counter-productive.

The current tactic devised in Norn Iron football is to demand compensation for the finacial loss incurred in developing players who then opt to play for Ireland. Well of course, the problem with that is that Norn Iron is not rushing to pay compensation to the English FA for developing members of their squad. And there is also the uncomfortable fact that the Norn Iron football authorities gets grants from the Norn Iron government………taxpayer money, collected by the British Treasury from people who include Norn Iron “nationalists”.

Of course real Norn Iron football fans will rightly condemn people who put sectarian abuse on Twitter and Facebook. And will of course will condemn those who resort to threats. While many Norn Iron football fans recognise the “right” of McClean or Gibson to choose to play for Ireland, many of them are “lets get alongerists” who believe that if players did not play for the Republic, it would create a harmonious and homogenous “country”. Alas that call is not for the “lets get alongerists to make”. The call is for McClean and Gibson.

While those “lets get alongerists” present themselves as respectable, even “liberal” people, the threats to James McClean shows that too many Norn Iron fans feel he has no right to make this decision. And of course the threats are de-humanising.

Is it more or less likely that James McClean will reverse a decision and not go to the Euros because of threats from some internet warriors? Is it likely to change the mind of other young Catholics currently working their way thru youth football in Norn Iron?

The struggle in Norn Iron has always been between those who wish to enhance peoples rights and those who wish to limit peoples rights.

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54 Responses to James McClean

  1. sammymcnally says:

    As mentioned in post below – https://fitzjameshorselooksattheworld.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/eligibilty-political-football-a-guest-post-from-sammy-mcnally/ – this issue needs to be resolved by the IFA and the FAI by perhaps agreeing a protocol on the movement of players (in both directions) to avoid and defuse sectarian tensions. With the FAI and Souhern footlball in a position of relative strength they should show some generosity of spirit to the IFA and address the issue of younger player switching to the South after time and effort and money is spent on their development.

    Having just being suspended(again) from Our Wee Country website for repeatedly asking those who criticise the IFA for inaction what exacly the IFA should do it would be interesting to hear some (non abusive) comment from those angered by the current arrangements.

  2. Bangordub says:

    Sammy, Perhaps this should be looked at in a wider European context rather than simply IFA/FAI.
    This would address the issue mentioned by FJH of English or German born players playing for the North.
    It would surely have to take into account the differing financial resources of Respective FA’s as well. Of course it might then open up the whole can of worms at club level regarding larger clubs luring proising youngsters away at an early stage of their careers.
    I am not aware of the details of McCleans transfer to Sunderland but I am sure he is worth considerably more now than he was bought for. I hope Derry City have a well written contract in place !!!!

  3. sammymcnally says:

    Bangordub,

    re. “Sammy , Perhaps this should be looked at in a wider European context rather than simply IFA/FAI.”

    Yes, I agree, but given that it may take some considerable time to get widspread agreemment the IFA and FAI should seek to find a settlement.

    It would be really refeshing to see the Southern Government (I don’t think SF or the SDLP have the political matuirty to do it) sticking up for Northern football fans and encouraging the FAI to speak to the IFA.

    • I dont agree with any compensation at all.
      I remember thinking that when Trimble signed up to “parity of esteem” it was the “Gotcha” moment.
      Unionism does not do parity” and he undermined unionism when he signed up to it.
      The best tactic for nationalism is to play the “parity” card as often as possible.
      No concessions.

  4. Bangordub says:

    FJH, “Unionism does not do parity” Exactly.
    However I would argue that the only way to challenge their rather “Parochial” view of the world is to tease it out to it’s logical conclusions.
    By the way, are there any examples of NI born players declaring for England or Scotland?
    Sammy, I really think it would be a mistake for the Irish Govt to “encourage” the FAI to do anything, could you imagine the same scenario anywhere else? Political hand grenade I’d suggest.
    Given that, the choreography is getting interesting with Niall at Windsor Park this week. Whats next, Dianne Dodds supporting Ireland in Poland?

  5. sammymcnally says:

    Bangordub, ‘Northern’ as opposed to ‘Irish’ Nationalism often seems to fall over at the point where there is an opportunity to treat Unionists as fellow Irish people.

    It is irrelevant whether Unionists are interested in reciprocating or whether you could ‘imagine the same scenario anywhere else’. There is understandablly extremely deep feelings about this issue and those interested in ‘reaching out to Unionists’ should be looking out for opportunities to do just that – rather than score points under the guise of parity of esteem. There are many genuine Northern football fans(as you pointed out in the earlier post) deeply angered by this turn of the eligibilty saga and in the interests of fair play and good relations their concerns should be heeded.

    James McClean is fully entitled to play for the South without sectarian abuse but it is not in his interest that the sectarian tensions raised by this issue are allowed to fester.

    • Bangordub says:

      Sammy, I’m afraid I fundamentally disagree with you on a number of points.
      Northern, as opposed to southern Nationalists have had a very different experience over the past 90 odd years. This has shaped a differing mindset and hence a different reaction to circumstances. My experience , for what it’s worth, is that Northern Nationalists regard Unionists as every bit as Irish as themselves although somewhat used, abused (by the British Govt) and misguided.
      Given the History of NI, It is absolutly crucial, not irrelevant, that Unionists reciprocate.
      Like FJH, I have no time for the “letsgetalongerasistitsas”. The bottom line is the removal of zero sum thinking I believe?
      Your final point about James McClean I absolutely agree with.
      Sorry If I got a bit Sluggerish there !

      • sammymcnally says:

        Bangordub,

        “This has shaped a differing mindset and hence a different reaction to circumstances.”

        I agree entirely.But that is where the issue of ‘leadership’ comes in. I am all for SF behind the scenes negotiating with the DUP – you stratch my GAA back and only then will I scratch your Royal back but SF and the SDLP should build their own relationship with the plain Unionist people of Ireland when opportunities arise – and this is one such opportunity. Re-stating the tired old cliches of it was a ‘cold house for Catholics’ during Stormo v1 does not really advance us very far at all and if the GFA settlement really meant anything it meant trying to resolve issues on this side of the Irish sea by finding a series of Irish solutions to Irish problems – and if that is what is characterised by Fitzy’s “lets get alongerists” – then count me in.

      • I dont really know what the Republics Government can do.
        The rights of any citizen is not negotiable.
        Telling….Asking…Advising….the FAI not to pick people who are eligible infringes the rights of people who want to play for the Republic.
        If the next lad from Derry, Newry or Carrickfergus opts to play for the Republic and is told “sorry we have been told/asked/advised” not to select you” then that would clearly end up in the Supreme Court.
        I always use the “lets get alongerist” tag with the implication that it is “faux” lets get alongerism.
        There is a reasonable enough thought out there that if the worst aspects of unionism (sectarianism) is appeased they will change.
        And I just dont see how appeasing those (SOME of whom) hurl sectarian abuse at someone exercising his rights is a good thing.
        A person exercising his rights should not automatically be assumed to be a bad thing for anyone else.
        Forcing the pace of change…showing up the absurdity of Norn Iron…..is probably more kind.

  6. Bangordub says:

    Sammy, Can’t disagree with any of that, Mr Fitz, over to you!!!

  7. sammymcnally says:

    I’m 100% behind the right to choose but would like to see the Southern government (and the SDLP and SF) show some awareness of the difficulty this causes the Northern football authorities and fans and publically encourage practical arrangments between the FAI and FIA to manage this issue which is clearly stirring up sectarian animosities within the sport.

    • Bangordub says:

      Sammy, I think it is fair to say that the sectarian animosity is all coming from one side here, Lennon, Rogan,McCourt, McGinn have all been on the recieving end of it and they decided to play for NI !!!!
      In 1999 I believe there were 8 English born players on the NI team.
      I cannot recall a single instance of this abuse directed at any ROI or English international

      • sammymcnally says:

        Bangordub, any Rangers players appearing against Ireland usually get singled out for treatement.

        But the key point is not about placating thugs involved in sectarian abuse but defusing a situation which engenders sectarianism and has enraged ordinary decent (mainly)Unionists (who abhor the threats to Mc Clean) – these are the people that ‘Nationalism’ should be ‘reaching out to’ and you were quoting in the earlier posts.

        Michael O’Neill and Gerry Armstrong, as Nationalist background officals of the IFA, are ideally placed to make the case for a protocol which minimises the damage to Northern football and avoids a polarisation between the IFA and FAI and a further deterioration in community relations over the issue.

  8. Bangordub says:

    Sammy, I fully appreciate what you are saying and I would love to see this tackled but I think the central flaw in your argument is simple. You are proposing, If I may say, that “Nationalists” within the IFA engage with “Nationalists” in the FAI to solve a problem emanating from within Unionism.
    I haven’t heard a peep from Unionist politicians with the exception of Gregory Campbell who has seems to think it’s all James McCleans fault (Todays Newsletter)
    Surely some intelligent engagement is required?

    • sammymcnally says:

      Bangodub,

      Fair enough, that is a key point – I have been suspended from the website OWC for asking them to put forawrd a sensible arguement other than talk/negotiations between the IFA and the FAI. I emailed the IFA months ago and asked them what their offical policy was on the issue and I got an almost instant reposnse telling me they would be replying shortly – that was months ago.

      But the IFA should despatch the aforementioned chaps south (because they are Nationlaists and cant be attacked for being sectarian) to drum support for dialogue and agreement.

      • James says:

        As FJH previously said rights cannot be negotiated away. For example Paul George of Celtic last year declared for the south, yet to make a senior appearance he is still eligible for NI. Should his rights be diluted to something inferior to James Mccleans and darron Gibson for the appeasement of unionism? No they should. It flies in the face of every SF and the SDLP fought for 14 years ago. Any negotiation with the IFA means that a players selection for the republic would be conditional upon either compensation or some sort of quota of players per season, which in itself would be a unique disadvantage to the republic. As I am aware there are no restrictions on eligible players that NI can select I frankly don’t see the problem. It’s down to the player to choose whether he wants to play for the north or the south. I can however see where the anger over this issue comes from. Since the creation of the NI football team Unionists could mock the fact that nationalists supported the republic but I they had any ambitions of playing international football they had to opt for “OWC”, in spite of the abuse they may receive. Before this issue I never actually encountered any objection to the fact that nationalists supported felt more affiliated to the south,in fact I don’t believe anyone cared…suddenly that it now affects NI supporters they actually care

  9. sammymcnally says:

    James,

    I dont think there should be quota but rather an agreement between the IFA and the FAI on how it is handled. It is clealry extremely annoying for any set of fans to see their most talented players brought through their underage system and then see them opting for their bitterest rivals.

    Given the reality of community relations in Norn Iron and between Northern Unionists and the South this is obvioulsy a very emotive and potentially damaging issue and as we are witnessing with Mc Clean – only likley to get worse.

    The FAI should, without compromising the principle of player choice, seek to minimise the impact on player development and community relations iin the North.

    • James says:

      Sammy,

      I see your point. Paramount over anythings else in this issue is the right to choose. The best thing in that the FAI could do is send more scouts up north, there by having an active recruitment policy in NI (reaching an agreement with the IFA if they must). This eliminates the whole development and compensation argument (which as I said before would in my view only serve to dilute the rights of the player)…however the likelyhood of IFA agreeing to this is very slim. I’m all for having the situation diffused fir the sake of players like Mcclean s own safety, but any agreement that does not recognise the rights of an individual as paramount for me is a non starter

      • sammymcnally says:

        James,

        re. “however the likelyhood of IFA agreeing to this is very slim”

        I think once the IFA accepts the ruling on eligibilty then it must make sense for them to negotiate a protocol with the FAI that is as benefical to themselves as possible.

        The onus is on both oraganisations to behave responsibly.

      • James says:

        “the onus is on both side to behave responsibly”

        Agreed 100%. But as of yet only the FAI has.

  10. i) ‘But the IFA should despatch the aforementioned chaps south (because they are Nationalists and cant be attacked for being sectarian) to drum support for dialogue and agreement.’

    ii) ‘Yes, I agree, but given that it may take some considerable time to get widspread agreement the IFA and FAI should seek to find a settlement.’

    Re (i) Sammy, you seem a nice guy who genuinely holds a strong opinion on this matter, so I do not wish to wind or rile you on this, however, there is no support for the IFA’s position down south (Brian Kerr being an exception of course). The problem here is not how the IFA has been treated, it’s the fact that they have not dealt with this issue having been resolved. There is nothing more to be done on this and the emphasis on looking for some kind of ‘solution’ that suits the IFA while not infringing on a player’s rights is bizarre in the extreme.

    Re (ii), a settlement was found. Some are not fans, tough. The people that this settlement effects, ie Nationalist players, are incredibly happy with the outcome.

    We live or are from a statelet/country that is unique and while players from the North are able to play for what are referred to as the ‘home nations’ as well as the South, alot of the indigenous players seem to move to play for the South while the North relies on a lot of what can only be described as sub-par players from England/Scotland/Wales.

    Perhaps, instead of fighting a cause that has been comprehensively defeated NI supporters may want to focus on the reasons that these players don’t want to play for NI?

    FJH, best of luck with your new translink card and Happy Birthday of course

  11. sammymcnally says:

    footballcliches,

    Although Northern football fans views are thin on the ground around there are a number of specific complaints regarding this issue which are causing consternation – one is that that players should not get as far as under 21 and then opt for the south and the second is that the south should not be seen to ‘collect’ Northern players just in case they trun out to be of value.

    Although it is debatable what level of support there would be for the IFA in the South a recent docuementary item on RTE was very even handed and sympathetic to the IFA. If the IFA accepted the right to choose then there would be support for a ‘fair’ system (i.e. one that considered Northern concerns) based on agreement between them and the FAI.

  12. Sammy

    ‘one is that that players should not get as far as under 21 and then opt for the south’ – Why not? Is this not the FIFIA/UEFA rule? Though legally an adult, they are kids after all in reality. What age would you have them make this big decision, I suppose it would be 18, but on this matter I think 21 is a perfectly acceptable age as you have been an ‘adult’ for long enough and can then make a life altering decision.

    ‘second is that the south should not be seen to ‘collect’ Northern players just in case they turn out to be of value.’ – Why not? If they are eligible to play AND want to play for the south then this is nobody’s problem except the player and the country’s team.

    ‘Although it is debatable what level of support there would be for the IFA in the South a recent docuementary item on RTE was very even handed and sympathetic to the IFA. ‘ Let’s be brutally honest here, if a show by RTE was seen to be unsympathetic to the IFA or any PULs there would have been an uproar from the Indo et al. Without having seen the show, and going on your opinion on said show, I applaud the fact that it was in fact ‘even handed’ when it didn’t have to be.

    ‘If the IFA accepted the right to choose then there would be support for a ‘fair’ system (i.e. one that considered Northern concerns) based on agreement between them and the FAI.’- What are these ‘Northern’ concerns then? I am a Northerner, I am concerned that some from where I am from simply don’t get that the team does not represent me, my community or any of my cultural aspirations, history or any thing else I wish to throw in. Also, you do not provide any solutions as to how these ‘concerns’ are to be addressed practically. I would be quite interested to hear some, so we can chew the fat so to speak and explore a few.

    Some of us Northerners address our concerns by opting to play for the South, that’s who our allegiance is with, who is any one to say that this is unfair?

    This has been the case since the war and a family member of mine epitomizes this in my opinion

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_McAlinden

  13. sammymcnally says:

    footballcliches,

    re. “What are these ‘Northern’ concerns then?”

    Those would be the same ones you decided had no merit – under 21 players, and the South collecting players.

    My attitude to these concerns is somewhat different to yours – I view them as issues that could be accomodated by the FAI from their position of relative strength and certainly from a ‘fair play’ perspective would potentially garner support in the South. Northern Ireland are an Irish football team and deserving of support from Irish people – even those like me who lend greater support to the South and would much prefer to see one Ireland team.

    I will post the link to the RTE piece when my suspension to OWC ends later tonight.

    ps Jimmy Mac is an interesting case.

  14. ‘Those would be the same ones you decided had no merit – under 21 players, and the South collecting players.’ – and indeed they do have no merit whatsoever as you only highlighted the ‘Northern concerns’ of one particular community. Why do you not just call these ‘concerns’ what they actually are; PUL concerns?

    I asked how these issues could be accommodated seeing as the players don’t want to play for a side that does not represent them yet it would appear that no answer is forthcoming and the same points are repeated ad nauseam, that the North would want some kind of recompense or recognition of some kind that has not been articulated fully by the FAI in this instance and Northern concerns from the one side (PUL) seemingly trump Northern concerns from the other side (CNR).

    Of course I too would love to see only one Irish team, however, supporters of Norn Iron need to recognise that this ‘problem’ or ‘Northern’ concern, only their own, has been resolved fairly. The ‘problems’ you raised surrounding this whole issue are IFA problems which do not take into account any of the problems of the players themselves, that they do not have any kind of affiliation with the IFA’s stance or the Norn Iron team and they are exercising their legal right which more importantly helps them exercise a cultural ambition that most others take for granted.

    So, rather than go round and round in circles and I am mindful that I do not want the tone to go the way of slugger, could you at least try and answer the points I originally raised, the main one being, what idea do you have to resolve this issue that would possibly be ‘fair’ for all parties concerned?

  15. sammymcnally says:

    footballcliches,

    re. “could you at least try and answer the points I originally raised”

    That I would strongly suggest was the reason for me saying “If the IFA accepted the right to choose then there would be support for a ‘fair’ system (i.e. one that considered Northern concerns) based on agreement between them and the FAI.”

    re. “what idea do you have to resolve this issue that would possibly be ‘fair’ for all parties concerned?”

    It would be ‘fair’ for the FAI to agree not to pick players who had got as far under 21 level (perhaps younger) for Northern Ireland as the players could opt out of the Northern structure if they did not see their future with the North.

    The FAI could also agree not to pick players unless they are fairly certain they are going to use them. The later would by its nature be open to interpetation but the FAI should in my opinion show willing.

    .. and the IFA may have other specific concerns that could be accomodated by the FAI which would be ‘fair’ to all concrened.

    You, like many others seem to think that simply if the ‘law’ is on your side there is no reason to accomodate those who law doesn’t suit – exactly the attitude many Nationalists on the ‘wrong’ side of the border have/had so much difficulty with.

  16. Sammy,

    Apologies for the delay with my reply, interviews, work and family intervened. Now, to get back to your points, What is decidedly unfair about what you propose is that it raises the bar for northern players who wish to play for their country to play for their country. You have quite craftily tried to make this out like it is the FAI versus IFA, when in fact the FAI is merely facilitating what players like McLean and Gibson want to do.

    Your ‘solution’ would make players such as them have to meet a higher bar than all others such as Maik Taylor who I don’t believe is from Norn Iron.

    ‘You, like many others seem to think that simply if the ‘law’ is on your side there is no reason to accomodate those who law doesn’t suit – exactly the attitude many Nationalists on the ‘wrong’ side of the border have/had so much difficulty with.’

    Please get over yourself. In this instance it isn’t a law in inverted commas, it’s a law, period. The law suits those it effects perfectly, Northern Nationalists who have little/no affiliation with a team representing a statelet that has been a cold house for it since its inception.

  17. sammymcnally says:

    footballcliches,

    We have 2 small football associations and teams on this small island – both Irish and the interpetation (which I agree with) of the law has placed one of these small associations and teams in a difficult position i.e. loss of good players. Now as long as the players have a right to chose, then from where I’m sitting(i.e. liking both football assocations and teams to do well) there should be consideration for the position of the IFA and the Norn Iron football team in how this interpetation is implemented.

    This is a pretty clear and reasonable point of view that does not impinge on the rights of players to choose to play for North or South but takes into account the reality of community realtions within Norn Iron and between North and South and avoids any suggestion of political triumphalism – for those reason in my opinion, it should have political support from Nationalist parties (North and South).

  18. Sammy,

    ‘We have 2 small football associations and teams on this small island – both Irish and the interpetation (which I agree with) of the law has placed one of these small associations and teams in a difficult position i.e. loss of good players.’ – Lets stretch it out a bit, we have 5 associations between this island and the one to our east; now Norn Iron has a number of English players on the squad yet hasn’t recompensed the FA for this, is this fair?

    ‘Now as long as the players have a right to chose, then from where I’m sitting(i.e. liking both football assocations and teams to do well) there should be consideration for the position of the IFA and the Norn Iron football team in how this interpetation is implemented.’ – to the detriment of the players by placing extra conditions and considerations on their playing for the South as you espoused earlier? Hardly fair at all and thankfully no one is going for it.

    ‘This is a pretty clear and reasonable point of view that does not impinge on the rights of players to choose to play for North or South’…except, of course, raising the bar for Northern players to play for the South by placing conditions on them no one else has to meet? Clearly not fair and for that reason, has no support from Nationalist parties (North and South).

    But the common thread in your pieces is the fact that Norn Iron is facing the ‘loss of good players’ to the South, that’s why any talk of recompensing the FA, SFA or whatever Wales may have if individuals from their respective countries decided to play for Norn Iron instead is not countenanced, because anyone from England or Scotland wanting to play for Norn Iron would have to be pretty awful and clearly not good enough for their home football association. What appears to get in the throats of Norn Iron fans is that players of the caliber of McClean and Gibson would not want to play for Norn Iron, period.

    The real problem here is that Norn Iron fans and the IFA won’t face facts, their brand is badly tarnished and players with an option are voting with their feet. Slapping yourselves on the back and telling us what a great job you’re doing tackling certain issues won’t do and when matters such as the anthem and stadium aren’t addressed I would expect this trend to continue.

  19. sammymcnally says:

    footballcliches,

    In summary my position is that good neighbourliness and the fact that the Northern players are Irish and that ‘community relations’ are an on-ongoing concern means that we (Nationalists and the FAI) should be accomodating in this matter and your position in summary is that we should not be.

    I dont really think there are any killer arguements on either side.

  20. Sammy,

    How about you summarize your points and leave me to summarize my own instead of trying to put words in my mouth, ok?

    Neighbourliness would mean that the IFA would understand that some people, namely Northern Nationalists, are not comfortable playing for them due to ‘community relations’ being an ongoing concern, amongst others as well as said Northern Nationalists wanting to play for a nation that represents better their cultural aspirations. Players should not be accommodating in their choices, especially when the IFA has shown cultural insensitivity and persued an uphill legal battle to limit their choices.

    ‘I dont really think there are any killer arguements on either side.’ – em, there is and it would appear that you are not on the side of said ‘killer argument’, dems da breaks I suppose.

  21. itwassammymcnallywhatdoneit says:

    fc,

    re. “Players should not be accommodating in their choices, especially when the IFA has shown cultural insensitivity and persued an uphill legal battle to limit their choices.”

    I disagree with the idea that because ‘themmuns’ havent behaved as we would like that should affect how ‘ussuns’ should behave. Of course it can be a difficult principle to uphold and sometimes it is not practical to uphold.

    But in these circumstances I think we should uphold it.

  22. Sammy,

    ‘I disagree with the idea that because ‘themmuns’ havent behaved as we would like that should affect how ‘ussuns’ should behave. Of course it can be a difficult principle to uphold and sometimes it is not practical to uphold.
    But in these circumstances I think we should uphold it.’

    How I love going round in circles on this as you repeat yourself ad nauseum. You’re using a very neat trick there of putting far too much weight on one part of my argument, whilst not tackling the main thrust of my argument, player choice and your proposal to unfairly limit that. You keep saying you want a ‘fair’ outcome to this whole debacle that does not effect the players right to chose and then you place caveats on their being chosen by the FAI which would in fact be unfair to said players; cute but unsubtle. You have tried to paint this as something whereby the FAI is turning the heads of Northerners who would otherwise be happy playing for Norn Iron which I would disagree with but maybe I’m in a minority on this?

    You fail to tackle the fact that the players, in choosing to make themselves eligible for selection by the FAI are doing absolutely nothing wrong. They know that they are playing for a team that shares their cultural aspirations where they are most definitely welcome. With Norn Iron, that is not the case. They are exercising their right and they are right to exercise it. If they chose to play for Norn Iron that would also be fine with me. If they were called up for England as they had some kind of English granny, again, be my guest. So, are you actually going to engage me on my main point that is any agreement to limit Northerners to play for the South would be unfair to Northerners? If not, we can agree to disagree on this and move, up to yourself?

  23. itwassammymcnallywhatdoneit says:

    fc,

    “You fail to tackle the fact that the players, in choosing to make themselves eligible for selection by the FAI are doing absolutely nothing wrong”

    That is a straw man arguement. Who suggested they were? And I’m no more ad-nauseum than you are, you dont accept that their should be compromise and I do and keep repeating the same arguements.

    To suggest that is ‘unfair’ that 2 small Irish associations come to an agreemnt about the implementation of player selection is something of an overstatement given that the players rights to choose is protected – there are always reasons to claim ‘unfairness’ and ‘vicitmisation’ if you try hard enough. Norn Iron fans have lost a bunch of rerally good players and are pissed off about it – show a bit of generosity of spirit for fecks sake.

    On a different note – if the GAA had opened its stadia to soccerball(there are 12 GAA stadia with a capacity of more than 30,000) then Ireland (North and South) could have bid for Euro 2020 on their own – you would never guess the country was fecking bankrupt.

  24. Sammy

    ‘That is a straw man argument.’ – no, its fact. Do elaborate on how it is a straw man argument. You know, just saying something like that does not make it so, right?

    ‘you dont accept that their should be compromise and I do and keep repeating the same arguements.’ – correct re compromise, especially in the light that it is not, in fact, compromise. It is a one sided capitulation by the FAI that you are asking for. Both associations represent Irish men, both clearly represent a different tradition and you’re asking for people who are uncomfortable with a particular tradition to swallow it and play for them, whilst raising the bar for them to play for another Irish footballing association.

    ‘To suggest that is ‘unfair’ that 2 small Irish associations come to an agreemnt about the implementation of player selection is something of an overstatement given that the players rights to choose is protected’

    i) Size of the association does not matter;
    ii) Correct, their selection is protected, however, I refer to your points at 10.42pm on May 9th

    ‘It would be ‘fair’ for the FAI to agree not to pick players who had got as far under 21 level (perhaps younger) for Northern Ireland as the players could opt out of the Northern structure if they did not see their future with the North.
    The FAI could also agree not to pick players unless they are fairly certain they are going to use them. The later would by its nature be open to interpetation but the FAI should in my opinion show willing.’

    Your first suggestion is patently unfair as it would put restrictions on Northerners that are not applicable to any other nation that I know, whilst the second suggestion is unfair as it doesn’t allow a player from the North to be on a Southern squad unless they play within a few games, instead of having the chance to develop. Also, it’s completely unworkable. This is the root of my problems with any of your suggestions, you don’t give a monkeys about the players right to freedom of choice.

    ‘Norn Iron fans have lost a bunch of rerally good players and are pissed off about it – show a bit of generosity of spirit for fecks sake.’ – No, it would mean restricting people’s right to choose. They (the IFA) should try to make themselves attractive to Northern Nationalists instead of patting themselves on the back and telling everyone how great a job they’re doing; they’re not. I’ll give them some (limited) credit but they have a VERY long way to go before I would ever give them a little support.

    ‘On a different note…’ Why would the GAA do that during the summer, their peak period? They get enough abuse from the media and establishment as it is, they put work into their grounds and network and other want to piggy back on it, screw them. Btw, I am a massive soccer fan (4 continental games a year for yours truly)

    Sammy, as an aside, I am enjoying our spar. It has been somewhat good humored and long may it continue. Also, apologies if I have ever come across as narky at any stage; it is a big issue we all have strong opinions!

  25. itwassammymcnallywhatdoneit says:

    fc,

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man . You said “You fail to tackle the fact that the players, in choosing to make themselves eligible for selection by the FAI are doing absolutely nothing wrong”

    I never suggested any wrongdoing.

    What I am suggesting is not that the players rights are curtailed in the right to choose but that they exercise that right in a way that minimises the difficulty(and hence bad feeling) on one (the Northern side) – how this would operate would be via agreement by the IFA and the FAI, perhaps there is no practical way to improve the situation – but that should be explored. It would help if the IFA told everyone what their postion is – are they for example considering further legal/political action.

    re. GAA, when many of your players have to leave the country and probably wont be playing GAA again it is time to ask if the GAA or the country can afford not to share their economically useful resouources (ie stadia).

    Are you an old-sluggeronian seeking internet asylum with FJH?

  26. Sammy,

    ‘A straw man is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position.’ – I notice you still fail to tackle the thrust of my argument, keep it up. My argument is not a strawman’s as it is reality. How about you deal with it. Further, you have now tried to widen our debate by bringing the GAA in to it. How about we also stick to James McClean and the IFA rather than some diversionary tactics from yourself.

    ‘I never suggested any wrongdoing.’ followed by ‘they exercise that right in a way that minimises the difficulty(and hence bad feeling) on one (the Northern side)’ – Hmmm, no wrong doing, ay?

    ‘What I am suggesting is not that the players rights are curtailed in the right to choose..’ you then go on to place a caveat on their right, therefore curtailing it by asking that they exercise it in such a way that minimizes some perceived difficulty for Norn Iron. You fail to understand how this would put the position of a player wanting to play for the South in some kind of difficulty. Sammy, I’m enjoying you avoiding actually saying what you really want, an agreement between the FAI and IFA to make it harder for Northerners to play for the South, therefore curtailing there rights.

    ‘It would help if the IFA told everyone what their postion is – are they for example considering further legal/political action.’ – the IFA can tell us all they like what their position is, the matter has been settled, they lost and rightly so.

    ‘re. GAA, when many of your players have to leave the country and probably wont be playing GAA again it is time to ask if the GAA or the country can afford not to share their economically useful resouources (ie stadia).
    Are you an old-sluggeronian seeking internet asylum with FJH?’

    I’ll be generous as it is Saturday morning afterall and engage the above.

    i) That would be for the GAA to decide, not the country. If they want to share them, go for it. But there grounds are used extensively over the Summer months for their own games. Further, they have ploughed a lot more of their own time and money into their own facilities, more than any other sporting code on this island and now one may come along (notoriously awful with there own funds) with a begging bowl asking to use them. I would be wary of helping them out unless I got recompensed very well. If I saw no benefit to the GAA I would not allow the FAI use of them.

    ii) I used to be on slugger quite a bit but gave up last summer when an incredibly cynical theory was given prominence that the UDA/UVF bricking and terrorising the Short Strand was caused thanks to some young girl getting hit with a brick in the face the week before. When supposed ‘serious’ and ‘moderate’ people entertained the tired old idea that ‘sure, both sides are as bad as each other’ along with ‘themmums in the Short Strand had it coming’, I realised there was little or no point engaging with the ‘people’ on it. Far too cynical and disgusting for my liking. It was a proverbial straw that broke this camel’s back.

  27. sammymcnally says:

    fc,

    re. “Sammy, I’m enjoying you avoiding actually saying what you really want, an agreement between the FAI and IFA to make it harder for Northerners to play for the South, therefore curtailing there rights.”

    I think you are overstating the case and short of repeating myself (which i know you are not keen on) all I can add is that – agreeing on the way a right is exercised does not necessarily mean it is curtailed.

    In relation ot the GAA (not a diversionary tactic- just beginning to believe we will have to agree to disagree on the topic in hand) – they cant keep on pretending that the country’s financial (and politcal) crisis doesnt impinge on their repsonsibility to help.

    in relation to Slugger. I agree, it is extremely frustrating when the facts(in so far as they can be established) are deliberately distorted for political advantage. For my own case, Mick Fealty (who has generally done a very good job with Slugger) threw me out for challenging him on an his comments in a post which I believed to be misleading and distorted the facts.

  28. Sammy,

    ‘I think you are overstating the case and short of repeating myself (which i know you are not keen on) all I can add is that – agreeing on the way a right is exercised does not necessarily mean it is curtailed.’ – however, it does. Changes to the exercising of a right in this instance would have the effect of curtailing it. I look at the end result to any proposed change and no matter what language we use it would result in the curtailment of the right to exercise said right.

    ‘In relation ot the GAA (not a diversionary tactic- just beginning to believe we will have to agree to disagree on the topic in hand) – they cant keep on pretending that the country’s financial (and politcal) crisis doesnt impinge on their repsonsibility to help.’ – But the GAA does not actually have a responsibility now does it. If so, could you point out to me who gave them this, has been legislated by someone? They can help out and often do. They are an exceptional organisation judging by the droves of people who flock to it daily to get involved and the crap they get in the press (mostly unwarranted imho), however, that does not mean that they should just acquiesce to whatever politicians or the media think would help the nation. The GAA is a democratic organistion and as a funny novelty book ‘A Xenophobe’s Guide to Ireland’ once said ‘It (the GAA) has a reach in everyday Irish life any government could only wish for’. Whilst I did chuckle at this, I thought to myself, how very perceptive also. They do represent a huge swathe of opinion that is ignored by the bubble here in Dublin and may also be seen to be somewhat ‘backward’ or ‘uncosmopolitan’, however, there opinion is just as important as any other. It’s not like they’re pretending anything of the sort might I add as the GAA is disproportionately effected by people emigrating.

    ‘in relation to Slugger. I agree, it is extremely frustrating when the facts(in so far as they can be established) are deliberately distorted for political advantage. For my own case, Mick Fealty (who has generally done a very good job with Slugger) threw me out for challenging him on an his comments in a post which I believed to be misleading and distorted the facts.’ – Ah, Mick Fealty. I find his site interesting but tbh, it peddles too much childish crap and piss poor innuendo. I have little time to comment on it anymore and much rather prefer the tone on FJH’s site. It is more adult and mature. Also, Mick is very card happy when someone doesn’t tow ‘his’ line. To go off on something of a tangent, bloggers like to think that ‘new media’ is killing off ‘old media’ and they appear to be happy with this. However, I see the development of blogs much in the same way as pamphleteers way back in the 16th and 17th centuries; they merely give out one side and do not ‘democratise’ ideas but give a platform to those who like the sound of their own voices.

  29. sammymcnally says:

    fc,

    The GAA have a responsiblity given their important and central role in Irish society – espcially when the country is basically fecked.

    It is ridiculous that Ireland(south) has to bid with Scotland and Wales in order to get enough stadia to host 2020 when with the necassary investment (presuming the economics stacked up) they could use the stadia at home and the leagacy to the GAA would be excellent.

    re. “that does not mean that they should just acquiesce to whatever politicians or the media think would help the nation”

    The Southern press are either so pish-poor or just so worried about upsetting anyone that they have not even suggested using GAA stadia(to my knowledge) – at a minimum this is surely a debate that should take place.

  30. Sammy,

    ‘The GAA have a responsiblity given their important and central role in Irish society – espcially when the country is basically fecked.’ – No, they don’t. The government has this responsibility, however, the GAA does help out plenty from my experience.

    ‘It is ridiculous that Ireland(south) has to bid with Scotland and Wales in order to get enough stadia to host 2020 when with the necassary investment (presuming the economics stacked up) they could use the stadia at home and the leagacy to the GAA would be excellent.’ – or, they help out a competitor (the FAI) who raise there profile, possibly to the detriment of the GAA and getting little in return at a time of year when their premises are being used non-stop. If I was in the GAA, whilst I would not be entirely against sharing my premises I would want to exact a high price for the privilege.

    ‘The Southern press are either so pish-poor or just so worried about upsetting anyone that they have not even suggested using GAA stadia(to my knowledge) – at a minimum this is surely a debate that should take place.’ – They are indeed piss poor from my experience on many things (though I do have a lot of respect for the IT), but scared, I doubt that judging by the nonsense I see about the GAA and the willingness to try and drag it through the mud at any opportunity. I even saw a piece on BBC NI’s site last or the week prior about an email sent to members of a GAA team in Perth, Western Australia, asking them to behave. Now, I ask you, what was the ‘local’ angle on this for BBC NI? I do not believe organisations are above criticism, but I do think there is an agenda to go get the GAA.

    Also, you have done a splendid job of going off topic with the GAA.

  31. sammymcnally says:

    fc,

    re. “whilst I would not be entirely against sharing my premises I would want to exact a high price for the privilege.” Potentially getting redevelopment of 4 or 5 stadia would be just that.

    The point is that there should be public debate on the matter.

    re. going off topic- I dont really have anything further to add except to stray back towards the topic agian – yer man from Cliftonville who signed with Swansea is now included in the Norn Iron squad – interesting to see what happens with him – Michael O’neill must be tempted to give him 5 minutes and get him in the bag.

  32. Sammy,

    ‘Potentially getting redevelopment of 4 or 5 stadia would be just that.’ – in a nation that is short of funds at the Government level, where would this money come from and would these newly refurbished stadiums then be fit for purpose after the Euro 2020? It’s not like the GAA doesn’t increase the capacity of their stadiums when their is a chance to. Is this money to come from Government in light of all that is happening down here? Does the GAA go to the markets and issue a bond? Does the FAI give it money (they’re broke) and what would happen afterwards? This is not a simple matter and not wishing to come across as patronising (really, I don’t mean to), I don’t know if you have given this full consideration re all the workings out.

    I do believe that events like this, when managed at an operational and financial level, can be a boon for an economy, I would be wary of letting the FAI run something especially as they have proven to be awful with their own finances. If Ireland were to go host Euro 2020 I would want an organisation that has a track record of running events efficiently and with a democratic ethos, I think you know precisely where I’m going with this…

    Re Rory Donnelly, excellent prospect. I had the pleasure of being at Solitude when he scored that memorable goal against Linfield and wondered when and who would snap him up. Swansea looks like a great team to start at with its style of football and focus on technical skills, I expect him to bulk up considerably over the next 12/18 months, now it’s a question of whether he will be able to make that leap into the big time, I hope he does.

    I think O’Neill would be a fool not to give him a few minutes, just in case he does change his mind.

  33. sammymcnally says:

    fc,

    re. “This is not a simple matter and not wishing to come across as patronising (really, I don’t mean to), I don’t know if you have given this full consideration re all the workings out.”

    That is point of having a debate.

    There can be little doubt that the Euro tournament is a big money generator. Could you imagine Galway hosting the Germans and Cork hosting the Dutch(the English might have to be hosted on Rathlin – for which there is a precedent of sorts). In the current climate there is money available for investement provided there is a return – and it is guaranteed not to be pished up agaInst the nearest wall. But I agree about the worry of the FAI (or any sporting organisation) handling such financial matters.

    Interesting to see the impact of the elgibilty issue being played out by the early selection of young players by Norn Iron.

    There is another very good younger prospect(from Derry I think) signing for Liverpool – he could be next in line for the tug of love across the North South frontier line.

  34. Sammy,

    ‘That is point of having a debate.’ – fair point, however, as you can tell from my previous posts I am not wholly convinced that allowing the FAI to use their stadiums would be in their best interests as it is entirely conceivable that games for which the stadiums were built would have to play second fiddle to a competing sporting code.

    I am sure it would be a big money generator for a number of organisations, but how this would work out for the GAA’s benefit I remain to be convinced. Potentially they would be saddled with stadiums too large for purpose and they would be forced to deal with it without any assistance. I can see a situation come about where they are forced to expand capacity for some stadiums, contrary to their own desires, by the government of the day and the force of ‘public’ and ‘media’ opinion; then after the event, when with stadiums that are far too big for purpose they are then saddled with the bill for their maintenance and up keep with feckless people moaning about ‘sure, didn’t they make money from yon Euros, grab all association, blah blah blah’.

    Who is the youngster from Derry then?

  35. sammymcnally says:

    fc,

    re. “Potentially they would be saddled with stadiums too large for purpose and they would be forced to deal with it without any assistance.”

    The stadia are very large anyway – they would not need an increase in capacity they need to be redeveloped to ‘modern’ requirments. I’m not convinced that it is a good idea – but I am convinced that that it should be discussed/explored. I’m a big fan of the GAA but is one of those organsiations that the Plain People of Ireland often think are not actually accountable to themselves – and they dont tend to ask too many questions – a bit like the Catholic Church in that regard who were only asked questions when it is was too late.

    re. the youngster from Derry – had a quick look, but cant find the link saw it on the BBC Norn Iron site, think he was only 16 and think he was from Derry – but not certain.

  36. Sammy,

    ‘they would not need an increase in capacity they need to be redeveloped to ‘modern’ requirments.’ – Are you sure? Thin end of a wedge Sammy between modernising and upping the capacity.

    ‘I’m a big fan of the GAA but is one of those organsiations that the Plain People of Ireland often think are not actually accountable to themselves’ – nonsense. If that were the case then people would not be trying to get on club and county committees in the numbers I have been accustomed to. I do believe that people often see it as hard work and keeping those accountable who make the decisions at any level in the GAA should not be easy, it should require work and dedication.

    ‘and they dont tend to ask too many questions; – seriously? What club and county are you a member of? In North Armagh that’s really not the case, nor is it in Clare or South Down.

    ‘a bit like the Catholic Church in that regard who were only asked questions when it is was too late.’ – a pretty poor comparison and such awful connotations to be fair, comparing a largely de-centralised organisation that has been a model of community involvement with an organisation that is massively centralised and has covered up child abuse, poor form if I say so. Also, what questions have been asked ‘too late’ of the GAA?

  37. sammymcnally says:

    fc,

    re. “a bit like the Catholic Church in that regard”. ‘Regard’ is a key word here.

    re. “‘I’m a big fan of the GAA but is one of those organsiations that the Plain People of Ireland often think are not actually accountable to themselves’ ” – nonsense.

    We, the Plain People of Ireland, have a tendency to be extremely loyal and not challenge those organsiations we hold dear, laudable in some respects but there are are some disadvantages.

    re. “Are you sure? Thin end of a wedge Sammy between modernising and upping the capacity.” The GAA stadia with a 30-40,000 capacity wouldnt meet the EUFA critieria for seating/modern build etc.

  38. Sammy,

    ‘‘Regard’ is a key word here.’ – with the following in the original post ‘who were only asked questions when it is was too late.’ Now, you can see why I may want to jump on something like that, right?

    ‘We, the Plain People of Ireland, have a tendency to be extremely loyal and not challenge those organsiations we hold dear, laudable in some respects but there are are some disadvantages.’ – perhaps, but I try to stay away from national generalisations. Having been a member of the GAA since 8 and at different clubs in different counties I can say that board members aren’t exactly shrinking violet, yes men who don’t question decisions, just look at the different rule changes since 1998 regarding British Security forces being allowed to play and the use of GAA grounds for competing codes. There does not need to be shouting and ill temper to prove that there is a debate or disagreement (though I am not saying that you are insinuating this either).

    ‘The GAA stadia with a 30-40,000 capacity wouldnt meet the EUFA critieria for seating/modern build etc.’ – I like stands as opposed to all seating, I think it adds something to the atmosphere (see Borussia Dortmund’s Südtribüne that has a wall of 24,454 fans standing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westfalenstadion)), and GAA games are good humoured affairs compared to football games; why destroy something to merely meet UEFA criteria especially as they will then not be using the stadium afterwards? Also, all seating would reduce the capacity thus meaning a possible refurbishment to increase capacity perhaps.

  39. sammymcnally says:
  40. Sammy,

    Best of luck to the kid, Liverpool would be a great club to play with though I am also mindful of a piece the Secret Footballer pointed out in the Guardian a few months; players and their parents seem all to often to be taken in the number of trophies a team has in its cabinet as opposed to what players they have produced of late.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2012/feb/03/the-secret-footballer

    I wish him all the very best of luck of course.

  41. sammymcnally says:

    fc,

    Yes, it is a long hard and very competitive road and it must be tempting to go with the biggest name club but perhaps wiser to go where you are more likely to ‘make it’.

    ps I’ve just been banned from posting on OWC for a very moderate comment – have a look if you are passing by – very, very good insight into Norn Iron fans thinking.

    http://ourweecountry.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=32409&st=1350

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