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Monday, March 26, 2007

Divided loyalties

In these days of erratic international football results either side of the border, who is a good Northern Nationalist to support?

On the one hand, we have Stan the Man's merry brigade of wasters, scraping past the mighty Wales and San Marino with all the aplomb and grace of a hippo on ice.

Nary a Northerner among them of course. Which might indeed be the problem.

On the other, there's always Lawrie Sanchez's green and white army, casually wallopping four past the oppo, stuffing teams like England and Spain for fun.

But could a good Nationalist truly consider supporting a partitionist team, even if their football association is the original one on the island, given the crazed Loyalist backing the team gets at that bastion of mutual understanding, Windsor Park?

The answer to this question is, as it is to so many of life's questions, Cliftonville FC. The oldest soccer team in Ireland, and one which despite its non-sectarian origins, claims the hearts of most Northern Nationalists, given the long-lamented departure of Belfast Celtic to the annals of history and Derry City to an even more distant and fabled location, the League of Ireland.

So in honour of the Red Army, I give you this recent team talk from before their successful County Antrim Shield victory this season. Special thanks to Missing Neighbour for smuggling the video camera into Solitude.

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