It will be interesting to see if any newspaper covers the fact that members of Britain’s armed forces appeared to join in with Scottish football fans as they sang sectarian songs at a match yesterday. Initial reports suggest not.
Some 400 uniformed soldiers, seamen and air force personnel attended an armed forces day at Ibrox, the Rangers ground. After a formal march and band music, a group of soldiers (they were in khaki) were filmed dancing, clapping and singing along with the crowd.
Although it is difficult to make out the exact words on the video posted on YouTube, people have identified sectarian songs and chants celebrating the death of the IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands.
Rival Celtic fans were quick to point to songs that are supposed to be banned from all Scottish football grounds under a new law passed by the Scottish parliament.
One commenter to the YouTube site wrote of it being a “disgusting vile and tawdry spectacle”. Another wrote: “Shocking stuff. I hope this vid is forwarded to the footballing and army authorities.”
The STV report mentioned that an army band “entertained fans” and quoted Major General Nick Eeles, general officer commanding Scotland, as saying it was hoped to make it into an annual event.
The Record did write that “the match-day experience began in dramatic circumstances” but only because two marines “abseiled down the Govan stand ahead of kick-off, before delivering the match ball to the referee.”
How odd that both outlets missed the story? Or do their reporters think soldiers chanting jingoistic sectarian songs in unison with football fans is unworthy of comment?
Incidentally, Saturday was not the official armed forces celebration day in Britain (that falls in the close season). The club, with the full approval of the military, decided to stage its own separate event.