Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bring it on?

Today the Mother of Parliaments took time off from discussing the lack of salt and blaming each other for the weather to discuss a return for the Scotland v England football fixtures.

The Record reported:
Independent MP Andrew Pelling (Croydon Central) has suggested that the promotion of Scottish culture throughout the UK could be encouraged by having both Celtic and Rangers play in the English leagues.

Mr Murphy said he had to declare an interest as a "part-time follower of one of those teams".

He said: "That is of course a decision for the football authorities and the football clubs themselves.

"But what I do think would enhance cross-border cultural exchange would be a return of the Scotland versus England friendly football matches.

"The Home Internationals will return shortly I think, with Ireland replacing England, but I think there's now a commitment for a return of the Scotland v England football matches.

"I've spoken to the SFA about it; there was an agreement to have it in 2008 but Scotland withdrew from that."

He added: "I think it would be a remarkable sporting event and a highlight of the football calendar so bring it on."
Quite why this needed discussed at Westminster is beyond me. Not sure about "enhancing" the "cultural" exchange either but I can see that it has its attractions for Scotland. It would be a meaningful fixture in the way that a friendly against Hungary never could be.

I don’t really see how it fits in with the English FA’s current policy of glamour friendlies for big money to try and recoup some of the cash that was poured into Wembley though. And I’m sure there are some in English football who would see this as a backward step that clashes with the shiny new face of the game down south.

I would also imagine some consultation over the cost of policing the game would also need to begin before anything was decided. I was at Hampden for the play off back in 1999 and arriving in Glasgow was like entering a police state. That’s money that would need to be found.

So a good thing for Scottish football but a strong case needs to be set out to attract the English. Sounds like a job for a Sky Sports exec with a briefcase full of cash.