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D'Artagnan

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Politicians and Sport - Sunday Herald 24/06/2007

WITH THE turnstile into 10 Downing Street expected to click smoothly open for Gordon Brown on Wednesday, football will have a genuine supporter ensconced in London's most famous address.

We can only now hope that Raith Rovers draw Hearts in this season's Scottish Cup. That would invite the delicious prospect of the Prime Minister of Great Britain and the First Minister of Scotland inhabiting the same stand; currently they can barely stand to inhabit the same country.

A sporting handshake, if Brown could bring himself to offer it, might undo some of the damage caused by his churlish refusal to routinely congratulate the First Minister in the days following last month's Scottish election. But however much the two mendisagree, what is not in dispute is that they both love their football.

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Indeed, according to close sources, Brown and Salmond can bore for Scotland if directed to the respective subjects of Raith Rovers and Hearts.

All of this is unlike Tony Blair, who is more about posturing than passion when it comes to football. Charlie Whelan, Brown's former spinmeister and no fan of the outgoing Prime Minister, acknowledges that, contrary to myth, Blair never actually claimed to have watched Jackie Milburn, the Newcastle United legend, at St James' Park. It would have been a difficult feat, given that Milburn stopped playing for the club when little Bambi was just three years old. Nevertheless, Blair did say Milburn was his favourite player - which, in the context, is equally preposterous.

Perhaps Brown's lifetime affection for Raith Rovers will prove a symbol of his substance, as opposed to Blair's more eye-catching, but considerably less sincere, style. A politician who talks up football is always to be viewed with suspicion, but although Brown has recently abused the round ball game with some ludicrous comments designed to assert his "Britishness", the good denizens of Kirkcaldy are in no doubt of his commitment.

Alan Russell, who is chair of the Raith Rovers Supporters' Trust, confirms that Brown is not only a regular attender at Stark's Park but played a pivotal role in saving the club from the dubious characters who previously owned the Fife institution and had threatened to sell the ground for housing development.

"He had a great influence on the Reclaim the Rovers campaign in terms of rounding people up to put their weight behind it," says Russell. "Nobody else could have done it and that was a great positive."

Not so positive was the Chancellor's ingenious assertion last year that Paul Gascoigne's goal for England against Scotland at Wembley in 1996 was one of his favourite footballing moments.

And, according to Russell, that was not the first time Brown had trimmed his footballing sails to the prevailing political wind."He was quoted as being a member of the Cowdenbeath fan club and proclaiming his support for them," points out Russell. "Coincidentally, they are the other senior team in his constituency.

"The reaction to his comment about Gascoigne's goal was along the lines of: What are politicians like? You can't believe anything they say because there is always another agenda there.' "But I don't think the Raith Rovers fans see him in a particularly bad light because of that. It's seen as part and parcel of being a politician that you've got to play up to all audiences - including us. Anything he says or does can be taken with a wee pinch of salt.

"He's a very regular visitor at Stark's Park. Since the takeover he sits in the directors' box a lot of the time, but before that he sat with his entourage of bodyguards in the South Stand among the ordinary fans. He got a lot of respect for doing that, rather than take the easy option of watching from the safe seats."

Whether, when he becomes Prime Minister, Brown will have the time to attend games on a regular basis seems doubtful, while the security arrangements at Stark's Park must be a nightmare for those charged with his safety.

It didn't take Hearts fan Salmond much more than 90 minutes to capitalise on the popularity of football. His feet had hardly got accustomed to the lush carpets of Bute House before he was doling out the Scottish Cup final medals at Hampden. Salmond's grin even succeeded in looking convincing as he gave the Celtic players their winners' gongs; his role in the proceedings must have grated very much with an old Labour adversary, the Celtic director Brian Wilson.

Still, even Wilson, who also wrote the official centenary book on Celtic's history, would acknowledge Salmond's football credentials, which is more than can be said for interlopers such as the former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who incongruously performed the duty during her turbulent reign.

Where there is a love of football, it finds common ground among politicians who normally fight. Thus we have Salmond and the ultra-loyal Blairite George Foulkes both supporting Hearts; as does David McLetchie, the former leader of the Conservatives in Scotland.Until recently Foulkes was not only a Hearts supporter but thechairman. In his own way he did as much to safeguard the future of football in Gorgie as Brown has in Kirkcaldy. For a while that left him in the invidious position of defending the war in Iraq while simultaneously claiming that Vladimir Romanov wasn't all bad. Something had to give, and so George ditched the Hearts owner.

Mind you, sometimes politicians in the same party loathe each other more than their more natural opponents. A more regular attendee at Parkhead next season will be the Home Secretary, John Reid. His decision to return to the backbenches and devote more time to his family and Celtic has, he claims, nothing to do with Brown's arrival as Premier. Oh really?

But if Celtic and Hearts have the bulk of the celebrity politicians, who amongst the so-called big beasts supports Rangers? Damn few and they're all deid, appears to be be the answer. Salmond's new best friend, Ian Paisley, might just fill the vacuum.

I know former Scots Liberal leader Jim Wallace was a Rangers supporter - and do you think his last line in that article is little more than stereotyping rather than journalistic reearch ?

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I can see where you are coming from. One of my best friends is a Partick Thistle fan and he seems to accept defeat better than me. Also accept the good and bad.

It it is defenitely more attractive to support a less known team, Scottish or otherwise, and I can see the attractiveness personally as victory is perhaps more gratifying than the norm that we as Bears are used to in winning often.

Also, being a fan of a smaller team doesnt make one look a 'glory hunter'

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Hence why supporting Scotland over England is more attractive to non Scots.

We as the wee team and underdogs always get the support from bigger nations.........remember the Argie supporters when we beat Holland in 1978.....am i showing my age.

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i feel lots of important people who do follow our great club are scared to shout it from the rooftops incase there is a backlash.

Cos in this country your called a bigot if you support Rangers by the ignorant in the mhedia and idiot fans of other clubs.

It's amazing how if your part of the majority religion and support our own nation then your a bigot....

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i feel lots of important people who do follow our great club are scared to shout it from the rooftops incase there is a backlash.

Cos in this country your called a bigot if you support Rangers by the ignorant in the mhedia and idiot fans of other clubs.

It's amazing how if your part of the majority religion and support our own nation then your a bigot....

Did you really have to mention religion? doh!

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Well there are some possibilities here - either the section of the population entering poltiics are not interested in football (which appears to be at odds with authors points and the examples he gives ) - or that Rangers supporters tend not to enter the field of politics (or if they do they are not particualrly vocal about their support for the club)

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i feel lots of important people who do follow our great club are scared to shout it from the rooftops incase there is a backlash.

Cos in this country your called a bigot if you support Rangers by the ignorant in the mhedia and idiot fans of other clubs.

It's amazing how if your part of the majority religion and support our own nation then your a bigot....

Did you really have to mention religion? doh!

Why not???????

Is religion a dirty word along with being a Rangers supporter.Just speaking the truth that's all.

Some people are too quick to jump up and complain.

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i feel lots of important people who do follow our great club are scared to shout it from the rooftops incase there is a backlash.

Cos in this country your called a bigot if you support Rangers by the ignorant in the mhedia and idiot fans of other clubs.

It's amazing how if your part of the majority religion and support our own nation then your a bigot....

Did you really have to mention religion? doh!

It well maybe that if we don't talk about it ,it might go away.

Of all those that stand in the queue to condemn our club,how many

are of a religion?and what religion?.You're guess is as good as mine.

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If you have morals, values and a conscience - would you be be proud to have John Reid as a supporter of your football club ?

NO. he is a despicable, arrogant and Islamophobic person and a member of Opus Dei - the groupd which despises other religions. Would you want Hitler as a supporter of your football club. NO, NO, NO..

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If you have morals, values and a conscience - would you be be proud to have John Reid as a supporter of your football club ?

NO. he is a despicable, arrogant and Islamophobic person and a member of Opus Dei - the groupd which despises other religions. Would you want Hitler as a supporter of your football club. NO, NO, NO..

And the question is Wien...is he representative of a growing no. of politicians ?

And does that manifest itself in their failire to condemn Rangers fans treatment in Spain - whereas English MP's were vociferous after Man Utd suffered a similar fate ?

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If you have morals, values and a conscience - would you be be proud to have John Reid as a supporter of your football club ?

NO. he is a despicable, arrogant and Islamophobic person and a member of Opus Dei - the groupd which despises other religions. Would you want Hitler as a supporter of your football club. NO, NO, NO..

And the question is Wien...is he representative of a growing no. of politicians ?

And does that manifest itself in their failire to condemn Rangers fans treatment in Spain - whereas English MP's were vociferous after Man Utd suffered a similar fate ?

DA - I think Reid who is clearly bigoted against protestants and by that I mean supporters of Rangers FC, would not come to their aid or vocal support - which displays a profound and deep rooted hatred of our friends and colleagues

However, there are many on this board who may not have the corrupt power of Reid et al, but have values, moral decency for all and can be consistent in their opinion when persons are harassed and discriminated gainst by the fascist / right wing police of Spain. The same police who target Africans, people of dark skin and those who follow Islam. However, would one member of the Opus Dei neo nazi collaborators criticise a state which is built on those evils I think those who forebears died to prevent injustice, hate and who espouse civil liberties for all - know the answer.

However, I do feel that the club needs to be more proactive and aggressive in spinning to their own advantage and thus if we don't play the civil liberties card - few will come to our aid.

Nonethless, there are enough astute, educated and credible people on these boards, who as a collective can lobby and take our cause forward - properly and without emotion.

No need to be associated with people like Reid - someone who should be answering to a court of law, if there was a transparent criminal justice system to hold those accountable who supported a war of terror and Islamophobia, supported by Bl-iar and his friends in the Vatican who despise all things from the Islamic world - given Ratzinger's first words when in office and the intent to cause further division and hate.

Rangers as a club which is against bigotry and oppression and whose forebears stood against the nazi's, should perhaps court the Islamic world - who are similalrly oppressed and derided and would stand for everything Reid and his cable of fascists hate.

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If you have morals, values and a conscience - would you be be proud to have John Reid as a supporter of your football club ?

NO. he is a despicable, arrogant and Islamophobic person and a member of Opus Dei - the groupd which despises other religions. Would you want Hitler as a supporter of your football club. NO, NO, NO..

Agreed, I would not trust anyone who is a member of Opus Dei. Look at some of their members, Cherie Blair, Ruth Kelly, Mel Gibson (anti-semite)

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If you have morals, values and a conscience - would you be be proud to have John Reid as a supporter of your football club ?

NO. he is a despicable, arrogant and Islamophobic person and a member of Opus Dei - the groupd which despises other religions. Would you want Hitler as a supporter of your football club. NO, NO, NO..

Agreed, I would not trust anyone who is a member of Opus Dei. Look at some of their members, Cherie Blair, Ruth Kelly, Mel Gibson (anti-semite)

Well said. They can all support Celtic or whoever they like, but I would be grossly embarrassed if they were supported with my football club and I would like to think other similalrly decent and moralistic people like ourselves would feel the same.

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If you have morals, values and a conscience - would you be be proud to have John Reid as a supporter of your football club ?

NO. he is a despicable, arrogant and Islamophobic person and a member of Opus Dei - the groupd which despises other religions. Would you want Hitler as a supporter of your football club. NO, NO, NO..

Where do you get your information on John Reid?

As far as I knew Ruth Kelly was the only Opus Dei member in the cabinet.

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If you have morals, values and a conscience - would you be be proud to have John Reid as a supporter of your football club ?

NO. he is a despicable, arrogant and Islamophobic person and a member of Opus Dei - the groupd which despises other religions. Would you want Hitler as a supporter of your football club. NO, NO, NO..

Agreed, I would not trust anyone who is a member of Opus Dei. Look at some of their members, Cherie Blair, Ruth Kelly, Mel Gibson (anti-semite)

General Franco and most South American dictators can be added to this dubious list.

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If you have morals, values and a conscience - would you be be proud to have John Reid as a supporter of your football club ?

NO. he is a despicable, arrogant and Islamophobic person and a member of Opus Dei - the groupd which despises other religions. Would you want Hitler as a supporter of your football club. NO, NO, NO..

Agreed, I would not trust anyone who is a member of Opus Dei. Look at some of their members, Cherie Blair, Ruth Kelly, Mel Gibson (anti-semite)

Cherie Blair is not a member of Opus Dei.

This thread is a good example of bad research.

If you google John Reid and Opus Dei it comes up with many links that look as if he belongs to them. However, if you read through the links you'll find that the Opus Dei parts are referring to Ruth Kelly. Same goes for Cherie Blair.

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To refer back to the original post title question - the word "fashionable" implies a changing fad (to me anyway) or conforming to the current style.

I was born a Bluenose, fashion doesnt come into it - i dont really care what outsiders think - we know the truth.

In my view its always a good day to be a bear because thats what i am, and i would never swap that for anything

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Supporting any big clubs makes you look like a "glory hunter" as someone put it. I know one of my friends who supports Man Utd gets a lot of stick from me because i just think he supports them for the hell of it cause they're a big club.. even though i know he actually loves them.

You do get branded, within two seconds of someone finding out i was a rangers supporter two weeks ago, he'd made the conclusion i was bigotted cow who didn't even like football and was just doing it because of my background.

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To refer back to the original post title question - the word "fashionable" implies a changing fad (to me anyway) or conforming to the current style.

I was born a Bluenose, fashion doesnt come into it - i dont really care what outsiders think - we know the truth.

In my view its always a good day to be a bear because thats what i am, and i would never swap that for anything

What a brilliant post JR

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within two seconds of someone finding out i was a rangers supporter two weeks ago, he'd made the conclusion i was bigotted cow who didn't even like football and was just doing it because of my background.

Ask yourself.

In this situation, who has the bigotted attitude?

(Rhetorical)

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within two seconds of someone finding out i was a rangers supporter two weeks ago, he'd made the conclusion i was bigotted cow who didn't even like football and was just doing it because of my background.

Ask yourself.

In this situation, who has the bigotted attitude?

(Rhetorical)

My view entirely

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If you have morals, values and a conscience - would you be be proud to have John Reid as a supporter of your football club ?

NO. he is a despicable, arrogant and Islamophobic person and a member of Opus Dei - the groupd which despises other religions. Would you want Hitler as a supporter of your football club. NO, NO, NO..

Agreed, I would not trust anyone who is a member of Opus Dei. Look at some of their members, Cherie Blair, Ruth Kelly, Mel Gibson (anti-semite)

Cherie Blair is not a member of Opus Dei.

This thread is a good example of bad research.

If you google John Reid and Opus Dei it comes up with many links that look as if he belongs to them. However, if you read through the links you'll find that the Opus Dei parts are referring to Ruth Kelly. Same goes for Cherie Blair.

Caldow :

I think your research is skewed if you rely on google as the unequivocal repository of fact. ??????

Suggest, you be a tad more objective !!

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