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Offline redtrinigirl

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Scottish media at it again.....Whose side are you on?
« on: May 27, 2006, 06:47:21 PM »
The Sunday Times    May 28, 2006

Whose side are you on?

Trinidad and Tobago's Jason Scotland has triggered an unlikely wave of eponymous patriotism ahead of the World Cup that politicians have leapt on. But how wise is it to kick off the auld rivalry, ask Neil White and Kenny Farquharson
His dreadlocked features are popping up on computer screens across the country. The “viral” e-mail video clip distracting office workers across Scotland shows a Caribbean footballer leaning against a wall in a small Scottish town. A young boy walks past and the footballer asks him: “Hey, wee man, who’s going to win the World Cup?” The boy punches the air and shouts: “Scotland!” Anyone who doesn’t get the joke will not be in the dark for long. Jason Scotland, a striker for St Johnstone and part of the Trinidad and Tobago international team, will be playing in the World Cup finals in two weeks, in the same group as England. It is hard to think of a more delicious coincidence: Scotland is in the World Cup after all — and against the Auld Enemy. Some bookmakers are already offering odds of 6-1 that he will score against England.

“My agent told me if I came to Scotland I’d be a legend,” he said last week. The agent was right. The softly spoken 27-year-old is at the heart of a rumpus that has stirred the nation’s patriotic fervour. “It’s incredible,” he added, bewildered by the commotion his surname has caused.

Nobody is sure how his family ended up with their distinctive name, but there must be a tartan connection somewhere in Trinidad and Tobago’s history, as earlier in his career Scotland used to play alongside a striker called Gary Glasgow. Already, though, Scotland is being transformed into a cultural icon.

The striker has been chosen as the new face of Irn-Bru, which has made the three short viral videos for distribution on the internet as openers for a publicity blitz. While the biggest brands in the world pay millions for primetime commercials, Scotland’s other national drink has found a way of making a noise around its brand at an event its team didn’t even qualify for.

Jason’s moment of glory adds spice to the most pressing political dilemma of the moment. Which team should our leaders support when the contest kicks off in Germany in a fortnight? Gordon Brown, keen to tackle English distrust of his Scottishness as he grooms himself for No 10, has declared his backing for Beckham & Co.

But to the chancellor’s displeasure, Jack McConnell, Labour’s first minister in Scotland, has let it be known the England squad will not have his support. In a dig at Brown, he said: “There are people who say I should support England — but football isn’t about politics, so I won’t be.”

Politicians positioning themselves on one side or the other is nothing compared to the smirking infatuation gripping the country. Scots are now stampeding to line up on the opposing sides — those who have decided to support England and those who are backing Trinidad and Tobago. No pundit, punter or celebrity is safe until they have answered this most critical of questions.

In the England camp, Brown is joined by actor Dougray Scott, television presenter Gail Porter, actor Ewan McGregor and entrepreneur Michelle Mone. Backing Trinidad and Tobago — and whoever else faces the Auld Enemy — is SNP leader Alex Salmond, tennis player Andy Murray, Scotland football manager Walter Smith and actress Kathleen McDermott.

Even a Scottish schoolboy who won a competition to be a ball boy at the World Cup final was quizzed on who he’d be supporting, and six-year-old Connor Gray insisted he would be following Ukraine. “I don’t want England in the final,” he said.

Already symptoms of Jason Scotland fever are beginning to appear across the country. Radio stations are imploring people to back the Carribeans and newspapers are signing up its players for personal diaries. It seems that what every member of the Tartan Army wants this summer is a red Trinidad and Tobago strip with “Scotland” on the back — but they are proving hard to come by.

Sports shops have been inundated with requests. “I’m only a small shop and I could have sold 50,” said the manager at Devron Sports in Aberdeen. “It’s out of pure hatred for the English team, I know. I don’t think the English realise how much the Scots dislike them.”

The big stores are putting in their orders. A spokesman for Adidas UK, the strip’s manufacturer, said yesterday: “The Trinidad and Tobago shirt is due to go in-store in June and demand is huge, so we are expecting to sell thousands.”

On eBay, the strips are selling for up to £45 — 50% more than the expected retail price — and a number of entrepreneurs have produced T-shirts aimed at Scotland fans, some using the Caribbean team’s slogan: “Small Country, Big Passion”.

So how did Jason Scotland, the Dreadlock Jock, come to carry the hopes of two nations into the fray in Germany? Why has a politician’s choice of football team become a matter of national importance? And who will you be supporting when Trinidad and Tobago — affectionately known as TT — line up against England on June 15?

THE cluster of 23 islands in the southern Caribbean, just a few miles off the coast of Venezuela, ticks all the boxes when it comes to the clichés of tropical paradise. Palm trees, white sands and azure seas are there in abundance. In handsome towns such as Port-of-Spain there are still the colonial reminders of the British rule that ended with independence in 1958.

TT is home to Soca music — an upbeat blend of soul and calypso that has given the national football team its nickname, the Soca Warriors. Known as much for their partying as for their football, they are set to be everyone’s favourite underdog in Germany. TT’s 1.3m people are revelling in the distinction of being the smallest country in terms of population yet to qualify for the finals.

Ashton Ford, an attaché at the Trinidad and Tobago embassy in London, is delighted at the warmth with which Scots have embraced the Caribbean team.

“We have been inundated with requests from Scottish people for flags and caps and wristbands — anything to identify with our country,” he said. “People back home are fascinated by this. We know exactly why Scots are supporting us, but we don’t want to talk that up too much because we don’t want to get between two big countries. We are only a small country, after all.”

Nevertheless, TT’s past history as a British colony ruled from London will add some spice to the England fixture. “We will have something to prove, that we are independent now and can stand on our own two feet,” said Ford. “We are going all out to win.”

But is this adoption of TT a bit of fun or the return of a deep-seated rancour? An electrical shop owner in Perth has been selling televisions with the offer of a full refund if England win the World Cup, but one local who originated from south of the border described it as “damn near racist”.

McConnell’s decision to refuse to back England came as something of a surprise. Ever since the last European Championship tournament, when there was a run on the England strip in Scottish sports shops, fewer and fewer Scots have deemed it necessary to be opposed to the English football team. In McConnell’s case, however, the decision was the product of a cold electoral calculation. But many Labour MSPs and MPs believe the first minister has scored a silly own goal.

On Monday, still smarting from an article in The Economist that had branded Scotland anti-English, the first minister told members of the Northern Ireland assembly how he had been urging Scots to put their old rivalries behind them. When two days later he announced he would be supporting England’s opponents in the World Cup, colleagues were left scratching their heads.

McConnell’s motivation appeared to be private polling that showed Scots do not believe he stands up for Scotland like Alex Salmond, the SNP leader. “Wrap yourself in the saltire,” was the reaction from some analysts, which he duly did.

Other colleagues queued up to distance themselves from McConnell publicly, from Jack Straw to Douglas Alexander, the Scottish secretary. “I will be supporting England. I don’t think you prove your Scottishness by being anti-English,” Alexander said.

Die-hard Scotland fans are, however, seeing McConnell in a new and heroic light. John Kaylor, head of the Perthshire branch of the Tartan Army, said the first minister had got it right.

“We’re not just supporting Trinidad and Tobago, we’re supporting anyone who plays the English,” he said.

“England are our great rivals and the whole point of football is based on rivalry. Ask any football supporters and 99% of them will say they want their rivals to lose.”

Others within the game disagree, though. Former Scotland international and media pundit Pat Nevin, said: “I have no time for the anti-English side of supporting Trinidad and Tobago, I think it belittles us as a nation. As far as supporting Trinidad and Tobago because they have some Scottish-based players, I would rather see good teams progress to the latter stages.”

When TT line up against Beckham & Co on June 15, the chances of “Scotland 1 England 0” headlines appearing are slim. Trinidad are rank outsiders and Scotland may not start the game.

He faces competition from former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke and Collin Samuel, the Dundee United player.

Scotland is only part of the reason for the surrogate support TT will enjoy. There are six players in the squad who play their club football in this country. Samuel, Kelvin Jack, the Dundee goalkeeper, Marvin Andrews, a defender with Rangers, and the Falkirk pair of Russell Latapy and Densill Theobald complete the most unlikely expat contingent in Scottish football.

“I didn’t cry and didn’t really know what to do with myself the moment we knew we had made it,” said Scotland at the end of the play-off victory over Bahrain that booked TT’s passage to Germany. “What made it for me was looking across and seeing Russell and Dwight in tears.”

In the Caribbean, the Caledonian embrace of Scotland and his colleagues is front-page news. Last Friday, page one of the TT daily newspaper Newsday carried the banner headline: “Scotland backs Warriors”. The team’s website gleefully reported the words of the Tartan Army Unofficial World Cup Song:

The World Cup finals are on their way,
With all the teams off to Germany,
Brace yourself ’cos on every screen
There’ll be nothing but the England team.
But wait! Hey! There’s hope at hand.
We can still support Scotland, Scotland — Jason Scotland!

Move over William Wallace, your nation has a new warrior king.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2006, 07:00:05 PM by redtrinigirl »
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Offline E-man

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Re: Scottish media at it again.....Whose side are you on?
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2006, 08:19:08 PM »
He's got the whole world ...
(Herald Evening Times)

28 May 2006
Spirited Rangers’ stopper Marvin Andrews explains to Philip Dorward why the tournament’s beloved underdogs are basking in the affections of so many Scots ... and why his team-mates can’t stop laughing at the prospect of taking on the cream of the world game

There’s been a lot of tartan-tinged love heading the way of the Caribbean this week. Walter Smith, Jack McConnell and Alex Salmond, you name it, the highest of Scottish society have been dusting down their bottles of Malibu from the back of the drinks cabinet in honour of the Soca Warriors. And Marvin Andrews, for one, is a man feeling that love.
“It’s a different and nice sensation,” claims the Rangers centre-back of the warmth.

“People keep on saying to me ‘we're just going to support Trinidad and Tobago’. Sometimes I think the whole of Scotland is behind Trinidad and Tobago, especially knowing that we are playing England.

“I don’t have the slightest idea about the background and what’s happened in the past but I’m told the rivalry is a bit like Rangers and Celtic and that’s how you look at it.”

Certainly there’s no rivalry of that kind over the Atlantic. Andrews admits there’s a hint of jealousy with Haiti that they became the first Caribbean nation to qualify for the World Cup back in 1974, made worse by the fact it was Trinidad and Tobago who finished second behind Haiti.

But Andrews wasn’t even born then and it was only as a 13-year-old that he understood the deep-seated passion that football can bring.

Back in 1989 Trinidad and Tobago got even closer to the World Cup. All they had to do was avoid defeat against the United States at home and they were heading to Italy. They lost, and as Andrews reveals, it was to prove a pivotal day in his life.

“I was sitting in my house, I couldn't get a ticket as it was completely sold out. The whole ground was in red and I watched the devastation of the nation losing 1-0, people crying and greeting,” he says, showing that his nine years in Scotland have made an impression on his vocabulary and dialect if nothing else.

“That day I just said to myself that one day I want to be part of this, to take this nation to a World Cup.

“Until then I’d never really thought of being a footballer, I just used to like looking at the skills of footballers. But after that day my nation failed to qualify I decided I wanted to be part of that. That is a dream that I’ve held on to and 17 years later I'm living my dream, and it is all down to the almighty God that has made it possible for me.”

We have become used to Andrews‚ occasional proclamations in favour of the Almighty but he hasn’t been the only one keeping the faith, surprisingly his manager Leo Beenhakker has also.

The wily old Dutchman, a marvellously engaging soul who swears like a trooper and smokes like a lum, is certainly no religious man but, after witnessing at first hand Andrews’ recovery from his cruciate ligament injury, the former Holland and Real Madrid manager is more than willing to show a deference to the centre-back’s methods.

“Of course we did tests to show that the healing was working and I have no explanation for it. It’s absolutely amazing, it’s a miracle,” says Beenhakker, still with a certain air of disbelief.

“I started as manager in the beginning of May last year and I spoke to him as there were a lot of rumours about his fitness and how he was trying to heal himself. I had some contact with the manager of Glasgow Rangers and I promised to give him extra treatment, extra rest and so on.

“I took good care of him because simply he earned it: he’s a good player, a very special person and the amazing thing is he played every match for me. As I say, it’s a miracle.”

Of course Andrews is not the only miracle worker in the Trinidad and Tobago side. Back when Marvin was a teenager a couple of likelier lads were beginning to make an impression in Europe – Russell Latapy and Dwight Yorke (pictured left in action during yesterday’s friendly against Wales in Austria) .

Although they seemed to have partied their way to most of the seven deadly sins between them, the clean living Andrews refuses to condemn the fact that they have fully enjoyed the fruits of a footballers’ lives.

“Their lifestyle? It does not make them bad people; they are lovely and wonderful people. In fact, for me, they are really good role models for young players that are coming up.

“They are not perfect guys but they try their best to give advice to younger players who have come into the team,” says Andrews of the godfathers of the Trinidad and Tobago team.

“And I’m happy for them. I know from the time I've been in the national team that their dream has been to play in a World Cup. They have experience, between them they have achieved nearly everything at club level, but at international level nobody knows about Dwight and Russell, and that may just be to our advantage.”

The other thing Andrews believes could be to their advantage is team spirit. Truly you have never seen as many smiles being cracked until you’ve witnessed a Trinidad and Tobago training session, and what they lack in quality they more than compensate for in team spirit.

“There’s spirit because many of the players have been through so much with the national team to try to achieve this goal. The time has come now and the team has done it with such a close bonding and togetherness because we know we’ve actually done it as a team, as a unit. Everybody is just so happy for each other.”

He’s also happy for himself. Despite Rangers travails domestically this season, overall it’s been some year for the 29-year-old: winning the league on the final day of last season, playing Champions League football and securing a place at the World Cup finals means that personally it’s been a triumphant year for Andrews.

“Sometimes I really sit down, I pinch myself, and I think of the things I have done and the things that I have achieved in life as a human being and as a football player.

“Knowing that I've played in the knock-out stages of the Champions League, which is the biggest at club level, and now I'm going to be on the greatest stage that every footballer in the entire world wants to be on.”

And he is particularly glad of the Champions League experience because he feels it has prepared him for what to expect in 13 days’ time when they play their opening game against Sweden.

“It has really helped me a lot knowing that I’ve been playing so many big games at this moment in time. I’m coming out through the tunnel and thousands of people cheering and chanting, more cameras, more media, the pressure is on, everybody is looking at you. You're on centre stage.

“These are the things I looked at on television when I was younger – just looked at on television – watching top clubs that played in Italian and English football. Now I know I'm actually part of this, I'm participating, I’m not the spectator, I’m actually the performer at this moment. I'm living my dream.”

And he’s living our dreams. Scoring the winner against England would be a love supreme.

Offline Filho

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Re: Scottish media at it again.....Whose side are you on?
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2006, 09:09:02 PM »
I definitely embrace the support coming from Scotland and I think some of it is genuine, especially from those who have T&T players at their favorite clubs. But for the most part, I suspect that they could really care less about T&T and probably don't rate us. They are more interested in England being humiliated. Ironically, their level of support is probably negatively correlated to how good they think we are. So the fact that they think we are mediocre, means that if we beat England, the greater the humiliation..and that is something they can passionately get behind. But support is support and once we play with heart and the fans show the brilliance of our people...we can turn a gimmick into genuine respect and admiration...So bring the love Scotland..no matter what the motives...

Offline Grande

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Re: Scottish media at it again.....Whose side are you on?
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2006, 09:20:20 PM »
both nice articles, thanks  :beermug: :beermug:

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Offline Kenny

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Re: Scottish media at it again.....Whose side are you on?
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2006, 08:47:41 AM »
I definitely embrace the support coming from Scotland and I think some of it is genuine, especially from those who have T&T players at their favorite clubs. But for the most part, I suspect that they could really care less about T&T and probably don't rate us. They are more interested in England being humiliated. Ironically, their level of support is probably negatively correlated to how good they think we are. So the fact that they think we are mediocre, means that if we beat England, the greater the humiliation..and that is something they can passionately get behind. But support is support and once we play with heart and the fans show the brilliance of our people...we can turn a gimmick into genuine respect and admiration...So bring the love Scotland..no matter what the motives...

Most of it's about supporting the underdog, really. Scotland, living in the shadow of a big country like England (our population is a little over 5 million, there's is over 50 million), is used to being the underdog so it's only natural that we support other underdogs when we're not involved ourselves.

Add to that the half dozen T&T players we have playing here and we've got more involvement at the WC from T&T than from any other country by far (there are one or two other countries with maybe one player here, like Prso for Croatia).

I actually think it's a shame that you got drawn against England - it kind of spoils the Scottish support for T&T a bit because it makes it look like we're just supporting you because you're playing against England, which is probably true for some people, but definitely not true for most. At least, it's not the most important factor, anyway. (Take me - if you look at the date I registered on this board, it's the day of the draw but it's a few hours before it happened, so I had no idea at that stage you'd get matched up with England.)

You're right in that it's not really about the quality of the T&T team - to be honest, if T&T looked like they were going to start beating teams Scottish people would probably look around for someone else to support! - but at the same time we know that any team, no matter how small or not obviously containing stars, can upset any so-called bigger and better team if they want it more: you just need to look at us beating Holland most famously in 1978 but also when we beat them in Glasgow in 2003 (probably the most exciting game of football I've ever been at).

So yeah, the England thing's a factor, of course it is; it would be ridiculous to claim otherwise. But it's not the only reason we're supporting you, and in my opinion it's not the most important reason, either.

Offline Grande

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Re: Scottish media at it again.....Whose side are you on?
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2006, 08:54:56 AM »
Well said Kenny

The fact that we've had players playing in Scotland for a while and still at present is de more significant source of support, rather than the fact we are playin England, at least from de Scots I've spoken to

If you wanted to support simply because we are playin England, you could've simply given all dis great support to Sweden (who have a history of beatin England) or Paraguay  :beermug:

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Offline Bck Scotland Arab

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Re: Scottish media at it again.....Whose side are you on?
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2006, 03:32:02 AM »
I certainly would have been supporting T & T even if they had not been playing England. Being a Dundee United supporter we have Colin Smauel playing Jason Scotland was a cult hero at United and the year we won the Scottish Cup Jerren Nixon was a star at United.Scotland has actually gone Trinidad and Tobago crazy


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