Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

Scottish football, double standards and the Notting Hill Carnival

Sadly, I wasn’t among the 260 souls who watched Stranraer FC narrowly defeat Berwick Rangers a couple of weeks back.

Sadly, I wasn’t among the 260 souls who watched Stranraer FC narrowly defeat Berwick Rangers a couple of weeks back.

Sadly, I wasn’t among the 260 souls who watched Stranraer FC narrowly defeat Berwick Rangers a couple of weeks back. I’ve only been to Stranraer once, in 1975, when I watched my father stand by the docks and spit in the direction of Ireland, which loomed just beyond the edge of our eyesight. We were on holiday in this rather lovely and underrated neck of the Scottish woods and had ventured into Stranraer to buy provisions for the forthcoming evening meal in our camper van: a ‘salad’ — tomato cut in half, iceberg lettuce and processed ham sliced the width of a muon. And salad cream.

Anyway, I don’t think there was any fighting at the Stranraer-Berwick fixture. There weren’t really enough people, I suppose. But there was trouble, of a kind. Stranraer FC became retrospectively incensed by a repellent emblem sported by some of the Berwick fans — a red cross on a white background. This excrescence is henceforth banned from their ground and anybody seen with it will have it confiscated. The Scottish police have also said that the same emblem may well be confiscated when Berwick play at the Glasgow clubs Clyde and Queens Park, because it might provoke disorder. It would seem that this design is viewed, in some parts north of the border, on a par with the swastika. The flags of no other nation are banned at any Scottish ground. Just the cross of St George.

Berwick Rangers play their home games in England and their club scarf carries both the Saltire and this disgusting and inflammatory cross of St George. Plenty of Scottish football fans display the Saltire and are of course welcome to do so at Berwick Rangers, which is the only English-based club in the Scottish league.

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