HeadLine: REID’S OLD FIRM OWN GOAL
The Mirror, 03/01/2002, p1
by SHAUN MILNE
NORTHERN Ireland secretary John Reid sparked fury last night, insisting
the OId Firm should ditch Scottish football and cash in on their
In a BBC interview the Lanarkshire MP said both Celtic and Rangers
should stop playing “unknown Scottish teams” and exploit the interest
of Catholics and Protestants all over the world.
Political rivals immediately accused him of dragging both clubs into
the mire of sectarianism at a time when they are trying to stamp out
The SNP spokesman for arts, culture and sport, Mike Russell slammed the
remarks as an insult to every non Old Firm team north of the Border and
demanded an immediate apology.
He said: “These are outrageous remarks for a Government Minister to
make. They are arrogant, offensive and puerile.”
Scots Tory culture and sport spokesman Brian Monteith added: “Dr Reid’s
ignorance is only matched by his arrogance.
“He should hang his head in shame.”
In the interview for BBC Ireland, also aired in Scotland yesterday,
Reid said the Glasgow clubs should quit the SPL.
Celtic fan Dr Reid added: “These two clubs have got an international
following that’s second to none in the world.
“When you think of all those who would be interested in tuning into
Celtic and Rangers because of their background, and the number of
Ulster Protestants and Irish Catholics abroad, you have a new dimension
that would really bring them into the big time.
“But no one will sign up for them in a marketing sense if they are
playing largely unknown Scottish teams every other week.”
BBC sports pundit Chick Young, who was part of the radio debate, said:
“I was aghast. It’s an insult to the other clubs.
“The fact he has to tag the Catholic-Protestant thing to the Old Firm
yet again when we are trying to get rid of that cancer which haunts the
West of Scotland, is disappointing.”
Neither club was available for comment.
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