Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Long Way Home - Sport in Ulster III

Danny Blanchflower, Northern Ireland Sport, Football, Ulster Troubles
And so a modern London life consisting of Old Testament-style struggle, toil and grim judgement proceeds along its fateful course - an unprecedented Ponzi property scam interfacing with a permanent recession atop a demographic explosion which currently throws up West End crowds every Saturday in various locations that previously would only ever have been seen in the run-up to Christmas in Oxford Street. And this in a capital city now bequeathing little more than stagnant wages, little employment opportunities, no credit, threatening streetscapes and rancid infrastructure to both the weary veteran and the frigging naive newcomer.

If 2014 left the impression of our country having been hit by a comet then 2015 is when the smoke clears to see what is left. London was always a difficult place to live and never an easy option but - to give it some posthumous due - it was never but never unrelentingly fucking nasty the way it is now every solitary desperate hour.

In another world in the last seven days Northern Ireland reached the finals of the European Championships  with such limited human resources - in comparison to the teams who played in the 1958, 1982 and 1986 World Cup Finals under Peter Doherty and Billy Bingham - that it constitutes a now globally acknowledged sporting miracle on behalf of the players and management. 
What has been particularly interesting this week has been the incredible amount of detente and goodwill to be seen on new media platforms between the two opposing fanbases on the island of Ireland regarding successful qualification for both parties. 
Sport as ever qualifying the cultural division of the Irish people and their political conflict alike. This amplifying in turn the light year distance between fundamental civility and decency with the spiv toxic future a New London readily and voluntarily willed upon itself  - burning its bridges with the past and the people who made it what it was.