Dumfries, Scotland, Apr 18 | “All our dreams are viable,” ventures songwriter Chris Belford, launching into the refrain of the Queen of the South anthem. “We’re the only team in the Bible.” The strength of the connection to Jesus’ prophecy about the “queen of the South” rising at judgment day (Matthew 12:42) is dubious, but Doonhamers’ supporters, following the side’s first berth in a Scottish Cup final, are convinced about the rest: “Something greater than Solomon is here!”
Hugh Hornby, author of a comprehensive account of Britain’s 15 surviving festival football games—Uppies and Downies: The Extraordinary Football Games of Britain (English Heritage, 2008)—says the ideal venue for these mass-participation events is a town of between 5,000 and 10,000. With podcast »
Rangers chairman David Murray has more than a football ground in mind in recent proposals to create a £700 million “Rangers Village,” including the redevelopment and possible renaming of Ibrox, the Govan ground that boasts one of the most iconic façades in world football. The distinctive red brick South Stand, opened 1 Jan 1929, would be retained in Rangers’ proposals, which have not yet been made final. (Jan 9)
The Boys’ Brigade, founded in Glasgow in 1883, helped spread the gospel of football domestically and abroad as a by-product of its connection to the Church of Scotland. Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson acknowledges its influence and that of one of the youth leaders. (Dec 14)
Dundee, Scotland, May 31 | In our second podcast, Billy Kay, author of The Scottish World, recalls Scotland’s influence on the worldwide spread and ultimate dominance of the passing, artistic style of association football. Scotland will not let England forget that “it wes us.”
Nationwide parliamentary elections have lifted Scottish nationalists, for the first time, into a plurality of seats in the Scottish Assembly at Holyrood. Did feelings for the Scotland football team, made explicit in the lusty terrace singing of “Flower of Scotland,” play a role?
Paris, Mar 12 | Little evidence exists of Jean Baudrillard‘s rooting interests in football. The French philosopher, who died Mar 6, left behind a corpus of cultural reflection.
To him belonged clear-eyed, if not always clearly worded, explication of concepts such as “hyperreality” and “simulation”—with the latter implying more than Arjen Robben flopping around on the left-hand touchline. Such notions have lent themselves to football, including Baudrillard’s own essay on the Heysel disaster of 1985.
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Listening to Scottish-football broadcasts over the Internet—a new season in the Bank of Scotland Scottish Premier League starts on 30 July—puts us in mind of ancestry and separation.