Chancellor of the Exchequer praises Scottish football hooligans


In 1967, after Scotland became the first team to beat World Champions England (3-2), Scottish football hooligans invaded the Wembley pitch in London and ripped up parts of the pitch and pulled down the goalposts.

The Scottish fans also did the same in 1977 when Scotland beat England 2-1 at Wembley - this time they caused £15,000 worth of damage.

However, Chancellor of the Exchequer (and soon-to-be British Prime Minister) Gordon Brown - a Scotsman - has PRAISED those Scottish football hooligans.
My sheer joy at humiliating the English... by Gordon Brown

Hooligans: Scottish football fans invade the Wembley pitch in 1977 after they beat England 2-1 They pulled down the goalposts and ripped up the pitch causing £15,000 worth of damage to England's national stadium

Gordon Brown's claim that he would love to see England win the soccer World Cup has come under fresh scrutiny after it was revealed how he boasted of Scotland's 'humbling' of the England team that won the 1966 tournament.

He claimed Scotland were the real world champions because they beat Bobby Moore's heroes soon afterwards. And he revelled in the 'sheer joy of defeating the English at their own game'.

The Chancellor also saluted Scottish hooligans who tore up the Wembley turf and broke the crossbar after another victory over the English.

In an article entitled Why Scotland Means The World To Me, self-proclaimed "Tartan Army" member Mr Brown invokes ancient battlefield defeats by the English at Flodden and Culloden to explain why he enjoyed beating the Auld Enemy at football so much.

The remarks are in stark contrast to his comments two weeks ago about England's bid to host the competition in 2018, when he said twice that he hoped England would win.

Asked if he meant winning the right to host the tournament or 'win the whole thing', he replied: "Both."

When a row ensued in Scotland, Mr Brown said his first choice would be for Scotland to win the World Cup, but if they were knocked out he would back England.

But he did not cheer for England in his article for the book Football And The Commons People about MP soccer fans, published in 1994, the year Tony Blair become Labour leader and when Mr Brown was Shadow Chancellor.

It was before Labour set up the Scottish Parliament and before the English questioned the right of a Scot to be the Prime Minister of Britain.

The book was edited by Mr Brown's fellow Scots football fan, ex-Downing Street spin doctor Alastair Campbell. At the time the pair were friends, but they have been enemies since Mr Campbell said the Chancellor had 'psychological flaws'.

Mr Brown writes that as a 15-year-old schoolboy he played truant to watch Scotland play Italy in a failed attempt to reach the 1966 finals in England.

And he swears his undying loyalty. "You start young and you can't give up supporting Scotland. You can't walk out simply because they are playing badly. You'll be there irrespective of standards and bad luck. Once disappointed before, twice we turn up, and as optimists."

Pouring scorn on 'envious England', he praises 'the fanaticism of Scotland's following -of which I have been a part for many years' and proudly recounts appalling hooliganism after two of Scotland's most famous Wembley victories, the first in 1967 when they beat England's World Cup winners 3-2.

"You need only to recollect the scenes of delirium among Scots fans,' regales Brown, 'when they tore up bits of turf to take home - to realise there was more at stake than the result of 22 men kicking a ball around."

He shows no concern about even worse violence in 1977 when Scots fans ripped up more turf and broke the crossbar after Scotland won 2-1.

"There's a pub in central Scotland that displays a lump of Wembley turf to commemorate the victory,' says Brown.

"I wouldn't be surprised if some of the hundreds that took a lump had eaten a bit. Some, I know, jumped on to the crossbar and broke that up too." He says one of the rioters was an MP colleague, though he does not name him.

The book even includes a picture of a turf-wielding mob with Brown's caption: "Among my souvenirs: the Tartan Army comes out with the pitch."

The Chancellor's campaign to woo English voters by playing down his Scots roots and promoting "Britishness' is at odds with his scorn for English nationalism in the book.

"If English nationalism flowered on the playing fields of Eton, Scottish nationalism's one recurrent expression is on the pitch at Hampden Park [Scotland's national soccer stadium],' he proclaims.

"Which explains why many Scots' pride has been enhanced by the sheer joy of defeating the English at the game they regard as their own."

He keeps returning to the 1967 victory. "It was one of the greatest hours of the boys in blue. I was 16 but still remember watching the humbling of England on the very pitch they had been crowned only a year previously as the champions of the world - by the skills and audacity of "Slim Jim" Baxter, one of my heroes.

"In Scotland, that day is thought of as the real World Cup decider. I feel similarly about the 2-1 win at Hampden in 1976 when Kenny Dalglish slid the ball through the legs of a disbelieving Ray Clemence." Clemence is now England's goalkeeping coach.

Brown berates another former England international, ex-BBC commentator Jimmy Hill, for deriding Scotland's short-lived lead over Brazil in a match in 1982 before going on to lose 4-1.

"It was joy, pure joy for the Scottish team and for us on the terraces. I still remember my anger about Jimmy Hill's comment that our brush with greatness was merely a "toepoke"."

Brown says he was 'one of the Tartan Army that went to Italy' for a World Cup game in 1990 and makes a jokey reference to humiliation on the battlefield at "Flodden and Culloden'.

"Such rare soccer triumphs must be judged in an historical context in which disappointments and defeats at the hands of the English are legion."

In 1513, English longbow men slaughtered 10,000 Scots at Flodden in Northumberland. In 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie's attempt to restore the Stuarts to the English throne ended in crushing defeat at Culloden in Scotland.

Brown rues Scotland's poor form in the Eighties and Nineties, but concludes with an anti-English rally cry: "Who knows? Some day... And if the worst comes to the worst, we still beat England sometimes."
Well, you can't praise Scottish football these days.