Monday, April 14, 2008

Shall we sing a song for you?

Over a month to the FA Cup Final and this year it's almost a cast-iron there'll be a lot more nonsense like this:
The Welsh sports minister has called for the Welsh national anthem to be played before Cardiff City play in the FA Cup final.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas wants "common sense" to prevail and hopes the FA will allow Land of My Fathers to be played alongside God Save The Queen.

"I hope the FA is going to be sensible about things because there will be great disappointment in Wales if we're not allowed to sing the national anthem,"Mr Thomas said.

Two things:

1. As Gwyn Davies (a chairman of a Cardiff supporters club) points out:
"It's not Wales v England, it's two teams in the English FA Cup final"
2. GSTQ is not the English national anthem, it is the United Kingdom's national anthem and as such is entirely appropriate that it should be played preceding a final involving two teams from different parts of the United Kingdom.

25 comments:

Chekov said...

Hmmm. I wonder are the bulk of Cardiff supporters in any way concerned about what anthems are played before the final or is Mr Thomas using them as a political football? I certainly have never got the impression that their support is a hotbed of Welsh nationalism. If Berwick Rangers reached the Scots Cup Final would Rhodri Glyn Thomas demand Jerusalem prior to kick off?

O'Neill said...

They do have a bit of a reputation both for hooliganism and anti-Englishness:
http://www.writenow.ac.uk/QRSS/vol_1/JQRSS_6_Rogers%20and%20Rookwood%2057-68.pdf

How seriously they take it is another matter, probably used as much as an excuse to beat up rival fans more than anything else.

But, yes, it's definitely being used as a political football- it'll be interesting to see what happens on the day.

Chekov said...

This charming little tale was on a Carlisle United forum:

"On my way back I past a pub with some Barnsley fans in, I was going to
have a pint with them, but then about 15 Cardiff including a very fat
family with woman and kids walked towards the pub and started shouting
foul mouthed anti English abuse at the Barnsley fans inside. When the
doormen wouldn't let them in, the fat woman who looked a bit like the
fat scouse bird off of Shameless, squatted down, removed a tampon from
her bits and threw it at the pub window, where it stuck like a limpet.
This was in front of her kids, and is an image that turned my stomach
and will live with me forever. A club like Cardiff who are a fair sized
championship Club should not have this kind of 'fan' in the 21st
century. "

One of the vilest things I have ever read.

Hen Ferchetan said...

You may well brush it off as nonsense and say that GSTQ is the UK anthem, but you are very wrong to say that it is "not the English national anthem" - it is. And to the vast majority of people that's all it is - you'd struggle to find anyone among Cardiff City fans who identify in any way with GSTQ.

The FA have had this problem twice before, and both times they used common sense. While they would be totally within their rights to say "bugger off" (it's their competition, they can play what they want) they really should use some of that common sense.

Playing just GSTQ will lead to trouble, it will lead to the anthem being booed, it will lead to fans being angry (to the poster who asked how nationalist Cardiff City supporters are, it doesn;t matter - Welsh sport fans adore HWFN - be they nationalists or not). Why antagonise th fans for no reason?

Last time cardiff City reached the FA Cup final, both anthems were played (and that in a time where Welsh people were much less used to HWFN and much more appreciative of GSTQ)

Last time Cardiff City reached the FA play-off finals this debate raged it head and no anthems were played.

Both common sense approaches, both setting precedents for the FA to follow.

The song lasts all of 3 minutes - What's the problem?

O'Neill said...

Chekov
Lovely timing, just as I was about to have my elevenses!!

HF
but you are very wrong to say that it is "not the English national anthem" - it is. And to the vast majority of people that's all it is

You should mention that to a few of the English nationalist bloggers!
GSTQ is not the English anthem, it is the UK's anthem- eg Northern Ireland play it before their matches, the if and when British athletes win gold medals at the Olympics it is also played.

Whether Cardiff fans recognise it as their anthem is really up to them- but a decision on whether to play it or not. shouldn't be made on the basis whether it is feared it will be booed by them- that's just giving in to the hooligan element.

The song lasts all of 3 minutes - What's the problem?

It's not an international game, it's not England versus Wales, Cardiff are playing as a club noy an international team.

But you're right, it is the FA's cup and if any club are not happy to abide by the rules and traditions on such occasions, then they shouldn't enter the competition in the first place.

wildgoose said...

I'd have thought the obvious answer would be to play both Jerusalem and Land of My Fathers.

God Save the Queen would be booed, and do they really want the UK anthem booed on prime time live TV?

O'Neill said...

God Save the Queen would be booed, and do they really want the UK anthem booed on prime time live TV?

Won't be the first time, it also happened (I think) before the "Merseyside" final in 1989. Not a good enough reason not to play it- anthems are played before international matches irrespective of any possible adverse reaction.

Hen Ferchetan said...

"But you're right, it is the FA's cup and if any club are not happy to abide by the rules and traditions on such occasions, then they shouldn't enter the competition in the first place."

Well the traditions of the FA cup final are that HWFN is played when a Welsh team is in the final - that's what's happened on every previous occassion ;-)

"GSTQ is not the English anthem, it is the UK's anthem- eg Northern Ireland play it before their matches"

It is the UK anthem, the English anthem AND the NI anthem. The music is also the anthem of many other countries (Lichtenstein being one if I remember right).
It is played at the English FA Cup final as the English anthem, not the UK one. It is played at NI games as the NI anthem, not the UK one. It is played at the Olympics as the UK one.

I just can;t see the argument against playing both. It can;t be tradition, because the last time this happened they played both. It can't be logistical, because as I said it's only an extra 3 mins. I can only assume it's petty posturing.

Fakey said...

English FA cup final... 'English' right?

Hmmmm. Now, if GSTQ is the 'English' national anthem then by all means 'crush those rebellious Scots' and play it to a chorus of boo's from Welsh football fans.

Officially of course, GSTQ is the UK's anthem as distinct from the national anthem of say Scotland Wales, NI or England - England appropriated it, NI Unionists use it for it's symbolic 'Ulster is British' quality but in reality it's still the UK anthem.

In Ireland, we have an anthem for a nation and a state, so the argument of 'regional' identities is somewhat lost on me. But surely if someone feels Welsh or Scottish, or Ulster British or English they should regardless of protocol be allowed the symbolic space to express their identity within Sports cultural and indeed the political arena's.

My perspective is the devolution genie has thrown up a question UK-NeoUnionism hasn't been able - either my choice or by denial - to deal with: is the UK a United Kingdom of distinct but interlocked Nations or United Kingdom of 'Regions'. To suggest the the UK is made up of Nations is to admit the arbitrary nature of the Union - that secession is a valid and democratic expression of that nations citizenry. The 'Regional' argument is that within a United Kingdom an sense of nationhood is reduced to a secondary inferior inherently emotional status when placed beside Neo-Unionism's preferred default superior identity setting of 'Simply British'.

Whether NeoUnionist's feel it's entirely appropriate to play the UK anthem at a football featuring a Welsh club side misses the point. Of course it's technically correct but it once again misses the point on how people within the UK's Nations see themselves and the inability of Unionism to process this new truth.

Hen Ferchetan said...

I agree with most of what you say fakey, but I'll take a poke at this

"Officially of course, GSTQ is the UK's anthem as distinct from the national anthem of say Scotland Wales, NI or England"

GSTQ is not "officially" the anthem of anywhere. It has never been made "official" and is the national anthem by popular adoption only, just like HWFN in Wales. GSTQ is only the UK anthem because that's what people assume it to be, and for the same reason it's ENgland's anthem too.

I do wish England and NI would get their own anthem though - everyone else has one and they deserve their own one too. Then they can join in in booing GSTQ ;-)

O'Neill said...

Fakey,
Starting off, as is my wont, on a point of pedantry...
English FA cup final... 'English' right?

Now, if GSTQ is the 'English' national anthem then by all means 'crush those rebellious Scots' and play it to a chorus of boo's from Welsh football fans.
The rebellious Scots bit disappeared off sometime in the 18th century and believe me if the Welsh anthem is played at the final, it will also be met with a chorus of boos- so that's not a strong argument either way for playing GSTQ.

But surely if someone feels Welsh or Scottish, or Ulster British or English they should regardless of protocol be allowed the symbolic space to express their identity within Sports cultural and indeed the political arena's.

If it's a national team, then yes. But Cardiff are not representing Wales (just ask any Swansea fan on that!), many (most?) of their players were not born in Wales. Cardiff City are representing Cardiff in the English FA Cup Final.

Whether NeoUnionist's feel it's entirely appropriate to play the UK anthem at a football featuring a Welsh club side misses the point.

If Cardiff City fans do not see themselves as British, that is entirely up to them and whether or not *their* anthem is played at the Final (or indeed what I or you think about their national identity within the wider contest of the United Kingdom) will not make one iota of difference to how they see themselves; ultimately recent history has shown that appeasement of Celtic nationalism has actually strengthened separatist feelings and weakened the Union, so I as a Unionist (neo or otherwise;)) can see absolutely no benefit whatsoever in helping along that process.

So, in the end it all does come to a technical argument; Cardiff City have decided to participate not in the Welsh Cup (actually why not? If they're such Welsh patriots that would be the logical solution)but the English FA Cup. As such they have no more right to have *their* anthem played at such a final than a player born in Nigeria or whereever has to have his.

Regarding the wider question of anthems, I find myself, shockingly;), in agreement with HF. When England or NI play, they play as England or NI, not the UK, they need their own specific anthems- and when that happens, then with justification GSTQ can be replaced as the anthem at the FA Cup Final.

Chekov said...

Cardiff and Swansea did used to compete in the Welsh Cup. I assume this stopped whenever the League of Ludicrous Clubnames got going?

Hen Ferchetan said...

UEFA will not allow Welsh clubs who play in the English League to qualify for Europe through the Welsh FA.

The English league playing teams DO play in the Welsh Premier Cup - a hybrid cup consisting of League of Wales teams and English league teams.

No-one seems to be answering my simple question though. What is the problem? It can;t be a case of sticking to tradition because HWFN WAS played the only other time Cardiff reached the English FA Cup Final. So what is the problem with following that precedent? It harms no-one and will enhance the enjoyment of the cup final visit to many of Cardiff City's fans.

And O'Neill - what does the nationality of players have to do wit it? If that was an important factor how many anthems would we need when Arsenal or Chelsea played in the final!

Chekov said...

I've taken the liberty of blogging on some of Fakey's off topic comments which belie his deep misunderstanding of unionism.

O'Neill said...

HF

UEFA will not allow Welsh clubs who play in the English League to qualify for Europe through the Welsh FA.

My point was more what are the Welsh clubs playing in the English league in the first place-if they did so, then they could play the Welsh anthem to their hearts content before every league and cup game of they so desired!!

No-one seems to be answering my simple question though. What is the problem?
Cardiff are not representing Wales, they are a club team not a national one.

It harms no-one and will enhance the enjoyment of the cup final visit to many of Cardiff City's fans.
Playing "My old man's a dustman" would probably not harm anyone, might even increase the enjoyment of the cup final, but that's ntot the point- there has to be a valid reason for playing it.
And don't forget, in the article, it's a Cardiff supporters club chairman quoted as saying that it's a bad idea.

And O'Neill - what does the nationality of players have to do wit it?
When a Welsh national or representative team, the vast majority of its players are born in wales, but more importantly they are playing for their country not their club- on those occasions the national anthem is entirely appropriate.

If that was an important factor how many anthems would we need when Arsenal or Chelsea played in the final!

Indirectly, mentioning those two teams you prove my argument. Liverpool or Chelsea reach the Champions league, they will be representing only themselves- not England, not the UK- should we play GSTQ then in Moscow, simply because of where the two teams are domicilied?

O'Neill said...

HF
My first paragraph should read:
"My point was more why are the Welsh clubs playing in the English league in the first place-if they played in the Welsh league, then they could play the Welsh anthem to their hearts content before every league and cup game of they so desired!!

Chekov
Yes, seen that! Will comment shortly!

Hen Ferchetan said...

Yes GSTQ is the anthem of UK and of England, but in the FA Cup final it is played as the latter NOT the former. The anthem is sang to represent England (being the English cup final). It is simply a matter of courtesy to play the Welsh anthem for a team not represented by an English anthem seeing as how they were invited to play in the cup by the English FA.

By the way, the reason there are 5 Welsh clubs in the English system is that the League of Wales did not exist until 1994.

Again I come back to the simple question-if this is a question of tradition, then isn't it tradition to sing HWFN when cardiff are in the final, seeing as how it was done in 1927?

O'Neill said...

HF,
You might find this thread interesting:
http://forums.icwales.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=4101&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=

In 1927 it was suggested to His Majesty that the Welsh national anthem be played. His Majesty insisted that such would not be appropriate. His Majesty suggested that a hymn be sung instead. When asked for a suggestion as to which hymn should be sung, His Majesty suggested ABIDE WITH ME. This hymn is now part of FA Cup folklore, and it's BECAUSE Cardiff City were there..... isnt that ENOUGH reason to be proud?

So was it played or not (genuine question)?

Hen Ferchetan said...

I read it in the observer or telegraph - can't vouch for it's truthfulness but I'd give it more weight than a forum commenter.

O'Neill said...

HF
I've done a search on both papers, can't find it.
This from Reuters would seem to confirm the "Abide with me" line:
http://blogs.reuters.com/soccer/2008/04/15/this-isnt-the-eurovision-song-contest-its-the-fa-cup-final/

Hen Ferchetan said...

Having looked back through the sites it was in the comment section of an article, so has no more wight than your forum link.

Howver the argument is now moot as the FA have made their decision - HWFN will be sung at the Final

O'Neill said...

Oh good, so now the opposing fans can boo both anthems and what wass cup final between two club sides will become a nationalistic grudge match. Still, the FA knows best.

Hen Ferchetan said...

Seeing as how GSTQ was going to be booed anyway it's only fair that Portsmouth fans get the chance to do the same back ;-)

O'Neill said...

Here we go, from the BBC (and it's never wrong is it!!)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7372246.stm
Singer Katherine Jenkins will be the first person to sing the Welsh National anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, at an FA Cup final on 17 May.
The former teacher from Neath will perform before the Cardiff v Portsmouth showdown at Wembley Stadium.
She had been asked to accompany soprano Lesley Garrett in a rendition of God Save the Queen.
But she asked authorities to let her sing the Welsh national anthem with the Coldstream Guards Band instead.
"It's a fantastic honour for me to sing our national anthem anywhere in the world, but to sing at a Final Cup Final at Wembley is going to be something really special," Jenkins said.
The mezzo-soprano said she would be supporting the Bluebirds.
"Who will I support? Who will all right-minded and passionate Welsh sports fans across our country support that day?"
The last time Cardiff reached the FA Cup Final in 1927, Land Of My Fathers was performed instead of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.

The FA estimates between 480 and 500 million people will watch the cup final worldwide.
Jenkins has regularly appeared before rugby international to sing the Welsh national anthem.

Hen Ferchetan said...

"The last time Cardiff reached the FA Cup Final in 1927, Land Of My Fathers was performed instead of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau"

Uh....what?It's the same song, just a title in a different language!