Both the English and Scottish Football Associations are promising to defy orders from FIFA to not let their players wear poppies on their kit despite the possible threat of points deductions.
With the UK voting to leave the European Union (EU) and the American people choosing Donald Trump as their President I am getting the distinct impression that people don’t like people, particularly if those people look, behave or talk differently.
It’s a thought that is rather depressing, like realising there are no more seasons of Mr Robot. I reassure myself by remembering that times have not changed. This fear of people has touched my life ever since I have been born and football has been the biggest divisor of all.
As England prepares to take on Scotland in the first of two World Cup qualifying clashes on Friday night, it got me thinking about my experiences north of the border. On the two occasions, I visited Inverness I narrowly escaped getting my head caved on both occasions because I was a ‘Chinky looking Sassenach.’
The Scottish hate the English with a passion, so it’s a tad ironic that the sporting warring factions are joining forces to take on FIFA by refusing to accept their orders that the players cannot wear a poppy on their kit because it breaches rules and regulations. Both FAs, back by the British government, will ignore the orders of FIFA and allow their players to wear poppies on black armbands as a sign of respect to those who lost their lives fighting side by side in World War 1, even if it means facing a point deduction.
Scotland, who need a points deduction like typhoid, need to get a result at Wembley if they are going to salvage something from what has been a disastrous campaign for Gordon Strachan’s side.
They were the only home nation to fail to qualify for Euro 2016, and there is no way on earth they will qualify for Russia 2018 point deduction or no point deduction.
And this is why I can’t get fired up for the so-called Battle of Britain. The gulf between the two sides is too large to make this a fair fight. The return leg will be more of an obstacle for England, but it should be an easy three points in front of a packed house at Wembley.
England caretaker manager needs more than three points if he is going to earn a full-time position. After a drab 2-0 win against Malta and an uninspiring goalless draw against Slovenia, Southgate desperately needs an inspiring performance in this one, especially when you consider Spain are going to give them a footballing lesson during Southgate’s last game in charge on Tuesday.
Wayne Rooney will start, and captain the side on Friday night. It means he has now begun three matches on the trot (two for United) after a series of substitute appearances including bench time against Slovenia. Let’s hope Southgate plays him in a forward role and drops the notion that he can play in midfield ahead of the talented young players England have in their squad.
The bookmakers have England at 4/11 to take all three points. It’s 4/1 for the draw and 9/1 for an unlikely Scotland victory.