Paul Fletcher has been indulging in some more political propagandising about the supposedly overwhelming popularity of the BOA's decision to force the four nations of the UK to "unite" for the Olympic football tournament -
"And yet the numbers that have turned out to support GB suggest there is an appetite to see a united football team at the Olympics. An impressive 227,751 supporters have attended GB's three group games in Manchester, London and Cardiff."
Hmmm. Well, those numbers certainly show there's an appetite for something. Unfortunately for Fletcher, there are a number of possibilities for the source of that enthusiasm, of which his preferred explanation is only one. Other more likely possibilities include the desire to watch an Olympic event of any type, and a desire to see English and Welsh players compete on home soil at a major event, regardless of the team they are required to play for. The most likely explanation of the lot, however, is that many English supporters simply make little or no distinction between Great Britain and England (Great Britain is seen as Greater England), and for them, supporting Great Britain is an extension of supporting England. Which, of course, is the Celtic objection to the whole enterprise in a nutshell - loss of identity, a fear which is hardly allayed by the righteous indignation over Welsh and Scottish players failing to sing the English anthem. And on that subject...
"It had been said that many of the Welsh fans inside the stadium in Cardiff would boo God Save the Queen. Nonsense. The crowd belted it out and backed their team with a passion that any fanbase would be happy to claim."
It's a brave man who uses the word "nonsense" before embarking on the patently absurd claim that he 'knows' that the 'home' supporters belting out God Save the Queen were all - or even predominantly - Welsh. By my rough calculation, the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff is approximately 25 miles from the English border. And there was absolutely no distinction made on intra-UK nationality in the selling of tickets. Whisper it gently, but it's just possible that rather a lot of the Greater England Patriots belting out 'their' national anthem in Cardiff were, in fact, English.
But other than that, what a truly fabulous point, Paul.