I have made it a point not to blend politics and sports. Yet this time it is unavoidable.
The Belfast Telegraph have published an article on a decision in Westminster next week that could make sure the Northern Ireland football team will not be greeted with “God Save the Queen” at their Euro 2016 matches.
A bill by Labour’s Toby Perkins will be voted on in the Commons that proposes to reserve that anthem for the United Kingdom as a whole and find a new one for England.
While this will have an effect on the Northern Irish soccer team, it will also have an impact on England, the only other country within the UK that does not have its own anthem.
Right after the Scottish Referendum a campaign was already started to give England’s rugby team an anthem of their own, rather than “God Save the Queen” – the UK anthem and the royal anthem for most of the Commonwealth. If this bill passes, that campaign will also have succeeded.
In that case the English rugby team will hear a different tune before their Six Nations matches. Maybe that will even come as soon as the Calcutta Cup match – England’s opening match against Scotland. Though perhaps that is a bit too soon.
The proposed anthem since the start has been “Jerusalem”, a song previously also used by the English Rugby League and the English national cricket team.
Another possible contender would be “Land of Hope and Glory”, which is often played at Twickenham before matches as well.
What do you think? Should the anthem be replaced? And if so, by what?
Paul Peerdeman, Pundit Arena