Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Play puts sad slant on our football scene

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I recently attended a production - A Night In November - at Belfast's Grand Opera House and was extremely saddened that a play which seemed clearly intended to foment community strife should be staged, especially at this time.

It consisted of a 'monologue' by Patrick Kielty who, it must be said, deserves credit just for attempting to remember all the lines.

I was particularly saddened for the IFA who, since 1994, have worked tirelessly to make it possible for anyone and everyone to support our wee team in a family friendly atmosphere.

At the end of the production about half of the audience around us stood up to applaud while the rest remained seated. It reminded me of an equally sad occasion in 1991 when I received my last degree at Queen's University. When the national anthem was played, a similar thing happened to cloud my graduation day.

In 1982, when Northern Ireland reached the World Cup Finals for the second time, a very happy and carefree band of supporters followed the team to Spain. I well recall the joy and disbelief at home when we beat the host country. Incidentally, the winning goal was scored by a Catholic and set up by a Protestant, but did anyone really care?

It would be interesting to discover just how many fans from the Republic actively supported us then since I believe that at that time soccer was looked upon as a 'foreign game' and anyone seen to be involved in it was banned by the GAA.

Fred Robinson, Belfast

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