Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Will the British Army be on parade as England face Republic of Ireland at Wembley?

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 25:  A general view of the opening ceremony ahead of the UEFA Champions League final match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Muenchen at Wembley Stadium on May 25, 2013 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 25: A general view of the opening ceremony ahead of the UEFA Champions League final match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Muenchen at Wembley Stadium on May 25, 2013 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 25: A general view of the opening ceremony ahead of the UEFA Champions League final match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Muenchen at Wembley Stadium on May 25, 2013 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 25: A general view of the opening ceremony ahead of the UEFA Champions League final match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Muenchen at Wembley Stadium on May 25, 2013 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 25: A general view of the opening ceremony ahead of the UEFA Champions League final match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Muenchen at Wembley Stadium on May 25, 2013 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 25: Borussia Dortmund fans gather in Trafalgar Square on May 25, 2013 in London, England. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund play in the Champions League final at Wembley Stadium later tonight. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

I accept a majority of people in the UK supported the war in Iraq and the one still going on in Afghanistan.

And every sane one of us is appalled by what happened in Woolwich last week.

However, I'm uneasy at the way the military seems to be involved in ever major event at Wembley Stadium. You can't have a game there without soldiers in the build-up. Carrying the flags out, putting the trophy on the plinth, providing the music ... in full uniform.

Clearly it doesn't bother most people, but it does me and I thought events prior to the Champions League final were decidedly over the top.

Worse that a re-enactment of the Battle of Agincourt – what relevance to Munich and Dortmund? – we had War Horse.

Now that's a great Spielberg movie, but the central character is a horse that galloped through the trenches of World War I. Which idiot thought it appropriate to parade it in front of two GERMAN clubs?

My last game of the season is England against the Republic tonight. Please tell there's no military planning in the pre-match entertainment. I was at that riot in Lansdowne Road in 1995 and don't want a repeat.

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