Belfast Telegraph

BBC's Stephen Nolan 'proud to be British' but he'd support Republic of Ireland too

By Gareth Cross

BBC Radio Ulster presenter Stephen Nolan has said he considers himself to be British but has a "strong affinity" to all things Irish after he sparked an online backlash in the wake of England's World Cup penalty victory over Colombia on Tuesday evening.

The popular radio host tweeted his pride at seeing England hold their nerve and make it through to the quarter-finals.

"Incredible what football and sport does," Mr Nolan wrote

"I'm proud to be British today."

Mr Nolan, who is currently on holiday in America, had been tweeting his support for England throughout the day.

"Today for one day only, I'm English," Mr Nolan wrote.

"Never have I felt more English."

The tweet sparked a huge discussion on Twitter with over 200 people replying to Mr Nolan.

The majority of replies were negative, criticising the BBC personality for his stance, but a number of people defended Mr Nolan, with one pointing out that the Good Friday Agreement guaranteed Mr Nolan the right to consider himself, British, Irish or both.

After the huge response Mr Nolan again took to Twitter to say he would support the Republic of Ireland if they were on the world stage.

"Of course I’m proud to be British. That wouldn’t stop me supporting the ROI team if they were in the World Cup," the presenter said.

"I consider myself to be British, but yes - I have a strong affinity to all things Irish and Northern Irish.

"People need to grow up and realise the world is different now."

He added: "In terms of how I live my life, I feel Northern Irish, British and Irish and I don’t think any of that is a contradiction."

Mr Nolan spends part of his week in England presenting his BBC Radio 5 Live shows.

In the past he has tweeted in support of the Republic of Ireland team and also holds an Irish passport.

However, he has always been clear that he considers himself to be British.

The Nolan Live host sparked a similar debate in 2017 when he revealed that he stood for the Irish national anthem ahead of the Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor boxing match in Las Vegas.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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