THE failure of the England football team in the World Cup has prompted a Tory MP to resurrect the controversial idea of scrapping the four home nation teams and creating a single UK one - just two months before Scots vote on independence.
Laurence Robertson, who represents Tewkesbury near Gloucester, suggested that a "coming together" to form Team UK should have happened a long time ago and would have made England's winning team of 1966 even stronger and "world-beaters" if Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish players had been eligible.
"None of us has really been successful," Mr Robertson reflected. "England have not done any good since 1966 and some great players from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have not played in the World Cup, such as George Best and Ryan Giggs. That talent was lost on the international stage."
Loading article content
The backbencher put forward his idea of Team UK in a parliamentary motion and noted: "What's the point of four teams? The United States doesn't put forward 50 teams."
But his suggestion got short shrift from Scottish politicians.
Labour's Jim Murphy, the football-loving Shadow International Development Secretary, said while England's failure in the tournament and Scotland's failure to qualify was leading to soul-searching north and south of the border, the "dead-end" idea of creating a UK team was not the answer.
Pete Wishart, for the SNP, insisted nothing must be done that "threatens Scotland's footballing independence".
The Scottish Football Association declined to comment.