I AM of the considered opinion that sport, all of it, has been elevated to a place in society well above its true worth.

Those responsible for this defect are the so-called expert media pundits and much less-expert politicians. The late Bill Shankly has much to answer for when he suggested that “football is more important than life or death”. Sadly a fair number of people believe this rather naive and exaggerated hyperbole. I suspect Boris Johnson does. I thought it was rather unbecoming of a BRITISH Prime Minister to wear an England top and bedeck his official residence in the flag of St George.

In the aftermath of the Euro final the vitriolic bile directed at a group of England’s very talented young players is a manifestation of this skewed understanding of sport and football in particular.

Of course sport is important and should be appreciated and enjoyed by participants and spectators alike.

However, it should also be remembered that sport is the wallpaper on society’s living room and is not necessarily the decor of universal choice.

Dan Edgar, Rothesay.


ANDY Maciver is right; Scotland has an unhealthy obsession with England, but we are not alone (“From football to politics, Scotland’s obsession with England does real damage”, The Herald, July 13). Boris Johnson, Sir Keir Starmer and all their underlings: the broadcasters, not least the UK-wide funded BBC, all continually referred to England as “the nation” or “the country”. If Nicola Sturgeon did likewise, and labelled these people as nationalists, she would be castigated, as only Scots or Irish folk can be “nationalists” or “separatists”.

There were plenty of cheap asides by English (and they were all English) football pundits to suggest they would not support a Scottish team. How to get past this neurosis with our giant southern neighbour, many of whom have little interest in us? As we saw when Scotland qualified in major tournaments and England did not, the BBC still covered the event with English staff, and control of broadcasting is always going to be controlled by England, and therefore England-centric. I would suggest this unhealthy Scotland/England relationship is actually getting worse and will only be resolved with Scottish independence: no other solution is being seriously mooted, and if it was, would be politically unachievable.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


AS I write this on Tuesday morning (July 13) the TV is still awash with discussion of the aftermath of Sunday's Euro 2020 final result. How sad it was to see the young English players hastily removing the silver medals which had been hung round their necks. Had Scotland reached the final with a similar outcome their players would have worn their silver medals proudly but the England team, having been declared champions by the English media before the tournament got under way, were denied any satisfaction from their fine achievement in finishing second after a penalty shoot-out. BBC TV news 24 hours after the final described the result as a "crushing defeat" for England. No wonder the young team were not keen to display their silver medals. Worse was to follow when the xenophobic/racist faction among their "supporters" got to work on social media.

How good it would be if the SFA could invite the England team to Hampden for a friendly game when the public of a modern European nation could have an opportunity to demonstrate their appreciation of the Euro 2020 performance of our friends and neighbours.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.


IN 2000, the English rugby team, having failed to win the Calcutta Cup at Murrayfield, departed the field without congratulating the winners – and failed to turn up at the presentation of the 6 Nations trophy (which they had won) from the Princess Royal.

At the 2019 Rugby World Cup, England, the beaten finalists, were seen on-screen removing their finalists' medals from around their necks immediately after presentation and putting them in their pockets.

On Sunday evening the English football team at the Euros, following the above example, were seen, on screen, also removing their medals – thus insulting their opponents, the organisers and the event sponsors.

With such role models, why wonder that their fans behave so atrociously?

David M Roger, Paisley.


THE racist abuse on social media against a number of English footballers is absolutely disgusting and totally inexcusable.

However, for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to condemn those who have done this and called for them to “crawl under their rock” smacks more than a little of hypocrisy.

Mr Johnson’s racist comments are well established. He has described African people as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”. In 2018 he was reported to the Equalities Commission after comparing Muslim women who wear burqas to "letter boxes" and bank robbers.

Mr Johnson has also questioned the loyalty of British Muslims and insisted that the country must accept that "Islam is the problem".

To address the issue of racism in our society, that clearly also has to come from the very top. Hard to do, dare I say, when our Prime Minister’s past record on such matters means that any criticism now lacks any real credibility.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.


THE behaviour of some England fans in London on Sunday was absolutely appalling.

What has almost saddened me more though, is hearing people making excuses for this kind of despicable conduct by saying things like “but these people have been locked in for 18 months” – as though that justifies bad behaviour.

Nobody was truly locked in, and even if they endured shielding or living with restrictions over the last year and a half, that is no excuse for the kind of unacceptable behaviour we witnessed.

Judi Martin, Aberdeenshire.


IS it not interesting that the hooligan riot at Wembley Stadium on Sunday was only fully shown on Channel 4 News?

As usual the BBC omitted the nasty scenes. Wonder who sat in judgment on the editorial team? A disgrace; however, what do we expect from the BBC?

Graham Noble, Kinlocheil.


IT’S unsurprising that Scotland appears to be enjoying England’s defeat as much as Italy. However, it is very sad that a nation that used to produce brilliant footballers like Jim Baxter, Dennis Law and Kenny Dalglish can now celebrate only the defeats of others, rather than its own victories.

I should add I’m a great Scotophile and lived and worked in Dundee in the 1960s.

Bill Randall, Peacehaven, Sussex.


I AM afraid Bill Brown (Letters, July 13)is deluding himself if he believes that SNP supporters don't really want to win independence; I can assure him that I haven't been campaigning for Scottish self-determination for more than 50 years because I enjoy the journey, although I do enjoy knowing that journey's end is in sight.

Mr Brown digs up the old turnip of labelling those who believe in independence as "separatists", but the real separatists are those who ripped Scotland out of Europe when we'd overwhelmingly voted to remain. Mr Brown assures us that he "is happy to let the UK look after things like defence, foreign aid and policy and international relations and trade". Presumably that means he is happy to have Trident nuclear submarines in Scottish waters against the wishes of the Scottish Parliament, most Scottish MPs, the STUC, the churches and the majority of Scottish voters when asked in opinion polls.

It also suggests that Mr Brown must approve of the UK Government cutting foreign aid to some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people; and as for UK foreign policy, this century has witnessed the UK's involvement in foreign wars, including the notorious illegal war in Iraq, heaping untold misery on millions of people and making the world a more dangerous place. Scotland can do better than that; we couldn't possibly do worse.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.


WILLIE Rennie says it is time for “a fresh face to lead our party forward” ("Rennie quits as leader of LibDems", The Herald, July 13). Hopefully the First Minister will ponder this phrase; and act. On the other hand, as a committed unionist, I prefer that the shallow First Minister linger in office until further discredited; if such is possible.

William Durward, Bearsden.

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