The Return of the Redshirts

26 02 2008

You know when the six nations tournament is upon us; everyone has found their red shirts again. I realise that it sounds churlish to describe stout men in such a way, in fact now I’ve written it I realise I may be wrong. How can someone in Wales object to people supporting the national rugby team I mean it’s common knowledge that absolutely everyone in Wales stops whatever they’re doing to watch our boys in action.

Everybody knows this because everyone knows that rugby is Wales’ national sport.It simply must be true because lazy journalists and acerbic cultural commentators tell us so. Miners, choirs, leeks & rugby are what constitute Wales. All of us should know better than to question such august authorities but I’d like to commit heresy; football is more qualified to be Wales’ national sport than rugby.

It’s heresy because the real Wales is only found in the south of our little country. The valleys and major cities are the real “Wales”. In this area the chasing of the eggs seems to be rather popular. As this is “Wales” and egg chasing is popular, egg chasing is the national game – QED!!!

It’s a heresy for the “national” media too; egg chasing is the only sport they deign worthy of coverage. This outlook holds sway despite rugby’s relative unpopularity in the north and football’s popularity in the south. The Welsh media never reflects the true picture in this regard. We are all rugger fans in Wales so we’re treated to the “comedy” stylings of Scrum 4 (4 fans of egg chasing get into all manner of hilarious situations, picture Last of the Summer Wine without the sophistication).

The only thing funny about the coverage of football is the laughable standard of it. Our national broadcaster doesn’t seem to be arsed with football, sorry Welsh football, basically. They were outbid by Sky for international matches. They choose not to broadcast the Welsh Premier League and they’re going to end their involvement in the only competition that contains all Welsh Clubs, the Premier Cup. You don’t have to be a genius to work out where the media’s based.

People might say that treating rugby as the national sport is reasonable; “I mean come on, we’re better at rugby. Look at football, we’re a laughing stock”. It’s as if rugby somehow casts Wales in a better light. To be fair to such dunderheads, relatively speaking the rugby team is more successful; Wales have qualified for every rugby world cup whereas the football team, ah well. However, rugby is played in fewer countries than football. For example Wales have only ever played 20 national teams. Basically, it’s easier to look good.

If that idea is rebutted those people may resort to saying something like; “Rugby’s more popular, rugby crowds regularly fill the Millennium Stadium whereas football regularly draws pitiful crowds there.” A few points can easily contradict this; Firstly, the national stadium is nearer to the rugby playing heartlands and secondly, it’s only full against the top nations. When Wales play Canada, Fiji and Romania it’s half empty – it didn’t even sell out during the 2007 World Cup. Anyway the Millennium Stadium sold out several times for football matches during 2002-2003.

Statistics, the last refuge of the logical, can prove the whole argument. There are more registered players (67,500 V 42,000) and clubs (1,920 V 239) in Welsh football than in Welsh rugby. In football the WPL contains from clubs from all over Wales and there are pro football clubs in north and south Wales. In rugby the Celtic League and Premiership contain no rugby clubs from north or mid Wales.

The most damning evidence is the WRU’s attitude. In 2007 Llangefni should have been promoted to Division 2 but for some reason they were relegated instead. Allegedly, southern clubs weren’t too keen about travelling up north once a season. How can rugby be a national sport when such a callous attitude is taken towards a member club from outside its southern heartlands?

It’s doubtful whether logic will enter the minds of those people in Llandudno who become reanimated rugger fans once a year. If you choose to you can see them in the pub every other Saturday at this time of year (only if Wales have won a few games of course.), swept along by the crimson tide, wearing their freshly purchased red shirts and trying to sound knowledgable about things they know nothing about. This time of year makes me fearful for the future of civilisation in our country, if people are this easily swayed by the zeitgeist we’ll only need a demagogue to say the right things and a dictatorship will appear forthwith. Be warned!!!!!



2 responses

14 02 2011
Red, red, red everywhere « Llandudno Jet Set

[…] six nations has started so those bastard Redshirts have appeared […]

23 12 2010
The Jet Set leads and the world follows… « Llandudno Jet Set

[…] now we know that our voices are being heard by the upper echelons of football, how do we know? We said the same thing 2 and a half years ago. “You know when the six nations tournament is upon us; everyone has […]

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