Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Irish Soccer Players Won’t Play for Prodestan (aka Northern Ireland) – but Will Tog Out for Trapattoni’s Boys in Green – Let’s Discuss the Elephant in the Room

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Irish Soccer Players Won’t Play for Prodestan (aka Northern Ireland) – but Will Tog Out for Trapattoni’s Boys in Green – Let’s Discuss the Elephant in the Room


Protestant Christian Fundamentalists of the North of Ireland’s Bible belt. Often claim that the world is only 6000 years old. This belief is founded on the work of James Ussher. Many also believe that the Giant’s Causeway of North Antrim was formed after the biblical flood experienced by Noah in the bible. Many of the prodiban also believe that Catholics on grounds of their Popery should not be allowed the right to vote.

Followers of the Free Presbyterian Church are members of the Prodiban

Prodiban Definition


An imagined community/nation/country/province, soccer team of the Prodiban.i Under pressure because many young players are declaring their allegiance to international near-neighbour and rival team, the Republic of Ireland.


Fans of the Splintered Sunrise blog know all about Mullah Jim and the Prodiban – Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) leader Jim Allister. Mullah Jim Rallies the Prodiban Troops

That blog also features hard-to-believe-but-true stories about Ian Parsley – a party-hopping Alliance/Conservative/UCUNF/Unionist candidate who unsuccessfully sought the votes of dyslexic Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) faithful, unaware that Ian Paisley (Senior)’s name is no longer on Euro-Parliament ballot papers.

Ian (not Paisley) Parsley of North Down

Not-Paisley-Parsley did not run in the recent Stormont Assembly poll – he seems to have run out of Unionist-lite parties which will nominate him for yet another electoral defeat. Ian is now examining sporting failure on his chosen home patch – the Norn Iron soccer team is doing badly, and their prospects are darkened by the decision of a magnificent sevenBarton, Duffy, Ferguson, George, Gibson, Kearns and Wilson – to pledge their international allegiance to the Republic of Ireland team and refuse a call-up from Prodestan manager Nigel Worthington.

Many Prodestan fans like Not-Paisley-Parsley are upset about this – naturally. But Ian – to his credit – is unlike most of them in one crucial respect – he is not in denial about the reasons.

Prodestan diehards – styling themselves the “Green and White Army” – accuse the 26-County Football Association of Ireland (FAI) of practising “apartheid” by “poaching” young nationalist players born in Prodestan who don’t fancy playing home games in Belfast’s Windsor Park, headquarters of the Six-County Irish Football Association (IFA).

Not-Paisley-Parsley has spotted an Orange Elephant in the Room :

the IFA should ask itself why, suddenly, so many young NI-born-and-bred players wish to play for the FAI”s team. For all the (entirely legitimately lauded) progress made by the IFA’s Community Relations team, the fact is the Northern Ireland team does not represent Northern Ireland, but rather a British version of Northern Ireland. It may not be popular to say this, but the anthem played, the venue chosen, and some of the flags displayed all hinder the potential of the team because these locations and symbols are not representative of the entire population. A new anthem and wholehearted support for a new stadium would have greatly helped.

Some of these moves would not have been popular with NI supporters. That is where Leadership is required.”

Prodestan Team “not representative of the entire population”

Ian has made a useful start, but there is more to this problem than anthems flags and symbols – these are the visible tip of an ugly iceberg which is not hard to see, hear, or talk about. “Fenian Bastards” wearing the green jersey of Prodestan have often been victims of terrifying abuse physical violence and death threats.

What’s so special about that, an innocent soccer observer might say – after all, don’t Manchester United fans hurl dog’s abuse at Manchester City players?

True, but there is something unique about many football followers of Prodestan – they roar a special hatred at players on their own team who may not be loyal to the British Crown. The preferred Prodestan jersey is green but the supporters’ favourite flags are the red-white-and-blue Butcher’s Apron and Red Hand of “Ulster” banners proudly publicising a Unionist identity.

Early in 2011 the Celtic Manager Neil Lennon was sent bullets in the post from Prodestan.

Michael Walker, former sports editor of the Guardian (a British daily paper), is not afraid to explain. Writing in the Irish Times (January 15 2011) [Bullets for Lennon McGinn and McCourt]

The Belfast native noted that “bullets aimed for Lennon in Glasgow were intercepted at the post office in Mallusk”.

Mallusk, says Walker, is “like a combination of malice and musk” – a place that “didn’t make your heart sing Take Me Home Country Roads.”


“For a start, Mallusk is on the fringe of Belfast, out in Glengormley, and if you come from another part of the city, you’re never going to be happy with Glengormley.”

Neil Lennon played international soccer for Prodestan, was made captain of the team, but once he joined Celtic all became ugly :

Walker continues :

“Lennon is apparently guilty of gross provocation due to his choice of football club. Bertie Peacock (former Celtic player from Coleraine, 1949-1961) got off lightly, it transpires.

But then Peacock was not from Lurgan, didn’t have ginger hair and, all in all, was not a “dirty fenian bastard”, which, if we are honest, is the sectarian perception of the Celtic manager. Hence bullets for Lennon, then McGinn and McCourt.”

[Paddy McCourt and Niall McGinn are current Celtic Players who also play international soccer for Prodestan – like their manager Lennon they may not be loyal : the Scottish Daily Record reported :

“Two Celtic stars sent bullets in the post yesterday vowed to defy the bigots. Paddy McCourt and Niall McGinn said the sinister threats would not affect their football at the club.

And they said they had been encouraged by support from both sides of the religious divide. Yesterday, the Record told how bullets addressed to McCourt, 27, had been found by mail workers in Glasgow. They had been posted in Northern Ireland.

Last week, similar packages marked for McGinn, 23, and Parkhead manager Neil Lennon were found by Ulster post staff.

All three targets are Catholic and from Northern Ireland.”

Celtic Players to Defy Sectarian Thugs Over Bullet Threats]

It all started with Neil Lennon after he left Leicester City in England and joined Celtic in Scotland;

Michael Walker explains again :

“I became a sort of symbol because of my background,” he said. “I’m a nationalist and a Catholic, but I’ve never rubbed it in people’s faces. Then suddenly I’m tarred with this tag, a kind of IRA-pumpkin footballer, but I wouldn’t have played for Northern Ireland if that was the case.”

Indeed he would not have. Like Manchester United’s Darron Gibson and others, Lennon would have grown up in the Irish Football Association’s jurisdiction, then chosen to play at senior level for the Football Association of Ireland.

It is just that Lennon was born in Portadown in 1971 and those are two facts that restricted his options. So he played for Northern Ireland.”

FIFA rules are putting pressure on Prodestan – recent changes mean that even if a player togs out for Prodestan at Under 21 level or a lower age group, he can still opt for the Republic of Ireland at the higher level.ii

Norn Iron boss Nigel Worthington has tried to get around this problem by calling very young players into the full Prodestan squad, giving them a cap in a competitive fixture, thus closing the door to a future switch to the Irish team that plays its home fixtures in Dublin.

At least seven players – Barton, Duffy, Ferguson, George, Gibson, Kearns and Wilson – have said a polite but firm no to playing home games in Belfast’s Windsor Park.

Should anyone be surprised?

Michael Walker again on what it was like in the 1980’s :

“We should have known, and those old enough probably did. As I graduated from the paddock to the Spion Kop to watch as Billy Bingham (protestant) assembled a side (mixed) that would qualify for the World Cup in Spain as Bobby Sands (mixed parentage) died on hunger strike, the sheer purity of the hatred expressed towards catholics, even those on the team such as (Martin) O’Neill and Pat Jennings, was dismal.

When opposing players lay on Windsor’s turf injured the cry went up from the Kop: “Let him die, let him die, let him die.” Everyone knew the subtext and the sly smiles were plentiful.

But then Windsor Park has not got a history to boast about. The greatest Irish club side ever, Belfast Celtic (perceived as catholic, although members of my own protestant family played for them), met its demise there in 1948. The centre-forward Jimmy Jones (protestant) was dragged into the paddock where I was to stand innocently decades later and had his leg broken by angry Linfield (protestant) fans.

Basically they tried to kill Jones, a man from Lurgan, Lennon’s town. They failed in that but they got the next best thing, Belfast Celtic.

The sons and daughters of that mob will have grown up inheriting hatred of all things Celtic as a result. This is Neil Lennon’s crime/problem. It sounds so ridiculous looking at it now from England.”

The way the wind is blowing, the soccer team representing the Republic of Ireland is becoming a 32 county outfit, and that is certainly a good thing. The FAI has been mocked with some justification in the past as “Find an Irishman” because of Barack-Obama-like searches to discover distant connections with the millions of emigrants forced to leave the emerald isle over several generations. To be fair, cousins 8 times removed like the African-American White House resident may claim an Irish identity, but that does not entitle them to play for the Trapattoni’s Boys in Green! You have to be a citizen of the Irish Republic – you must be born on the island of Ireland, or be of Irish descent through your parent or grandparent.

Look at the pictures of the Irish fans cheering their team winning 2-0 in Skopje, Macedonia – opening the door to qualification for the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and the Ukraine.

Cliftonville Irish Flag in Skopje, Macedonia

The huge tricolour banner in the stands proudly declares the fans with the flag are from the Belfast Club Cliftonville. Why are they not fans of Prodestan?

Here’s a clue.

Republic of Ireland fans have earned a generally good reputation for their behaviour abroad. Prodestan faithful carry a lot of ugly baggage – for example, they and are not popular with residents living near the international headquarters of the Republic of Ireland team in Dublin’s Lansdowne Road.

Here’s why :

“RESIDENTS in South Dublin say they are “seriously concerned” over their safety ahead of Northern Ireland’s matches at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow and Friday.

Over 80 local residents staged a protest last week outside the Aviva at which they called on the FAI to put in place travel arrangements whereby Northern fans are brought right up to the stadium gates by bus.

Northern Ireland will take on the Republic tomorrow night and Wales on Friday in the Carling Nations Cup at the stadium.

Residents are concerned because boozed-up Nothern Ireland fans caused mayhem in the surrounding estates in February, with locals reporting a “dangerous” level of intimidation and anti-social behaviour.

Vans of gardai wearing riot gear were called to Bath Avenue before the clash with Scotland, after dozens of complaints were made by concerned residents “trapped” in their homes.

Hundreds of supporters were seen drinking in public from as early as 2pm with a number of fans seen urinating in gardens and verbally abusing passers-by.

In a letter sent to FAI chief executive John Delaney and stadium director Martin Murphy, the four local residents’ associations criticised the two organisations for ignoring their concerns.

“After a number of meetings where the local residents outlined their concerns it seems that it fell on deaf ears. We are calling on the FAI to consider their position and responsibilities.”

The letter continues: “We believe strongly that Northern Ireland fans should be transported by bus or train to the Stadium thus preventing the movement of these fans through our streets. If this does not happen we are calling on the FAI to cancel this match.”

A petition that gathered over 500 signatures was handed over to the director during the protest.”

Lansdowne Road Residents want Prodestan fans driven to door

A Prodestan blogger, who has published a well-written article arguing valiantly against FAI “poaching” –

Player Eligibility, Prodestan Myths and Facts

offers this small comfort to residents in the Lansdowne Road area :

“Yes there was a small element of so called supports singing party tunes in Dublin but they do not represent us. They felt the need to make themselves heard in ‘enemy territory’ and to give genuine fans a bad name in the eyes of those looking at any slight story to beat us with”.

Perhaps you think this is exaggerated Republican propaganda – here is the UTV News Report, including a youtube video of the Prodestan fans in action, and an interview with the then-Labour Party councillor for the area (now a TD) Kevin Humphries, a politician not known for his strong nationalist views

Residents of places like the Garvaghy Road in Portadown know a thing or two about excuses like this – they insist the Orange Order should not be allowed to march in their part of Ireland.

An Irish fan on the You Boys in Green site summed it up bluntly.

Question : “What players have we poached from the IFA?”

Answer : NONE.

However : “several Irishmen living in the 2/3 rds of Ulster which is under British rule have opted to play for their country”

Note :

You can sign an online petition demanding action from the Belfast-Based Irish Football Association :

Sadly, mischievous supporters of the “Boys in Green” have added a few names to this Plea for Prodestan which may not be helpful to the Norn Iron cause.

Prodestan Petition Plea

And we love this TUV party political broadcast

Defend the Giant’s Causeway

i Prodestan has a dodgy relationship with many members of the world football governing body FIFA. Wales, England, Northern Ireland and Scotland field teams in international competitions even though they are not self-governing nation-states like all other members – most in FIFA believe there should be one United Kingdom team. Scotland might solve this problem for itself in the near future by declaring independence, opening the door to a WENI [Wales England and Northern Ireland] (weenie) team in FIFA competitions.

iiThe same rules allow Derry City Striker Eamon Zayed, an Under Age International for the Republic of Ireland who won 11 Under 21 caps, to play full international football for Libya – Zayed is currently in the news because he has lodged an allegation of racial abuse against a Shamrock Rovers player after he scored in a 1-1 draw at the Tallaght Stadium in a match played on Monday June 13.

Written by tomasoflatharta

Jun 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Jim Boyce of the six-county Irish Football Association (IFA) features in the June 10-23 2011 issue of Private Eye (Nº1290).


    Good to see Jim Boyce, the new representative of the four home nations on Fifa’s depleted executive committee, breaking new ground.
    His predecessor “Silent” Geoff Thompson restrained himself from talking about corruption at Fifa for four years. Mr Thompson had stepped up after the man chosen for the job in 2007, former Scottish FA president John McBeth, made the mistake of talking about corruption and his experiences with some of Fifa’s representatives from Africa and the Caribbean. He was accused of racism by Caribbean Fifa boss jack Warner – er, now suspended over the latest allegations of corruption – and was forced to resign.

    But Mr Boyce is going one better than “Silent” Geoff. He’s speaking out. “Fifa is not corrupt” he reassured hacks in Zurich last week, addinfg that he’ll be concentrating on “building bridges” with Fifa. Surely nothing at all to do with the $100,000-plus per year, expenses and bonuses that go with the job”

    Mr Boyce defends Prodestan’s Privileged Position in Fifa :

    Football’s disunited kingdom: Only England back Team GB so can Fergie be manager?

    Read more:

    Prodestan’s man in Zurich reckons Sepp Blatter will clean up Fifa :

    And Pigs will fly, and Mr Boyce will again deplore the “small minority” of sectarian “boo-boys” in Windsor Park at a future Norn Iron international match…..


    Jun 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm

  2. I suppose you’ve heard of Gerry Armstrong? Gerry Taggart maybe? Pat Jennings? That in the mid 1990s maybe half the Northern Ireland team were from Catholic backgrounds? That An Phoblacht/Republican News supported Northern Ireland in the 1982 World Cup? Why did Paddy McCourt, who without a doubt would get in the Republic’s squad choose N.I. if they are a bunch of bigots?
    Seems to be a bit sectarian to be throwing around terms like ‘Prodestan’. The Republic of Ireland only represent 26 overwhelmingly Catholic counties offically, so why don’t you call them ‘Taigisstan’?
    As for the Republic of Ireland supporters, yes they are undeniably the greatest, funniest, best behaved, loyalist (as opposed to Loyalist) in world history. Bollocks.

    Captain Rock

    Jun 22, 2011 at 3:43 pm

  3. Players from a nationalist backgrounds have played for the NI team in the past. Why I just don’t know. May be they bottled up the fact they were representing a British province in Ireland, may be the option to play for the ROI wasn’t so clear cut or was it the NI loyalist fans rabid death threats and hatred of Neil Lennon that drove northern nationalists away? The success of the Jackie Charlton era and the GFA have also played their part in making the ROI the defacto All Ireland first team and by default, making NI a second eleven for die hard loyalists and a few northern nationalists that can’t make the grade.
    The sooner this farce of fielding two Irish international teams is over the better. The privileged position of the UK home nations within FIFA may be the price exacted in a future clean up of that ‘august’ organisation. If it sees the end of NI from ever flelding an international side then hasten the day.


    Jun 24, 2011 at 9:21 am

  4. “Neil Lennon: I want to lead Republic of Ireland”

    Read more:

    Some readers dislike the P Word – so, let us just note that Neil Lennon, in this interview, expresses no interest in managing the international soccer team that plays its home games in Belfast’s Windsor Park.

    Seems to me Lennon could be a great choice once Giovanni retires.

    We have given some thought to the 26 County equivalent of the P word, and cautiously suggest the label “WestBritestan” to the debate, in honour of the forelock-tuggers and knee-benders who currently control the Dublin Government.

    A reformed Prodestan team, sanitised to be more acceptable to players opting for the Republic of Ireland, could perthaps be called “ProdTaigestan”, inspired by tongue-twisting circumlocutions of the Peace Process such as “Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister”.


    Jun 25, 2011 at 11:03 am

  5. “Wilson rules out switching allegiance back to the North” :

    Former Shamrock Rovers Manager, the talented Michael O’Neill, is the new Northern Ireland/Prodestan gaffer, but can he stop the flood of players born in the part of Ireland controlled by the “United Kingdom” preferring to play for the Republic of Ireland?

    No change is likely :

    “MARC WILSON has told Michael O’Neill he would be wasting his time if he tried to convince the Stoke man to commit his international future to Northern Ireland.”

    Further :

    “the Antrim man says that he is staying with Ireland whatever happens this summer.

    “I have always seen myself as a Republic of Ireland player,” said Wilson, who represented the North at U-15 level before switching.

    “I supported them when I was growing up and if I have to continue to bide my time, and wait for my chance to come along, I am happy to do that.

    “The players and gaffer have done a great job there so I can’t complain about it, really. I would love to play for them though, one day, and have made that clear a number of times.

    “Hopefully, my time will come in the future.”


    Jan 12, 2012 at 11:56 am

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