Scotland v Brazil and Why we should still hate Jimmy Hill

Brazil against Scotland is a fixture with memorable providence. We went 1-0 up when we played them at the 1982 World Cup in Seville (Zico equalized fairly promptly with a spanking free-kick and the best World Cup team ever ended up winning 4-1) thanks to Dundee United’s David Narey’s wonder goal.

It is a properly great goal: Souness’s ball and Wark’s knock down are both absolutely perfect and the finish is, well, let’s talk about the finish.

So this is the goal that Jimmy Hill, in the pundit’s chair for the BBC, infamously described as a toe-poke. This is such a palpably irrelevant comment – even if it was, it’s gone into the top corner, from twenty yards, in the World Cup, against Brazil – that it would seem the best course of action would be to ignore it.

That isn’t exactly what happened though. When I first started attending Scotland matches a decade – that’s 10 years later – one of the Tartan Army’s favourite chants went:

We hate Jimmy Hill,
He’s a poof.
He’s a poof.

Someone, somewhere, even made money from this:

In 2006, the song was outlawed. I’m not going to argue the rights and wrongs of that decision here. I have written about the sensitive issue that is football’s relationship with sexuality, and my overall feeling is that this is already too hostile for a chant even as obviously tongue in cheek as this one to be permitted.

The problem is that it hasn’t really been replaced.

In my early Scotland supporting days, the Tartan Army repertoire was an extensive range of repartee. These days it is made up of pretty much one song:

We’ll be coming,
We’ll be coming,
We’ll be coming down the road.
When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army boys,
We’ll be coming down the road.

This song, as you may have noticed, is incredibly repetitive itself, without needing to be actually repeated several hundred times during every game. Admittedly, it is augmented by occasional renditions of ‘doe a deer’, which is a reasonably enjoyable chant, and the age old favourite ‘stand up if you hate England’, which isn’t really.

All three of these existed alongside the Jimmy Hill song in the late ‘nineties. Where’s the innovation?

The latter is also nationalistic at best and racist at worst. Neymar’s claims that he was racially abused during Saturday’s game are simply not true. He was booed because he was Brazil’s best player (by miles, he is superb) and because he dived and feigned injury. Howard Webb, on the other hand, was racially abused (and also folically abused).

Howard Webb: The Real Victim

It’s a side-note, and I certainly don’t want to condemn a whole fan set for the actions of a few at one game, but I have heard, at the Scotland Holland Euro 2004 playoff at Hamden, some horrendous abuse being meted out to Edgar Davids and Clarence Seedorf.

Generally, the Scotland support is superb, but let’s not pretend that players have never been abused for the colour of their skin, even if Neymar wasn’t.

The Scottish Football Association and Supporters Club are right to defend the fans at the Emirates against Neymar’s allegation. Neymar himself would have been advised to keep quiet about it too; crying wolf in the way he has done undermines the severity of the abuses suffered by the likes of Samuel Eto’o and (incredibly, by his own fans) Mario Balotelli. However, the Tartan Army as a collective needs to take a look at itself and the officials would be advised not to hide behind the fans’ innocence on this particular issue.

Does the need for so much anti-England ‘banter’ really still exist? The whole national anthem is full of it; surely that’s enough? The rest of it is nationalistic and negative and we’re better than that.

We should also be better than singing the same bloody song every three minutes. Fair enough, Jimmy Hill’s not a poof anymore, but we can still hate him; David Narey’s goal was superb and, after Saturday’s game, who knows when we’ll next score any goal against Brazil. The song wasn’t just homophobic Hill-hate; it was an understated, Scottish, homage to one of our greatest World Cup moments. The song taught kids (like me) about the explicit homophobia in football, but it also taught us about a wonderful time for Scottish football. None of our current songs do this. They should.

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1 Response to Scotland v Brazil and Why we should still hate Jimmy Hill

  1. Stuart says:

    Nice article, take a look at this article – written as a result of the claims of racist chants

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