Here’s a lovely little story, how Derry City FC plays in the Irish – as opposed to Northern Irish – league and so will always be playing in Europe. OK, so there’s that horrible conflation of the European Union with Europe but still. It’s an interesting example of the British way and a useful response to all that monstrosity about backstops, hard borders and all the rest.
In the world of sport, Brexit, backstops and borders may not be foremost in the thoughts of fans. That sport and politics should not mix is after all, an oft repeated phrase. But for Derry City Football Club, this year celebrating 90 years since its first competitive match, Brexit puts the club in a unique position. When Brexit happens, the Candystripes become the only UK-based club competing in a league within the European Union.
Even the name of the club is a bit of a compromise. They deliberately didn’t take the older name when the club was set up – Derry Celtic – nor did they call themselves Londonderry City FC. Both decisions being to be inclusive. Or as we might say, to maximise the potential number of fans and thus money by not being too obviously Catholic or Protestant.
But think on what the European response to the whole Irish border issue is. We want documents, we want jots tittled, we want everything written down. The British way? Hmm, that’s a bit of an oddity there but no harm done, eh? Actually, the British way is that the government’s got sod all to do with this. Can’t help thinking that the world would work rather better if that were a more general attitude too.
And in fact that’s what Brexit is about. Being free of the European Union having damn all to do with anything.