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Alastair Campbell Had A Wild Old Firm Derby Idea For GFA Signing

Alastair Campbell Had A Wild Old Firm Derby Idea For GFA Signing
By Colman Stanley

It has been revealed, through recently released Cabinet Papers, that former No. 10 adviser Alistair Campbell had once proposed a quite outlandish idea for an Old Firm Derby commemorating the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr. Campbell, infamous for his work with Tony Blair during the Iraq-War, suggested that in this proposed match, Celtic and Rangers would wear each other's jerseys.

Campbell's idea was outlined in a letter dated 12 April 1998, and was addressed to Prime Minister Tony Blair, Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam, and Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar.

According to RTE, Campbell asked in the letter whether the idea was worth pursuing, but it is unclear whether he he received any response.

In the Scottish Daily Express' report, they quote Campbell from a 2017 interview with Talk Sport where he discusses the proposal.

"I remember during the peace process I thought of the idea of arranging a friendly between Rangers and Celtic and having them wearing each others' shirt. That idea lasted about five seconds!"

25 May 2005; Alastair Campbell, Media Advisor to the British and Irish Lions team. The Vale of Glamorgan Hotel, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit; Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

The letter also revealed how Campbell was planning on approaching the two teams. He claimed to have a 'direct in' with Celtic, while he suggested that Alex Ferguson could be sought to approach Rangers.

He argued that the rather remarkable proposal would, "both in terms of raising publicity for the campaign and in sending out a message, it would be very powerful."

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However, he also mentioned that "one or two of the Rangers players to my certain knowledge would have a difficulty with this."

It will come as zero surprise to anyone with even the slightest knowledge of the Cetic/Rangers rivalry and the politics of Northern Ireland and Scotland, that nothing would come of the idea.

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