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Alastair Campbell Had A Wild Old Firm Derby Idea To Promote Good Friday Agreement

Alastair Campbell Had A Wild Old Firm Derby Idea To Promote Good Friday Agreement
By Colman Stanley Updated
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As the people of these islands look back on the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, and the peace it has brought, it is worth remembering that sport nearly played a role in advertising the agreement.

It was revealed, through UK government cabinet papers released last year, 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 Celtic and Rangers play a friendly in Belfast to publicise the upcoming Good Friday Agreement referendum.

There was one catch: Rangers would play in a Celtic kit and Celtic would play in a Rangers kit.

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.


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!"


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."

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 Celtic/Rangers rivalry and the politics of Northern Ireland and Scotland, that nothing would come of the idea.

SEE ALSO: We Could All Learn A Lot From Patrick Kielty's Mature Approach To A United Ireland

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