Football

Best Questions Use Of 'God Save The Queen' For Northern Ireland Teams

Best Questions Use Of 'God Save The Queen' For Northern Ireland Teams

Rory Best believes that as a national anthem for Northern Ireland football teams, God Save The Queen is "not very inclusive".

The former Ireland rugby captain was speaking on UTV documentary Game Of Two Halves which aired on Tuesday. Best, who comes from a Protestant background, said he considers himself to be from Northern Ireland, that his passport says he's British, but that he always wanted to play rugby for Ireland.

"You could liken it to the way Irish rugby was pre-Ireland's Call," said Best.

"For me, it's potentially not the way an anthem should be. I understand that God Save The Queen is Northern Ireland's anthem because we're part of the United Kingdom.

"It also always strikes a chord with me that's what you hear when you're in Twickenham, and you're getting ready to play England.

"You don't want to say that you find it strange because it is the anthem of Northern Ireland, but in terms of everything that I've done in sport, it's been about including people. It's not very inclusive."

Regarding the use of Ireland's Call as the Irish rugby team's anthem, Best said: "It could be the worst song in the world, but it's about respect, and it's about making sure that no matter where you are from that there is a part of you in that song, there's an area that you're from in that song, and all that comes together to form Irish rugby."

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Football agent Gerry Carlile suggested that playing both God Save The Queen and Amhrán na bhFiann should be an option. IFA CEO Patrick Nelson said, "That's not something we've ever considered".

Actor Jimmy Nesbitt said if it was up to him, God Save The Queen, would not be played prior to Northern Ireland games.

"You could play The Undertones, or you could play Van Morrison." said Nesbitt.

"Play something that we're proud of. Play something that all of us like. If we had the equivalent of You'll Never Walk Alone, something like that rather than something that's about nationalism. Wearing the shirt is nationalist enough."

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Northern Ireland captain Marissa Callaghan has played in games against England where just one anthem is required.

"You know it’s quite sad," she said.

"Northern Ireland don’t really have their own identity. As a Catholic player, unfortunately I don’t get that experience of standing tall and singing the anthem as loud as you can."

Former Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill believes that the anthem put his teams at a "disadvantage" in games.

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PJ Browne
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