It was British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey who, looking out at the gas lamps outside his Whitehall Office on 4th August 1914 claimed " The lights will go out all over Europe and will not be switched on again in our lifetime".
It wasn't completely true but the resulting War to End All Wars lasted 4 years with millions dead and within a decade we had another one lasting six years and then a cold war.
Last Sunday the 11 day peace of The Commonwealth Games ended in Glasgow, with record crowds at many venues including the Opening Ceremony at Celtic Park, the very exciting Rugby Sevens at Ibrox Stadium, and the athletics and Closing Ceremony at Hampden Park. Rather than the sectarian chants and songs at the Celtc and Rangers stadiums we had friendly applause and flag waving, even for athletes representing other nations than Scotland, and even for the English.
Scotland's Tartan Army that supports their navy blue heroes overseas is usually well behaved and self policed but the club supporters of The Old Firm are an embarrassment both at home and abroad. With the new Football League Season and Scottish season about to start up we can expect more segregated stadiums and vile behaviour from a few
I was at The Coach & Horses on Saturday and Sunday for a weekend of amateur football which had teams from Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund as visitors plus THE WORLD'S OLDEST DERBY :www.sheffieldfc.com. Sheffield FC v Hallam FC from another part of Sheffield. The Countrymen prevailed this time. They are the world's second oldest club, founded in 1860, three years after Sheffield FC, BUT still play at the world's oldest football ground, SANDYGATE in the leafy suburbs, 800 feet above sea level. www.hallamfc.co.uk.
Sad to see the best referee of our times retire early at only 43. HOWARD WEBB from Rotherham has refereed the 2010 World Cup Final and Champions League Final the same year and is a giant amongst his peers. He has a new job as technical director of PMGOL who manage the Premier League officials. Far too young to lose this outstanding man in the middle. Of course there has been the sick humour from Man Utd and other fans, many of whom have achieved nothing in life but a collection of old programmes and match ticket stubs, and Holland fans who suffer from bad parenting.
It was sad to see both St. Johhnstone from Perth and Aberdeen FC bow out of the Champions League preliminary round. CELTIC losers, home and away 6-1 on aggregate, get another chance after LEGIA WARSAW used an ineligable substitute in the 86th minute of the second leg when ahead 6-1 forfeied the tie. UEFA penalized the Polish club with a 0-3 away penalty. Rightfully they are appealing this judgement. Celtic do not deserve to advance.