Football clubs and politics

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Gorgiewave
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Football clubs and politics

Post by Gorgiewave » Fri Apr 03, 2015 7:44 pm

Last summer Hearts released a statement to complain about the use of the club crest in a "Yes Scotland" poster that some people were showing at the Hibs game in August.
I wonder, then, has any club ever explicitly endorsed a political party, candidate or vote in a referendum?

I know Rangers and Celtic have well-known "cultural" links, but did Rangers ever endorse Carson, for example?

I'm not asking in order to enter into the merits or demerits of any endorsements, just out of curiosity.

I know of "Dundee United supporters for independence" but I know of no connection to the club itself.
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Re: Football clubs and politics

Post by Rob R » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:35 am

I noticed today, watching the St Mirren v Celtic game , the trackside hoardings had SNP advertising, but that could be a purely commercial decision by St Mirren to have it there.

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Re: Football clubs and politics

Post by Scottish » Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:45 am

I've seen advertising hoardings at many grounds. Usually it's the local MP or MSP. They don't specifically mention party but the ads are in party colours. Only party-specific ones I've seen are SNP in senior football & Labour in juniors. Also some trade unions in non-league. Whitehawk, near me, for instance play in GMB sponsored shirts.

If they've been paid for then up to clubs to decide whether or not to accept cash and display but in general it's a bad idea for any club - even ones as firmly associated with particular ideologies/religions like the OF to express/endorse views as this would inevitably lead to alienation of sections of their support.

Of course that's not to say that managers, players, club officials can't express their views. Many have done and many will continue to do so. They have as much right to do so as anyone else as long as it's clear they're not speaking with the authority of their club.

During the referendum campaign a number of attempts were made to politicise football matches, chiefly it has to be said by the "YES" side, with groups such as you describe above, as well as showing "YES" placards in the 18th minute (for the date of the vote) on the weekend preceding the ballot. I have no idea how successful this was.

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Re: Football clubs and politics

Post by Scottish » Sat Apr 04, 2015 2:00 am

Going a long way back, Thomas Gibson-Poole, Mayor of Middlesbrough and Boro chairman was Tory candidate for Middlesbrough in the second election of 1910. He tried to arrange to bribe Sunderland in a game shortly before the election, thinking this would help his chances of success, and instructed his manager, Andy Walker, the ex-Airdrie boss, to arrange things. The bribery attempt was rebuffed and Sunderland skipper Charlie Thomson reported it to his club. Boro won 1-0 anyway and Gibson-Poole lost the election.

Sunderland reported both him and Walker to the FA. They were both banned from football for life. Gibson-Poole had always been a dodgy character. He broke the £1,000 barrier in signing Alf Common and within weeks of Walker's appointment the manager was suspended for four weeks and fined £100 for illegal approaches to Airdrie.

12,500 Boro fans signed a petition demanding Walker's re-instatement on the grounds he was only following orders but the FA rejected it.

Neither worked in football again.

Skyline Drifter
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Re: Football clubs and politics

Post by Skyline Drifter » Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:11 am

I dont think football clubs generally can afford to be choosy when commercial income is available. At QoS both Yes Scotland and Better Together paid to display banners in the early part of the season (they wete hung side by side). The Labour Party have a paid for hoarding. Its not a candidate one, it just says Scottish Labour on it. The local Labour and Conservative parties both enter our shirt sponsorshop draw every year (the Tories won 3rd prize last year).

In fact during our televised Scottish Cup match v Fallirk this season some clown actually rang up while the match was in progress to say he had spotted the Labour Party hoarding and as political advertising is illegal he would be reporting us to the SFA! It isnt illegal domestically incidentally, but UEFA have rules against it.

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Re: Football clubs and politics

Post by Scottish » Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:16 pm

Skyline Drifter wrote:I dont think football clubs generally can afford to be choosy when commercial income is available. At QoS both Yes Scotland and Better Together paid to display banners in the early part of the season (they wete hung side by side).
I am surprised some mischief-maker didn't take the opportunity to hang one labelled "we are" between them!

I should have made my point about MPs/MSPs ads without party labels clearer. In these instances I believe they can be paid for out of their allowances for constituency communications, thus enabling their local parties to avoid expenditure even though party colours are used and most people will know which party their representative is a member of.

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Re: Football clubs and politics

Post by lbb » Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:41 pm

Image

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Re: Football clubs and politics

Post by lbb » Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:45 pm

I've read several sources (Bill Murray's books, the occasional demented letter writer to the Herald, etc) claim that Willie Waddell had Rangers 'officially' back the No vote in the 1979 devolution referendum. I'm not sure whether this is an urban legend or Waddell's own opinion which was misunderstood as official club policy. (Donald Findlay publicly backed the No vote in the 1997 devolution referendum but I don't think anyone misunderstood this as an official endorsement from Rangers - Findlay having another, more notable, job, in any case.)

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Re: Football clubs and politics

Post by Scottish » Mon Apr 06, 2015 1:07 am

Those were individuals of course and as I indicated above, any footballers, any sports person or indeed anyone in the public eye is perfectly entitled to express their views as long as they don't proclaim to be speaking on behalf of a club or institution (always presuming of course that they aren't). I can't imagine Waddell or anyone else doing so and you'd have to have been living as a hermit to be unaware of Donald Findlay's views.

Some players have always expressed their opinions and often forthrightly. As far back as the early 1970s I recall Alex Ferguson (Labour), Donald Ford (Tory) & John Lambie (SNP) as three specific examples. None would have claimed to have spoken for their clubs. Others - Jock Stein for instance was a strong Labour supporter - kept their views very much off the public record, aware of the controversy it might cause. Ally McLeod (SNP) tried to do the same but Ally being Ally this wasn't always possible.

South of the border Terry Paine was a Tory councillor though I can't recall if this was during or after his playing career. Brian Clough of course several times mused openly about becoming a Labour MP and more recently Sol Campbell has expressed an interest in seeking the Tory candidacy for Mayor of London. Denis Howell, the first ever Minister for Sport in Harold Wilson's first government in 1964, was a former referee.

Somewhere at the back of my mind is a recollection of the England squad being asked their views during the 1983 general election with all being Tories to a man bar Liberal supporting Glenn Hoddle.

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Re: Football clubs and politics

Post by Sat31March1928 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 3:14 pm

There is a picture of Wallace Mercer with John Major at the time of the 1992 general election.
Jackson; James; Jackson; James; Jackson

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Re: Football clubs and politics

Post by Scottish » Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:08 pm

scottish wrote: Somewhere at the back of my mind is a recollection of the England squad being asked their views during the 1983 general election with all being Tories to a man bar Liberal supporting Glenn Hoddle.
IIRC this survey was carried out by The Sun in a supposedly serious response to their earlier 'Mystic Meg' article which showed Henry VIII & Elizabeth I voting Tory and Joe Stalin plumping for Labour. Alas, Herr Hitler was apparently unavailable for comment.

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