I’ve got a dirty little secret. All right I’ve got more than one. But this isn’t anything to do with breaking in to zoo enclosures in the dead of night, sneaking up on zebras and letting their haunches feel the weight of my hand. This one is even more shameful. Sickening.

When I watch England play cricket I actually want them to win.

I’ve wrestled with it in my mind, tried to reason it away and twist logic in a similar way to a Catholic friend of mine who after an evening’s frivolities with a prostitute pointed to Mary Magdalene’s important character-defining role in The Last Temptation of Christ.

It’s nothing to feel dirty about, you tell yourself. It’s the English and Wales Board – albeit the W somehow mysteriously got dropped from the acronym along the way. We don’t yet have Test accreditation. Scots can play for the England Test team because of laissez-faire international cricket rules that say residency is basically enough. Two England captains in the past have been Scottish and, anyway, the team is currently chock-full of blokes from Zimbabwe and South Africa.

But then general goodwill became something else. It got taken to a whole new level. There I was, watching the start of the last day of the Second Ashes Test, the match and the plot finely poised. Freddie was ripping into the Aussies, looking like some kind of possessed dairy farmer. He steams in again, tempting Brad Haddin into a vital edge for the morning’s crucial breakthrough wicket. And there I was punching the air with both fists.

I stopped and looked down at myself in horror. I hadn’t felt so ashamed of my hands since that whole misunderstanding with the emu puppet. I quickly hid them behind my back and felt a deep shame.

Can it ever be acceptable for a Scot to support England? And if so should you ever admit to it in a column?

You grow up watching En-ger-land on the sporting field with the bile steadily building in the back of your throat over the years. By the time you’re a supposedly rational-thinking adult the distaste has taken on social cleansing proportions.

One of your good friends may be English, a stand-up guy, you don’t even consider the nationality issue. But experience them in a pub, in front of their glory boys, all cocksure and reeking of empire. And you’d happily lop off their heads with a stick. They hideously change in front of you like a bad acid trip. But then just like the old microdots, isn’t it really more to do with your own mind, your own insecurities?

When you move abroad it’s a chance to get some perspective. The petty hatred that you spent so much of your life feeding upon all seems slightly embarrassing. For a race that’s achieved so much we end up complaining about our next door neighbours a hell of a lot.

And you realise that people the world over, whatever nationality, can be filed into fairly similar distinct categories. The good, the bad and the c*nts.

That’s why by the time it all gets round to Edgbaston I won’t be sitting on my hands, ashamed of my Freddie love. I’ll be hating the Aussies that live and work around me instead. Cause I ain’t got no perspective about them yet.


  1. Some people hate the English, but I don’t. They’re just wankers. We, on the other hand, are colonized by wankers. We can’t even pick a decent culture to be colonized by.

  2. Wee Secret, I’ve been in the US 10 years. In the 2006 German World Cup I was totally supporting the US National team. I put this down to two things 1. I’ve been here for ages and the US Soccer pundits/American’s in general don’t even bother about the game and those that do have nothing like the Anglo arrongance of the Beeb et al that we’ve all come to despise. They expect second round at best and get right into it as only Americans can 2. We never qualify for anything anymore. I will see you in South Africa in my uncle Sam top hat (hope I am also packing a c u Jimmy bunnet but we’ll see). I don’t fault the Wee Man for hating the Aussie Sporting arrogance – but you’d feel the same way about English as you imply if still in London.

  3. I dont think the wee man hates the Aussies or the English. I could be wrong obviously but I think his point is that there are wankers everywhere.

  4. And in all seriousness if we can get over blaming everything on the English (who are not all wankers), and realise that we as Scots are capable of fucking anything by ourselves, then maybe we’ll finally find the confidence to be that nation again.

  5. I think if it’s ok to like English music, it is ok to like English cricket. Some people think Radiohead are w$%kers but I’m Scottish and I think they are amazing. Doesnt bother me where they are from.

  6. Firstly, Radiohead are wankers. That’s all fine, for you, Wee Man, to discover your man-love for stinky English from a safe distance of 10,000 miles. But where’s loyalty to the adopted home fit in? Sure, drink our fantastic Aussie beer, like VB, eat Aussie kangaroo steaks, earn Aussie dollars working with GREAT Aussie colleagues, drive on the first-class Aussie roads along with the terrific LYCRA CYCLISTS and let your mates fraternize with our AUSSIE PROSTITUTES (Asian or Eastern European heritage notwithstanding) … but you can’t get behind NATHAN HAURITZ and the boys? FOR SHAME.

  7. I have an awful secret too….I was born in England!! Raised in Scotland by Scottish parents then went to school in England after my mum remarried. Until I went to school (as a 13 yr old) down there I was ambivalent about England (except when they played Scotland of course). But due to the abuse I received at school I grew to hate the English (hard as I love my English stepdad). This was mainly due to a sadistic PE teacher who constantly referred to me as ‘The Fat Jock’. It was the 70’s!!
    I’ve since realised that I can’t despise a country’s sporting prowess due to one arsehole….but I do!!
    That said my stepdad has been on the receiving end of abuse since we returned in 1979. All ‘joking’ of course.

  8. Dear Wee Man,

    I am a Scottish lass married to a wanker. I struggle to leave the house because I am so embarrassed by the twat. So much so that I moved to Melbourne, Australia in the hope that the good ol’ aussies wouldn’t know any better…they do..they think he is a twat too. Hence for your predicament I suggest you buy a bottle of Talisker and visit Agnes the zebra quickly.

    Yours sincerely

    Scottish Lass

  9. Dear Wee Man,

    I am married to the Scottish Lass. May I pass on my sincere apologies for her outburst. I have since locked her up in the airing cupboard.

    I read your article with interest. Being a wanker and having lived in Scotland most of my life I can honestly say that sassenachs are joint second in the all-time list of country-wide wankers. No 1 is South Africans. England is joint second with Australia. I know because I lived in all these countries.

    And yet the England cricket team does resonsate strangely with Scottish people. I think its because England invented the game, have played it for centuries, the only other countries who play it are colonised by the empire and yet England are shite. I think Scotland empathise with them – strange I know.

    Anyway I can hear my wife shouting – better let her out – although I’ll be wielding a cricket bat.

    Yours sincerely

    Scottish Lass’ Husband

    P.S. – By the way I quite often like to dress up as a zebra on Saturday night.

  10. first time i’ve visited this site, so bear with me if i’ve missed something here. I think i’d be right in assuming wee man is a scot who lives in australia? if so, then we’re in the same boat…but that’s as far as it goes. Support England?? Seriously? I remember one year to the MCG for the Ashes test wearing a scotland top and the guys beside me (aussies) said to me i must be following the poms (yes, theycan be ignorant). No chance and i do find irrational hatred of England, well, irrational. i wouldn’t support england in anything although i’m always torn when they play south africa in anything. wee man support your adopted country(if playing scotland then excused. Hey, at least you’ll have a team to follow in 2010 world cup…or are you such a sad bastard that you’ll be following the “three lions”? f&*k that.

  11. Cheers for the comments folks. All opinions welcome here. By the way, there is a great new Scottish band touring in Australia right now called Dananananaykroyd. Check out ‘This Weeks Gigs with Vic Galloway’ for more details.

  12. I’m sick of free-loading immigrants blowing into our country and refusing to adopt our customs and our culture. If the Australian cricket team and our native zoo animals, such as a big juicy wombat, aren’t good enough for you, Wee Man, sling your hook.

  13. I have a similar predicament to the Wee Man (the Scot living in Oz but supporting England at cricket part, rather than the zebra fetish). But somehow supporting their cricket team is different to supporting them at football or rugby. Maybe it’s because with cricket they’re almost Scottish…

    1) They’re not very good
    2) (Pieterson aside) there’s little arrogance in the ranks and,
    3) Decades on, they still cling to their fleeting moments of glory (Botham & Willis in ‘81 to our Archie Gemmill in ‘78).

    For the same reason, I also find myself wanting the Socceroos to win.

  14. I also have dark secret that doesn’t involve zebra rape.

    Once upon a time I lived in England. I enjoyed living there and still think the country is a decent place and is our closest cultural “pal”.

    I was (relatively) young and impressionable at the time and thought it would be best to show off my “big mindedness” by at least wishing the English football team well at some tournament or other. It seemed the rational thing to do.

    But my inner feelings could not be contained when Germany popped one past them in extra time; I was jumping up and down and cheering like a crazed loon. I quickly retired home to avoid the violence on the streets but from that point on have realised that there’s no point fighting it. It’s a rivalry and nothing else. Get it up them. We’ll beat them in the final in 2010. In extra time. With a dodgy handball. You heard it here first.

  15. Ah black and white. It’s so refreshing to be in an environment where not only can we discuss supporting former foes like gentlemen but also tolerate and even encourage the use of crippling puns. How civalised.

  16. Of course it’s alright for the Scots to support the english. What do you think the north sea oil revenue has been doing since the sixties.

  17. I was at a BBQ last weekend in NYC and I met a nice chap from England. He said he thought English people were wankers and I told him the Scots generally shared this opinion. But in a funny way, I wish he hadn’t told me that, takes the fun out of it if they agree with you.

  18. Well my wife is English but I could never ever want them to win at anything and she feels the same. I don’t want it because that’s always been the way, she doesn’t want it because she “can’t be doing with the way they go on.”

  19. A Scot watching cricket, is that wise sir? Before you know where you are you will be drinking crappy beer and eating a jeelied eel piece.

  20. The late great Jimmy Reid was known to watch the English play cricket, and of course Mike Denness was born in Paisley.

  21. I am a glaswegian born and bred and used to loathe the English
    Teams in any competition mainly because of the arrogance
    shown by the English media, but I have recently been converted
    by the English Women’s Cricket Team captained by the amazing
    Charlotte Edwards who have won back to back ashes as I
    write this. I still don’t like the men very much especially KP who
    is a self interested arrogant South African who is disliked in SA
    and here by most people.