by Patrick O’Connor
‘WHO are ya?’ is a popular football mantra, usually followed by ‘We are super…’, depending on which particular team you support.
But the 2012 Olympics has thrown up a particular challenge for those who like to chant.
It will be the first time since 1960 than a team made up of players from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will compete in the competition as a United Kingdom side.
The football associations of the last three countries don’t want anything to do with a UK team, fearing it may put their national sides’ independence at stake, but will not stop their players from taking part if they are chosen.
However this poses a real puzzler for supporters who are used to celebrating their rivalries between the four teams and have their own banners and songs, not to mention national anthems.
It remains to be seen how they will react although the make-up of the team could have some impact. If there is a majority of English players in the side, fans from the other countries may not be all that bothered.
Perhaps former Scottish international Pat Nevin summed it up when he said: “The crowds who go to watch them won’t be the sort of fans who go along week in week out to see Motherwell versus Aberdeen with their scarves.
“They’ll be people who want to see the Olympics – which is fine. But I suspect most core football supporters will shrug their shoulders and go, ‘So what, it’s only an under-23s tournament.’”
The Olympic tournament is undergoing a troubled time when it comes to ticket allocation.
Cycling gold medallist Bradley Wiggins has slammed the system as a “shambles.’
He told BBC Sport: “It’s a shame when you know what works so successfully in other Olympic Games, certainly Athens, that they couldn’t implement those ticket systems here.”
Despite the Games being held close to where Wiggins grew up in London, he says many of his family are unlikely to be able to attend as they were unsuccessful in the first stage of the ticket process.
Oh dear, talk about an own goal!
Local council officials in York have held their hands up after a fence was built through the middle of football goalposts in a park in the city.
The new £6,000 fence was erected before £37,000 worth of new play equipment is phased in at the park over the next few weeks.
Dave Meigh, City of York Council’s head of parks and open spaces, said the council had asked contractors to “resolve the issue as a matter of urgency and can only apologise for the error”.
That was the message from Terry Skiverton, manager of English League One football club Yeovil Town.
Skiverton asks fans via the social networking site to send him suggestions of possible transfer targets.
And following the signing of former Everton striker Kieran Agard, Skiverton told BBC Somerset: “I’ll be retweeting the ones that came up with the name Kieran Agard. There’s a couple of people who had mentioned him, so they’ll be taking the credit.”
He added: “What I didn’t realise was other supporters from other clubs had jumped on the bandwagon. I’ve had supporters from Liverpool, Man Utd, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Championship clubs like Cardiff, all telling me about their best youngsters and players are available on loan.”
It’s been hard to work out who has been the subject of most hype over the last few days, tennis player Andy Murray or the new Chelsea football manager Andre Villas-Boas. Both have immense challenges ahead of them.
After the first week of the Wimbledon championships, Murray is the only British player left and the media are whipping themselves up into a frenzy speculating over whether he can win the tournament.
Chelsea had to pay Portuguese side Porto £13.3m to realise Villas-Boas from his contract.
For that amount of money, owner Roman Abramovich will be expecting him to win every single trophy going.
Good luck lads!