England band’s ‘selective hearing’ over anti-IRA chants


There has been much furore over the anti-IRA chanting and offensive singing that came from the England supporters during Scotland’s 3-1 defeat to England at Celtic Park on Tuesday night.

But it seems the official England supporters band are claiming they knew nothing about the 5,000 supporters singing F**k the IRA while they played along to the tune.

The leader of the band, John Hemmingham, said: “We were absolutely not aware of it. All the fans around us were singing ‘Follow England Away’. It was only when a band member saw on twitter that some people were saying we were playing anti-IRA songs that we became aware. Then we immediately stopped and played something else.”

Hemingham’s version of events seem to be in direct conflict to reports that the English FA pulled the band up at half time, warning them not to play along to the anti-IRA chants.

He added: “If anyone was offended by what was happening, then obviously we are not very happy about that. The FA have apologised and we would go along with that if anyone was offended.

“It’s been reported they [FA] contacted us and told us, but the reality is that we contacted them and said ‘We have been made aware of this’. Rest assured, we will drown it out in the second half, we will play something else in the second half, and that’s exactly what happened.”

I have selective hearing as my wife would testify too, but not when 5,000 fans are singing the same tune at the top of their lungs. I would advise Hemingham and the rest of the band to consult their GP for an ear examination – maybe a build up of wax prevented them hearing clearly.


About Author


Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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