British football team at Beijing 08

saw this article in the SoS this morning unfotunately it didn't have the fetching photo of Fletcher & rooney in Team GB rig in it the paper did:

Sun 17 Jul 2005

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GB team could be in place for 2008


"A BRITISH football team could take part in the Olympic Games as early as Beijing 2008, a leading figure in the English game claimed last night.

The prediction by Sir Trevor Brooking, the English FA's director of football development, has outraged opponents of the idea, who claim it would lead to Scotland disappearing forever from international football.

Brooking told Scotland on Sunday he is launching a campaign for a UK team to play in the Olympics, and that the FA's executive director, David Davies, will try to do a deal with the Scottish, Welsh and Irish associations.

The home countries are presently excluded from playing football at the games, which only accept truly national teams. Under present rules, members must be under-23, with three players over that age restriction permitted, and can be chosen from the professional or amateur ranks.

Brooking is the most senior member of the English FA to openly back a UK team and to predict such an early date for setting one up.

But the suggestion has horrified the Scottish FA and the Tartan Army, who fear a UK team would kill off Scotland's footballing identity and lead to the exclusion of Scottish clubs from European fixtures such as the Uefa Champions League.

However, Brooking, the former England and West Ham midfielder, believes the UK must field a football team at the London Olympic Games in 2012, if not for Beijing.

Brooking said: "I can definitely see a Great Britain football team at the Olympics. It is a sensitive issue, but David Davies is going lead that discussion with the other associations.

"Scotland have come out and said they don't want it but we would like everyone to be involved. It's up to us to move the agenda along. It is going to be a massive era for British sport and for football not to play a part will be a lost opportunity.

"We would like to select a strong team because taking part in a football match in a London Olympics would become a great memory of the Games. We would get an unbelievably strong support from the public."

He added: "It would be good if we could get something sorted out with a view to Beijing because that will be a strong line-up for the football tournament."

The football authorities north of the Border have always opposed to any talk of a Team GB. They worry that other countries, jealous of the fact that the UK "gets four chances" in international tournaments by fielding teams from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, would cite the Olympics as proof that the separate UK teams should be scrapped.

Of equal concern to critics is the fact UK sides all get lucrative places in European club competitions. Scottish clubs are able to enter the Champions League and Uefa Cup, which can earn them millions of pounds.

As many top international football names are attracted to clubs such as Rangers and Celtic by the guarantee of European soccer each season, there are concerns that any move to a UK team would weaken the argument for Scottish clubs having places in European fixtures and lead to cash draining away.

A spokeswoman for the SFA said: "We oppose anything which would threaten the identity of Scottish football. We would not be interested in this at all. And the fans are totally against this too."

Scotland and Manchester United legend, Joe Jordan, said: "It's a non-starter and there's not even any point talking about it. I think it goes deeper than just picking a team."

Former Scotland and Leeds United defender, Gordon McQueen, added: "When I was little my aim was to play for Scotland. We dreamed of beating the English, not playing in the same team as them. I really don't think it would capture the imagination."

But not all Scots are opposed to the Team GB plan. Former Scotland captain Colin Hendry has backed the idea in the past. He said: "I think it would be a good idea, but only for the Olympics. I wouldn't want it for the other competitions."

Hamish Husband, the spokesman for the Association of Tartan Army Clubs, said: "We are opposed. I support British athletes at the Olympics, but football is different. Football is tribal. We would never support a British football team, not even if there were 11 Scots in the team, not if there was just one.

"If they played a Team GB game at Hampden I don't think any Scots would turn up. If it were Britain versus Brazil, I'd support Brazil. It's not anti anyone. It's just football."

Despite that, the Scottish Executive has already backed the idea of a UK football team for the Olympics, provided Scotland's independence as a footballing nation would not be placed in jeopardy.

A spokesman for the First Minister said Jack McConnell's view on the subject had not changed as a result of Brooking's comments."

does anyone think this teams a starter??
Why not we could have from the Scotland team um well lets move onto Wales we could pick um ooh err, well from Northern Ireland we could have George Best oh no he's retired and drunk, oh well lets just have England represent GB then shall we.
Such teams events have no part in the Olympics anyway, and there's no way we should enter a GB team. Unless ......... it's our Parliamentary team.

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