Saturday, September 20, 2008

Scottish football

Rangers are playing Motherwell this weekend, in a game at Ibrox being marked by the fans as "Ulster Day" to commemorate the players from Ulster that have worn the famous blue shirt over the years. I am sure that sections of the Scottish media will go buck daft at the sight of the evil flag of Northern Ireland being flown at Ibrox by the thousand.

Anyway, in 1599, King James VI of Scotland wrote his Basilicon Doron, Book III. In it he warned his son to avoid "...all rough and violent exercises, as the football...". When he became King James I of England in 1603, he soon after commissioned his own translation of the Bible in order to replace the Geneva Bible.

I wonder what King James thought around 1620 when he found out that his old pal Hugh Montgomery had given personalised Geneva Bibles* to all of the churches he had built in his Co Down settlement estates, and installed a football pitch** in front of the "classics school" he had built in Newtownards? The school's first headmaster was John McClelland of Kirkcudbright. It was said of him that "...He was a most streight and zealous man; he knew not what it was to be afraid in the cause of God, and was early acquainted with God and his ways..."

Funny enough, an Ulsterman called John McClelland was Rangers captain during the early 80s. But I wonder how many of those Rangers fans will be reading from any version of the Bible tomorrow, whether the Geneva Bible, the King James Version or some other?


* "...furnishing all those six houses of God (Newtownards, Comber, Greyabbey, Donaghadee, Kilmore & Portpatrick) with large Bibles, of the new translation, and printed Ao. 1603... which hath his Lordship's coat of arms, as Laird of Braidstane, stamped on the cover with leaf
gold..." from The Montgomery Manuscripts p 124/125

** "...built a great school at Newtown... allowing the scholars a green for recreation at golf, football, and archery..." from The Montgomery Manuscripts p 126


John Killian said...

My son and I have linked together our support for the Rangers with our Ulster heritage and our Protestant convictions. We particularly celebrated when the Rangers defeated the dreaded Celtic. Follow, follow!

Mark Thompson said...

John, I hope you've seen an earlier post of the various football chants and crowd songs which have developed from old gospel Hymns:

Follow Follow indeed!