Tuesday, 19 November 2013


A hearty congratulations - and a welcome aboard - to Gibraltar who tonight play their first international game against Slovakia tonight. 

There will be plenty who argue they shouldn't have a place in the international footballing world. That a country with a population smaller Whitstable (or, for Scottish readers, a population slightly higher than that of Wishaw). These people neither know nor care for the game and do not understand why international football matters (the link takes you to my defence of San Marino). Today of all days they should be ignored.

Let the sniping await for another day. Tonight, Gibraltar enters the footballing world properly. Their fans will drive a four hour trip each way crossing two international borders to watch a home game (four hours not including tailbacks at the border due to Spain's increasingly desperate attempts to focus their own population's ire on anything bar how dismally the country has been administered for many a long year). They will watch their own countrymen trot out to play Slovakia and they will, like all British national teams, soon realise that we aren't as good as we think we are and have a few pints to nurse that sinking feeling.

Longer term little Gibraltarian boys can now realise the dream of playing for their own country at international level. They might get thumped routinely but, at least, they'll be getting thumped playing for their country. That is to be cherished. That really is what it is all about.

Indeed, Danny Higginbotham is right 'In the end, it's to enjoy the experience'. Too often we forget that. We forget that football is about rather more than the winners. The system, after all, doesn't work without the minnows.

As a bit of celebration why not enjoy this video of the most famous Gibraltarian footballer doing his stuff. No, not Danny Higginbotham (though kudos for getting a first international cap at the age of 34*). I am talking, of course, about FA Cup legend, Tim Buzaglo.


*I'm a little annoyed Higginbotham has nicked my Dave Gorman style idea (outlined here and here). Still, well done that man.


TomJ said...

If the dream of emulating Higginbotham is still alive, I note that most of the rugby squad listed on wikipedia for Malta GC play for British clubs, and I've played with a Maltese international in Lincolnshire...

Rob Marrs said...

My wife is of Maltese extraction. Is the dream alive? Maybe!