25 years ago, Scotland were due to play a World Cup qualification game against Belarus on the day of Princess Diana’s funeral. The SFA, then run by chief exec Jim Farry, the same man who was eventually removed from office for delaying Celtic’s registration of Jorge Cadete, decided the game should proceed as planned.
Whatever you think of Farry, he acted without concern for the royalist contingent. Despite the SFA’s offices being vandalised and Scottish Secretary, Donald Dewer, applying political pressure, Farry dug in: ”We have taken heed of the various viewpoints, but let’s be reasonable about this, life does and must go on.”
He did not act alone, the SFA International Committee were involved, and they included Celtic’s Jack McGinn, and the Greatest Football Administrator the world has ever known, Campbell Ogilvie! This was a strange time in Britain, maybe the strangest few weeks of the last century.
Royalists were split between backers of the self-styled Queen of Hearts (honestly), and those in the minority, who sided with the actual Queen. The Queen, a bit like Farry, held out as long as she could against the indulgent wallowing infecting millions, by resisting calls to lower flags to half-mast.
Before the end of the week, royal flags were lowered and the Scotland game was postponed. Those of us who never took an interest in royalty were often heard saying “Let’s be reasonable about this”, but were largely ignored.