July 30, 1966. Bobby Moore is lifting the Jules Rimet trophy, Denis Law is playing golf, and a young boy in Edinburgh is being taught the most important lesson of his life: no matter who England are playing, you support the other lot. If the opposition have a dodgy human rights record, or are cruel to wasps, or can't even be located on a large-format map - too bad. You support the other lot.
Forty years on, and Aidan Smith has done a pretty good job of supporting the other lot. But these days he should be old enough, and ugly enough, to be above petty, playground-formed sporting squabbles. Besides, the World Cup is coming, Scotland haven't made it, and he's about to marry an Englishwoman. Maybe it's a sign. But can a Scotsman ever cheer for 'Ingerland'?
In Union Jock, Aidan Smith investigates the age-old England-Scotland emnity, both on and off the football field. The Scots may have suffered at the hands of the Auld Enemy for centuries - Braveheart, Culloden, Jimmy Hill calling David Narey's goal a "toe-poke" (against Brazil in the 1982 World Cup, top right-hand corner) - but now they're a nation on the rise, with a spanking new parliament to prove it. But what do the fans, players, politicians, and Sassenach invaders really think about their English neighbours? Would supporting England be a denial of their Scottishness?
Join Aidan Smith on his quest to put an end to centuries of not-so-friendly rivalry. That's if the Scots don't get him first. Or the English.