I decided recently to sign up for a Northern Irish football forum. Why? Because I was interested to see what they were saying on the James McClean twitter stuff. I LIKE LURKING FORUMS OK, don't judge.
The one I found from google was called "our wee country", all posts weren't viewable by default so I registered an account.
During registration it asked me where I was from from a list of NI, ROI, England, Scotland or other. I picked ROI
They asked me to wait for an administrator to approve my account, I waited a week and nothing. Eventually I couldn't log in, the administrator had apparently rejected and deleted my account.
I made another using a northern Irish proxy and lied that I was from NI, this one was approved. And what I see there, my gosh the bitterness, bile and hatred would put even the After Hours hardcore to shame.
Just some examples.
-> They refer to the club "Derry City" as "Londonderry City". That isn't its name.
-> In discussion of an article involving a poor lad getting beaten up in Derry for wearing a NI shirt their collective response to the article is complaining that the media didn't report this enough but report Loyalist led violence a lot. Strangely I didn't see any discussion of loyalist violence in 3 years worth of threads.
-> In a thread advertising an RTE program on football the spend its duration ranting about how RTE supposedly is the broadcaster for the "free state" but continuously ignores the 6 counties. On the 5th and last page one guy asks "so did anyone watch it?", to which there was no reply.
-> Language is seemingly a big thing, in a lengthy and non-political thread about the recent world cup bid a nationalist slips a reference to Ireland and NI as "both Irish countries" to which the thread was derailed with much disapprovement and political rebuttal to his utterance. The guy defended it as his beliefs, he was seemingly banned.
-> The forum claims to welcome NI fans of any background yet it one of its forum categories for Scottish/English football is entitled "the mainland".
-> Their description for the "other sport" forum is "Rugby, Cricket even GAA!". Why "even" GAA?
-> They describe NI born players who play for the republic as "defecting". I guess the GFA never happened.
-> On Darron Gibson closing his twitter account 2 hours after creating it, one of them admits to being responsible for deluging him with abuse. He is promptly congratulated by the rest of them.
Sorry if I'm not explaining it well but for a sporting website the serious cynical and political tone was a real eye opener for me. They really do appear to attempt to see everything in a nationalist/loyalist light and everything, absolutely everything is about scoring points against one another with a real with/against attitude.
I thought we'd moved past this kind of thing.