“We are for the Pope”

Lindsey, 26, organizes tours of the Hamilton Stadium and hopes Scotland will soon become politically independent.

Love for the club burned to the skin: Celtic fans.

Jason Cairnduff / Reuters

I am looking forward to starting my business. I feel that I am only a small step away from great success. I organize tours for football fans in Glasgow, and if a big hotel or cruise ship joins me on the event, I can.

Lindsey Hamilton:

Lindsay Hamilton: “My priorities in life are three questions: football, family, friends.”

Of course, the pandemic had negative consequences for me. I hope there will be no more restrictions soon. I usually ride a small bus with fifteen tourists to the Hampden Park National Stadium and arenas of the Celtic Glasgow and Glasgow Rangers clubs. But currently a maximum of five people are allowed to ride. He doesn’t pay, I have to pay the driver too. But everything has its positive sides, and as a young individual entrepreneur I have to be flexible: I improved my social media skills during the lockdown. I am also now conducting guided tours via YouTube. Luckily, I still have a part-time job at a museum.

I can talk about the highlights of the stadium, the most important national team games or the history of the Scottish Cup for an hour or two without any problem. My guests always give positive feedback. But what surprises some men is that I organize football tours as a woman. “You know a lot for a girl,” he says. You say it as a compliment, but women have been a part of fan culture for a long time.

I also host a fan podcast. On social media I get sexist reactions from anonymous users who do everything possible. Recently someone called me tranny, which is a derogatory term for transsexuals. Another wrote that I should go back to the kitchen instead of talking about football.

My priorities in life are three questions: Football, family, friends. Football comes first. I’ve been a big fan of Celtic Glasgow since my father took me to a game when I was a little girl, but I try to be completely neutral on my tours. Glasgow is an utterly football-crazed city and the rivalry between Celtic and Rangers fans is simply unparalleled, even though unfortunately there are sometimes wild riots. The Celtics and Rangers are like night and day: we have an Irish Catholic ancestry and history, they are a Protestant. We are politically left out and want an independent Scotland, they are conservative and for the UK. We are for the Pope, he is for the Queen.

To me, the union between Scotland and England is like an old relationship that has faded. I have nothing against the British, but we just want different things. Scots haven’t voted Conservative for decades, but England does. And because England is much larger than Scotland, the British government is almost always conservative.

I hope that Scotland will become an independent country. But I think it’s too early for a new referendum at the moment. Due to the pandemic, many people have done enough politics. I consider it a myth and a scare that an independent Scotland cannot survive economically. The potential is huge in tourism alone, as I experienced myself in the years before the pandemic. Football fans love nostalgia and Glasgow is a city with an incredible history. Many tourists also come for the nature. Europeans, Japanese, Americans and Canadians are all crazy about the Highlands.

Text and image: Niklaus Nuspliger. He is the NZZ correspondent for Great Britain and Ireland and lives in London.

This article comes from the NZZ Folio on the topic “Man and Animals” (published July 5, 2021). You can do this order this issue personally or Subscribe to NZZ Folio.

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