Northern Ireland fans are said to be fuming over suggestions that sectarian singing can still be heard at Windsor Park.
Mirror columnist Joe Lindsay, writing in his weekly comment piece on the Belfast Live website, claimed that The Billy Boys was being sung at the National Stadium and The Bouncy carried sectarian connotations.
These claims have been roundly refuted by members of the Green and White Army, who took to social media to vent their anger at what some described as “fake news”.
One outraged fan tweeted: “Your classing the bouncy as sectarian is absolutely ridiculous Joe. It’s fans jumping up and down as one. The version you’re talking about has nothing to do with the GAWA’s bouncy and to link it is pathetic. The Billy Boys hasn’t been sung at NI since the turn of the millennium.”
Another irate fan tweeted: “Ridiculous. I’m an NI block booker for almost 20 years. I haven’t heard the Billy Boys at Windsor since at least the late ‘90s. And yes the bouncy has some sectarian lyrics which may be sung at other grounds. But I’ve never heard NI fans sing this.”
In the wake of Mr Lindsay’s controversial piece (which has since been edited to remove reference of Billy Boys and the Bouncy), Belfast Live posted another article revealing that one NI fan has offered the columnist a ticket for the next game at Windsor Park “to assess the atmosphere for himself”.
The fan told Belfast Live: “I would suggest that Joe comes to a game, spends a day with the fans before making such ridiculous allegations - I will happily give him my ticket and if he stills feels that the Northern Ireland national team and the national stadium is a cesspit then fine but he is watching from a distance, regurgitating negative propaganda based not on facts and dragging Europe’s favourite fans through the dirt in our home city, for no other reason than his own preconceived notions based on nothing more than hear say.”
Mr Lindsay has accepted the invitation to attend the next home game and tweeted: “In light of being told there were inaccuracies and indeed a very kind invitation from a NI fan, I’ll address this in Mondays column and a further one after I accept said invitation to next match.”