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Thursday, 30 May, 2002, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK

Brown backs England

Former Scotland manager Craig Brown says he has joined the third of his countrymen who are said to be supporting England at the World Cup finals.

But Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has placed a bet on Brazil lifting the globe's most prestigious football trophy.

And BBC Scotland football presenter and Channel 4 boss Stuart Cosgrove has described Scots supporting the Auld Enemy as cultural traitors.

Brown's views may have altered since he was given the job of steering English First Division outfit Preston North End in the coming season.

But, according to a poll in The Scotsman newspaper, the Caledonian dislike of everything English is much overplayed.

Only one is six Scotland fans said they would be supporting England's opponents during the three-week tournament in Korea and Japan.

One of those who claims to now be hoping that Sven Goran-Eriksson's side repeat that solitary success in 1966 and win the trophy is Brown.

"How can you be against England?" said the 60-year-old, who is working as a radio pundit for BBC Five Live during the finals.

"It will be good for football here if England do well in the World Cup finals.

"I'm now in English football and I'll be supporting the English team.

"But I have always done that.

"They say in Scotland you can't support England, but that's jocular, they pretend."

" It is naive, self-loathing garbage "
Stuart Cosgrove

Yet a proposal by Scottish National Party Euro MP Andrew Wilson that Scots should back Britain's only representatives at the World Cup was widely met with derision earlier this year.

It is also believed that Brown's support of England was less wholehearted while he was attempting to lead Scotland to the World Cup finals.

His failure to secure qualification led to his resignation and a return to club football.

Cosgrove said in his Daily Record column: "Supporting England is not only the act of a cultural traitor, it is worse than that.

"It is naive, self-loathing garbage.

"Will the Dutch support their near European neighbours, Germany?"

Cosgrove argues that it is more logical for Scots to lend their support to players at the World Cup from Scottish clubs.

Celtic's Henrik Larsson and Johan Mjallby and Rangers' Claudio Caniggia are playing for England's first-round opponents, Sweden and Argentina respectively.

Hibernian's Ulises de la Cruz is with Ecuador, Dundee's Fan Zhiyi with China, while Rangers pair Peter Lovenkrands and Jesper Christiansen, plus Aberdeen's Peter Kjaer, are with Denmark.

Meanwhile, Sir Alex disclosed that he has backed Brazil to win the World Cup, at odds of 8-1, because the weather conditions will not suit a European side.

However, the Scot suggested that his club's own fit-again England captain, David Beckham, would be a star of the tournament.


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