Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour will miss Scotland’s crunch Euro 2020 match with Croatia on Tuesday after testing positive for COVID-19. Gilmour starred in Scotland’s 0-0 draw with England on Friday but will now miss their final Group D fixture at Hampden Park.
A statement from the Scottish FA said: “The Scottish FA can confirm that a member of the Scotland National Team playing squad, Billy Gilmour, has tested positive for COVID-19.
“Having liaised with Public Health England since the positive test was recorded, Billy will now self-isolate for 10 days and therefore miss tomorrow’s UEFA EURO 2020 Group D match against Croatia at Hampden.”
Gilmour made his first start for his country at Wembley on Friday, putting in a composed performance at the base of Scotland’s midfield.
The youngster was widely praised for his efforts as Steve Clarke’s side battled for a point which made Tuesday’s final Group D fixture hugely important.
After two fixtures, both Scotland and Croatia have one point, meaning both can still qualify for the last 16 with a win in Glasgow.
Any concerns that England’s players could have been infected by the Chelsea midfielder have been allayed by a statement from the Football Association on Monday morning.
A FA’s statement read: “All 26 England players and the wider support team returned negative results after the latest round of Uefa PCR testing on Sunday – and we continue to follow the appropriate Covid-19 protocols.
“The full squad will train at Spurs Lodge this morning. We remain in contact with Public Health England and continue to prepare for tomorrow night’s fixture against Czech Republic at Wembley.”
“He’s not quite physical or really strong. But his personality allowed him to get on the ball and make the game from the back.
“His team-mates aren’t scared to give him the ball because they know how good he is on the ball.
“I think he has a really good future ahead of him.”
Clarke is due to face the media on Monday evening, where he will confirm Scotland’s plans for the Croatia game.
“This is what HIV-positive looks like now,” Porter said in an interview with Hollywood Reporter, opening up about how he was diagnosed 14 years ago.
WASHINGTON — Billy Porter has broken his silence over his HIV diagnosis, saying he told nearly no one for 14 years out of shame and fear of retaliation and marginalization in his industry.
“The truth is the healing. And I hope this frees me. I hope this frees me so that I can experience real, unadulterated joy, so that I can experience peace, so that I can experience intimacy, so that I can have sex without shame. This is for me,” the award-winning “Pose” star told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published Wednesday.
The 51-year-old Porter, who won an Emmy for his HIV-positive character Pray Tell on the FX series, said the isolation of the pandemic led him to reflect on his secret, kept from his mother and those involved with his ballroom drama set in New York at the height of the AIDS crisis in the ’80s.
Telling his mother was the most difficult. Having grown up in the Pentecostal church, in an intensely religious family, the stage and screen star said the shame of being queer was compounded by his HIV status.
“She said, ‘You’ve been carrying this around for 14 years? Don’t ever do this again. I’m your mother, I love you no matter what. And I know I didn’t understand how to do that early on, but it’s been decades now,’” Porter recalled.
He said today, he’s the “healthiest I’ve ever been.”
Porter called 2007, the year he was diagnosed, the worst year of his life. In addition to his HIV status, he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes that year, and he signed bankruptcy papers.
“I survived so that I could tell the story. That’s what I’m here for,” he said. “I’m the vessel, and emotionally that was sufficient — until it wasn’t. Until I got married (in 2017). Now I’m trying to have a family; now it’s not just me. It’s time to grow up and move on because shame is destructive — and if not dealt with, it can destroy everything in its path.”
The LGBTQ watchdog group GLAAD praised Porter for his candor.
“The tremendous levels of stigma facing people living with HIV today can only be broken by icons like Billy Porter showing the world that HIV is not at all a barrier to a healthy and successful life,” said DaShawn Usher, the group’s associate director for communities of color.
Billy Joe Saunders’ boxing career is at risk after the injuries he sustained in the brutal defeat by Canelo Alvarez on Saturday were diagnosed. Saunders was unable to continue after taking a huge uppercut from Alvarez in the eighth round in Texas to lose his unbeaten professional record.
The 31-year-old left the AT&T arena in Dallas in an ambulance, with Canelo claiming that he had broken his rival’s cheek in the world title unification bout.
Saunders had huge swelling around his eye and was struggling to see when he sat down on his stool at the end of the eighth round.
His trainer, Mark Tibbs, pulled his fighter out, confirming his first defeat in the 31st fight of Saunders’ career, while the Mexican extended his record of just one defeat in 59 fights in front of 73,126 fans.
The Englishman was transported to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, after the fight and he spent the night in the hospital.
“He’s going to be out for a long, long time,” promoter Eddie Hearn said after the fight.
Billy Joe Saunders entered the ring to face Canelo Alvarez brimming with confidence, but ended the night in an ambulance as he was transported to hospital after suffering the first loss of his professional boxing career.
Saunders went toe to toe with boxing’s pound-for-pound star as he showcased the boxing skills that took him to a perfect 30-0 record heading into Saturday night’s clash with Canelo.
Working behind his southpaw jab, Saunders caused plenty of problems for Canelo as he proved to be a tricky, elusive opponent for the former five-weight world champion.
But, with some boxing pundits, and our own Express Sport round-by-round scoring, putting Saunders on level terms with Canelo heading into the second half of the scheduled 12-round bout.
But the Mexican’s punch power eventually paid off in Round 8 as a huge uppercut connected flush with Saunders’ right eye, immediately causing it to swell badly.
Saunders made it to the end of the round but, after his corner assessed the Brit’s injury, they waved off the fight to give Alvarez the 56th win of his stellar career.
Saunders had acquitted himself well during the contest, and while his punches didn’t carry the same knockout threat as Canelo’s, his slick jab and constant movement made life tricky for the Mexican as the Brit appeared to shade the middle rounds.
But Canelo upped the intensity in Round 8 and landed the crucial uppercut that caused the fight-ending injury.
DAZN play-by-play commentator Todd Grisham announced on the broadcast that Saunders was being transported to hospital after sustaining a suspected fractured orbital bone.
Canelo’s TKO victory will have particularly pleased his head coach Eddy Reynoso, who called on his man to stop Saunders for showing disrespect during the pre-fight build-up in Texas.
Saunders’ team complained pre-fight about the lack of a British judge on the three-man panel, and also negotiated hard to secure a larger ring than Canelo’s team had initially wanted, with the teams eventually agreeing to the fight taking place inside a 22-foot ring, as opposed to the 20-foot ring the Mexican boxer preferred.
And after Saunders was caught on camera saying that Canelo’s breath smelled after their faceoff, Reynoso sounded off on the Brit and revealed his wish for Canelo to knock out Saunders on fight night.
“It annoys me,” he told Little Giant Boxing.
“Not only about us, but the trash talk to Mexican reporters, with people of Mexico.
“I never want to say we are going to do it by KO. I say we are going to win.
“But this time around I do want Canelo to win by KO.”
Speaking to Chris Mannix in the ring after the fight, promoter Eddie Hearn revealed Saunders’ trainer Mark Tibbs pulled him out of the fight, saying Canelo “busted his eye socket.”
“He couldn’t see,” he explained.
“I spoke to Mark Tibbs. He said he couldn’t see, and he wouldn’t let him go out.
“I thought Billy boxed beautifully. Canelo’s so strong, he took his time, Billy’s so tricky. He busted his eye socket. As you can see going back now, his eye.
“Canelo coming on strong in the back end of the fight. Too good. Too good.
“But it was a great performance by Billy Joe Saunders. He came to win.”
Canelo Alvarez moved a step closer to becoming the undisputed king of the super-middleweight division after Billy Joe Saunders was forced to retire on his stool with a suspected broken orbital bone. There were shades of Kell Brook’s serious eye injuries from his wars with Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence Jr when Saunders’ trainer Mark Tibbs waved off the fight in the corner after the right round.
Saunders had played his part in a closely-contested chess match up until the turning point and was arguably ahead on the scorecards when Canelo really turned on the style and pushed hard for the knockout that his team and the people of Mexico so desperately craved.
It was a thunderous uppercut that changed the complexion of the bout as Saunders staggered around the ring preparing for an onslaught that never followed as the matador Canelo taunted his rival, waving around his arms and revelling in the suffering of his opponent.
Despite the savagely persistent work to the body from Canelo, it was that one very punch that sucked all life out of Saunders as he struggled to regain momentum and throw any punches of his own as he bobbed and weaved to buy some precious time.
And the damage to Saunders’ eye was evident as soon as the camera panned to his corner when it soon became clear that this fight would not be going the distance.
Seconds later, the contest was waved off as Canelo climbed onto his trainer Eddy Reynoso’s shoulders to celebrate yet another victory on Cinco de Mayo weekend in front of a sell-out crowd at the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Now the pound-for-pound king, who successfully navigated the mind games and tremendous skill of Saunders, will have all eyes on Caleb Plant as he looks to collect the final IBF strap and become the first-ever undisputed champion at 168lbs.
For Saunders, this was a fight that proved he belongs at the highest level yet as always, there will be questions asked of his champion spirit after he was pulled out of the fight, particularly after he previously claimed he would not quit as Daniel Dubois did following a similar eye injury against Joe Joyce last November.
Saunders took the fight to Canelo from the sound of the first bell as he looked to claim the centre of the ring, flicking his jab while moving his feet.
The Mexican was clear he would not be bullied, cracking in several thunderous body shots as he backed Saunders up onto ropes. Saunders hastily manoeuvred himself out of the firing line.
Canelo really started to assert himself in the second round and a series of thumping right hands were met by a thunderous roar from the 73,000 spectators inside the AT&T Stadium. The Mexican crowd wanted blood.
A pattern was quickly emerging in this fight and there appeared to be a stark contrast in punch power, something that was laid bare in the third round when a right hook from Canelo – that would have knocked most off their feet – found the target. Saunders shook his head and smiled.
After his gum shield was nearly blown out by an uppercut in the fourth, Saunders began to find his rhythm as he let his hands go.
The confidence was oozing from the fluid Saunders in the fifth, as he began to up the tempo, landing a double jab and overhand left on the break, in his best round of the fight so far.
Saunders now felt in control as he revved up the crowd at the start of round six before waving on Canelo and dangling his tongue at his opponent, who was looking to claw back momentum amid the power shift.
The 31-year-old was continuing to replicate the movement and elements of Erislandy Lara’s game plan in one of Canelo’s closest fights to date, as Saunders continued to use his jab and move around the 22ft ring that he’d campaigned so desperately for.
Canelo, who predicted a knockout in round eight or nine was now going for the throat as the crowd demanded punishment.
Following a series of successful right hands, it was Canelo’s electric uppercut that buzzed Saunders, leaving him with a suspected fractured orbital bone.
His legs remained strong but Saunders was evidently hurt as he looked to clear his head and refind his mojo but it was clear the Mexican was not going to let him off the hook as he looked to close the show in devastating fashion.
But, the swelling was so significant that Saunders’ corner felt there was no other option but to pull him out of the fight to prevent further and potentially life-changing damage.
Saunders was visibly distraught a short while after as he was captured with a towel over his head as he waited to climb into the back of an ambulance to a local hospital, as his team pushed away the cameras. This was sadly not his night despite moments of huge promise.
The AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas will play host to one of the biggest boxing nights of the year so far, as Britain’s Billy Joe Saunders crosses the pond to take on Mexican superstar and pound-for-pound great, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in a super-middleweight title unification battle.
A huge crowd of around 70,000 fans is expected to pack the stands of the stadium that plays host to NFL’s Dallas Cowboys
Canelo (55–1–2, 37 KOs) will put his WBA (Super), WBC and The Ring Magazine titles on the line
Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) also puts his WBO title up for grabs
We’ll bring you regular updates through the night, including round-by-round scoring of the main event as Alvarez and Saunders go toe to toe for super-middleweight supremacy in Texas.
Saunders in confident mood ahead of unification clash
Speaking after the weigh-ins, Saunders looked fired up and confident ahead of the biggest bout of his professional career.
Speaking to DAZN, he laid out his mindset ahead of the bout, saying, “I have the spirit, I have the belief, I have the winning mentality.
“I don’t come in to lay down, I come in to win. So I don’t think Alvarez has faced a man with as much heart and determination to win as me.
“It’s going to be a good fight. He’s a great champion. But, to be honest with you, I’ve come here to take all of his titles, and take them by storm.”
When asked how he needs to adapt his game to deal with Canelo, Saunders highlighted his undefeated record and pointed out his mindset ahead of the fight.
“I haven’t lost since 2008, I’m 30-0 and unbeaten,” he said.
On weight and ready: Billy Joe Saunders (Image: GETTY)
“So therefore he has to do something differently to beat me, not the other way around.
“The key to this sort of fight is obviously everybody’s got to be on their A-game, bring their best to the table and as long as I bring my fighting spirit and my brain, I’ve got it.
And Saunders vowed to earn a few thousand more fans through his performance, even though he’s set to fight in front of a sea of Canelo fans inside AT&T Stadium.
“Mate, these fans will thrive and push me to win,” he declared.
“These fans will not bother me. They’re all for Canelo. They’re cheering for him now, but on the way out they’ll be cheering for me.”
Can Saunders dethrone Canelo? Eddie Hearn says YES
“I think this is actually the best chance that a super-middleweight has got against Canelo Alvarez,” Hearn told DAZN at yesterday’s weigh-ins.
“Billy Joe Saunders is the toughest test for Canelo – the style, the mentality.
“I went into the AT&T Stadium earlier. The atmosphere would break many people. It won’t break Billy Joe.
“But he’s going to have to box at levels he’s never boxed at before. Because he’s never been in kind of the levels and the deep end with fighters like Canelo Alvarez.
“But does Billy Joe have the levels? We believe he does. British boxing believes he does.”
Eddie Hearn is HYPED
Speaking to DAZN after the weigh-ins, promoter Eddie Hearn was bristling with anticipation as he set the scene for the upcoming unification battle.
“The fight’s got bigger and bigger. You’re going to have 70,000 people in there tomorrow night,” he said.
“We’re going to break the record for the biggest indoor attendance in U.S. boxing history. The world returns to normality, and boxing did that. It shows you that when we make great fights this is the greatest sport of all.
“Billy Joe Saunders, 30-0, unbeaten, two-weight world champion. Canelo Alvarez, pound-for-pound number one. I think we’re not going to only see one of the best fights in the last few years tomorrow night, but you’re going to see, I think, the greatest atmosphere we’ve ever seen at a boxing event.
“Billy Joe Saunders has played his part. The Canelo fans are here. It’s going to be everything. I’ve not felt like this for a long time. I’m probably more excited for this fight than I’ve been for any other fight … Both these guys deserve the credit. They’re two champions that are willing to face each other, and it’s beautiful for the sport of boxing.”
It’s on! Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez takes on Billy Joe Saunders at AT&T Stadium in Texas (Image: GETTY)
Could Joshua-Fury finally be confirmed tonight?
That’s the other big question boxing fans and media alike are hoping to get answered tonight, with rumours rife that we could finally get the announcement the boxing world wants to hear.
Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury have already signed a two-fight agreement to face each other in world championship bouts, but so far no official date or location has been confirmed.
But, with Fury in Arlington tonight to support his friend and colleague Saunders in tonight’s main event, hopes are high that an announcement could come during this evening’s proceedings.
It would be the perfect way to cap off a huge night for the sport.
The fight before the fight
It’s a huge bout, with Saunders’ confidence and attitude heading into fight night proving to be a feature of fight week in Texas, as he dealt with negotiating sticking points regarding the nationality of the ringside judges for the bout, as well as the size of the ring itself.
Saunders’ team complained at the lack of a British judge on the three-man panel in Arlington, but with the athletic commission’s lineup already locked in, Saunders was unable to force a change.
However, he did find success in his bid to secure a larger ring for the bout, with both camps eventually agreeing to the matchup taking place in a 22-foot ring.
Faceoff: Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders go face to face at the weigh-ins (Image: GETTY)
Billy Joe Saunders’ father Tom claims his son will not step into the ring to face Canelo Alvarez in Texas this weekend. The duo were due to square up in their super middleweight title unification fight at the AT&T Stadium on Saturday night (approx 4am Sunday UK time) but have been locked in a dispute about the size of the canvas.
And one year on from COVID-19 scrapping the 12-round fight, Tom Saunders insists the feud over the size of the ring means the rearranged bout has also fallen apart just days before the pair were to set to trade rubber.
The unbeaten Saunders, the WBO champion, was looking to inflict just the second defeat of Canelo’s career, which has spanned 55 fights and only saw him lose to Floyd Mayweather back in 2013.
But it appears Billy Joe and his team may be headed back to the United Kingdom before even getting the chance to get the better of Canelo, with the Mexican’s representatives refusing to meet their demands for the ring to be made bigger.
Tom Saunders suspects that the WBC and WBA king does not want to fight his son out of fear of suffering a loss in front of 70,000 baying fans in Dallas, the bulk of whom will be supporting him against his English opponent.
Billy Joe was not present for the first planned face-off between the two fighters on Tuesday with Canelo left to stand alone in front of the cameras.
Speaking to iFL TV earlier in the day, Saunders Snr said: “I can’t see them coming face to face, the issue with the ring has still not been sorted. There’s nothing in the contract about the ring size, it’s all negotiations. The negotiations have broken down big time.
“Canelo’s put an 18ft ring, which I think is an amateur ring, that’s the fight ring. His plan was to put an 18ft ring there. They knew we we were going to start, they said: ’20ft ring, that’s it.’ That was his gameplay, to fight in a 20ft ring.
“We want a 24ft ring. We’ve come down to 22ft and they’re trying to take Billy Joe’s legs away. We’re up against everything here, everything.
“At the end of the day, I’m not going to let my son box in a 20ft ring against who is supposed to be the pound for pound king of boxing, you know?
“We’re up against everything. We’ve spoken to them this morning, they’ve said, ‘It’s either 20ft or book your flights home.’
“Unfortunately, we apologise to the fans, British, American and around the world, I can’t let my son box in a 20ft ring against Canelo on Cinco de Mayo weekend.
“We’ve given into a lot of stuff here but this, we just cannot give into. The fight would not be fair. The fight’s off. The fight’s off.
“The negotiations have broken down completely. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve got a late substitute, someone they’re going to try and dig out from somewhere.
“It’s all a big con, people. If you’re subscribed to the channel, ask for your money back. If you’ve bought tickets, ask for your money back. That’s all you’re going to see, a bum in there with Canelo and Canelo just having a sparring session.
“I don’t think he wants to fight Billy Joe. I think he’s seen a few clips and I don’t think he fancies it, he only wants a sure thing. Billy Joe is not a sure thing and we can’t give his legs away.
“That’s what will win this fight, his movement but unfortunately it looks like the public won’t see this fight.
“We all want to see this fight. This would have been a very, very good fight. But no, he’s adamant he wants to go home.
“We’re not going to take this bulls*** anymore. Enough’s enough. We can’t bend over backwards to please Canelo.
“He’s chucking his sweets out the pram because someone has said no to him. These people are used to fighters coming over for a pay cheque and saying, ‘yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir.’
“We’re not being put in a position where everything is on their side or in their corner. It’s not fair. All we’ve asked from day one is a fair chance.”
Earlier this week, Billy Joe told talkSPORT: “The problem is I come over here and they try to chuck me in a phone box of a boxing ring.
“You know, all these games and other bits and bumps played along the way for this fight is all mind games.
“People say stuff to get under people’s skin and under camp’s skin, but it’s hundreds and hundreds of feet long and they want to stick a 16ft to 18ft ring in the middle of it.
“For me, that’s just unacceptable. I want a 24ft ring and they’re saying it’s not gonna happen and it is what it is. But I’ve left it to my team and I’m sure they’ll solve it – otherwise there won’t be any fight.
“You can’t just fly me in here and show me the ring that we’re using and I’ve been training all of my camp in a 24ft ring.
“It’s a unification fight, not a British title. It’s like someone training on the 200m running track and someone training on the 400m running track — there’s a big difference.
“Anybody who knows boxing knows this fight, how I’ve got it in my head to plan out — won’t give too much away for the game plan.
“And I know he’s got his own style of fighting and his game plan, and I know his game plan. His game plan is not waiting around, his game plan is coming to me. And I want somewhere where I can move and get my boxing off.
“Every world title fight, all of these unification fights, they’re always in big-sized rings. Name me one, name me two fights where you see an 18ft ring unification?”
Billy Connolly discusses Parkinson’s and cancer diagnoses
The Scottish entertainer, 78, savoured 60 years as a stand-up comedian before announcing his retirement last year. He said symptoms of Parkinson’s disease prevented him from being able to “think as sharply” as he needed to perform. Sir Billy, who was knighted four years ago, has often stayed away from politics, believing he could influence people, but weighed in on Brexit a number of times.
Sir Billy referred to the nation’s decision to leave the EU as a “disaster” and thought “breaking up” the bloc was “a crime bordering on a sin”.
After previously stating he would not vote in the Scottish independence referendum nor make his opinions known, he supported the SNP’s calls.
In the BBC Scotland documentary Billy and Us last year, he said: “I think a Scottish republic is as good an idea as any I’ve ever heard.”
Sir Billy was surprised he became a supporter of Scottish independence because he considered himself an “Anglophile”.
Billy Connolly slammed Prime Minister as a ‘f***ing softboy’ during an anti-Brexit rant (Image: GETTY / SKY NEWS)
Billy Connolly has often been against Scottish Independence but in Brexit’s wake supported it (Image: GETTY)
In his 2018 book Made In Scotland, he wrote: “I never thought I would say that.”
The comedian confessed he didn’t “trust nationalism in any of its guises”.
However, in the wake of Brexit – where 1.6 million people, 62 percent of the nation, voted Remain – Sir Billy felt Scottish independence was the right move.
Sir Billy said: “The most important thing for Scotland is to keep our contact with Europe.
JUST IN: Billy Connolly’s Brexit swipe: ‘No idea about EU funding’
Billy Connolly announced his retirement from stand-up comedy last year after six decades performing (Image: ITV)
“If the only way for us to do that is to become independent from England, that may just be the way to go.”
The comedian previously tempered his remarks about becoming a republic by stating: “I didn’t think it was wise to.”
Sir Billy added: “As an Anglophile, I’ve never shouted for independence but I might be changing my mind now.”
In a 2018 Daily Record interview, where Sir Billy called Brexit a “crime”, he said: “I think the more people are together, not separate, the happier they will be.”
DON’T MISS Billy Connolly sniped Scottish nationalists: ‘I hate tartan b******s’ [INTERVIEW] Billy Connolly branded Scottish nationalism ‘shabby and shoddy’ [ANALYSIS] Billy Connolly blasted Labour for ‘slum row’ that made him ‘anarchist’ [INSIGHT]
Express.co.uk explain Labour Leader Keir Starmer’s opinions on Brexit (Image: EXPRESS)
He felt Brexit would lead to Scottish independence because the majority of the nation voted Remain.
In the 2016 EU referendum, 52 percent of the UK voted Leave and more than 46.5 million people cast their ballot.
England and Wales overwhelmingly voted for Brexit, by 53.4 percent and 52.5 percent respectively.
Scotland and Northern Ireland voted Remain by 62 percent and 55.8 percent.
Billy Connolly described himself as an ‘Anglophile’ and was against Scottish Independence for years (Image: GETTY)
In 2019, when Sir Billy was asked whether he was interested in US politics, he said: “We kept away from all that madness.”
However, he took a firm swipe at Prime Minister Boris Johnson during an interview with The Observer.
Sir Billy said: “Talk about Trump, though, look who you’ve got now over here!”
He then referred to Mr Johnson as a “f***ing soft boy”.
Sir Billy reportedly said he was “relieved” to be “a few thousand miles away from Brexit”.
Billy Connolly jokes about Parkinson’s during drug discussion
He continued: “What a con! And the Prime Minister was the biggest con of all.”
Sir Billy was concerned about the decision to vote to leave the EU because he felt the public didn’t understand it.
His beliefs stemmed from watching people in south Wales being interviewed on a US TV channel.
Sir Billy noted: “How pleased they were to have voted out of Europe.”
Billy Connolly spoke out to Sky News after the launch of a gallery to celebrate decades in comedy (Image: SKY NEWS)
However, he claimed the interviewees seemed a little uneasy after they were told about the benefits of the EU.
Sir Billy recalled: “Then they showed all the things that the EU had funded in their town.”
He said the individuals “had no idea” about the money pumped into their local area and called it “completely nuts”.
Sir Billy’s concerns over Brexit led him to support calls for Scottish independence.
When asked if being a republic was a good idea last year, he told Herald Scotland: “If Scotland would like it, I would like it.”
Billy Connolly discusses Parkinson’s and cancer diagnoses
The Scottish performer, 78, said he felt “comfortable in his skin” after announcing his retirement from stand-up comedy four months ago. Sir Billy, known as ‘The Big Yin’ meaning ‘the big one’, retired after five decades in entertainment due to his worsening battle with Parkinson’s disease. The TV star, who will publish his first autobiography later this year, has been increasingly vocal in the Brexit debate in recent years.
Despite his clear Brexit stance, Sir Billy initially refused to weigh-in on the Scottish Independence debate because he feared “influencing anybody”.
His concerns led him to abstain from voting in the nation’s referendum, which he dubbed “morass”.
While the star kept his thoughts about Independence quiet, he was extremely vocal about Brexit.
In 2018, Sir Billy told the Sunday Times that the decision to leave the EU was “a disaster” and branded it a “con-job”.
Billy Connolly branded Boris Johnson a ‘f***ing soft boy’ and Brexit a ‘con’ (Image: GETTY / SKY NEWS)
Billy Connolly initially seemed to oppose Scottish Independence before a U-turn over the Brexit vote (Image: GETTY)
He felt the “breaking up of Europe” was a “crime bordering on sin” and urged Scotland to “keep our contact” with the bloc.
In Scotland, 62 percent of the public voted Remain in the EU referendum – while 52 percent of the UK voted for Brexit.
He argued that “becoming independent from England… may just be the way to go” if it meant the nation could keep close to the EU.
Sir Billy, who is a self-professed “anglophile”, admitted: “I never thought I would say that.”
JUST IN: Billy Connolly blasted Labour for ‘slum row’ that made him ‘anarchist’
Billy Connolly waved goodbye to stand-up comedy with a farewell documentary on ITV last year (Image: ITV)
In 2019, he admitted to feeling “relief” over being “a few thousand miles away from Brexit”, during a Guardian interview.
Sir Billy lives in an impressive five-bedroom home in Key West, Florida, which was estimated at £2.3million ($ 3.2million) by Virtual Globetrotting.
Since living in the US, he claimed to have “kept away from all the madness” from former US President Donald Trump.
But then Sir Billy took a swipe at British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, by telling the Guardian: “Look who you’ve got now over here.”
DON’T MISS Billy Connolly’s rant during Scottish independence row: ‘Desperate’ [INSIGHT] Billy Connolly sniped Scottish nationalists: ‘I hate tartan b******s’ [INTERVIEW] Billy Connolly branded Scottish nationalism ‘shabby and shoddy’ [ANALYSIS]
Express.co.uk explain the five key moments that led the UK to vote for Brexit (Image: EXPRESS)
Sir Billy expressed his concerns over why people voted for Brexit and when asked about the Leave campaign said: “What a con!”
He argued that “the Prime Minister was the biggest con of all” and called Mr Johnson a “f***ing soft boy”.
Sir Billy kept an eye on the Brexit debate from across the pond and watched people being interviewed in south Wales on US TV.
He noted: “How pleased they were to have voted out of Europe.”
Billy Connolly spoke to Sky News about his departure from stand-up comedy after 50 years (Image: SKY NEWS)
In the 2016 EU referendum, 52.5 percent of Wales voted for Brexit.
Sir Billy was concerned that the public did not understand what they could lose after leaving the bloc.
He said: “They showed all the things that the EU had funded in their town.
“They had no idea, it’s completely nuts.”
Sir Billy’s thoughts about Brexit led him to call for Scotland to vote to become an independent country.
Billy Connolly jokes about Parkinson’s during drug discussion
In 2014, he told the Radio Times that people should “get together, not split apart” – in a statement that hinted he was against independence.
Sir Billy said he didn’t believe in “more layers of Government” that “ordinary people will have to pay for” – but argued togetherness was better than separation.
He said: “The more people stay together, the happier they’ll be.”
But in a 2018 Sunday Times interview, Sir Billy seemed to have changed his mind and argued Scotland should keep close to the EU.
Billy Connolly was knighted by Prince William in 2017 and described it as ‘a big bit nerve-racking’ (Image: GETTY)
Last year, he confirmed he “would like” to see Scotland become an independent nation, in the BBC show Billy and Us.
Sir Billy claimed to have “never liked nationalism in any of its guises” but explained he was open to the idea of independence.
He said: “I think a Scottish republic is as good an idea as any I ever heard.”
But Sir Billy, who admitted his politics changed on a “daily” basis, countered: “I don’t represent anybody or anything – I don’t think it’s wise to.”
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The beloved comedian, known as ‘The Big Yin’, shocked fans when he announced his retirement from stand-up performances two months ago. Sir Billy, 78, was known for his comedic observations on stage and frequent use of swear words. And the TV star, who was born in Glasgow, weighed in on the Scottish independence debate and admitted he “hated” nationalists.
Prior to the referendum seven years ago, Sir Billy vowed that he would not vote because he feared influencing the public due to his celebrity status.
He also refused to participate in debates about Scottish independence and admitted in general, he “tried to keep away from it all”.
Sir Billy justified his abstinence by stating “a lot of people take your world like it’s spun gold” and don’t care whether there’s “some sense to it” or not.
He told the BBC: “I don’t want to influence anybody so I shut up.
Billy Connolly took a swipe at Scottish nationalists during Scottish independence debate (Image: GETTY)
Billy Connolly was known as ‘The Big Yin’, meaning ‘the big one’, during his comedy career (Image: GETTY)
“I think the Scots will come to a good conclusion in the referendum, they will get what they deserve.”
More than two million people, around 55 percent of the nation, voted to remain as part of the UK, in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum
Around 44 percent, approximately 1.6 million, voted for the nation to become an independent country.
However, Sir Billy appeared to have changed his mind after the 2016 EU referendum, which saw 52 percent of the public vote Leave.
He blasted Brexit as a “disaster” and mourned “the breaking up of the togetherness of Europe”.
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The financial impact of Scottish independence (Image: EXPRESS)
In 2018, Sir Billy told the Daily Record that Brexit was “a crime bordering on a sin”.
He hoped Scotland would “keep our contact with Europe” and warned that departing from the bloc could encourage a second Scottish referendum.
Sir Billy said: “Scots voted to stay in Europe, and if the only way for us to do that is to become independent from England [then] that may just be the way to go.”
The star, who is a self-professed Anglophile, admitted: “I never thought I would say that.”
Sir Billy revealed that he “never had any interest in hating England and the English”, which influenced his opposition to Scottish independence.
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Billy Connolly announced his retirement from stand-up comedy last year due to Parkinson’s disease (Image: ITV)
He said: “As an Anglophile, I have never shouted for Scottish independence, but I might be changing my mind now.”
Last year, Sir Billy seemed more certain that breaking away from the UK to become a separate country was a good idea.
He told the Daily Record: “I think a Scottish republic is as good an idea as I’ve ever heard.
“But I don’t represent anybody or anything and I don’t think it is wise to.”
Scottish independence referendum found 55 percent of the nation against breaking away from the UK (Image: GETTY)
While Sir Billy seemed supportive of Scottish independence, he took a firm stance against Scottish nationalism.
He said he “never liked nationalism in any of its guises” and stated: “I don’t like Scottish nationalism very much.”
Sir Billy claimed it was “based on a loose idea about politics” and that he considered himself a “utopian socialist”.
He said: “I am Scottish but that’s not all I am and I hate all that tartan b******s.”
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Sir Billy, who has been pictured wearing tartan on multiple occasions, distanced himself from nationalism further.
He claimed he would “never let” himself be “put into a box marked ‘working class’ or ‘Scottish’ or anything else”.
Sir Billy believed those titles could “limit who you are or what you can say”.
He explained that it was “the easiest trap in the world” to become “a professional Scot” and he preferred not to be listed as Scottish.
Billy Connolly was a close friend of Robin Williams, who took his own life in 2014 (Image: GETTY)
Sir Billy said: “It can happen not only to comedians and singers but to writers and artists.
“You become a Scottish artist as opposed to an artist, I suppose it is the same when you are Welsh or Irish.”
He claimed that “doesn’t seem to happen” to people from England.
Sir Billy said: “No one ever says ‘that English artist’ or ‘that English comedian’ – the accent gives you this incredibly strong identity.”
Sir Billy Connolly: Made In Scotland airs at 9pm tonight on BBC Two.