Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Ex-footballer Ian Wilson on his World Cup experience – as Aberdonian’s granddaughter prepares to lead out Brazil

Ian Wilson with granddaughters Ellie-Beau Feather, 10 (left), and Florence Feather, 5. Image: Ian Wilson
Ian Wilson with granddaughters Ellie-Beau Feather, 10 (left), and Florence Feather, 5. Image: Ian Wilson

Aberdonian former footballer Ian Wilson says he will be “so proud” when his granddaughter leads superstars Brazil out against Cameroon at the Qatar World Cup – whether he is in the stands or not.

The 64-year-old ex-midfielder, who played more than 300 games for Leicester City, as well as winning five caps for Scotland, is in Doha for six weeks.

Wilson has travelled out with his wife Tracey to visit their daughter and her family, and the highlight of the trip will be watching their 10-year-old granddaughter, Ellie-Beau, walk out as a mascot with the five-time winners at Lusail Stadium on Friday December 2.

Wilson said: “She’s going out with the Brazilian team, so I’m so proud.

“But we can’t get a ticket, can you believe that? Fifa won’t give us a ticket to get to the game.

“They pick up my granddaughter from school and take her by bus to the stadium, kit her out with all the sportswear and everything, then she walks out with the team, sits in the VIP seats and watches the match, and then they take her back to the school about one or two in the morning.

Brazil’s Neymar, centre, and team-mates pose for pictures with children. Image: AP

“But we might be lucky and get a ticket on the day. Not even her mum and dad get a ticket!

“But we can’t complain – it’s still a great honour for her to do it.”

Packing in the games, and hosting old pals Nevin, Smith and Lineker for a barbecue

Since arriving in Qatar last weekend, Wilson has already watched England thump Iran 6-2, while he was also at Saudi Arabia’s shock 2-1 win over much-fancied Argentina on Tuesday.

He said: “The Saudi win against Argentina was absolutely brilliant – that’s the emotion of the World Cup and there’s always going to be one or two sort of minnow teams who’ll turn up and do well.

“We’re trying to get as many games as we can.

“Our next match is the England v USA game on Friday night.”

Wilson – who had three stints in charge of Peterhead, and also ran a successful soccer school after retiring from playing – thinks the English, despite having “a lot of good, young players, like (Bukayo) Saka and (Jude) Bellingham”, will come a cropper against stronger opposition once they get past the group stage.

His “money’s on France” to retain the World Cup trophy.

Ian Wilson is currently in Qatar with his family. Image: Ian Wilson

As well as the feast of football and family time in Doha over the coming weeks, Wilson will also get the chance to catch up with some of his ex-team-mates who are at the World Cup in a media capacity.

He explained: “We were on the same flight over as Pat Nevin, who I used to play with at Everton.

“Pat and Alan Smith from Sky, who used to play with me at Leicester, and Gary Lineker are coming round for a barbecue on December 1.”

‘Stadiums are absolutely magnificent’

Wilson has been in Qatar before and has been taken aback by how it has been transformed in the year leading up to the World Cup.

Having seen unfinished stadiums surrounded by rubble 12 months ago, he said: “Now it’s beautiful roads, three or four lanes, parking areas, grass areas, fountains – I couldn’t believe it. It’s not the same place!

“Once you’re in, the stadiums are absolutely magnificent – spotlessly clean and the pitches look wonderful.

The Khalifa International Stadium where England took on Iran. Image: Ian Wilson

“They’re air conditioned to the point that, at seven o’clock at night, it’s like a cold wind and it can be chilly.

“And there are free buses and trams from anywhere in Doha to get to the games.”

After the World Cup, Wilson expects most of the impressive stadiums to be taken down, however, having noted “an awful lot of empty seats” at the games he has attended so far.

While the tournament saw Qatar build eight large stadiums, the country’s population of three million are contained within a reasonably small area of just under 12,000 square kilometres.

Wilson thinks there will be no use for some of the venues post-tournament, adding: “They’ll never, ever fill them again. The local teams here are lucky if they get 6,000 people.”

Wilson thinks World Cup spirit compromised as Qatar ‘tail has been allowed to wag dog’ of Fifa

Wilson is aware of the controversy around Qatar getting to host this year’s tournament.

The treatment of migrant workers, the lack of freedoms for LGBTQ+ people and restrictions on alcohol in the conservative Arab nation have cast a shadow over what should be an inclusive, global football party.

Qatar were named as World Cup 2022 hosts more than a decade ago, and Wilson reckons Fifa have failed to ensure the country put on a tournament in-keeping with the World Cup spirit – and are still allowing the “tail to wag the dog”.

Wilson said: “This goes way back to when they were granted the World Cup – all the situations involving human rights, migrant workers, people’s sexuality and no drinking should’ve been addressed.

“The World Cup has started, and people are still saying: ‘that’s a problem and it shouldn’t be there’, but it should’ve been dealt with 10 years ago.”

On previous visits, Wilson saw first-hand workers heading to and from “14 or even 16-hour” work days in “40-degree heat”, but says the many migrant worker deaths during construction of stadiums reported in Europe are not mentioned on Qatari news.

He also confirmed how difficult it is to purchase alcohol, even with the tournament under way – and revealed it is extortionately priced, with Wilson charged £15 for a single bottle of Corona beer in a restaurant the day after arriving in Doha.

Aberdeen’s Ian Wilson earned five caps for Scotland.

Wilson thinks the furore over some European nations’ team captains wearing rainbow armbands in support of the LGBTQ+ community is symbolic of Fifa’s management of the tournament and its build-up.

He said: “Fifa coming out and saying players are going to get a yellow card for wearing the rainbow armband. What on earth are they thinking about?

“It’s like the tail is wagging the dog.

“Fifa is a worldwide organisation and should (have) been saying: ‘We’re coming here and this is how we run this competition – there will be demonstrations, freedom of speech, people will enjoy themselves, there will be parties on the street and people can have a glass of wine and a beer, and they’ll all wear what they want – that is the World Cup’.

“It shouldn’t be Qatar saying: ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that. It’s unbelievable’.”