When you try your best but don’t succeed

By Tony B – 12th May 2020

After weeks of posturing, threats, thinly (and some not so thinly) disguised insinuations from The Rangers and their lapdogs, the real motive for all the tantrums, bluster, attempts at intimidation and propaganda has been brutally exposed. (As if we never already knew why).

 

Plainly and simply, this was a The Rangers FC led revolt in a final, desperate attempt to try and do off the park what they failed miserably to do on it. Stop Celtic being crowned Champions of Scotland for the 9th consecutive season.

 

From the minute the league was suspended all we have heard from The Rangers and their cohorts is that titles can only be won on the park. Where exactly do they suggest that Celtic built up a 13 point and 25 goal advantage before the cessation of the season if it wasn’t done on the park?

 

It’s undeniably true that the league wasn’t mathematically over. However, it’s laughable and highly unrealistic to suggest that a squad chock full of winners, who had won 8 league titles in a row, 4 league cups on the trot and were on course to win a 4th consecutive Scottish Cup, a team who had dropped a grand total of 10 points in 30 games and hadn’t lost a domestic cup tie in 4 seasons were suddenly going to drop more points in their final 8 domestic games than they had in the previous 30, whilst a team made up largely of serial losers – with a captain without a single senior footballing medal to his name, a side who hadn’t won consecutive league games in their previous 9 SPFL matches were going to do something they haven’t achieved in the 4 seasons since they were finally promoted to the Scottish Premiership and win 9 games back to back. All this with a team who have wilted and capitulated in every single big game they’ve had where pressure was on them to deliver. It just wasn’t going to happen and Steven Gerrard must be eternally grateful that a global pandemic has been able to deflect from the fact that he has once again failed to deliver when so much was demanded from their support.

 

The silence from the Celtic board during this debacle has only served to emphasise that the chasm between the clubs off the park is at least as great as that between the clubs on it. For some time now Celtics boardroom has been made up of men who operate on a global platform. Genuine and firmly ‘on the radar’ billionaires like Dermot Desmond and Denis O’Brien have reputations, contacts and influence well beyond the UK’s shores. We’ve previously taken senior members of the UK cabinet, executives of blue chip companies, world leading economists and former Deputy Governors of the Bank of England and supplemented them with guys with a significant track record in performing at the highest levels in their various industries within the UK, Ireland and beyond. To a man the Celtic board has long been one that has been filled by men of significant substance. Professional men and the type of men who can and do lead and influence. In contrast, the Ibrox boardroom comprises of a gaggle of blinkered, occasionally bigoted West of Scotland businessmen.

 

Douglas Park is currently the biggest hitter in the Ibrox boardroom and has a more than respectable track record in business. He is a wealthy man on the back of his endeavours over nearly 50 years, but his wealth, influence and business history doesn’t even register compared to his Celtic counterparts. Indeed, one doubts if Denis O’Brien or Dermot Desmond would even have heard of him prior to his turning up in the Ibrox boardroom.

 

The Rangers fans will argue that they had Dave King, but despite being based in and having most of his business interests in South Africa, he could in no way be described as a global tycoon. He is a pariah in the business world now and like Park is a man with little influence and with limited contacts beyond SA and the UK. Indeed, where he does have contacts beyond those borders, they tend to be guys like fellow Ibrox board member, Hong Kong based, Barry Scott who have – to put it kindly – controversial business histories.

 

Not to put too fine a point on it, the board members at Celtic operate on a completely different plan to the ones at Ibrox. It’s therefore unsurprising that the Celtic board are shrewder, smarter and consistently outthink, outwit and outperform their Rangers counterparts in every area.

 

It’s a few weeks since HWS asked if I’d do this article to look at the voting and fallout from the SPFL vote on concluding the season and I’m sure most reading this will be familiar with the background to that story without going over it in detail here.

 

Few anyone would argue that there were some flaws in the SPFL voting process. There quite clearly were but what has followed from The Rangers and Inverness has been a vicious, undiluted and potentially libellous attack on the SPFL, its members and senior individuals on its board. When the dust settles, one would expect that serious SPFL charges – and possibly civil proceedings – will follow against both of those clubs and, in particular, Douglas Park, Stewart Robertson and Scot Gardiner.

 

In the case of Robertson, his place on the SPFL board must surely be untenable now. Arguably, his position at Ibrox should be too. What purpose does he serve if he is unable to represent The Rangers interest on the SPFL board or exert any kind of influence? The SPFL have claimed Robertson never spoke up or raised his alleged grievances or concerns at any point either during board meetings or in private. What the hell was he doing? Where was his voice? If you are operating at that level, you need people there who can speak up and assertively fight their corner and say things people don’t like to hear. We’re not talking about a modern apprentice or office junior sitting in on meetings to gain a wee bit of experience here. We’re talking about a highly experienced guy on the board of and representative of 2 major organisations.

 

The constant flow of contradictions, misinformation and vitriol from Ibrox and Inverness have been nothing short of a disgrace. Serious public allegations were made against the SPFL and its representatives. Despite the recent backtracking, the words ‘bullying’, ‘corruption’ and ‘coercion’ all originated from them. It is completely unacceptable in any line of business to make such damning comments and allegations and refuse to provide evidence to substantiate them. To go further and demand suspensions of senior board members without providing anything to support that request is incredulous. As well as their public utterances, Douglas Park is alleged to have made even more serious and damaging accusations in a private telephone conversation to Neil Doncaster. The nature of these comments were so serious that Mr Doncaster felt compelled to get the SPFL lawyer to draft and issue a cease and desist notice to Park.

 

As for the vote itself, The Rangers are unhappy that their own resolution to replace the SPFL motion on the table at that time was refused. The reason being – as the SPFL have gone on record as saying – is that Park’s motion was not legally competent but if they wished, they could have access to the legal representatives of the SPFL to produce one that was competent and could be which could put to the member clubs to vote on. This offer was refused. To date (at least 5 weeks later), no updated resolution has been put forward.

 

Another complaint was that the SPFL board tried to influence members. I struggle to see why this is being portrayed as unusual or underhand. This was a board resolution being put to its members, of course they would lobby for its acceptance. Any board putting forward a resolution will be hopeful that it passes.

 

The inference that there was any bullying or intimidation of clubs has also yet to be substantiated. If anything, and in light of this morning’s comments from other SPFL clubs, there has been more evidence of The Rangers and Inverness attempting to bully and influence other clubs than there has of anything else.

 

Rangers motive from the outset has been transparent, it’s never been about the good of the game or even self-interest for their club. Whilst Hearts, Partick Thistle, Falkirk and Stranraer can have legitimate grievances about their fate and are rightly voting for and fighting for what’s best for their club, The Rangers board and fans are absolutely consumed by the thought of Celtic winning their 9th consecutive title. Their board are voting and rabble rousing based on hatred, bigotry and in defiance of all logic. They will gladly pursue a scorched earth policy if it means stopping Celtic. The end game has always been thus.

 

In Scott Gardiner at ICT, they have found a willing stooge. A long-time friend and colleague of Rangers 9-in-a-row stoater, John Brown, Gardiner’s allegiances and motives don’t exactly require a Deloitte auditor to work out.

 

A former employee of the original Rangers, rumours have abounded for some time that he now craves a job back at the new Ibrox club having rejected a chance to return to Edmiston Drive a few years back. Given his track record of failure at Dundee and Hearts (where he laughably oversaw the failure to order seats for their new stand, resulting in a delay in its scheduled opening), most Celtic fans will surely hope that he gets the chance to join that board of insignificant brothers mentioned above.

 

The Rangers, many of their fans and Gardiner will all deny it of course, but the thought of Celtic being crowned champions is tormenting their every waking moment right now. The Rangers fans social media pages, fan forums and websites have spoken of little else for weeks. As ever, Celtic and their continued success is forever prevalent in their minds. For them, there is no escape. Irrespective of how they try and dress it up or make excuses, their behaviour betrays their true emotion.

 

After 6 weeks of bitter infighting, 1 failed coup, 10s of thousands of words, several hundred newspaper articles, 1690 statements and 2 SPFL member resolutions and not a single peep from Parkhead, nothing can alter the fact that for the 9th season running, Celtic are once again the best damn team in Scotland.

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Auld Bill McLeish

By Angela – 10 May 2020

It was 1988 and my first “proper” job after failing to establish myself as an audio typist in Glasgow’s Bothwell Street. The hustle and bustle of the Office Stationary World based in an industrial Estate in Rutherglen beckoned.

My new Boss was Auld Bill McLeish an aging business man who reluctantly enlisted the help of his accountant son Colin to help run things.  Bill was an old gentleman and was the life and soul of the place albeit he was a “bluenose” and he had a seat at Ibrox in the main stand.  My best memory has to be the poster in his tobacco stained office that read “Success is doing everything right the first time!”

He also loved all those quotes like that cosmic drivel,  such as: “everything happens for a reason” aye like fuck it does!!  or “what is for you won’t go by you”  The auld philosopher could hardly back it up.

He trained me up on my first client phone call by me phoning him on his extension and saying “McLeish Business Supplies can I help you?”. I was 17 years of age and in awe of this small gentleman in a smart suit.

Bill had a son, Colin who was not as endearing; David Brent before his time hence the affectionate theme tune.

The tune from the onsite warehouse was “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac blaring as Colin “Can you hear me Colin” walked into the office with a fag hanging out of his mouth. Pauline and I would be singing our wee song. Got those orders written up yet ladies he would growl as Clarkey and Archie were about to leave.

After a few times singing “can you hear me Colin” he seemed to take it as affection then moving onto complimentary, he would punch the air when we sang it, looking at us as if we were his disciples.

 

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Colin would walk his dog at lunchtime and would sadly keep it in his car until 12 o’clock, his car was a mini-clubman, those dated looking monstrosities with the wooden backs. His dog was one of those small sausage dogs (a Dachshund) so you can imagine us trying to take him serious never mind take orders from him.

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Colin was an Ewok impersonator by default; his father ruled the roost though.

One morning Bill insisted Colin drove me and Pauline to get a sandwich at lunchtime. We would certainly rather of walked for an hour especially as soon as we saw Ewok sitting waiting on us in the mini-clubman. Fuck knows what was going through this ones head!

As myself and Pauline got into the back of the car, oh, and the sausage dog. Ewok then put a tape on, status quo – “a what your proposing” he also had a little RFC pennant thing hanging down from the internal mirror.

The cringeometer was already hitting the Richter scale when he noticed a couple of young ladies by the side of the road. Having zero respect for us or them, he rolls down the window: “get yer pants aff ya horny bitches!”

They look on  in stunned amazement, Ewok rolls the window back up as he turns to us in the back: “a cannae stand doags!” what a smooth stud he really is, the sausage dog seems aggrieved and barks but is then assured: “no you for fack sake”

The thrills of playing the game to keep yer job.

Clarkey played rugby on a Saturday and Auld Bill was always keen to find out how he got on – one day he was shouting across the warehouse for the Saturday’s updates, Clarkey couldn’t quite hear him, so Bill ran over and fell into the waste bin, fag ash everywhere as Elvis “Good luck charm” blared out of the radio.

After years of writing up orders and slogging out office furniture quotations over a typewriter (Olympus Word Processor) it was over.

Here’s the best bit after working there for six years until I was 22 my leaving gift was a lousy Parker Pen!

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Auld Bill was last seen in his retirement, frequenting a few establishments in town. He seemed to becoming bored with life with no focus or fulfilment, with this, he would often be seen drinking with the “young yins” as he called them.

One afternoon we came across him in a sing-along with some young Oasis fans, Bill with his blazer and gold buttons sporting a tie with the tag: “persevere” on it, which was some kind of Masonic title.

The young bods were singing along to Wonderwall which they had on repeat as much as the rest of the Oasis tracks on the juke box. Auld Bill was giving it laldy he had them standing up, everyone swaying arms embraced. When the chorus kicked in — Bill would step-back, arms stretched out: “and after aaalll … you are a wadddaaaaawhhhoh!” this was the perfect alcohol induced afternoon for everyone whether Bill had the words right or not. When all said and done we all liked Bill.

 

 

The Adventures of Knight Rider & Beefburger

By Macaroon Bar 2/5/20

When Ian decided on the name ‘Knight Rider’ for his CB handle in the early 80s, little did he know that it would follow him around for the rest of the decade. As decisions went, it was up there with the day Katie Hopkins’ mum got pregnant then decided to keep it – a fucking bad one.

For the next few years, at every opportunity, we’d address him as ‘Knights!’, purely in the name of comedy. And he didn’t like it; he didn’t like it at all.

Of course we did this out of affection, but a different kind of affection; a piss-take sort of affection. That’s not to say he didn’t deserve it of course; he was a Bully Beef character so we felt as though the ribbing was truly justified even if he obviously didn’t.

It was almost a thrill when he’d counter our taunts by fixing us with a growling gaze and asking us, ‘Ee got a problem?’

 

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Knights liked his semi – heavy metal attire of snow-washed denim jacket and jeans, big white mamma boots and shoulder length hair. Picture a member of a Norwegian soft metal band from the 80s and you’re about there. 

Straight out of the ‘furry dice brigade’, his favourite track was, ‘Who Made Who’ by AC/DC and it was this head-banger he’d have pumping out the open window of his Ford Cortina.

Once, in response to us reminding him of his nickname, he informed us that we were, ‘Aw mincemeat,’ which was actually quite an apt threat seeing as he worked in the local butcher’s.

He then charged at us like a raging bull, seemingly to attack, only to stop five-yards short, pointing, and shouting, ‘Ahhh ya cunts!’

Eventually, he got his revenge by looking in all the pub windows until he caught us underage drinking, then reported us to the cops.

Every day after school we would make our way down to his shop specially to shout ‘Knights!’ at him – it was the highlight of our day, at least until we got home and ‘Grange Hill’ came on.

Out of the goodness of our hearts, we would always let him know we were approaching by counting ourselves in: ‘A-one, a-two, a one-two-three-four – KNIGHTS!’

Startled and slightly bemused (or maybe impressed, it was hard to tell) all of the shop’s clientele would turn ’round and look for a moment, before carrying on as normal. Not Knights, though, who looked like he was about to burst like an overcooked sausage.

Waiting until his manager wasn’t looking, he menacingly pointed at us with a cleaver before telling us, ‘You, and you, and you – are fucking mincemeat.”

On a midweek night you’d see him doing a few hundred circuits of the town in the motor; elbow out the window, mirror shades on, chewing Hubba Bubba, and giving us a wee growl as he drove past.

If he had a lassie with him you could imagine him giving it a Brooklyn accent too, as if being a butcher’s assistant with a Cortina wasn’t impressive enough.

Knights had a pal we named ‘Beefburger’ who was also a bully beef type, resembling the wee short guy ‘Wellington Wimpy’ from the early Popeye cartoons.

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If Beefburger was in the butchers we would shout his name out too, so as not to make him feel left out. His response was to run out to the door and inform us, ‘The police have just went by and they’re after you, you, you and you!!’, his face looking like he was  blowing up bus tyres.  

On one occasion we probably took it too far. We approached the butcher’s shop to do the usual drill, ‘A-one, a-two, a one-two-three-four …,’ then Blacklock runs into the shop with his gel back hair and on chant gives it, “KNIGHTS!!!”  

The result of this was that Knights was suspended for bringing unnecessary attention to the shop. 

Knights and Beefburger would eventually start drinking in pubs but it was usually when RFC were playing and it was on the telly. They would sit with their blue McEwan’s Lager tops on, drinking said lager with a pile of crisp bags — some empty, some full.

One evening we piled into the pub after a match and the gruesome twosome were there. The look on Knights’ face was a picture; as if the Jackson 5 had just walked into a Ku Klux Klan convention, and his welcome was what you’d expect: ‘Ya fenian bassas!!’ 

All of the emotions regarding the recent suspension spewed out of him like gravy squirting out of one of his steak pies and he flew for Blacklock, only to be held back by Beefburger. ‘Ah was due a promotion ’til that little cunt stuck his heed in the door and shouted “Knights”,’ he tells us while being held back and aiming kicks at his nemesis.

Then it was my turn: ‘Maybe you never shouted Knights, but you shouted: ‘A-one – a two – a-one-two-three-four…!’

As soon as it started, though, it was finished, and he sat back down to his McEwans Lager before informing us that – once again –  we were, ‘Aw mincemeat.’

Blacklock was in having dinner one evening at the Woodhouse Hotel with a lovely lady friend he was hoping to woo (pump), but unbeknown to him, Beefy had got himself a job in there as the head chef and Knights provided them with their meat. Which was exactly what Blacklock was hoping to provide to this lady back at his place if the date were a success. But it didn’t start well and it ended even worse.

Upon spotting each other through a wee hatch to the kitchen, Beefy greeted him with the middle bar and a red-hand salute.

A few minutes later, Blacklock and his guest were hoping to enjoy their romantic steak dinner, but no matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t cut their meat. It was literally impossible. 

Instead of complaining, they decided to go outside and round to the kitchen to confront Beefy. ‘What’s the story wi’ the steak?’, shouts Blacklock, to which Beefy replies: ‘Fuck all tae dae wi me!’

In a rage, he kicks the door in and could hardly believe his eyes. Beefy had been sawing bits off a tyre, which he’d served up to Blacklock and his lady as steaks!

This was obviously some sort of incredibly imaginative revenge, and it was not on!

Blacklock grabbed an apple and got Beefy in a headlock, ‘Aw aye! What aboot this aepple then, eh?’, and starts feeding it to him, ‘C’mon, eat yer aepple, eat yer aepple, yer no blawin up bus tyres now eh?’

Once the forced apple feeding was over and Beefy was once again a free man, he ran into the restaurant and shouts back to Blacklock: ‘Am phoning the polis.’

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The next time we clapped eyes on the meat brothers was one Sunday evening in Bobbins, a pub with the usual 80s stuff in it: mirrors, disco balls, lasers, etc.  The main bar was quite empty but when we headed to the disco room through the back we saw only two people up dancing – Knights and Beefburger. The song …

The Wanderer

Oh well, I’m the type of guy who will never settle down

Where pretty girls are, well you know that I’m around
I kiss ’em and I love ’em cause to me they’re all the same
I hug ’em and I squeeze ’em they don’t even know my name

They call me the wanderer

Yeah, the wanderer

I roam around, around, around

As they sang out loud and danced their ‘driving an invisible car dance’, they were oblivious to us; they danced as if no one was watching.

Until the song finished and they heard, with horror etched on their faces, the familiar refrain:

‘A-one, a-two, a one-two-three-four…!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marcella

By Angela 1st May 2020

Fur an auld wumman she was probably the biggest Celtic supporter you would ever meet in your life. Her name was Marcella, but was known affectionately as Cella. I was proud to call her “Grannie”.

Parkhead Glasgow was my second home apart from Castlemilk, as my brother and I would stay every other weekend regardless of whether the hoops played at home.

For home games, it was her flat at 164 Helenvale Street where a crowd of us would visit before and after the match; such was her popularity.

At 4:45pm on a Saturday, just as the Pope’s a catholic, the chip pan would be on lard not yet melted, tatties peeled.  Fresh homemade chip butties for all was common.  This not only filled you up but gave the crowds a chance to disperse before all heading home safely.

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The view from 11 floors up you could see down both the length of London Road and Springfield Road viewing the crowds as matchstick men with the floodlights of Paradise glistening to the right.

My Grannie was a shrewd Business Woman (having worked all her days as a Dinner Lady, Clippy to Bingo caller). Being a War Widow as my Grandad was killed in WW2 there was no option, she never remarried.

When she eventually retired, the landing cleaning business began. The boss and her wee apprentice cleaning the landings for 10 out of the 14 floors in the building.

Along with a Saturday Syndicate for the horses with her flat buddies I learn to write out a bookies slip.

We often liked a “wee refreshment” and would be often found in the Oak Bar (AKA The Clansman or Jimmy’s) most Thursday for a whiskey; and a half shandy.
Whilst having a sing song with the other locals and reminiscing about the past, Cella often kicking things off with “I don’t know why I love you but I do” by Bobby Vinton, such was her devotion to my Grandad Josie. At the end of the night “I was never drunk Angela just tired”. Aye right!

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The Celtic Football Social Club was always a highlight of her social calendar. When Tommy Burns won the Scottish Cup in 1995 (the only cup he won as Celtic manager) was another one until the photo was developed and the trophy appeared to be half way up her nose.  She was 81.

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Marcella and I had a unique bond, beyond that of maternal granddaughter and grandmother. We shared secrets and memories, more than I did with my own Mum. She forgave me for chopping my long blonde hair to a Casual wedge when I was 14 when all she said was go for a trim. “Suits ye hen” she said after around 20 minutes stunned silence ……

Celtic are Cool

Bobby Gillespie and Andrew Innes from Primal Scream were partying in Paris mid-90’s, drinking champagne with their model friends Kate Moss and Helena Christensen.

Nearing the end of the night with the ladies enjoying the company of the indie rock legends so much, “Heroin Chic” Kate suggested they go to another party the following evening.  The response from the chaps was: “Sorry hen, we’re gonnae see the Celts”.

This was 9 May 1995 (the day before the European Cup Winners Cup match Paris Saint-Germain vs. Celtic).  Bobby and Innes had their priorities right the supermodels were gutted.

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Don’t Stop the Dance

Celtic v Aberdeen – 14 September 1985

The above song recorded by Bryan Ferry was playing on the tannoy before the match.  Every time I hear it now, my vivid memory shoots to that day.

The match was my first day out against Aberdeen, I had been at a few games with crew on the lead up to this.  I remember seeing calling cards going about stating:  “Congratulations you just have met the Celtic Soccer Trendies” although the mob were chanting “Celtic Soccer Crew” so we seemed to have settled on CSC.

I got to know faces from the terraces over time, they told us we were occupying the bottom of the main stand at Celtic Park next to the old Rangers end (the away end) so a few of us headed there.  As this was against the famous Aberdeen — it was always going to be interesting especially with the fact the Aberdeen Soccer Casuals (ASC) had been coming to Glasgow for a few years and were considered the originals of the early-80s

This was an era where you could pay to get into the match and you could choose where you wanted to be.  So, we get in quite early and take up our seats in the bottom tier of the main-stand.  A few impressive faces we knew start coming in from the off — numbers were increasing, we were always crowd watching — checking out the latest styles.  The threads had moved on from sportswear to cords and footwear; also Paisley pattern shirts, fishing jackets were the new chosen attire a few of the crew were carrying the wee black brolly accessory.  Hair was now short!

This was a total buzz being among the likeminded lads.  Celtic’s own brand of this counterculture was up and running, the new style stemming from football.  I was wearing a said “paisley” shirt buttoned up to the top with cords slit at the bottom and desert boots; boys were becoming men.  The Celtic fans thought they had got rid of their casuals due to the fact they couldn’t locate the ski-hats on the terraces anymore; but what was developing opposite them in the main stand was a bigger crew that had evolved.

Some Aberdeen supporters took up seats in the row at the back of us wearing their red and white scarfs, they must have thought they would have the comfort of a nice view from sitting down instead of the terracing; until the mutton brains saw us.  There was a slightly odd feeling to this match as it was days after our legendary manager Jock Stein had lost his life in Cardiff whilst managing Scotland.  There was a minutes silence before kick-off that was observed impeccably by both sets of supporters, also a top gesture was displayed from the Aberdeen fans as they laid out a red and white wreath behind the goals in memory of Big Jock.

During the match we were looking over at the away end to locate the Aberdeen casuals among their support: they had brought a lot of fans down as they always done.  The  league was usually a race between us and them so they would always fill one half of the old away end.  Celtic took the lead in the first-half and the stadium erupted we were all bouncing up and down in main stand chanting: “Celtic Celtic Soccer Crew” hoping to be noticed, a few of our lads couldn’t resist flipping back and landing on the laps of the Aberdeen mutton brains in the back row of the bottom section.  Some of the Celtic lads were pretending to be stuck as they tried to push us off “get aff” in that Oberdeen occent was the cry, while signalling to the police.

After all this had calmed down we became aware to our right that a load of ASC had come into the no-mans-land (which was a wee section of terracing that was usually kept clear between the away end and the main stand) but they had moved in to check us out.

To give them credit they had big numbers but we started chanting at them they started hand signalling mocking the size of us compared to them, they did have a few more older lads, but we knew that was always the case in these early days.  Aberdeen were smartly turned out wearing a lot of darker colours looking very anti-suss.  Just then the police moved into them and pushed the ASC ushering them back to the main part of the away end.

Aberdeen equalised late in the game which was about to become a flat beer moment, with this being a top of the table clash and of course the smuggy mutton brains in our face chanting: “Oberdeen Oberdeen Oberdeen” like a theme tune to the depression!

With minutes to go, as was the Celtic way; Brian McClair scored the winner (2-1), with utter delirium in the ground we tried to accidently fall back on the muttons in the back row again but they were running to get out the stand — a poor show as we only wanted a kiss and a hug!

Celtic won the match; it was now game on with the ASC, we left the ground together and tried to turn left passed the old Celtic shop but we noticed a barrier was up to stop this so we headed straight down and gathered at the bus stop opposite the London Road Primary school.  There was was a lot Celtic fans leaving the ground moving both ways on London Road, about five minutes later we notice the mounted police moving from the away end towards us, that was when we knew they had the away fans and the ASC with them as they tried to keep them at the other side of the road.

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Given the amount of scarfers it was quite easy to mingle so we went on the move towards Aberdeen as we became face-to-face with them, they used their experience from fighting our fans previously and they charged at us first, backing us off, also fans with their kids fled as that was the only option they had.

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We gathered again across the street just up from the bus stop and we moved up London Road.  A few of our main faces grabbed us and we get switched on.  This time we lead the charge at Aberdeen the mix of apprehension and adrenaline at 15 years-old and we’re having it toe-to-toe with the ASC, this is Glasgow and it’s Celtic at home so we aren’t budging.  There is a few hundred going for it but it was lucky if we could land more than a couple punches. I can also recall seeing the “infamous” golf ball with nails in it flying through the air as well as being cracked with a few black brollies. I recall taking a few dull ones but not feeling a thing this became quite an addiction from this season onwards.

A few of our lot were getting grabbed by the plod and being told it was our last warning, due to the big numbers back then we outnumbered the police on a big scale, it was a nightmare for them.

The plod managed to contain us and the ASC on either side of London Road as we walked further towards Bridgeton, we were now just posturing and getting a good look at the ASC, you could check out their look, no bright colours, very anti-suss with a lot of obscure Adidas trainers.

Out of nowhere someone in our mob lobbed a bottle of Irn Bru into the middle of the Aberdeen mob and with that we followed through over to them. They certainly stood their ground and again it’s kicked off, nobody gets a result as we are all eventually split.

This was my first real taste of it and I was hooked on all of it – Don’t ever Stop the Dance.

In memory of Rab Mcgivern.

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Gerry Cinnamon: The Bonny Review

By Angela 18/04/2020

It was 2016 when Gerry Cinnamon started selling out bigger venues in his hometown of Glasgow.  He now plays to sell-out crowds all over UK arenas including Hampden Park 50,000 which recently was sold-out in a matter of hours. It is, however, imperative to point out he went through this journey on his own without media support,  he was no fan of the music business, perhaps he has become what he didn’t set out to be, but his success is certainly through choice and not circumstances.  He is still,  the outsider in our opinion.

He is an artist that hasn’t and doesn’t do many interviews that is something we have always admired also his enormous recognition is bigger than any profile, at many of his gigs or festivals he will break into merriment as if he has just been busking and thousands of people have appeared and joined in.

The Bonny — his latest masterpiece, is what we were anticipating it to be, an immense piece of composition and with that, he has evolved no doubt.
When first upon hearing, ‘Where We’re Going’ it was a standout and far removed from his usual acoustic sets with a full band rather than a solo track; but on listening to the rest of the album there is quite a bit of variation.

The album title relates to times in Castlemilk when the local boys would yearly rival each other in the enormous bonfire stakes, the sad part you needed to learn, and accept, was that the bigger your bonny gets the more people would try and piss on it. As he puts it: “But, if you build it big enough there’s no c*** getting near it …  “The Bonny’s a metaphor for dreaming something into existence and building it bigger, and even if you don’t care enough about yourself to do it for your own good, maybe try doing it for the people you love.”

Sun Queen — remains the favoured track for us here at HWS, musically and lyrically.  The story going right through the track is uplifting then again you may adapt the story to what suits “Fakes in bands only wanna get wasted … They wear nice clothes, but they’ll never even taste it.”  We habitually played this all through the Christmas and New Year period and it ended up a captivating theme tune.

Head in the Clouds — is a track describing his insomnia and how it takes its toll after a few days, the voice is prominent in this track and despite the lyrics sounding he may have a despondent view on life, there is a small narrative of a love song to it as it proceeds.

It has been mentioned in music circles that the lyrics are simple, I totally disagree. His voice is lavish but effortless, a lyrical genius.

Full album tracklist:

  1. Canter
  2. War Song Soldier
  3. Where We’re Going
  4. Head In The Clouds
  5. Dark Days
  6. The Bonny
  7. Sun Queen
  8. Outsiders
  9. Roll The Credits
  10. Mayhem
  11. Six String Gun
  12. Every Man’s Truth

Castlemilk’s finest has seen it, done it and writes about, he doesn’t care about the sums oh and he is a creative musical genius – he could only be a Tim.

Holywell Street maintain: Celtic – music – threads are intertwined, Gerry Cinnamon ticks the boxes.

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Ye Auld Twisters

By Holywell Street 17/4/20

Frank Winston was a curious individual, he was initially from the West Coast of Scotland and was quite a grumpy chap with a short fuse who could flip at the smallest thing. To promote his hard man persona, he’d walk around as if he were pushing an invisible wheelbarrow or was carrying a ‘fitba’ under each oxter, but in saying that, he was okay with us most of the time.

I say most of the time, because one evening, Blacklock and I went up to his house to see if his son ‘Fresh Winston’ was ‘coming out to play’, and it turned out to be one of the most bizarre incidents either of us had been involved in.

Frank answered the door wearing a string vest and told us to come in and wait, so we sat in the front room while he was painting the walls with a roller.

It appeared that he didn’t have his false teeth in, so we could only really try and guess what he was saying to us. As he was painting away he asked Blacklock, ‘Pil payin pitba pum?’ Both of us tried to keep our laughs in while at the same time looking as if we had been asked to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity by one of the Clangers. Blacklock gambled his reply with, ‘Aye.’ It became apparent he was asking, ‘Are you still playing football son?’ So, the gamble luckily paid off, this time.

Frank’s next query was, ‘Pae payin pir pow?’ Blacklock gambles again with, ‘Aye.’ It was the wrong answer, our luck had ran out. His short fuse had been lit and and he turns round, roller in hand and demands, ‘Widdae e mean – aye?’ He had a look in his eyes like that of a young woman on a first date who’d just been told by her boyfriend that he wanted to take her home and do a shit in her hair. He was ragin’! After what seemed like an eternity it eventually dawned on us that he was asking, ‘Who are you playing for now son?’ Blacklock answered, ‘Hutchison Vale FC’, and the tension instantly disappeared.

We hoped that was the end of the interrogation, and we could breath again and return to a certain degree of normality when we noticed that the telly was showing a video of ‘Hungry like the Wolf’ by Duran Duran. Now, we both quite liked it and innocently let our feelings be known, not thinking for a second that it would set Frank off again. ‘Aye? Pair o poofs aye?’

Now, whatever he was asking we assumed it was a rhetorical question. Therefore, our response was, once again – ‘Aye.’ It instantly became obvious that this was the exact opposite of what he wanted to hear, and he exploded with rage, screaming, ‘Widdie e mean aye!?’ 

Obviously we had inadvertently triggered some sort of homophobic allergic reaction within him and although he didn’t actually say, ‘square go, ya cunts’, it was written all over his face. It was at this point that Blacklock and I decided to make a dignified exit. Well, as dignified as we could manage after he flew for us and chased us out of the house while giving Blacklock a white paint makeover as he ran along the lobby.

‘Al Tell Ye’

… was another pub celebrity who would regularly be sitting in the Auld Coin Inn most days of the week. There was a part of the gaff that he and his cronies would sit at and they named it ‘Sunshine Corner’. The pub was situated near the sea front in Burntisland but the only sunshine, if you were lucky, was outside near the ‘ship yairds’.

We named his right-hand man ‘Hael Tell Ye’ because when he was looking for back-up to his thrilling stories he would nod in the general direction of this other wisecracking character for validation of his shite. They sat there scooping up all day – usually Pale Ale or whisky, philosophising to anyone sitting near.

If the young crowd were looking bored they would include us in the chat with a shrewd and wise look telling us their thoughts, as if they were letting you into a massive secret, like it was privileged information. This wisdom was habitually the daftest, most lazy-minded, clichéd pile of drivel you would ever hear, but then what do you expect from a bunch of auld twisters who have sat in the pub for the last 50 years?

One of their buddies we named, ‘Whisky-Nose’ because he was the spitting image of Sid James with his red cricket ball hooter, which we suspected was down to many years tanking the nips that he described as ‘Mother’s Milk’. He would be the main instigator in the gang for hand crushing or demanding arm wrestling contests.

The pub had a jukebox which they would all sing along to; one of their favourites was ‘Rasputin’ by Boney M, and in the name of fun they would all slap the table at the intro to a chorus of, ‘Hey Hey Hey Hey Hey Hey.’

Now and again women would pop in for a light refreshment and if any of them happened to be on the larger side, they would be welcomed to a chorus of, ‘Hey fatty boom boom, hey sugar dumpling.’  

Despite never having attended a football match in their lives, they were all keen supporters of the ‘Raaaiiinjurz’ and would shout at the telly when they were on, as if somehow the players could hear their pearls of tactical wisdom.

Although claiming to be ‘guid proddies’, none of them went to church and were christened to the total-up figure of zero, but, they had a deep dislike for ‘kaffliks’ which seems indicative to these Caledonia small towns.  Sometimes, they would break the mould and go on a pub excursion to Cowdenbeath for a pint with the Young Defenders Flute Band — it was, as the say, their culture.

Whisky-Nose used to tell us that, like himself, his good lady was in the orange order but he, ‘worshipped the grund that is coming ae her’, as he put it, due to her constant nagging. The couple would often be seen frequenting the prize bingo at Burntisland shows, trying to win the most outrageous tat after playing for most of the day, before heading back to the pub.

One afternoon a coach load of day trippers from the Borders arrived on their annual pilgrimage to the seaside as was common then. The men would go on a pub crawl ending up at the ‘ship yairds’ and pile into the Auld Coin Inn. As usual, Al Tell Ye and his merry followers were supping away in Sunshine Corner when these outsiders came in.

It wasn’t quite like the scene in ‘The Slaughtered Lamb’ at the start of ‘An American Werewolf in London’, but it wasn’t a kick up the arse off it. However, as the pints and halves started flowing in the now busy bar, the Auld Twisters were starting to thaw out and even mixing with their new friends.

Calling themselves ‘Brers wi hands across the sea’ and ‘Ye all-time greats’ they demanded their Boney M song and ‘Hert o’ Gless’ by Blondie so they could all sing in unison. But this new spirit of friendship didn’t last long when Whisky Nose decided to ask them, ‘Ah hope yiz are aw real brers.’ Despite it being highly improbable, the tourists all agreed in drunken camaraderie that they were indeed ‘all real brers’ despite, I suspect, not knowing what he was on about.

‘How come he’s wearing a fackin hang-glider then?’, shouts W.N., pointing at one bloke, ‘that’s no brers!!”

With most of the bar now looking confused apart from the locals in Sunshine Corner, it became apparent that he was calling out one of the visitors for wearing a crucifix. The place then fell silent at the new arrived tension as W.N. seemed very aggrieved; the tourist wearing the crucifix is a wee Italian bloke called Pablo who then asks W.N. for an explanation to his so-called crime to the reply: ‘Ye cannae whoopsy poopsy in here pal, this is a proddie shoap and that hang-glider is persona non grata!’

Pablo is now nose-to-nose with him but Al Tell Ye saves the day by swaying over and calmly addressing the crowd: ‘Listen, oor awe-time-greats – am a right or am a wrong?’ This almost Gandhi – like intervention of peace diffuses the situation instantly and the ambience return as if by magic.

In an incredible twist of fate, a track we put on the jukebox by The Gap Band — ‘say oops upside your head, say oops upside your head’ started at just that moment and everybody joined in.

One of the young regulars thought it would be a great idea to get as many of the Auld Twisters up for a dance as possible, ‘c’mon ehh’, she shouts, as she encourages them to a half-hearted rendition of ‘away ye go!’

Then it happens, she’s done it! The tourists, Sunshine Corner and awe the young yins are on the floor sitting in a long line with Whisky Nose at front in song, arms in the air, swaying side-to-side then rowing, doing a version of the ‘Ship Yaird Boat Dance’ while singing, ‘oops upside your head say oops upside your head.’

Gandhi himself would have been proud.

It is true what they say – ‘All you need is love.’

BeerGlass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adventures of Yellow Ears

By Holywell Street 12/04/20

Old Eddie was by far the best out of all the characters in ‘no-man’s land’ and was considered a true legend round these parts. I say no-man’s land due to our hometown’s proximity between main cities and at best it was no more than a tourist stop-off spot for most people.

But it did have some plus points. Visitors could go on one of the many ‘exciting’ mill tours before spending the evenings at a restaurant or even the local pictures, which was actually quite a stunning building but by the ’80s had been covered in a bland black and white plastic facade. It was the equivalent of trying to improve the Mona Lisa by colouring in her face with felt tips.

It was the bookies and pubs, however, where you’d find the real personalities and Ed was certainly one of them. Originally from Manchester, he was one of the very few people, I suspect, to support both Man Utd and City. Sporting his long coat and flat cap he’d spend his days in the boozer where rum or pints of bitter were his favourite tipple.

When he wasn’t in the pub he’d be in his other place of worship – the bookie’s, and would regularly be chucked out after it was said that he was ‘too bloody cheeky to folk’ when the results weren’t going his way. This, of course, was only after they’d taken all of his money. We witnessed this ritual once when, after he was ‘politely asked to leave’ he told us, ‘Trap one to beat trap two, trap two won and one was second! Ye can never beat these basstits!”

During the mid – ’80s under a rancid Tory government there was a unit of like-minded lads who would hang around the main street between John Menzies and the phone box. Among these young bods were Tommy Trekket, “The Leopard”, Sid, Craig B and Blacklock, who, as well as being working class and bored, were very, very clued up and loved a laugh or two.

Ed was without doubt an eccentric, probably alcohol induced, but an eccentric nonetheless, and he did peculiar things. A case in point being when tourists would pull up at the phone box seeking directions and he would inexplicably send them in a completely different direction to where they needed to be. One day we asked why he did this; his response – with his classic stare – was, ‘Because they are nosey basstits.’

Whenever Ed saw us he’d always play to the gallery, usually by singing or walking backwards and in unison we’d be shouting over at him with outstretched arms as he belted out his favourite song, ‘Begin the Beguine’ by Julio Iglesias. I guess we all just loved him but the grown-ups, the unfriendly, stony-faced locals would always look down their noses at him, which definitely made us take to him more.

One day, when we were standing at the phone box, Ed approached us with what can only be described as a Charlie Chaplin walk. Well, we assumed (or hoped) he was doing a Charlie Chaplin walk because the only other alternative would have been that he’d shat himself. Which, to tell you the truth, wouldn’t have been outwith the realms of possibility. Just then, Tommy Trekket suddenly greeted him with, ‘Ahhhhhhhh – yellow ears!’ There was no clever, hidden meaning in this new nickname. Tommy called him ‘yellow ears’ because – probably due to decades of puffing Regal King Size – his ears, teeth, and some of his fingers had literally turned yellow. In fact, he was well on the way to transforming into a cast member from ‘The Simpsons’.

For some reason he didn’t think it was nearly as amusing as we did and the response from him was not good. In his Manc twang he shouts, ‘Ye getting too blodda cheeekaa’ and started chasing Tommy around the phone box. After a few laps in which he failed to get near him we managed to calm him down. Blacklock persuaded him that ‘Yellow Ears’ was actually a really affectionate term and from that moment on he seemed to revel in his brand new name.

In between John Menzies and the phone box was Fine Fare, which was where Tommy Trekket worked at the deli-counter wearing his white hat. One afternoon we were all in there chatting to him when Yellow Ears staggered in pissed and falling about while singing his favourite song. Once he’d bought his Fine Fare yellow pack cider (which incidentally went with his ears) he noticed us and was over like a shot. Tommy used to give him free stuff from the deli and this day he handed him some sliced ham with a smiling teddy bear image on it, the kind you give to 3-year old kids to make them eat it. Free or not, Yellow Ears wasn’t finding this funny and he stared at Tommy with a kind of, ‘I-know-more-than you’ look, while asking him, ‘Are ye trying rip me off?’ Although, how you can rip someone off with free ham is anyone’s guess.

Another curious character drank in a pub called The Sticky Glue, which was situated in a narrow one-way street where cars would drive by every three or four minutes.  Due to him finding his own jokes or stories absolutely hilarious he would burst into a hysterical laugh after he’d told one, which sounded like a Tommy Gun being let loose on a German trench during the First World War (kakakakakakakakakakaka).

It of course earned him a nickname which was every bit as shrewdly observed as ‘Yellow Ears’. We decided to call him ‘Machine Gun’.

Machine Gun’s stories were only amusing in his own head and really the only funny thing about them was his laugh, which was incredibly infectious; like herpes. For some reason he and Yellow Ears didn’t really see eye-to-eye, but they would still stand together at the bar in the afternoon with the usual nine or ten other customers.

The Leopard and I were in one afternoon and we observed that Machine Gun and Yellow Ears were playing some bizarre game which consisted of betting 50 pence on the colour of the next car to drive past the pub. Yellow Ears seemed to lose every time to a chorus of ‘kakakakakakakakakakaka’. Eventually auld yella grabbed Machine Gun by the throat, pushed him up against the wall and called him a ‘cheating basstit!’ (fuck knows what was floating through their heads). It was almost as if we were caught in the middle of the last act in an old John Wayne movie, set in the wild west. The tension; the drama; the feeling of raw, unadulterated terror as the two main protagonists were set to battle it out to the death in the bloody, climactic scene.

Well, it felt like that right up until the barmaid shouted, ‘Pack that in ya silly auld bastards or eer no gettin’ back!’

Of course there are still characters like that now. But they broke the mould after they made Ed. The King. The Elvis Presley of characters – except with yellow ears.

 

EDDIE (002)

 

First Prize a Coconut

By Holywell Street 2020

It was summer 1987 in a Scottish Borders rural town; an uninspiring place that most tourists may stop off at on their way to get to somewhere else. It was our town though and was by far the most cosmopolitan if you compared it to other towns in the Borders.

There was, however, a University and students from the bigger cities would move there for a spell. There was also a group of young lads who were maybe influenced by what these students wore as well as their musical tastes. More importantly, they attended football matches in Edinburgh and Glasgow so they were dressed in the terrace attire of the time. If this town had one thing, it had character, or should I say, it had characters; having said that you would only aspire to escape the place at the first opportunity, the town was famous for rugby and the usual divisions in the working class.

Music, football and clothes were linked and that’s what kept these young bods together, it was like a family unit with great camaraderie. But we weren’t the only ones; there was a rival town who thought they could match us but they were always miles and years behind, led by a bloke named McGhee. They all had this grating accent, kind of like finger nails being dragged down a blackboard and would pronounce him as ‘Mawgheeeee’. In our town we had some good level-headed chaps, one in particular being the “T-Bone”. There was never a dull moment with him, always a gag and a laugh. I used to get his lunch every day although mostly I didn’t know anything about it. Loads of  times after we’d stood in the queue at the bakers I’d find my hood stuffed with cakes and sausage rolls after I’d got outside.

Guid Auld

T-Bone and McGhee simply didn’t like each other and McGhee would often call the local phone box where we’d all hang about in the street and ask to speak to T-Bone. In his awful twang he would tell him, ‘yow are getting it’ but it was water off a duck’s back to him, he’d just keep telling McGhee that he was the continuous winner of the Ugly Man Contest and that his prize would arrive soon.

When I used to meet up with T-Bone we would visit ‘papa-don’t-preach’s house’, which was his granddad’s flat and a fine fella he was, a real good soul, just like a granddad should be, straight out of a “Werther’s Originals” advert.  T-Bone would sometimes borrow £10 from PDP, in fact, he would borrow £10 quite regularly. PDP, would always ask what this was for and at the age of 17, he’d tell him, ‘sweets and hings’.

One Friday night we were there before we went for our Becks session at a pub named The Bizz. So, T-Bone gets his ten-spot and off we go. The Bizz was like a disco bar with video jukebox, DJ and a real 80s vibe, which really is what you’d expect it to be like, seeing as it was the 80s. When we got there the place was packed to the rafters with fashionable types, as if we’d just walked into an episode of  “The Hitman and Her” but more importantly there would have been about 30 of our like-minded comrades already in. We had decided we were visiting a town in between ours and McGhee’s called The Bannock because it was their yearly festival which meant there was a funfair in town, or as we called it – “the shows”. The screeching Mawgheeeee had been annoying T-Bone most of the week by calling the phone box and informing him that himself and his equally screechy merry followers would be at the shows in The Bannock on this particular Friday evening; so off we went, leaving the Bizz and onto the bus.

T-Bone would like to “sail”, which was an arm movement starting with the hand – much like a Mexican wave and to the instruction of ‘saaiiling men’ we would all do it.  However, there was a random chap on the bus who resembled an angry Frank Carson and he seemed to be getting annoyed with ‘sailing men’ so T-Bone tried to get him involved in one of those ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ kinda vibes. He was showing him the drill and movement of  “sailing” out of the goodness of his heart, but this just annoyed Frank and he goes nose-to-nose with him. The next thing you know, T-Bone’s left arm – which isn’t sailing – hooks him and knocks his big glasses off which fly across the bus. The two of them squared-up and Frank’s response is to slap at T-Bone as if he’s doing the bongo drums before one of our gang picked his specs up and respectfully put them back on for him. Frank, now with full vision, tried a punch and missed so resorted to the bongo drum again. T-Bone went along with this and the two of them end up dancing bongo drum style, Frank is smiling, not quite sailing, but they got there in the end, the bus stops in the Bannock and we hug him and jump off.

The Bannock was another one of those grey, soul destroying places, the bottom half was industrial and the top half housing with a lifeless main street, sort of like “Village of the Damned” but with a Spar. We made our way to the local showground but there didn’t seem to be any sign of Mawgheeeee and his screeching men as we walked around. A few little stand-offs with the locals were looking promising though, and we consoled ourselves a bit when T-Bone won a coconut at one of the stalls to a round of applause  followed by more sailing.

It was then a local lass told us that the screeching lot had just left the shows on their way back to their hometown. We knew there was a bus stop at a golf course on the top half of The Bannock where they’d be getting on at, so we headed up there. In the distance we could see Mawgheeeee and his followers standing at the stop like a bunch of scarecrows when their bus came along and drove past us. In the hope that we would get to them before they boarded we started to sprint but our luck seemed to be out as we saw them getting on, with the last being Mawgheeeee!  He was standing shouting obscenities, things that were not very nice, like ‘wonkers’ or something like that. As he turned to get on the bus T-Bone continued his run and in an Ian “Beefy” Botham bowl style he lobs the coconut to crack Mawgheeeee right on the side of the head, his prize had finally been delivered.

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