The Dandy Annual 2019

Christmas is just not Christmas without the Dandy Annual!
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Peace & Goodwill To All Men … including referees.

Renfrew forward John Horne, had been sent off for some innocuous infraction; the team had lost a contentious and feisty match and the players had made their way up the steps into the Pavilion at Western Park. The home team had been consoled by several home spectators as they passed, each muttering something derogatory about the evening’s referee.

One fan however, was more concerned to share his feelings directly with the man-in-the-middle. And share he most certainly did. Actually, ‘offload,’ would be more accurate.

It took only about thirty seconds for the poor ref to shepherd the last of the players off the pitch and then head to the dressing room himself. But the amount of expletives the spectator managed to fire off in his direction was blinding; disgraceful, actually.

What can I say? I was an angry young forty-something.
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Vogue, Fads & Trends.

It’s often been said that I’m a bit of a dinosaur. You may have sussed that out for yourself, having read previous editions of ‘FREW THE LOOKING GLASS. Probably a little stegosaurus would be the most accurate visual description if you know what I mean. One that wears rose-tinted glasses, at that. And you don’t see many of them around these days.

The good thing about wanting to live in the past, is that you’d know what to expect. (Work that one out if you can.) No need to worry about the future and the changes it inevitably brings. Everything remains the way you remember it. And of course, life is so much better when viewed from over your shoulder – unless you’re being stalked by a tiptoeing, psychotic axeman.
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The Way We Were.

“Tick.”
“Tack.”
“Tick.”
“Tack.”
The voices amplify as the tension increases. Eventually, the winner’s declared when his size ten, right guttie overlaps that of his opponent’s size nine left.

To the victor, the spoils – in this case, first pick of the assembled masses. At this early stage, tactical choices are not made. Simply the best. And the beaming smile on the face of the proud kid tells its own story. Today, and very possibly yesterday and tomorrow also, he is the best. At least in the eyes of his loyal pal.

The vanquished chooses next, then the victor again. The process is repeated until one poor wee soul remains. Invariably it’s the tubby lad, sucking his thumb and sporting National Health glasses held together by a small Elastoplast. He is grudgingly welcomed by his reluctant captain.

“You can play in goal!”
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A Waste Of Time – And My Money!

Remember that time you paid a restaurant for a four course meal, but the chef hadn’t bothered to prepare a desert course? Or when you went to the theatre to see a standard five act play, but the curtain remained down after four? And then there was that time your wife re-mortgaged the house to buy tickets for a Van Morrison gig (mistakenly confusing your fan-worship of Jim Morrison) and he buggered off after forty-five minutes with no encore?

No – of course you don’t. These things just don’t happen. Well, the first two don’t.
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It’s Only A Matter Of Time.


A few weeks ago, I took in my first ladies match. I know I’m a bit late to the party, but after watching the Juniors on a Saturday I’d have to apply to the International Brownie Points Fund for an emergency bailout loan to cover the cost of another afternoon watching football. Rather conveniently though, the Ladies That Do Lunch had arranged a bit of a session at the Tennis Club leaving me at an obvious loose end.

By good fortune, the Renfrew Ladies had landed a home draw against Glasgow City FC in the Scottish Cup Quarter Final. I don’t suppose even the most optimistic of Renfrew supporters genuinely believed in the chance of an upset, but I’d have been eternally kicking myself had it happened and not been there.

So, when the cat’s away, this mouse has his day.  There were plenty other possible distractions that afternoon, but having had the initial notion I wasn’t going to let anything divert me … and I headed for New Western Park.
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Tradition versus Innovation.

(Tradition)

So, Hampden Park is to remain the home of Scottish Football. Huzzah!

It’s not very often I agree with our game’s administrators and policy makers, but I do feel they have made the right choice this time. Whatever steps they next take, may however, elicit a completely different reaction. But for now, let’s give them some credit, and look on the bright side.

You see, I’m an out and out traditionalist. And if that means being regarded as a misty-eyed plonker who views sporting life through a black and white lens, then I’m afraid I’m guilty as charged, m’lud.
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