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!”
(Read more …)

Advertisements

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.
(Read more …)

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.
(Read more …)

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.
(Read more …)

Toys and Prams.

The recent incident where Celtic fans unfurled a huge banner declaring that Dedryck Boyata was unfit to wear the shirt of Celtic Football Club, no doubt proved an embarrassing episode for all parties concerned. Certainly, from the brief highlights I watched on TV, the player looked very subdued and sheepish. I didn’t see the faces of those fans bearing the banner after their anti-hero scored the only, and winning goal of the game, but surely they must have been a picture of confusion?

That a group of fans would go to such lengths (and it was a lo-o-o-ong) banner) and expense (unless they had all roped their grannies into a week’s worth of communal needlecraft) to express their feelings, raises several points of worthy debate.
(Read more …)

It’s Football, But Not As We Know It.

Time and tide wait for no man.

But, it would seem, both are understanding of the tardiness displayed by this great game of ours, Football.

While the world of sport in general has been quick to embrace the advancement of technology, Football has remained rather reticent; reluctant to change a perceived winning formula, preferring instead to adopt an ‘if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it,’ mentality.

For although there have been circa seventy changes to the laws of the game in the last fifty years (I will, perhaps, count them properly for a future article), many are simple tweaks to existing rules for the purpose of clarification, and nothing more.

Others are purely cosmetic, it would appear, instigated one could imagine, as a simple tactic to further delay the implementation of available scientific advancement. (Non-intervening, pointless and superfluous assistant referees behind the goals, for instance.)
(Read more …)

UEFA Fair Play, My @>$£

The following is copied directly from the ‘About UEFA’ page of the official UEFA website. I’m just going to park it here for a while. I have highlighted some segments in bold font, and we’ll return to them in a while:

‘UEFA – the Union of European Football Associations …..is the umbrella organisation for 55 national football associations across Europe. Its objectives are, among other things, to deal with all questions relating to European football, to promote football in a spirit of unity, solidarity, peace, understanding and fair play, without any discrimination on the part of politics, race, religion, gender or any other reason, to safeguard the values of European football, promote and protect ethical standards and good governance in European football, maintain relations with all stakeholders involved in European football, and support and safeguard its member associations for the overall well-being of the European game.’

OK – so here’s where I’m going with this: we here in Scotland have grown accustomed to a feeling of injustice when it comes to our clubs – well, Celtic in recent years – having to walk the early season tightrope of  previously three, and now four, two-legged qualifiers just to reach the Champions League Group Stages.
(Read more …)

How Much Do You Want It?


HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT IT?

As football fans, each and every one of us wants our club to be successful. That’s the whole point of sport, right? To win. Unless of course your name happens to be Claude ‘Lefty’ Williams, the three-game losing pitcher for the infamous Chicago White Sox (subsequently referred to as the Black Sox) in the 1919 World Series.

But what price, success? How much do you crave it?
(Read more …)

Bring back queues. Please.

 

Social media has come a long way in recent years.

Remember the time you’d receive, through the post, a quaint little invitation, hand-written on rose-bordered notepaper bought from the ‘three for two’ bucket in WH Smith.? It would request the pleasure of your company at a friend’s fondue party, organised as an excuse to show off the new eighteen inch, colour television set.  

Oh dear God! The sheer terror! Your mind would immediately click into excuse mode, but you were fresh out of dead grannies and if the kids were sick any more, you’d be reported to the Children’s Panel.

Nowadays though, it’s possible to ‘virtually’ attend such a party from the comfort of your own armchair. No longer need you fret over being polite to the host when they ask you to comment on their newly wood-chip and emulsion decorated home.

Of no concern either, is that irritating know-it-all who’s experienced everything you have, only longer, better or in the case of ill health, worse.

And, while the host is able to give you a flavour of the party as they Face-Time you around selected guests, what they are entirely unable to do, is  pressure you into sampling the culinary non-delights of salmon and cucumber on a rye crispbread.

Of course, social media messages are prone to hacking from time to time – something that was unlikely in the days when communication was principally done by lighting a bonfire on top of a prominent hill.
“Look yonder! A third, bonfire has been lit. This can only mean bad news.”
“You’re damned right. That’s no bonfire – that’s your house. You’ve been hacked.”

But for all the obvious benefits the various interactional platforms bring, they also encourage another modern day phenomenon. One with a terrible, sinister underbelly that gives voice to those previously considered quiet, mouse-like, introverted people. A virtual power that amplifies the booming opinions of those already with an overspill of self-importance.

Communal Anguished Hand Wringing. (read more …)

REVIEW: ‘The Bottom Corner: A Season with the Dreamers of Non-League Football’ – Nige Tassell

As a follower of Non-League football myself, I found this book quite engrossing.

The format was tidy, accounting for the season and off-season on a month by month basis, and concentrating on only a couple of clubs each chapter. I would, though, have preferred to read about more teams from the middle the pyramid, my only slight criticism being that the book seems more focused on National League, and then clubs right at the bottom of the pyramid.

But that really doesn’t detract from providing a well written account of life at the Bottom Corner. of British football