Band of Brothers
Ally McCoist has form for coming out with fatuous statements, for example when he demanded to know the identities of the members of the SFA panel who disciplined Rangers last year (when the Ibrox club already knew who they were and had agreed that they should remain anonymous). But he came close to a personal best this week when he suggested that Rangers’ fans should be given a list of songs that they can sing without being deemed to be causing offence.
Is Super Ally really trying to imply that there’s some sort of grey area surrounding songs about the Pope or the Billy Boys? Or is he taking disingenuousness to a new level - or depth – in trying to make excuses for these morons?
And before members of the McCoist Loyal get on their high white horses, their brothers in bigotry over in the Green Brigade at Celtic Park are just as bad. Two tribes separated by a common ignorance, as it were.
These Parkhead fundamentalists regularly throw their shillelaghs out of the pram whenever their ‘right’ to celebrate their Irish heritage is brought into question - or when they’re simply asked to behave like everyone else in the ground. Listen, if they want to make a political point, why don’t they join a political party? Or if they want to make a socio-economic statement, why don’t they join a debating society? Of course, if they want to make a meaningful gesture in footballing terms, why don’t they join up with their like-minded pals from Govan and boycott all their teams’ matches from now on? That way, genuine Old Firm fans could get to watch games in peace.
You Know it Makes Sense
Npower have announced that they won’t be renewing their sponsorship of the Football League down south when the current agreement runs out at the end of the season. As their press release succinctly explains, ‘The contract comes to an end at a time when npower is in the process of reviewing and defining brand positioning and marketing strategy to help shape future direction, following a restructure which saw the generation arm merge into a wider pan-European company.’
Charlie Nicholas couldn’t have put it betterer.
Pounds or Prizes?
Celtic have reportedly turned down an invitation from Liverpool to play in Steven Gerrard’s testimonial match in August because it clashes with Champions League qualifying games and the start of the SPL season. Good to see the Parkhead club putting competitive matches before a meaningless kickabout.
So does that mean they’ll also be forgoing their usual lucrative, sorry, glamour friendly in the States in the summer? You know, the glorified bounce game that Neil Doncaster gives them special dispensation to opt out of a league match to play in.
Two Cups and a Relegation?
It’s hardly a surprise that Hearts and John McGlynn have parted company, given the Tynecastle side’s poor run of form which sees them ensconced in second-bottom spot in the SPL. McGlynn was never the man to keep the Jambos up – John Brown will, though.
Hearts’ official statement referred to the club going through a transitional period, which is right enough. They’ve gone from bad to worse.
We Are Hail-Hailing
Neil Lennon has now joined Peter Lawwell in owning up to the drop in attendances at Parkhead. It’s hard to do otherwise when faced by swathes of empty seats on a regular basis. Mind you, I bet the rest of the SPL clubs wish they had half Celtic’s problems – or crowds.
The Parkhead chief executive claims that the economic recession is to blame for people staying away, and while that’s very true to some extent, it also has to be recognised that Rangers’ absence from the SPL is having an impact as well. Like when your growler of a girlfriend’s given you the elbow, you don’t want to admit to your pals that you’re missing her.
But what are Celtic as a club doing to woo walk-away fans to walk right back? Hee-haw as far as I can see. So, why don’t the players, who regularly hail-hail their supporters as being the best in the world, and who aren’t exactly short of a bob or two, offer to play for nothing one week and use the money to let fans in for nothing? That would be a much better gesture than kissing the badge. If Rod Stewart can jet in from California to watch the game on a freebie, why can’t someone from Carfin jump on the bus and get in for nothing as well?
One Up, Two to Play?
Tiger Woods is apparently trying to persuade his ex-wife to re-marry him, and is offering her $230m as part of a pre-nuptial agreement if she’s prepared to let him hole out with her once again. Listen, for that kind of money I’ll tie the knot with him myself if she knocks him back. Especially if it means I get to play off the women’s tees.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said his defenders made Oldham striker Matt Smith look like Didier Drogba when the Boundary Park side knocked his team out of the FA Cup last month. (I saw that match on TV, but don’t recollect Smith rolling about the deck whenever anyone came near him.) Big Matt then scored a last-minute equaliser against Everton in the next round, before netting his side’s only goal in a 3-1 defeat in the replay earlier this week.
Smith is a university graduate. His father is a doctor, who studied medicine at Glasgow; he was also a professional footballer with both Birmingham and Hearts. His paternal grandfather played for the Clyde – so he must have been the best of the bunch, if not necessarily the smartest. Some pedigree, eh? Big Matt’s degree is in international management, so maybe he can explain why Craig Levein gave Ian Black a game against Australia.