GLF 29: A View from Behind the Goal

Last updated : 14 August 2017 By GLF

A View from Behind the Goal



PRINTING DEADLINES – the speedy departure of Alex McLeish caught us out for the last issue as he left two days after the copy had been sent to the printers. This meant much of the reaction to his move has had to wait until this issue.

Thankfully it wasn’t only oursleves as a couple of more august publications were also caught out. Firstly the Motherwell Times included its usual pre match preview with full quotes from the now departed McLeish!

The programme for the Hearts game was also left with the Manager’s comments filed by McLeish!

This all goes to show how quickly the whole move went through and the speed at which Dickie and co were prepared to work at to get rid of him!!

EAST END PARK (28/2/98) – this was the date for the original game, and I must confess when I get really pissed off when I look out my window and look at a cold but sunny winters day – only to discover – OUR GAME IS OFF, and what’s worse it’s the only game in the Premier League to be called off. Nothing to do with a number of key injuries in the Pars squad – far be it from me……….

While I am on the subject of Dunfermline, those of you who went through the following Saturday would be “entertained” by their mascot – Sammy the Tammy. I really don’t know what this guy is on, particularly as he danced round a tiny WigWam –I missed the point completely. I thought I would clear it up on the Monday when I spoke to the Dunfermline supporter at work, only to find out that the Pars supporters don’t bother with him and don’t have a clue what is going on either!! It would appear that the only people who bother with him are the away fans.

TONY BANKS (MINISTER OF SPORT) – Many of you may have heard this guy pontificate on World Cup ticket allocations, when I heard him I wondered which country he was representing. All I could hear him talk of was the allocation for England fans that could not meet the expected demand, and how the FA must do something. He didn’t appear to realise that the demand for Tickets in Scotland will outstrip the supply also. He should be reminded that he is the Minister for Sport in a UK government not an English one – maybe we should leave these guys to carry on and one day Scotland will be independent!!

PLAYERS/REFEREES – I know we barely have an issue go by without a moan about a refereeing performance BUT this time I am writing in support of the maligned officials. We all know that nowadays players do not help them, with players falling over at the slightest contact, claiming for throw ins when they clearly kicked the ball out etc, etc – this must make it extremely difficult for a ref to know when an offence has been committed. If the players were more honest, respectful and professional maybe life would be easier for our part time officials.

GAZZA IN THE RECORD (28/2/98) - this was the day when this poor misguided young man poured his heart out and claimed he couldn’t understand why every team played harder against the Gers as if they wanted to make sure that Rangers didn’t win 10 in a row. When he should realise that nobody wants them to win this record, why should we, surely its better if the trophies are shared around and we have a competitive title race? This seasons Championship has been much more exciting as we have had 3 teams involved right to the death.

It also seems a bizzare claim for anyone at Rangers to make, as for years we have been fed the nonsense that their failure in Europe is because they have too many easy games at home. Now that they have been stretched on a number of occasions this is also a bad thing. As the song says – no one likes them BUT they do appear to care!!!

GARY MCALLISTER – it was interesting to see the outpouring of emotion when ex Well player McAllister (and boyhood Well fan) had to pull out of the World Cup. Like many I believe that this will be no great loss for Scotland, I have seen only a couple of live Internationals recently and dominant players have been Burley, Lambert and Collins. These players are the future of our midfield NOT Gary I am afraid.

In the past we have been over loyal to players who have served us well – Argentina 1978 was a classic example of that with Rioch and Masson starting the tournament while Souness was not used until the final game we played. More recently it ahs been difficult for Scotland managers to leave out Paul McStay, life has gone on (if not prospered) for both Celtic and Scotland since his injury!

We should not forget the outstanding job Gary has done for Scotland over the years, as at times he was the only quality player we had!! BUT everybody’s time has to come to an end and that has to be faced up to by all concerned.

SIGNING TALKS - I was delighted to hear that we were signing a Swedish Internationalist (Lindquist) BUT depressed when I heard Alan Dick talk about him on Radio Clyde. He let us know that he had played beside Jonas Thern of Rangers on many occasions and hoped he would bring the same attributes to our midfield that Thern has for Rangers this season. I hoped he would be better than this as Thern has been the Invisible Man of the Ibrox midfield for most of the season. The other heartening news was that he was 31 years of age – just the right kind of age to play in our first team.

THISTLE FRIENDLY – I was one of the hardy few who braved a freezing cold night to take in this game. It was a real eye opener as to how far Thistle have slipped in a couple of years – they were dreadful. We cantered to a four goal win against a side who in the past few seasons have always given us problems. Their story of financial management should be used as a case study for all other football clubs. It looks likely things will only get worse as they are likely to drop another division.

It was also interesting to see how far Chic Charnley had fallen in about three months. It was hard to believe that this was the guy who in September was being touted for a Scotland call up. Here he was looking overweight and slow (just like me in a football strip!).

TRIP TO TYNECASTLE - This is the second game this season that we have played on a pitch which was only marginally playable (after Kilmarnock at New Year). After the first game we wrote that fans should not be expected to travel in conditions of wind and rain or at least move the kick off to give the fans more time to get there. Well at least we got one of these to happen with the kick off put back 15 minutes.

But it would appear that Mr. Rowbotham must have been under great pressure to put the game on. Neither wing seemed playable to me with the ball holding up all the time, and water splashing every time the players stopped.

SUPER ALLY – I am sorry but I am about to write in praise of Ally McCoist!! He attended the recent reserve game at Fir Park between Well and Rangers, and at in the Main Stand beside us ordinary folk. He was pestered the whole time he was there for autographs (including I am sorry to say one Karen Barnstaple.) BUT he never turned anybody away or asked for anybody to stop the kids pushing in to see him – Well done Ally.

I actually wanted Karen to give him the paper and ask if he could get Sue Barker and John Parrott’s autograph’s for her!!

FRANCHISES – I am extremely worried about the proposed move of Clydebank to Dublin, it smacks of the start of the American sports Franchise system. This follows hard on the heels of the constant moving and re-naming of Ferranrti Th, Meadowbank Th and now Livingston. Our clubs have never been franchises to be moved from one town or city or another at the whim of a rich owner or owners. In most cases these moves have not worked, with Clyde failing to attract people to Cumbernauld, Livingston in Financial trouble at their latest home in West Lothian.

Its also ironic that back in the 60s that the first people to try this were the Steedmans of Clydebank. Who when trying to establish a presence in the Scottish League they bought into East Stirlingshire, even renaming the club ES Clydebank and moving the club to Clydebank. It ultimately only lasted for one season as they got bogged down in legal technicalities.

It would appear that these moves are are brought about by business pressures and a move to find new customers. The proposed move of Clydebank to Dublin is in search of new “customers” which are in short supply in Scotland. In fact it probably confirms that there are not enough people wanting to watch the clubs we currently have. This tells me that 40 clubs cannot be supported in the Scottish League and a couple may have to die to make the whole situation stronger.

SELLIC PARK – What an appalling rip off for the visit to “Paradise”. I was horrified to find that a huge swathe of the pitch was blocked by the largest pillar in the world. There had been no mention on my £13 ticket that this was a restricted view seat, although Chris Hutton sitting two rows behind with a similar view was charged £11 and his ticket marked “restricted view”.

Surely a stadium which is about to become the largest in Britain should not be spoiled by this blemish and Celtic should invest to fix it!

I have written to Celtic complaining about this restricted view carry on, I’ll let you know in the next issue if I get a response, and what it actually is!!

Graham Barnstaple

Visit the GLF archive.  Hundreds of articles.