Monday, 30 November 2015
A Special Day
Today as you all realise is a special day, St Andrews Day! Now I will not wax lyrical about Scots superiority as I don't wish for you to feel inferior, even though as non Scots you are, so Iwill pass this day in a simple manner.
The ticket above celebrates the first ever football international which was played in Glasgow in 1872. This date is so long ago even our friend Mike Smith was not in attendance! The score between the Scots heroes and the imperialist upper class twits was 0-0. This shows how good their goalkeeper had been during the game. Such internationals between the only two nations playing in such organised football matches became an annual event, one year in England the next in the land of the free. This continued until during the 1970's the glory of the encounter wore off and Scotland began to look at the wider football world and saw meetings with then 'Auld enemy' of little meaning. Of course some wish to bring back this game but with the wider scope of football today Scots would be better playing European sides and developing young players, especially in what were once called 'B' internationals.
In spite of much weeping and gnashing of teeth I only managed to attend two of these games, both at Hampden Park, Glasgow. The first finished in a 1-1 draw and I was placed high in what we term the 'Rangers End' under cover from the rain and surrounded by drunken wee Glasgow neds. The result meant we failed to qualify for the European Championships that year and we were somewhat surprised by the wee neds bursting into drunken tears at the end. The result meant a lot to drunken Rangers fans in those days.
We left, I say 'we' but I have no memory of whom I attended the game alongside, we left and made our way down the dangerous slippery slopes and turned to our right heading for the bus. The one little difficulty here was the stream of thousands from the other end who were making their way to the left. We crossed though this far from merry throng and followed the right crowd in the right direction. As we got halfway down we passed one of the common sights in Glasgow at the time, one somewhat imbued individual standing facing the masses heading in the direction directly opposite to he himself. naturally you and I would move to the correct crowd and follow their movement this joker stayed where he was and by swinging his arms and misusing industrial language requested the thousands to move and let him past. He may still be there, trampled into the tarmac!
The next time I managed to get a ten shilling ticket was two years later in 1972, the price had not gone up much in one hundred years you notice so I suspect the early one shilling fee was intended to put off the rougher element. 1972 gave us the second only 0-0 draw in one hundred years of football. I was there - in 1972 that is. It was not a great game, the loudest cheer came when the Ayrshire Drum Majorettes (aged between 8 and 80) appeared at half time, short skirts and swinging long sticks, marched in time to the music to the far end of the ground, faced the crowd and went down on one knee. I believe seven at least had heart attacks at that moment. There was little else to consider. Of course I was with three others, one, with an English accent that came from being brought up down south, one with an Edinburgh accent wishing England would score and two of us trying to make sure these two did not get too close to Rob Roy MacGregor wearing the 'See You Jimmy' cap and confused drunken expression just in case he lashed out. The other joy of Hampden in those days was ensuring you stood between the crush barriers. These tended to collapse with age and with 137,500 tickets handed in (only 135,000 had been printed by the organisers) and you stood where you would survive if one or other went.
We avoided the crush afterwards by heading into town, amongst the crush. This meant waiting next to a police horse slavering at both ends with one of Glasgow's finest psychpathic polis sitting upon it. The joys of football crowds! Today all has changed. The slippery slopes have been replaced, seating is compulsory for safety reasons and only 50,000 or so attend. Some wish to bring back standing at football matches because of a rose tinted view of the past, I say no, not for any crowd over 5000, it is just to dangerous.
So we celebrate St Andrew in the usual Scots way, we mention it and just get on with life. Not like the drunken Irish who celebrate St Patrick ( a Welshman) who they care little about nor the English who's imperialism wishes to bring back a celebration of St George, a man born in Armenia! I wonder if they would let him in as a migrant?
Happy St Andrews Day anyway.