Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Sweet FA


It's great when club football comes back, right? If, like me, international weeks bore you, it's magical when the club games appear on the coupon once again. I've had a chequered history with international football. In the 80's, I was all over Scotland, went to as many games as possible and could easily be described as a fervent fan. Things changed for me on May 19th 1990 when I went along to a friendly versus Poland. I was with my mate Gregory and we stood in awe as the Scotland team bus pulled into Hampden. Anyone connected with Celtic was roundly booed by the fans around the bus. Last off the bus was Alan McInally who looked really shocked by the abuse. As he passed me I said "Good luck Rambo" and he turned to me and said "Thanks"  That made my year.

For some reason, half the Celtic end was shut that day meaning I had to go into to the Rangers (IL) end. All I heard for 90 minutes was abuse of Celtic's two Polish players and desperately exaggerated praise of Ally McCoist. It really sickened me (and, it has to be said, my mate Gregory who is a Hearts fan) and made me question why I was going. Not long after that, Scotland started playing all their home games at Ibrox and there was never a chance I'd attend any there.

Since then?

I've seen Scotland against England (twice), Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Argentina and Australia (the last time I was at a game, a 3-1 win at Easter Road, in 2012) Thing is, despite the corrupt SFA, the procession of crap managers and the general malaise around the national team, I still want them to win as many games as possible.

It's the same every time Scotland games come around, we get a few days coverage before the games and then the autopsy after them. Pundits from all over the place give their views, fans seethe and roar and then it's all forgotten about until the next round of fixtures. Quite honestly, I don't understand why it's not mentioned every single day that Scotland have not qualified for a major tournament in 21 years with no change in sight. The SFA have changed managers at will, those managers have tried every player and every system yet still can't qualify. 

Call me old fashioned but, with that all being said, maybe it's time the folk making the decisions were changed?

I've said it before and I'll say it again, it was David Murray's reckless criminality that ruined Scottish football. His systematic cheating inspired Celtic to get their act together and move past his house of cards and leave the rest of Scottish football for dead. Other clubs reacted by spending big money on big foreign players they could not afford and whilst this led to financial problems down the road, it completely stifled a load of Scottish talent who found their road to the first team blocked by the likes of Fabrizio Ravanelli and Claudio Caniggia. 

And that was just at Dundee.

There was also that fact that renowned singer Craig Brown had ran players into the ground for years and left a huge gap after those players retired. These are the reasons the much-maligned Bertie Vogts had to flood the squads with so much rough in order to find the odd diamond. 

Fast forwarding until nowadays and the big solution was "Project Brave" with Malky Mackay at the helm. All the noise around him was, in the main, designed to ensure you didn't focus on the fact that the main factor in him getting the job was nepotism (his father to be precise) Two years on from all the hoo-ha, where are we? I'll tell you, nowhere progressed from two years ago.

Ian Maxwell is now CEO of the SFA and merely a pawn of the board. A fanatical Sevco fan, he should have gone with McLeish, McFadden and Grant (The worst trio in Scottish football since John Gordon Sinclair, B.A. Robertson and Christian) but he remains doing God knows what. The appointment of Steve Clarke (one I said from day one was the wrong one) remains recent but has offered no hope as yet. For me, Clarke is a day to day coach who needs that regularity on the training pitch to get his ideas across. I don't think he can do that with an international team who are probably already pretty sure, as players, as to how the want to play.

This campaign is over and the fabled play offs await. Maybe it's just me but I think I've got more chance of replacing Ian Maxwell than there is of Scotland qualifying. I know the SFA constantly hide behind the "we are members organisation" mantra but only a few in there make the decisions.

The reality is, until the SFA is completely disbanded and a new set up is put in place, then sweet FA is going to change.

Monday, September 2, 2019

The Unsung Hero


A word or two about Nir Bitton. Yesterday at Ibrox proved, once again, what a class act he is. It was clear from the get go that Sevco had identified him as a weak link hence picking Defoe and thinking he would run rings round him.

Which makes you think no one from Ibrox ever scouts Celtic.

The big man strolled through the game right up until a freak injury ended it. The telling part of that for me was the anguish on his face, You could see he felt he was letting his team down and that's how I want my players to feel.  Mane at Liverpool went berserk when subbed at Southampton on Saturday because Salah shot instead of passing. The faux outrage ensued with the point being missed, he cares.

So does Nir Bitton.

*You can watch a short interview I did right here about my forthcoming memoir TFOTB Interview

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

When history was made



Tuesday night was probably the most surreal game I've seen at Celtic Park since the Partizan Belgrade game 30 years ago. Back then, the club was falling apart but most of us were too blind to see. I distinctly remember Not The View being one of the few places that was saying things were going badly wrong behind the scenes and something would have to be done. It took a long time before the fans, as a collective, did something about the abyss Celtic were heading to but the rumblings started around September 1989 when we were knocked out of Europe and the league cup in a matter of weeks.


They would go on for five years until things finally got better.


It's not really a comparison in today's terms but I did think of Jacki as I watched Edouard score one and set up two on Tuesday. He, like Jacki, walked off a beaten man and must have wondered why. Defensively, just like 30 years ago, we were an absolute shambles. The warm up saw just three defenders do it in front of the fans in the usual corner and I'm still not convinced that McGregor was initially going to play left back in the traditional sense. Quite frankly, to line up as we did against a team who like to bypass the midfield was utterly mind-boggling. Cluj probably could not believe their luck especially when we essentially gifted them four goals.


What worries me most is a performance like this has been coming. Bolingoli has failed to convince so far and Julien looked like he had a sack of tatties on his back on Saturday at Fir Park. It's very early but it's clear the manager, who didn't sign either, doesn't trust either. Add in that Scott Bain has been wobbling for months now, you have to wonder what exactly is the recruitment process at Celtic. Bolingoli was recommended by Shaun Maloney whereas Julien was recommended to John Kennedy. Anyone within the club will tell you that, since Brendan Rodgers left, Kennedy's power and say has increased immensely.


What of the manager? I made no bones about it at the time that whilst I love the guy, I did not want him back. The timing of his announcement was amateur hour and designed to eek out the news at a time when most of us were ordering another treble.


As for the top of the club, I've pretty much said all I need to throughout the years. The debate around Peter Lawwell has become more entrenched than the Brexit debate and the only thing that seems consistent around it for me is whenever I criticise him on Twitter, accounts appear slagging me personally and it gets ridiculous.


Despite winning the last nine trophies, I think the club has been adrift since at least the time Brendan Rodgers walked out (Something that, to this day, the fans blame him entirely for and, whilst he's not blameless, I'm positive fans will realise there is a lot more to that story in due course) and there is, as usual, no long-term plan. Our scouting network is an absolute shambles, our temporary director of football has made little positive impact and we have gone back to the pre-Rodgers days of non-football men having a huge say on who we sign.


If there is one thing Celtic excel at it's not building from positions of strength. 18 months before Partizan Belgrade, we completed a Centenary double and spoke about the history we made.


I sincerely hope that, 18 months from now, we are still making history.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The best things in life are free


As the dust settles on another big sale from the club, minds turn to tonight, Cluj and European progress. I'll be the first to admit that European football, at this time of the year, infuriates me, The mere notion we need to play eight games just to qualify makes a mockery of the "Champions" League. A fair system would see league winners go right in and the also rans have to fight it out in the qualifiers. However, this is football and there's very little fair about it.

I remember being pulled up years ago when we drew Liverpool in the UEFA Cup because I came out with this sentence "And we will make a fortune from these games" To which a mate of mine said "so fucking what?" and he was right. Nowadays, if you tweeted that sentence you'd get more likes than a Kim Kardashian butt shot.

The two words that seem to swamp everything in football now are "profit" and "loss". After the sale of Tierney, Celtic announced the Dunfermline game would be £15 for season ticket holders. Ok, not a lot of money in 2019 but a lot when you consider a season ticket, three strips, a festival and three European games you have to pay for, all in the last two months. I wonder if anyone at Celtic had the thought "Maybe we should cover the costs of this game as a thank you to the fans?" I highly doubt it.

The other aspect of the profit and loss game is the £25m up front we got for Tierney. In my opinion, that's way undervalued. But then, if Celtic were to be believed, Tierney was set on leaving and nothing was going to stop him getting away. In that position, £25m up front is probably quite good. It shocked fans that he would want to move before having a crack at nine and ten but I think we all now know, players don't think like fans no matter what they tell you.

Well, with a couple of exceptions perhaps.

Scott Brown has had numerous offers to leave Celtic and turned down them all. He almost went to Australia in the winter but the lure of his legacy was too strong. Then there is James Forrest, a player with a trophy cabinet bigger than most folk's houses, he's continually expressed his love for Celtic, his desire to be a one club man and constantly espoused how wonderful it is to be a Celtic player. Yet some supporters would walk over hot coals before they would praise him for anything.

It is quite amazing given his contribution to the club that still some feel the need to be won over by him. The reality is, since is debut against Motherwell in May 2010, his contribution to the club has been immense and his next contract will not only ensure his one club man status but a testimonial as well.

Whilst that might make you feel old, it should make you feel proud.


Monday, August 5, 2019

Throwing the book at you

I've written (counting my new one) 14 books. Of those 14 books, three sold a lot more than the other ones did that's for sure. To the point where, I still make money from a book that was out six years ago now. The others tick over as well but enough is enough. One of the things I've tried to do, behind the scenes, is get these books in libraries. That's been tough and I've faced the usual barriers that I get with almost everything I do in Scotland, so I am taking matters into my own hands.


I've now set the prices of The Asterisk Years, Anyone but Celtic and Armageddon at the minimum list price for all three.


You can purchase the paperbacks here


The Asterisk Years


Anyone but Celtic


Armageddon


Or if Kindle is your thing, you can check there and you'll see the prices for all three books vastly reduced there as well.


I already put the three films up for free here


It's now time to let them all go and push forward with new ideas and projects.


See you soon.
Paul

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Front of The Bus-A Memoir



Well, I finally finished it. The book that was derailed by, first, mental health issues, and then a tsunami of hate that John Beaton kicked off on December 29th, is finally out my system. Coming in at around 208 pages, I've never been egotistical enough to think anyone wants to read much more of my shit than that. It's really the last time I'll put stuff that's all about me (although not all of the book is) in a book as I feel like I've done that now and with this I want a book that's fast paced, not wanting to be put down and able to be read in a couple of sittings.

With that in mind, I won't be flogging it to death. Once it's out, I'll be moving on and if it has a life after that, great, if not, well, you know the phrase by now "we move on"

It's essentially about the three books I did which became films and the background to all. About 95% of the stuff in it is stuff I've never spoken about publicly or put in print. It's not written in a style where, if you knew nothing about the subjects, you'd instantly know what was going on, no. This book is for the folk who help me and hate me.

Quite a few people in this time had digs at me, that I didn't respond to, and these are addressed in this. There's one or two folk who probably still think they are a friend of mine but, if they read this, they'll think again. It's a memoir as opposed to a story so this is my account of things taken from personal knowledge. I talk about technical things relating to cameras and mics and all that plus there's a chapter about HomeBhoys. 

I do talk about a lot of the characters I met on my travels including Paul Kane (above), whose brother Martin inspired The Kano Foundation.

I write about meetings I had with Celtic regarding them taking action on all the cheating we suffered and give reasons why, I think, Celtic did SFA.

This was a cathartic thing for me. I needed to get a lot of it out for the sake of my own sanity. It won't trouble any of the book selling charts but if it makes the folk that supported me happy, then I'll be happy too.

Mainly though, I hope it's entertaining. We are besieged now with folk taking everything seriously and auditioning for a role in the MSM that they claim to hate. I'm old school so you won't get any of that shit in this book.

I want to thank those waiting on this book for their patience. I am now setting about another book that's way bigger and not about me at all, for what it's worth.

Paul

You can pre-order signed copies of The Front of The Bus from now via Paypal to lovest86@hotmail.com for £15 (Inc P&P)

Book on general release from November 1.





Finally,

Friday, May 24, 2019

The Cup

Diminishing the importance of the Scottish Cup is like, for me, saying lunch isn't that important. With all the talk of managers new and old, Treble Trebles and Bus parades, it can be easy for folk to see the Scottish Cup as just another tick in a box.


They're wrong.


The Cup was something that could salvage your season when I was growing up. It was as prestigious as the league and whole summers could be defined on the basis of 90 minutes (or 120 for that matter) I increasingly find myself looking back on the 80's as the last real golden period of Scottish football. I follow a plethora of accounts on Twitter that post old clips of Celtic games and find myself swimming under a waterfall of nostalgia after one click bursts the dam.

With that being said, I thought I'd indulge myself by writing about the five Scottish Cup finals I attended in the 1980's and see if I can awaken any kindred spirits (whom will probably have nodded off by now anyway)




Celtic 1 Rangers (IL) 0 (AET), May 10, 1980.
This was my first ever Hun game. My Dad and Uncle, in their wisdom, thought it was time for me to go to one and what better way to get my first taste than in a cup final? I'd been to the semi-final and saw Bobby Lennox play and score in a 5-0 win against a Hibs team that contained George Best. For the final, we went in my Uncle's hatchback and I can vividly remember me on one side of the boot and my pal, Mark Henderson, on the other. At the old "Cutty Sark" bridge a bus full of Huns pulled up and were giving us dogs abuse. At this point, one of our number got out the car and attacked their bus with an axe. I was just coming up for six years of age.






Aberdeen 2 Celtic 1 (AET), May 19, 1984.
Gordon Strachan, eh? He nipped at Bob Valentine so much that it prompted him to send off Roy Aitken and leave us really up against it having already gone a goal down. What happened after that was typical of Celtic at the time, we revelled in the adversity and played brilliantly, equalising with five minutes to go with a fantastic goal from Paul McStay. The big factor in the game was referee Bob Valentine who put in a grand masterful performance. After the game, Davie Hay and the Celtic board complained to the SFA. Davie Hay slaughtered SFA CEO Ernie Walker after the game proving that whilst we may have got beat, at least we had some balls then.

Celtic 2 Dundee Utd 1, May 18, 1985.
This was another one of those potential season-saving cup finals. Dundee Utd were a brilliant team at the time and we had an awful recent record against them. The writing seemed to be on the wall when Stuart Beedie put them 1-0 up in the second half such was their efficiency on the counter attack. Davie Hay then played a master stoke and made a few subs that enabled us to push Roy Aitken into midfield and enabled him to win the "Mr Superfit" MOTM award in the 100th Scottish Cup Final, He drove us on to equalise at a time when we still liked Davie Provan and then set up Frank McGarvey to win the cup for us with final ever touch in a Celtic jersey.

Celtic 2 Dundee Utd 1, May 14, 1988.
Bliss. The completion of a centenary double whilst at Hampden in the sun. There was an inevitability about this game. Dundee Utd were getting a reputation of being the perennial bridesmaids having in the previous season managed to lose to St Mirren and Gothenburg in finals despite having vastly a vastly superior team to both. Even when Kevin Gallagher scored (chased by Roy Aitken who has been booked a minute before and didn't want to touch him) you just had a feeling that day that we would win. And we did,

Celtic 1 Rangers 0, May 20, 1989.
Rangers just had to turn up and win the treble, right? Aye, right. Put simply, Super Joe Miller was on fire at the time as a centre forward, our defence had one of those rare days then when it was rock solid and we had been boosted by a certain "signing" but I'll leave that there. One of the best days of my life as it was one of those days that reminds you why you are a Celtic supporter. 

I hope you all enjoy your cup final day, no matter where you are.





Sunday, May 12, 2019

Football, Bloody Hell.



Whilst I am not a huge fan of the "Champions" League, the two games last week were absolutely incredible spectacles. Following on from that, Arsenal and Chelsea ensured that we, in Scotland, are in for a few weeks of more English propaganda than even Nigel Farage could produce (and who can blame them?)



As much as that will irk me, the big picture of the way European football, and football in general, is going worries me a hell of a lot more. We have seen in recent seasons how far Celtic are away from the European elite. The terrible time we have endured recently, losing two of our legends, served to remind us of where we once were and where we are now. (It also confirms that there is no bigger triumph in football history than Celtic winning in Lisbon but that's another story)

This comes as we hear that plans are afoot from UEFA to pull the ladder up for good and create a kind of European Super League akin to the NFL, with select teams, from 2024. It would mean eight-team groups and a narrow entry path for small leagues with 24 clubs having places protected regardless of their domestic performance and four Europa League semi-finalists would qualify plus four domestic champions and be the pre-cursor to the eventual cutting off of everyone not funded by oil, nation states or multi-billionaires (I know Dermot Desmond is the latter but we are hardly funded by him)

So, where does it leave the rest of us? Well, we, like the likes of Ajax, would be out in the wilderness. You only have to look at the "title race" in England to see where the game is. There were no twists, no turns, just two teams winning every week right to the end because they are miles better than anyone else. Watching Man City's fans in particular clap their way through the season adds to the emotionless generation of fans engulfing certain teams who just buy leagues and then we get propagandised to believe that it's an incredible achievement for a team full of world class players to win a league.

And so to Celtic, big picture, we are in a mess. An incredible thing to say as we chase the Treble Treble but the dross we face most weeks in the SPFL is a huge part of that. The standard now in Scotland just gets worse and worse with very little changing as long as the silly wee men run the SFA. I said to anyone who would listen that Celtic hung by a Brendan Rodgers thread and the cracks are now showing everywhere. The top of the club is stale and needs a fresh injection of dynamism for us to progress, I've said it before but we, as season ticket holders, are taken for granted by people who left the real world a long time ago. Their world is of corporate access, car parking spaces and crappy lanyards whilst the rest of us look in from below and wonder what the fuck is going on. Celtic need a new manager, a lot of new players and a hell of a clear out throughout the club. Increasingly, folk who have gone for years feel the club is moving further away from them and that's worrying. There's a culture at Celtic which effectively thinks that they have the hardcore support sewn up so everything that is done by the club is done to attract those who spend more time online than at a game.

So, what happens now? As the elite sail off into the sunset, we need to ensure that the dream of 10 in a row doesn't. We also need a long-term vision from a club that should have gone to Specsavers years ago because all our arselicking of UEFA has gotten us nowhere and whilst plenty at the club have full passports, the fans could soon be doing without them.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Bradley John Welsh



I remember Jackie Stewart talking about George Harrison and saying "I was close to him and had a great relationship with him-but I bet another hundred people could say the same" That thought crossed my mind when I read the outpouring of grief as news filtered through of the passing of Brad Welsh.

To say I was stunned is an understatement. Brad was a force of nature who almost seemed bigger than life. I knew his name before I knew the man. He had a fearsome reputation on the streets of Edinburgh and it was all justified as he said many times himself. He fought over 200 times professionally and knew what he was doing, he wasn't scared of anything.

My first encounter with him was at Easter Road in the 90s. Me and my mate had failed to get tickets for the Celtic end and got tickets for the main stand at Easter Road. Let's just say we didn't exactly behave ourselves when Celtic scored and, unbeknown to us, the CCS top boys were sitting right behind us. Brad was actually peacemaker that day as he found it funny.

I got to know Brad a good few years ago now and found him to be one of the most incredible people I have ever met in my life. The sort of guy who got in touch to ask how you were doing for no other reason than he actually cared how you were doing.

His work with Holyrood Boxing and Helping Hands surprised no one who knew him. He stopped at nothing to achieve his goal and that goal was always the betterment of others.

He had his detractors, yet he never lost focus and I often laughed when folk threatened him online knowing full well Brad could liberate their head from their shoulders any time he felt like it.

He helped me immensely when I was facing the fire and that's something you don't forget, that I will never, ever forget.

Just like Brad really.

*This is dedicated to Emma and Eva.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Do fans have a shelf life?

It was only yesterday evening that I became aware of another incident of stuff being thrown at a player, this time at Fir Park on Sunday. I think most fans are sick of it but then again how many folk do I really speak to who are, say, half my age (22). In a football context, not many. I find myself, as a middle aged man, increasingly out of touch with the aims and views of younger fans on Social Media. I don't moralise on behaviour because I did plenty when I was young that wasn't big or clever so I'm no position to point the finger even if I wanted to. There's no doubt though that fan culture, Celtic fan culture, for that matter, is changing.

I've no doubt there was a joint government/polis drive to criminalise rebel songs just after the Huns died. That failed so we now have all the snipers firing pot shots anytime anyone in the Gallowgate says they fancy a pint of Guinness. I've said this until I am green in the face and I will say it again, rebel songs have been part of Celtic fan culture since at least the 1920's and if you feel now that they no longer should be then sending an angry tweet or writing a click bait blog (before you say anything, I make no revenue from this blog and have never taken an advert on board) is only going to make people rebel further. There needs to be proper debate and discussion (something that Celtic don't seem to be the slightest bit interested in despite the regime being vehemently against them)

The way Celtic fan culture has really changed, in my view, is the tolerance of perceived arseholes. When the casual movement built in the 80's, Celtic never had a crew in line with the size of the club because the casual culture wasn't tolerated by many fans. In the 80's in particular, I witnessed lots of times the Celtic casuals got hassle from Celtic fans to the tune of "Casuals, Casuals get tae fuck" and that seemed to be the mindset of most fans. Moving forward to now and I keep seeing certain types of behaviours come from a few folk at away games that would have never been thought of never mind tolerated at games before. Pyros on the pitch after every away goal, I don't understand. I get the spectacle among the fans it creates and have seen displays in Europe that make the ones in Scotland look like a lit match but I don't see the point of throwing it on the pitch? I've also seen a selfishness among some. I remember being in Paris and seeing a guy hang a banner up right in front of folk, completely obscuring their view of the pitch and when I pulled him up on it, he couldn't see what the problem was. I've seen a lot of times when folk have thrown their weight about because they are in big groups at games and they've acted almost as like they were part of a group within in a group that perceived themselves to be untouchable. That's an alien concept to me among Celtic fans. You might read this and think you don't see anything wrong with these things and that's fine, because it's you I'm reaching out to to try and learn more.

I caveat all this with me getting older and perhaps nearing the end of my home and away commitment but I don't think I'll ever understand anyone who, after Christie scored in Paisley, thought "I'll throw this firework now" If that makes me a fuddy duddy, so be it.

What I will say though is that Celtic fans enjoyed the best reputation around for decades, that's why they invited us to all the testimonials and exhibition games and why we could laugh at the huns when they didn't. As we have seen in the last few weeks, Sevco have a PR department set up to maximise any perceived ill and deflect any and all because they had to. We were always above that.

That's where I'd like to be again.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

71 Charlotte St-Where we are.

The first draft of the script will be finished on Thursday. After that, it will go to the director and executive producers who will have until May 1st to submit notes. The schedule has been stretched out as unforeseen things happened this year with me (a new barrage of threats and moving house, mainly) I've stepped back from all Social Media, bar Twitter, to focus fully on the script.

Unlike the previous three films, this is not a 10-15 grand documentary. This is a script for a feature film that we aim for a budget of around £100k to finance. As said previously, there are no deadlines to fulfil and that will allow us to explore all avenues of film finance except our traditional route of crowdfunding as that is not a route I am willing to go down for this film (if we cannot get the funding we need to make a film, I'd have no qualms whatsoever in turning it into a play)

I've spoken to and seen great actors and parts have been written with them in mind. That's exciting because you can play to their strengths of which there are several.

As for the film itself, it explores identity. Who we are and why we are. As both the writer and someone with a passionate belief in my identity in terms of the culture I come from, I feel this is an important time in history to reinforce that and show a wider audience why it is important to us and that we can never shy away from it.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Can you ever forgive me?


Richard Pryor once said "Forget about Racism, it's hard enough just being a person" Like you, and everyone else apart from the stewards and police, I saw the bottle of Buckfast thrown at Scott Sinclair on Saturday. It's not the first time I've seen a bottle of Buckfast thrown at a Celtic player never mind the coins, golf balls and various other items that seem to be the weapons of choice for the weapons just now. Getting back to Saturday, you know who I blame for it? Not Hibs, not the Hibs support and not even the authorities on double time. No, you know who I blame? The person who threw it.

You see, I believe in the mad, out there, theory that you take responsibility for your own actions. I know that's as whacky as the Twenty's Plenty argument for away fans but strap yourself in and take the ride with me whilst I explain what I mean before jumping out and having me reported to the thought police, k? K.

Scotland has a problem with hatred.

A certain type of hatred has existed, at least since the reformation. (the ideas for which started in the late fifteenth century) and there has been anti-Catholic bigotry in Scotland, in some shape or form, ever since. As people escaped the genocide in Ireland from the mid-1800's, a racism of being anti-Irish began weaving itself into Scottish society and is still prevalent in certain people today. Now, there's never been a better time to be an Irish Catholic in Scotland but that doesn't mean everything is ok now because it's not. None of these things have ever been properly addressed in Scotland and the fall out from that is that a lot of people still think it is ok to spout hatred against Irish Catholics. Similarly, some folk who are Irish Catholics (or just identify with that culture) use the same tactics to spit back at the folk who are spitting venom at them. (Neither is justified but if you had to justify one, I know which one I would. That's not to excuse it but I'm not going to bullshit you and sit here claiming I've never done that because I have, about the same amount of times I've drank Lager)

Stating all this, it bemuses me that the two targets in this debate always seem to be the same, Catholic schools in Scotland and football supporters in Scotland. First of all, as I alluded to earlier, it's very difficult to blame an entire collective of people for anything (Scour the internet long enough and you'll find folk trumpeting "Good" Nazis, a Traffic Warden they liked and even a call centre that answered on the first ring)

The Catholic schools argument always makes me laugh. Forgive me for making this analogy but it always reminds me of the Bill Hicks bit where he attacked the attackers of pornography by saying "There is sexual thought, therefore there are pornographic images, it's not the other way around" (Punch in Catholic schools and bigotry to there and you'll get what I mean)

As for football supporters? Most of the ones in Scotland are ordinary, every day folk. (That's a big reason why clueless snobs like Tom English will never understand football culture) Take Bradley Welsh, folk who know, know he was a big player in the football casual movement back in the day. He's the first to admit it. Now? He's a working class hero. Where would writing him off for life got us?

Speaking of Hibs again, a guy I've been friends with since primary age is a fanatical Hibs supporter. When I saw the bottle being thrown at Scott Sinclair, I'll let you into a little secret, I didn't blame him (I suppose I should have text him to double check it wasn't him but I'm going with the notion that he would never throw away drink)

Listen, I've seen the way it's been going with some fans (of Celtic, I can't comment on any other sets) and, in all honesty, some fans are behaving like fucking idiots (A subject I am an expert on, believe me) and the answer is, if they continue to behave like idiots, don't let those individuals go to the games. It's that simple and I say that knowing full well I behaved like an idiot a lot in my 20's.

There is an element of "I don't give a fuck" among some fans just now but you know what else is necessary? Making sure that those individual incidents aren't allowed to sweep over 500 years of enshrined hatred under the carpet


Thursday, February 28, 2019

Brendan Rodgers

Tuesday was among the strangest days of my life. I got wind something was happening with the manager on Monday night and had conformation when I got up early on Tuesday morning that he was gone but still I was in a state of disbelief. I felt like I needed a lie down almost immediately after getting up. I knew he wouldn't be here next season but was stunned when he left on Tuesday. No matter the reasons for leaving, the timing is unforgiveable.

I interviewed the guy three times and he always came across a huge Celtic man who loved the club. Then again, I once saw and heard Maurice Johnston sing "Say hello to the Provos". I'm not up for the name-calling and comparisons to reptiles but Brendan Rodgers punctured a hole in his legacy like a point-blank bullet to the stomach and, no matter the machinations, egos and fall outs behind the scenes, all this could have been avoided for the sake of three months and three trophies.

No sooner had he gone, rumours abound that Lenny was taking over again. I was even more shocked by that and said so on Twitter (I deleted the tweet when he was announced because I felt it was stupid to criticise once he had been appointed) but he's the guy in charge now. I'm still shell-shocked by all this. Even last night, seeing Lenny in the away dug out at Tynecastle was surreal. it was eight years ago he was attacked there and only four months ago that he was hit by a coin there yet there is, again, leading a team there. That takes balls.

As for Rodgers, the stuff coming out now has been hard to look at and I must have gone to reply about 100 times before thinking better of it. Amidst all that, there are the bizarre tales that Rodgers told whilst being Celtic manager that are now being exposed as lies. Just adding to the complete madness of the last few days.

So, what now?

In the immediate future, eight in a row must be secured and it would be nice if a treble, treble was secured also. Beyond that, if we secure eight, we all know the focus is going to be on nine and, hopefully, ten in a row,

After that?

I think we will all need a lie down.

Monday, February 25, 2019

There's only one Jim Traynor

Like a bad penny arcade, Jim Traynor appeared from nowhere last week (fresh from Level 5 disappearing) to launch a tirade against the BBC, Referees and pretty much anyone who attacks the Sevco support. With his usual style of bluster, he reminded everyone that Sevco will not be bullied and will not allow any attacks on them.

I assume in the same style as Rangers (IL) dealt with these detractors, an example being this guy:

https://web.archive.org/web/20110414122851/http://blogs.dailyrecord.co.uk:80/jimtraynor/2011/04/stop-blaming-others-and-stop-s.html


"Stop blaming others and stop shaming Scotland"

"The behaviour of a defiant, moronic element among the support is overtly anti-Catholic. It is also against the law."

"The fans who belted out the usual sectarian and bigoted rubbish when Rangers played last month can't be defended. There is no excuse.
They Arra People all right. The people to blame."

Either they are too thick to understand the consequences of their behaviour or just so tainted and steeped in bigotry they don't care about their club."

"Stop pointing fingers at others. Stop singing from the same old sheet. Stop humiliating yourselves and Scotland."

Thank God they have Jim Traynor in there to hit back against these folk who are as happy to attack Sevco as they were the Oldco.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Domestic Bliss

I've done a lot of thinking about Celtic since last Thursday's game against Valencia. Before the game I had no confidence at all in us getting any kind of result primarily because, right now, we are not good enough. Quite frankly the sight of Emilio Izaguirre alone, a player past his best two years ago, was enough to put the tin hat on any aspirations we had of winning the game.

What I have been thinking about a lot is what are our actual aspirations, as a club, in Europe now? We have taken some serious gubbings in Europe since Brendan Rodgers took over the club and in all honesty I've not seen a single thing done to try and address this. The signings we are making seem to be designed, almost exclusively, with a view to being sold on for a profit in a couple of seasons. Similarly, the loan deals we have done (and I am a huge of fan of Weah) don't suggest any kind of long-term strategy.

So what are we doing?

I'll lay my cards on the table right now. As a 44 year old fan, my be all and end all right now is 10 in a row. For those of us who had to live through Rangers (IL) cheating their way through the entire era of David Murray, it means everything to first win another nine in a row then win 10 in a row. Honestly. I will die happy if this happens. That's why I am not overly-critical of any performance we make in Europe as I know what matters most to me right now.

Do the club feel the same?

I have no idea. The last time I saw Peter Lawwell (about 18 months ago) I asked him if he would be staying around for 10 in a row and he looked at me as if I had just asked him if I could take over the reins of the club for the remainder of the season.

I know it is a pretty blinkered view to essentially not give a shit about Europe for the next two years but that's where I am and there's nout to be gained from bullshitting you.

The other factor is, of course, Brendan Rodgers. There seems to be acceptance among some that this will be his last season. Now, I know the relationship between him and Lawwell isn't exactly tickety boo but I am struggling to envisage any scenario that sees him win the league this season and then be allowed to walk away before a crack at 9 and 10 short of the board telling him they won't back him.

A lot of Celtic infuriates me. I don't like the tourist road the marketing department are speeding down, I don't like the archaic way the ticket office is run and I hate the way a lot of employees use Celtic to gain personal perks.

With that being said, I am essentially holding my tongue on all these matters for the reasons outlined earlier in this blog.

However, I would like a heads up every now and again from the club as to where we are going (I genuinely can't remember the last time Peter Lawwell properly addressed the support) because it does seem like as our CEO advances his own career as European level, the club slides further away.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Hype

As focus changes from defence of The SFA to destruction of The SFA because, finally, two Sevco players were punished this season, it's important to keep wading through the lake of lies. With the usual suspects in the media screaming for anyone who disagrees with them to be hauled in front of the compliance officer, you can be damn sure the snakes are rattling,

Inevitably, Anyone but Celtic is like a red rag to the bullshit mindset of anyone who feels threatened by those of us who want change and, when this happens,  my Twitter mentions become akin to Ross Greer after he spoke the truth on Churchill. When doing these things, I've lost friends, family and put up with all sorts of stuff that it now rubs off me like one of those tattoos you used to get with chewing gum.

My detractors, in the main, know this and so they go for other things or people they think are close to me, the latest being Tom Boyd. Now, I don't need to defend him because he has been doing a good job of doing that, and defending Celtic for that matter, his whole life. What infuriates the haters is when someone like Tom says the same things as a bampot like me (even if it takes them three years to catch up)

The problem those people have is everyone can see what is happening in Scottish football. Folk don't need to watch a film of mine to be warned about Andrew Dallas or how the SFA recruit from a smaller pool than the one most Dolphins get in Florida.

And therein lies the reason for the recent hype.

Friday, January 11, 2019

It's deja vu all over again

As Yoga Berra once said "It's deja vu all over again" A year ago, I went for a few pints in Leith, blissfully unaware of the dark forces working against me. By the time I got home (half cut) I had over 1800 notifications on Twitter due to the fact that The S*n and then The Daily Record had printed a story about me saying I was showing a film about Sevco at Celtic Park. That was a hard week with all sorts of stuff flying towards me, folk crawling out the woodwork to have a go at me and quite a lot of people thinking that I was now a legitimate target.

Fast forward a year and I'm in California, on honeymoon, and the same shit is happening again although this time it is the fault of John Beaton's horrific performance at Ibrox, bettered only in badness by our own. This, and the subsequent statement from Celtic, has lit a flame under my book and film Anyone but Celtic. The thing about it is I love debating my work, it's part of the reason I do it, but I genuinely believe that half the folk who see it for the first time don't actually watch it.

The things I get accused of saying:

1) All Masons hate Celtic.

2) All Referees hate Celtic.

3) Everyone in Lanarkshire is corrupt.

Now, I've never said any of these things but to clarify, here's what I did say

1) The Masons mentioned in ABC hate Celtic

2) The Referees mentioned in ABC hate Celtic.

3) The folk from Lanarkshire mentioned in ABC are corrupt.

That's that.

Now, I want to talk about the people who think they can say or do anything they want to me because I've written books and made films. It's just white noise to me at this point. I'm not a hard man but I know enough hard men to know how intimidation works and I know who is serious and who isn't. Out of all the shite I've had, I'd say six were serious, the latest being this morning.

Now I ask all those make these threats, do I strike you as the sort of person who will lie down? Because although I'm not a hard man, I have many friends who have my back and would be by my side should shit get real.

That's not a threat, that's just a fact.

The other thing is I appreciate all those who say things like "Stay strong" and the like but I can tell you that's not easy when you also have a wife and children to look after. I'd like say Celtic have my back but that's not the case, in all honesty I've been made a pariah by Celtic far from them helping in any way, I honestly think they just wish I would go away.

I'm happy to be proved wrong on that one.

Will I go away? No. However, it is time to focus more on the folk close to me.

However, that does not mean the work ends. Quite the opposite actually.

Paul