Thursday, June 25, 2020

Help, I need somebody.




This is not so much a blog but more a stream of consciousness that has been wanting to come out of my mind for about a month. It's all me, all on me and reflective only of me. It's a way of stopping myself drinking myself in a stupor (or more of one)

Ok so we won 9 in a row. I was completely against the calling of the league early but as time went on and deaths from Covid-19 got higher, I could see no other way ahead. I was also against anyone being punished by the league being called and the ongoing fiasco around it tells you why.

I wasn't exactly over the moon when Celtic decided to do an online celebration of 9 in a row. I know, working in a care home,  my perspective is different to most but I wasn't comfortable with it at all. I was persuaded to watch a re-run of it and it was well put together and all that but I feel we could have waited.

Then came the season ticket refund scheme which I was delighted with. I was worried that Celtic wouldn't give supporters this option and so was glad when they jumped that hurdle. The devil, of course, is in the detail. I only glanced at it but then @celticresearch took a scalpel to it and made those who skimmed it aware that you had to first fill out a form, print it, mail it in and then you would receive a cheque back (I believe no one has received these yet)

The bad feeling was rising among the support from what I could see.

Then came the season ticket announcement that the price increase would remain and that fans would get, in return for paying full whack, access to a computer stream until further notice. My household has three season ticket holders, it would cost us £1800 to retain our season tickets and get this computer stream. This in the middle of a Global Pandemic and upcoming Depression.

I asked questions, waited on answers and have heard diddly squat back other than links to statements.

I look at the Celtic SLO. A man I have known, loved and respected for 30 years but who, in my view, really begun to change in the last couple of years. I've seen him put out tweets, that I know he would never agree with, and be lambasted by the support. Over the years I would have always jumped in to back him up. I always had his back but not now because , in September of last year, I feel he didn't have my back when I needed him most. (and I told him that then)

Bhoys and Ghirls, I am helpless right now. I was at a juncture where, when the latest Celtic statement was released, I was flabbergasted when they painted a "All is well" scenario when I don't think it is. I slept on my feelings (never comfy) and awoke to them selling Celtic face masks for £8.

Yesterday I spoke to two comrades of similar age and background and they both, independently, told me they were as bewildered as I am.

I've loved and supported Celtic all my life and really have no clue what is going on.

So help me, do you?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Celtic, we love you.

I was talking to a few mates, Tims of my era, and we were collectively berating the Celtic social media output. Our main criticism was that it appears to be run by 14 year olds who can't see past the end of their phones. At that point, I was going to blog and berate them but then I thought perhaps that's the way they deal with fear.

It is probably becoming apparent to folk at Celtic that nothing is going to be the same again and a lot of people are going to lose their jobs. Whether you agree or disagree with folk, that's a scenario nobody wants. I saw a thread yesterday where a lot of supporters were concerned that there is a season ticket deadline on May 29th and, by that point, they will not have had any income for three months. The response from the club, from the SLO, was to say "It will be reviewed when we get more information" which will be exactly what he will have been told to say and really is not very helpful to anyone.

The wake up call is simple.

There is not going to be any football matches with spectators this side of Christmas. I know there are folk out there who still don't take this pandemic seriously but let me break a few things down. First of all, there are people dying every day with no end in sight. Even when the curve starts to flatten, that does not mean we will all be heading to the pubs as many predicted at the start of this thing. What will happen when the curve flattens is that some restrictions on places like garden centres and DIY places will be lifted and your half hour exercise may be increased to an hour.

In Scotland, as much as we love football, it is the absolute last thing on the government's agenda right now. There is no chance any time soon that they will divert a single emergency service to a football match and, once all the squabbling dies down, clubs better get their heads around that.

Which brings us back to the season ticket question. I am "fortunate" enough to still be working in this crisis so I can afford a season ticket. Don't get me wrong, I've not been paid any extra, had overtime or received any kind of backhanded bonus, I'm just working full time and also am not spending on anything outside of the usual essentials. None of this makes me special or above anyone and nor would me buying a season ticket right now either. Yet that has crept into my Twitter timeline and I've had folk saying to me "You better buy a season ticket or the club will go bust"

I don't want the club to assume I will buy a season ticket with no prospect of football on the horizon. I want dialogue, I want leadership, I don't want pie in the sky interviews with the manager.

Also, imagine you have three kids, no income and have supported the club your whole life and a complete stranger  on the internet adds to your worries by telling you that you're also going to be responsible your club going bust?

That is a mentality the club needs to squash and needs to squash soon.

As supporters, we love Celtic. For the vast majority of us, it occupies our every step, our every breath and the reason we ride the rollercoaster of life. That's why we need leadership now. Supporters need our club, the biggest and most successful in Scotland to stand up and guide us through this. Someone said to me "Celtic don't have a crystal ball" and I totally agree with that which is why they should not be acting like it's business as usual.

I make this plea simply as a supporter who loves the club, Celtic, tell us what you think and how we can help guide the club through these treacherous times.

If you need help, think of Tommy Burns on that pitch at Hampden in 1988 and you're halfway there.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Corona Season

After I did my last film, Armageddon, I knew I wouldn't be doing another one for three years minimum. I'd also just finished my degree and was at a crossroads in my life. One night, whilst on holiday with my future wife in Berlin, I decided I wanted to get into support work. I did an HNC in Social Services, got my SVQ's and started working in a homeless shelter. I was dealing with people every day who had been alienated, had addiction problems,  had childhood trauma to deal with and were in an out of jail all their lives. In other words, people I can relate to a lot. The job was fantastic but the boss wasn't. She was an uncaring, unhinged, cleaning obsessive who if you told her a resident had chopped their own head off, her reply would be "Have you cleaned it up?"

I stuck with that as long as I could but eventually left and, after a few months of searching (soul and jobs) I got a job in a care home, starting at the beginning of the year. My job now is to get elderly people ready for home again after a fall or illness. Providing round the clock care, you develop a rapport with these people and get to know everything about them. All was fine until this horrible disease came along and changed everything.

It's because of that, I don't have any perspective on self-isolation, looking for things to do or the various listening parties and the like going on, as good as they sound. I've just been working throughout this and witnessing the indiscriminate nature of this thing.

It's also changed my perspective on Scottish fitba because I feel like an outsider looking in and have watched in bewilderment as silly wee men (and women) run about trying to squeeze every penny they can out of anyone daft enough to believe that a switch will be flicked and all will be well.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know I have been very vocal in my opposition to the league being called. I asked a well known bluenose in the media why he thought there was such a push for this and he replied "Peter wants the league for Celtic, it's that simple". Well, I don't buy that. I'm a well-known critic of Lawwell, I believe he and others at the club led supporters down the garden path with regards to the decades of cheating we endured, intimating they were doing something when in reality they did absolutely nothing about it.

The question is would Lawwell really push this just so we can get 9 in a row? You see the reaction of the angry mob (not something I give a toss about) and their desperation to add an asterisk to a season they had long since given up on whilst conveniently forgetting the honours "won" by Oldco by cheating therefore trying to equate a global pandemic with David Murray's financial doping is the kind of logic that creates no reaction in the mind of your average Sevco fan but rings a bell with anyone not hard of thinking.

I'd love to know Lawwell's thinking but, as usual, everything he is doing is behind the scenes and without consultation with fans leaving us leaderless and without the sort of clarification that his own statements normally ask for.

Football is changing forever and Scottish fitba better realise it soon or it will die. Fans need to ask serious questions like; Why are clubs selling season tickets now as if it is business as usual? If the league is called, what happens with the games fans have already paid for? I'm not saying I want money back for my 2019/20 season ticket but I don't want the club to assume that. They need to be talking to supporters on these issues because, whether they like it or not, the club will never be the same again.

On that, I've laughed at the notion that football will be back any time soon. People hear of a possible lifting of certain lockdown restrictions and, somehow, equate that with 60,000 people being allowed in a football stadium (That's another season ticket question btw, what if the government socially distance football stadiums and half the capacities?)

The SPFL board (Remember when Ian Maxwell of the SFA was all over the media? where has he gone?) have shown a complete lack of regard for the people in the game who pay to get in. Yet you can bet your bottom pound coin they will be all over us for money when the shit really hits the fan and that irks this fan. I hate the way clubs basically ignore us until season ticket renewal comes along in the same way politicians do until an election comes along. That has to change.

And so does the SPFL board.

Quite frankly,. appointing someone as unhinged as Ann Budge to be put in charge of reconstruction,  is akin to putting Boris Johnson in charge of running the country. There seems to be little in the way of reality at the SPFL and those who care, watch it all unfold through their fingers.

These are strange and bewildering times we live in. I've had a few dark moments. Yesterday the enormity of all this hit me hard and I took to Twitter to express that. I've also had long conversations with my wife (also a frontline worker but in a different department) and it's been dark at times.

One ray of light was in a big brown bag on our doorstep about a month ago. It was a huge selection of fruit. It baffled us at first but then a few weeks later someone left two Easter eggs on the door and a note just saying "thanks"

Maybe they should be on the SPFL board.


Saturday, March 7, 2020

Podcast No1-Scott Reid

I sat down yesterday with actor Scott Reid. You will know him as "Methadone Mick" in Still Game, "Michael Farmer" in Line of Duty, "Quill" in Carnival Row and "DC Mick Clark" in White House Farm.


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Cars and Girls



It came as no great shock to anyone not hard of thinking that the "Morelos Attempted Murder" story was exposed as unadulterated pish. In a country that didn't take seriously the actual attempted murder of a football manager, you're not going to pull the wool (or the car) over the eyes of anyone who doesn't want it. When it transpired that it was actually a private investigator hired by Morelos wife to catch him cheating most folk thought "Can there actually be two women that daft?" I personally couldn't give a toss if he is playing with the entire Scottish ladies fitba tesm but I am concerned that Jim Traynor still has an iron grip on a lot of journalists in Scotland.

This is a man who became Director of Communications at Sevco, got sacked with a healthy pay off, and now works freelance at Ibrox doing the communications. Not a bad gig if you can get it (C.V. requires a list of where the bodies are buried) Now his evil ways are going into overdrive to brush away any and all pressure from Slippy G and his aversion to winning league titles.

Michael Stewart bravely called it out last on Sportsound when people put such dross in the media (and let's not forget that one Gerry McCulloch used to do it daily) it leads to maniacs on social media feeling enabled and thinking they can say things like "You are complicit in the attempted murder of Alfredo Morelos"

When that squirrel didn't work, the next dark art from Traynor was to set up a rare interview with Morelos and then get his pals in the press to use it as an attack on Celtic supporters. That also came as no surprise to any of us.

This is exactly a time when strong leadership from Celtic is required but posted missing again. You won't get any member of staff saying anything so bad is their fear of Lawwell that it edges closer and closer to being complicit as any criticism of leadership in there, or lack there of, sees a threat to all their freebie trips and pension plans.

Who suffers from that? Just us, the supporters, nobody important.

What should happen now is an expose of Jim Traynor and blowing the whistle on all his shenanigans but that requires brass balls and the only set I see in Scotland are the ones hanging from Morelos probable next destination.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Lie in their pish



Fitba is back at the weekend. Those of us lucky enough to have tickets for Firhill will be there glowing from an afternoon of keeping warm in the boozer whilst those who aren't have to subscribe to a pay per view channel and hand over the sort of wedge that only Lee McCulloch's Maw wouldn't baulk at to watch something on the telly.

And this is meant to be the national cup competition right?

Scottish fitba went beyond parody a long time ago. Nothing surprises me anymore and it is obvious to me that most supporters have adopted a chagrin and bear it kind of attitude because thinking about the game here too much is liable put you on a diet of moonshine and Valium and I take enough fucking pills as it is.

The latest pish they are asking us to swallow in a oner is the idea that Kevin Clancy booked Morelos after the game on Dec 29th for his throat slit gesture.

Ok then.

This reminds me of the time when Paul Burrell was going to court for stealing items from a dead Diana Spencer's hoose (not to be confused with that one on London Road) and someone said to Betty Windsor "You realise this cunt knows everything, aye?" and on the day of the trial, Betty miraculously remembered that all the items were merely resting in Paul Burrell's hoose.

The Huns 2.0 clearly didn't know this had happened or why go on an extensive PR campaign to paint Morelos as the second coming in order to make him escape an even lengthier ban?

Bottom line is, The SFA are ripping the piss out of us again. For his faults, John Reid wouldn't stand for "Dougie Dougie" and went to town on the SFA then.

Will anyone from Celtic do it now?



Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Rebels-The Film



Ok, so I am trying a way of life. It's what Elvis coined as "A little less conversation, a little more action" or Jim Slaven coined as "Do less, better"

Quite simply I am going to try a year with very little interaction on Social Media save for talking about work. I am a man who loves a good debate/argument but the subjects I like talking about are going round in circles and are, quite frankly, boring me.

Also, I'm 46 this year. I won't be on this planet anywhere near that length of time again so it's time to work and create.

The first thing coming your way is a new podcast in mid February. I will talk to writers and creators, agitators and innovators. So stay tuned for that.

Then of course there is the film we are producing, Rebels, which is now in pre-production. That has been my focal point, in terms of writing the script, for over a year now and the point we are at now is it is finished and I am going back forth with the director and actors making little tweaks to ensure we are as happy as we can be with it.

The crux being, you'll hear less of me and more of my work.

Must be half good at least, eh?

Check out our Social Media channels

Twitter @rebelsmovie

Instagram @rebels2020

Facebook Rebels Movie

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

This may be business, it's never personal but it's always Celtic.



I've seen a lot of stuff in the last week that has demanded action from Celtic and Peter Lawwell on various things from the SFA to Resolution 12. Whilst completely agreeing with the sentiment, I find it all a tad na├»ve because anyone that knows Celtic and Lawwell, knows they don't do action.  No, what they do is chats with pet journalists, phone calls on an old Nokia (because they think they can't be hacked on one of those) and a few co-conspirator "supporters" are fed the odd transfer titbit in order to distract some but not all.

I find it absolutely astounding that there are supporters out there who put out tweets, blogs and podcasts as if everything is just hunky dory at Celtic. We all know there is the old faithful blog that would hand Lawwell a lighter if he decided to set fire to the stadium but a worrying amount seem either completely oblivious to what is happening at Celtic or, much worse, they are complicit in it.

First of all, the supporters have no voice at Celtic. Save for a few hand picked folk (I know because I used to be one-in my defence, I always asked about big picture stuff but because of this I was excluded from things like a meeting with Neil Doncaster), no one that supports Celtic has any right to reply. We have a nonsensical SLO position which has a triple glazing glass ceiling above it and, if home truths were really out there, the current incumbent would admit that Peter Lawwell brought him in to ensure The Green Brigade behaved how he wanted them to. Forget any notion that the SLO is in there fighting for the supporters on the big issues. (In fact, my experience is the exact opposite and I know that is the same for a lot of folk who have dealt face to face with Celtic- I should also declare an interest here: About 18 months ago, I just stopped getting tickets for away games. I tried to get an explanation for it, through the SLO, and got nowhere. It all came to a head in September 2019 when he couldn't even get the ticket office manager to reply to me. It was then passed onto the "Club Lawyer" Chris Duffy who went back and forth with me, shared jokes with me and promised to resolve my issue before, just like away tickets, he stopped. I'm not special and I know many have suffered the same sort of treatment but the bottom line is this sort of treatment is now the norm at Celtic)

As for Public Relations, the old joke is when someone mentions the Public Relations department at Celtic, the other person replies "There's a Public Relations department at Celtic?" and the truth is, there isn't. As far as I can see, Iain Jamieson's job is to ensure the mainstream media get all the access to Celtic that they want and to ensure that the directors get to and from the games in as much comfort as possible. Peter Lawwell does all the phone calls to journalists and will often change all the plans at Celtic at a moment's notice. So if you're in the house, waiting on Celtic responding to the onslaught on the club since December 29th then I can tell you now "Extremely disappointed" is as good as it is going to get.

There are some out there who blame the press for everything and it's an argument I've never understood. They hate us, why do you expect them to treat us any differently than they currently do? I see people tie themselves in knots every day as if it is a surprise that some cunt from the Daily Record doesn't like us (I had my own experience of this a couple of days when the Daily Record had a "funny" dig at me. My response? Zero. I couldn't give a toss because, as they say in the good ole U S of A, "Haters gonna hate")

Onto the actual football, and a bumper transfer window for Celtic has already gone to "it won't be many" according to Neil Lennon.  Which alarms me. The centre of defence needs work, Frimpong badly needs a rest and we have one striker we can rely on who isn't really a striker to begin with. Added to that, the midfield needs a bit of bite and I'd say that we need some new blood pronto but again, Celtic don't do action.

You may call me a grumpy old cunt (and many do and much worse) but believe me when I say that none of this is personal and anything I say in a blog has already been said to anyone in it. I write like this because Celtic occupy my life all day, every day and they always have done. We are so close to making history again, I will not accept a drop in a standards from anyone.

And that's coming from me, who is no one.

Modern football pisses me off. I watched the lifeless FA Cup at the weekend and my toes curl at us ever becoming like that. However, to ensure we don't, everyone must put the good of Celtic before everything.

And that must start at the top.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Peter Lawwell and The SFA



Regular readers of this blog know how it works. You give any entity from Ibrox an inch and they take a million miles. This time, last year Morelos was able to stamp all over our players, the referee does nothing and then enjoys a pint among his own afterwards.

End result? Absolutely fuckall happens.

Fast forward a year and another Sevco win and it's an onslaught on Celtic as Peter Lawwell does his usual, phone a few folk, drip feed a couple of token quotes and sit back hiding behind his secretary.

In 2012, we should have dismantled the SFA. One thing I consistently said on tour was that the SFA knew about the huns cheating way before anyone else did and did nothing about it. When the taxman  got wind of it, the SFA told the huns they needed to comply with a full investigation. The huns, rightly in my view, said back "But we kept you informed the whole time?". When it reached crisis level at the SFA and the, then, SPL, Celtic, Peter Lawwell and Eric Riley, were deliberately kept in the dark as other clubs deliberated what they should do.

I said the above to Peter Lawwell, that being kept in the dark should have been the fuel we needed to raise the SFA to the ground and his answer was "we are working on that behind the scenes" His next card was to bring in the lawyer, from Harper MacLeod, who was dealing with it and a group of us were given the opportunity to question him. I've not named the lawyer because he may just have had a bad day but he was as inspiring and assuring as fire juggler with no hands.

I remember a feeling in my gut that day that if this the quality the SFA would have to face, they'd be safe for another 100 years.

Peter Lawwell then stepped down from all boards within the SFA and SPFL. He was questioned on this and his reply was "It frees me up to focus on things like this"  (the fightback against the cheating)

He was also, frequently, at pains to point out that on Dec 2nd, 2011, he wrote a letter to the SFA questioning Rangers (IL) right to a European Licence and Craig Whyte's ownership of Rangers (IL)

So at this point, now 2016, I, and others, were of a mindset of "Right, he's away from them, the metaphorical guns are being loaded" (or words to that effect, gies peace, it's new year)

Well, Peter, we are still waiting.

And as we told you at the time "we can't have a situation where Celtic's response to decades of cheating and corruption was to write a letter"

Yet we are still there now and the SFA, Sevco and all our enemies are rubbing their hands with glee right now.

And it could have been so different.