Friday, September 21, 2012

Pay it forward

I had a really nice email this week from Keith McKenna @snash67 .  Keith won a signed John Higgins snooker cue at the book launch for Poles 'N' Goals and Hesselink and asked me if I had would have any problem with him donating the cue to a charity called

You see to give you a bit of background, last year on holiday Keith met the Connerty family from Liverpool. Their son Alex suffers from primordial dwarfism. Keith got talking to them. They were telling him they run a charity called the walking with giants foundation to provide a support systems for other families, and also to raise awareness about the condition in the hope of attracting more funding for research.

This year they noticed a marked improvement in Alex that just goes to show how the hard work and love all of the volunteers put into it, especially the Connertys'. Young Alex is an Everton fan so it's coincidental that John and his brother Jason are also blues (well their English team anyway)
Of course neither myself or the Higgins crew had any problem with this and it's a tribute to the kind of guy Keith is that he is making this fantastic gesture.

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Generation

Is life bad or was it just Celtic?

I often find that if Celtic are playing well and winning, everything in life is good. When we lose, I start to notice everything shit around me.

Saturday was an awful, inept performance. Our worst since Ibrox almost a year to the day.

There is no doubt in my mind that, along with a great St Johnstone performance, a huge contribution to our defeat was one eye on Wednesday.

Ony Scott Brown, from the players who played on Saturday, has represented Celtic in the Champions League before and it's all new for the rest of them.

Ditto there is a new generation of fans who have never seen Celtic play in the Champions League, not live anyway.

I don't take Neil Lennon seriously when he says "If I hear Champions League once more..." When he has been as guilty as anyone in terms of talking about it and perhaps being part of the loss of focus.

For me, my biggest concern for Wednesday isn't the players ability to raise it again, it's the defence. Our priority has been two good centre halves since time immemorial and we still don't have them. We may have one in Ambrose, we don't know and won't now know on Wednesday either.

It's clear that a lot of players are either off form or, for whatever reason, believing their own hype. Izzy remains a complete mystery. He hasn't looked close to the player he was and it's worrying there are no signs at all of a proper comeback.

Lustig has been ok in some games and awful in others. To be fair, he's at a new club and already played three different positions. The defence is chopped and changed far too much.

Gary Hooper isn't at the races just now and, it has to be said, doesn't look like he is giving his all. If you look at the performance of Jermaine Defoe against Reading on Sunday, that's the type of performance we expect from Hooper and we know he is more than capable of it.

Finally, there is the Victor Wanyama problem. For someone with so much talent, he is not having the impact on games he should have. On Saturday I put it down to him never really knowing where his midfield partner was.

Celtic have played well once this season in the SPL, at Inverness, yet very well in four European wins, so it's clear that the talent is there. We clearly have the best squad of players in the SPL and matching other teams committment should see us win most of our games but it's not happening just now,

Europe last season was the launch pad for our season and you have to hope that this will be the case again. The experience gained from last season will be vital and as supporters we expect performancs to dip after Champions League games.

We will never accept anything less than 100% effort though.

I hope everyone who is going to a Champions League game at Celtic Park for the first time has the time of my life. Despite my opinons here, Celtic have good players capable of great things and three points on Wednesday will launch us into an orbit where anything is possible.

Your generation deserve that.

My generation need it again.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Justice for the 96

Watching the recent documentary on Hillsborough, I think I cried at least four times. To watch the shocking images of fans being crushed at football match will strike right at the heart of any fan who watched football in those days because you know that it could have been you.

Like a lot of Celtic supporters that day, I was listening to Radio 2. We were playing Hibs the following day at Hampden and Dundee v Hearts was the game on Radio Scotland. It became apparent pretty quickly that something was happening at Hillsborough. Peter Beardsley has just hit the bar for Liverpool and the crowd had spilled onto the pitch. What first was reported as crowd trouble quickly became a disaster. My father and I then put on Grandstand and watched, numb, as it became apparent that people had died.

The enormity of it all is still overwhelming for most. It makes me immensely proud that it was Celtic Park where Liverpool played it's first match after the tragedy. That said, I cannot speak about that day without crying again.

None of this is about football rivlary, it's about 96 people dying because of the incompetence of a police force at the top level (some of the junior ranked police were heroes that day) and the subsequent cover up designed to protect a Tory government on the slide, with that enemy of the working class people, The Sun, as main cheerleader.

Today is a day fans of every club in the world should be behind those 96 families.

As Jim Garrison once said, "May justice be done or the heavens fall"

Monday, September 3, 2012

Go raibh maith agaibh, Bampots

Another Book Launch done then. You can never really prepare for them as there are so many variables involved. The person who is faced with the brunt of these is @brummiebhoy . Liam is the unseen hero of these things. He is the one who puts in all the hard work behind the scenes, he's one doing the door, booking the venues, hiring the band, running the night and having to put up with panicky bar owners(of which there are plenty) He does all this with minimum fuss and, speaking personally, I could never thank him enough.

We try to keep everything ticking over with as little financial outlay possible to the people we want to come. Buyng a book and a raffle ticket is the maximum we expect. We have no real budget ourselves and this why you rely so much on others. With that in mind, tribute has to be paid to @luxmonty, @btwcelticshow and @bronxbhoy . Their sponsorship ensured that you could listen to a band and there were books there if you wanted one. The fact that they come from Luxembourg, Philly and The Bronx, tells you all you need to know about The Celtic Family.

The raffle was good. It could not have been done without the hard work of @chibchenko and @weekates who hopefully got round everyone in the venue and ensured that some people went home very happy with their prizes.

Then we come to the Rebel MC, @aupaceltic , again, nothing could really be done without his input and support. He probably doesn't even realise how important tose things are. He should now.

The platform for my stuff, in terms of  my website, is all done by @gaffney67, a brilliant talent and very good rates for all your web and design needs.

The professional video you can see here is down solely to the guys @carlukeshamrock A fantastic keep sake for me and a unique window for people who couldn't make it. I'm indebted to them for bringing the night to the the Bampots worldwide.

Another person who has to be named is @madameking She was the lady selling the books on the night and a grand job was done. Her and her husband Tim also gave me a lift home, which was greatly appreciated!

One of the reasons nights like these run so smoothly is often because of the help of someone who most folk didn't realise had a role. That was because of how well he performed it. This was @machrie72 who adopted a "Head of Security" type role and ensured all of you had a safe and fun night.

That band I mentioned earlier are called The Amadans and they should be hired for any event you are having. @johnjo1888 and crew always put on a storming set and really create the vibe around our events.

Finally, to all the Bampots I met on the night, some again, some for the first time, you are the reason these things are possible. None of the above could do any of the above if you weren't interested. So if you turned up, bought a raffle ticket, asked a question or just said Hello, you'll always be in my heart.

That also goes for each and every one of you who buys a book, you mean the world to me.

The new book, cover at top, will be out on Oct 26th and there will be a Bampot night attached to it, probably at the end of November. It will be slightly different to the last two but the Bampots will still be the main stars.

Watch this space...