Posted tagged ‘celtic’

Chopped Liver – Stairway To Heaven

January 2, 2011

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Ibrox Disaster. This is an event indelibly stamped on my childhood memory. I remember it for a number of reasons – not all fully mature, but I was only 11 at the time.

You have to trust me that for a child growing up in Glasgow, even as a Jewish boy, the intense rivalry of Rangers and Celtic, both footballing and sectarian was gigantuan. Efforts in recent years to dilute the passion have been partially successful, but it is still an intense affair.

In 1971, it was collossal.

And so it was that the traditional New Year’s Old Firm fixture was upon us – 80-odd thousand fans packed into standing terraces cheared on their team. On this occasion, by all accounts, it was a nothing match – in that nothing much happened football-wise – until the 89th minute when Celtic’s winger-magician Jimmy Johnstone scored for Celtic.

Cue mass celebration on the green and white side of the stadium. Cue mass exodus by the home support of red, white and blue.

Incredibly, with only seconds remaining, Rangers’ poacher centre-forward, Colin Stein, went up the other end and scrambled the ball home for an unlikely equaliser.

Initial reports “blamed” Stein for this event that resulted in the exiting Rangers fans trying to return to their places on the terraces to cheer on their boys, only to find their places had been taken up by more exiting fans who had stopped, been pushed back, tripped and trampled on – and back down the terraces like dominoes.

Ibrox Disaster Jan 2nd 1971 - Authorities inspecting the scene

66 people were suffocated to death and a further 200 injured.

Months later, investigators found no reason to link the action on the field to the events on the over-congested stairway.

However, families were shattered and innoncent on-lookers like myself were left with the images of dozens of body-bags being lined up on the pitch.

I was kept away from much of the news images, but I do remember this – we had a Scottish version of Match of the Day, called Sportscene. A half-hour program showing highlights of a top Scottish game and a few minutes of a top English game.

I remember, to my shame of innocence, that they did not show the goals from the Rangers v Celtic of earlier in the day, but instead showed only the English game – which, bizarrely, was Blackpool, who have only just this season returned to the top flight of English football.

As I watched the 40th anniversary program today on TV prior to the Old Firm match, they showed… and I saw, for the first time ever, the two fateful goals from that game – and that sent a shivver down my spine I can tell you.

Sadly, nothing was ever done after Ibrox to prevent future disasters of that type – not after Heysl either, not after Bradford, but only after Hillsbrough – so hundreds of others have persihed at football games whilst we awaited the authorities to make the necessary changes to the way we watched matches – all-seater stadia have been the single most important “innovation” that have made the football fans’ experience a whole lot safer.

Now there… are 3…. steps to… carry a donor card – ooh, wap wap!
Just follow steps

Chopped Liver – Strawberry Fields Forever

August 12, 2010

... shugga... fugga... bugga... mugga!

Shortly heading off with B and Weedy to go fruit picking. I will try and not be the proverbial sack of potatoes – after all they are not fruits, are they? No, the sack of potatoes is the heavy heavy thing some people drag around with them that slows them down and makes them moody and negative – in short carrying around a sack of potatoes makes you moan, groan and sigh.

Some people are like a sack of potatoes. They are negative people. They slow you down and fill you with negative thoughts that rub off onto you and drag you down too.

It is important to rid yourself of sacks of potatoes. If you must carry your troubles with you, put them in a trolley and keep moving. Better still, if you meet someone with a sack of potatoes give them a wide berth. I don’t mean to sound cruel. We all have a burden to bear – some of us shout about it, some of us blog about it, some of us get dragged down by it so that it takes over our lives, and some of us move on steadfastly despite our problems. People do not want to hear bad news so if you feel you want to broadcast it, then do so with positivity and humour.

I heard Kenny Dalglish explaining why he left Celtic, where he was idolised, to take on the almighty challenge of replacing the best player in Europe, Kevin Keegan, at the best club in the world, Liverpool. He said it simply – This is life. It is not a rehearsal. We get one chance and one chance only to achieve our ambitions. So, face the challenge – and hey, my motto – Feel The Fear – And Do It Anyway!

Oh yeah, and why am I saying all this today? ‘Cos I feel like shit today. Have done for a few days. Don’t wanna go out – it’s cold, wet, windy and miserable – and I could soooo easily be a bore today and become a sack of potatoes – but, there i have said it, I recognise it, now I am going to ignore it – I may enjoy the day, I may not – but I will not let how I feel drag down others.

I have a feeling I stole the basis of this analogy from Nigel Risner – if I did, do take it as a compliment, Nigel. That’s if you’ve read this and noticed I stole from you. If you haven’t read this, and neither your, nor Andrew, are aware of it, then nyahh, I win!)

Now there… are 3…. steps to … carry a donor card – ooh, wah wah!
Just follow steps 1, 2 and 3.