The Absolute Game Remembered – 13

February 12, 2011


Likely 13

This was the first edition after the Hillsborough disaster and Mad Mac doesn’t rush to judgement, but instead asks that whatever lessons are learned are suitably heeded and applied in Scotland. Simultaneously however, the fight against Mrs Thatcher’s ID card scheme is stepped up.

There’s a statistical investigation into the number of times the Old Firm have been drawn against each other in Cup competitions – the answer, not surprisingly, is that the figures make it look like something highly suspicious was going on – listen to this – between 1945 and 1988 Rangers and Celtic were together in the semi-final of the Scottish and League Cups on no fewer than 15 occasions, and were drawn to play each other ………..ONCE. (Perhaps, Steve, our resident stats man would like to have a look at this). This apparently anomalous situation has tended to rectify itself ever since the draws started to be televised live, despite talk of heated balls (oo-er, missus) and other similar devices.

mwcThere’s a look at the flow of players across the border – a flow that had been relentlessly one-way until the arrival of Graeme Souness at Ibrox, when for a brief period it was English clubs who became jittery at the sight of a Scots raiding party. But prior to that “many a Scotsman has flown from his footballing nest in exchange for pound notes, corrugated iron sheets or the odd floodlight pylon. The majority, including the likes of Bobby Collins, Pat Crerand, Martin Buchan, Lou Macari and Kenny Dalglish went on to greater things and famous accomplishments, but others like Peter Marinello, Alex Cropley and Charlie Nicholas were not to be so fortunate – they went to Arsenal“.

And here’s one for students of soccer history – it’s 1989 and TAG has an article entitled “FERGIE : What’s Gone Wrong?” – and yes, it is our old chum Sir Alex (then plain Alex) who is the Fergie in question. “What the hell is wrong with Alex Ferguson these days? Many are shellshocked at stories emanating from the South that he has become a griping, moaning, petty-minded, paranoid neurotic, and most bewildering of all that he has lost his sense of humour………..“.

The interface between fitba and jurisprudence is explored in ‘10 Great Court Cases‘ – one example was the occasion when Robert Fleck was fined £150 for baring his bum to the crowd during a Rangers-Celtic reserve match. Many thought this was much preferable to him baring his face. Also mentioned in dispatches was the infamous 1987 Old Firm 2-2 draw (2 convicted, 2 acquitted) ‘with the verdicts on McAvennie and Roberts probably being as perplexing and unfathomable as the events on the field that day‘. Benny Rooney, John ‘Cowboy’ McCormack and Andy Brannigan are among the others in the dock.


The Kicker Conspiracy‘ is a look at some of the ‘enforcers’ in the lower divisions, with top prize for ‘Services to the Wheelchair Industry‘ going to Sammy Conn variously of Albion Rovers, Airdrie, Clydebank and Falkirk…….”a formidable opponent, supremely skilled in the art of getting his retaliation in first“.

Brechin City, Clyde and Hamilton Accies all get the in-depth treatment, and there are articles on the Premier League, Hibs new crest, football songs, and televised fitba, as well as the usual round-up of reviews etc.


The correspondents, as always, are revolting rebellious, with the notable exception of a Queen of the South fan who not only wholeheartedly endorses the views expressed on that club in TAG 12, but also hearteningly says that he’s been supporting Queens since 1945, which at least made me not the oldest reader.



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