Monday, 11 December 2017

Rangers part 2

There was a time when Rangers were world class, big time. A history that included trophies, cups, championships, a stadium with a truly great main stand, however.
There are blips in their past, a tradition that excluded a section of society, more than occasional fan violence and the eventual and sadly inevitable decline into bankruptcy. These things do happen to football clubs all over the world, that old lady of Italy Juventus was relegated due to dodgy irregularities.
So this week The Rangers face the rejection of one of their own, a cut that goes the deepest. According to today's Herald the anointed manager had gone as far as picking Saturday's team to face Ross County. McInnes, a Rangers fan had turned down the job of his childhood dreams at the 11th hour, perhaps into injury time.

The chance to join the greats. Bill Struth, Scott Symon, Waddell, Souness and Walter Smith was scorned, and The Rangers are furious, they issued a nonsensical press statement so petty that the best it produced was a brilliant Aberdeen fan banner and the embarrassment of their own fans.

Surely McInnes turned down the job because The Rangers took so long to make him the number one choice and because they are no longer the number one club in Scotland nor even the number two, and because they no longer have class.
The past few years have seen millions squandered, a queue has formed to asset strip both the club and the fans. A clueless football strategy, a set of directors with little or no football knowledge, nor class.

Aberdeen were a well run club and they themselves paid the price for a forlorn attempt to match the Old Firm in the 90's, a task so onerous they could not afford a new toaster. They are again a model of financial propriety and as it stands guilty of a rickety old stadium and no proper training facilities, yet a club that is a more attractive proposition than The Rangers.

Where does it leave McInnes? Sunderland were quite rightly declined, there will come another approach, probably from England. There will a financial gain and whichever club comes a calling they will make a speedy and genuine offer and Derek will be gone, with the best wishes of most fans.

Hamish



Thursday, 7 December 2017

Rangers

With a proud tradition of supplying Scottish football internationals, managers, the venue for games the recent history has been shambolic at best. The decline and bankruptcy of the club should have led to the development of a modern Scottish Rangers, building from scratch, developing youngsters both local and from afar. Proper coaching, a Rangers style, a modern style.
Thus instead of a Scottish 'Ajax' a mini 'Barca' we, both Rangers and Scotland fans have had a new era of asset stripping, easy money to be made or grabbed, from the fans.
And to top it all the non pursuit of a manager or managers leaving ridicule and for many hilarious laughter.
Who next? What next? Where next?
I would contact Kris Boyd as he seems to know, or does he? If I were him I would stick to playing for Kilmarnock, a current player has no business being a media pundit as he either compromises himself or other fellow professionals. Shame on him.
Anyway, as a Scotland fan I desperately await a decent new Scotland player from Ibrox, there have been countless, from George Young to John Grieg to Alan Morton to David Meikeljohn.
Here's hoping.

Hamish

Monday, 4 December 2017

He put the English out (out out out)

There is a regular T-Shirt designed and sold by a Tartan Army with Scotland's Player of the Year, a list of scorers who just happen to have put the English out , (out out out). Add in a few of England's penalty misses and the score is settled.
Edward Hammer of the Scots will be turning in his grave at the mention of the 1970 West Germany World Cup Quarter Final 3-2 victory courtesy of Franz Beckenbauer, Uwe Seeler and Gerd Muller. Special mention should be made of goalie Peter Bonetti and the substitution of Bobby Charlton by Sir Alf Ramsey.
The USA 1950 World Cup victory perchance?
Chris Waddle 1990 World Cup semi-final penalty miss?
Gareth Southgate Euro '96 semi-final penalty miss , another Scottish hero, and of course there are more, and there will be many more unfortunates.
To top it all, the ultimate hero , the world's greatest fitba drug taker, step forward Diego Maradona, he of the hand of god. 'He put the English out, out,out,out'.
What do they all have in common? The English exit was long after we were sent home to think again.
Spare me the feeling of shadenfreude, the gleefull expectation that our neighbours will lose next year in a tournament that we have not qualified for, have not visited for 19 years and, worse of all the realisation that we the Tartan Army are not missed'
' No Scotland, we still can have a party', the world sings.
Let's concentrate on finding a set of players that will qualify and a manager, from any part of the world that can lead us to the finals.
Please.



Wednesday, 1 November 2017

A new start

A wee trip to Pittodrie next week and a friendly against the once mighty Netherlands, a former world great against a 19 year old failure. Can't wait.
The vision of an Archie Gemmell 1978 wonder goal is so remote and irrelevant as would a replay of the Euro 88 Dutch victory. We can't live on past memories nor can the men in Oranje. Where to now?
If I had a pound for every time I was asked where has it gone wrong the I would have £8 in my pocket and that is just from yesterday. Who should be the new manager? Sir Alex Ferguson of course, however in the likely event of him being quite busy just now and unavailable the question is ' Who will be the new manager of Scotland?' All applicants should be aquainted with Albert Camus' book on eternal failure, or was that written by The Tartan Army?
Qualities, the ability to make the best of not bad players. Patience and impatience, oh and must be a masochist. Tactical genius and in training sessions endless routnes of late goals followed by the booting the ball out the park. The ability to grab failure from glory.
Netherlands at Pittodrie, the start of something new or more of the same? We will be wearing a new strip, better than the last one? Yes of course that was terrible.
One thing please, let Malky Mackay enjoy his one game as Manager and on Friday he can return to his day job, the really important one.


Sunday, 10 September 2017

It is with sadness that Westa announces the sad passing this morning of Janet Hopkins, original member of both Westa & The Partick International.
In her 88 years she was a mainstay of Partick Thistle & Scotland, indeed her mother washed the strips for the Jags. Bill Shankly was a house guest during the second world war. Alan Rough and the Alan Hansen family were friends. When Thistle won the League Cup beating Celtic 4-1 in 1971 she was at Firhill to meet the bus returning with the trophy only to discover nobody had the key to get into the stadium.
Janet & her late husband Sam were ever present on the busses run by Jim Brown and the late and great Tommy Madden, 3 world cups and 2 Euro Championships, younger Westa members eat you hearts out, in fact Sam & Janet's honeymoon was the 1967 Wembley 3-2 win when we very temporarily were World Champs.
For those members proud of their 10 points she was at every home international in Glasgow,London, Belfast & Cardiff from 1947 onwards, no Ryan Air or Easy Jet then. She witnessed Wembley heartache in the 1955 -7-2 defeat and even worse the 9-3 humiliation courtesy of Frank Haffey. Mind you there would be the joy of the 1962 2-0 win over the Auld Enemy at Hampden after 25 years of home defeats.
She was a member of the short lived breakaway Summerston Young Farmers Supporters Club formed to travel by bus to the Dublin 1987 Euro Qualifers where chairman Jim Brown insisted they dress up as farmers to beat the travel ban on the Irish ferry.
Janet & Sam were the winners of the Westa 2003 Trip of the Year Award for their good humour both their and back on the bus to Amsterdam for the Euro Qualifiers play-off 6-0 debacle.
She was a star guest in the audience for Tam Cowan's TV show where she took at least 10 goes at introducing the next guest.
I include a picture of Janet at the world famous Westa Burns Supper where she loyally said the Selkirk Grace.
It is always sad when we lose one of the Westa family as we have occasionally do, each a legend, each a Scotland fan.
Hamish

Friday, 21 July 2017

Scotland Women's Fitba

You know it's a Scotland trip when at the airport a Scotland top is spotted, a pint of beer is nearby.
You know it's a Scotland game abroad when there is a march to the game.

You know it's Scotland in a major final when as plucky underdogs we unfortunatley read and follow the script and suffer a defeat in the first game.

However the Scotland top in the airport was one of 2, the other being my own. No kilts or tartan in sight but plenty of voices discussing the football . 



Well you non believers, it was not only fun it was brilliant. It was the Euros and a game against England, The Auld Enemy, what could go wrong?

The day itself was fitba in the truest sense. A mixture of fans, Scotland's as always more evident. There was a meeting of old tartan army friends, always a pleasure. Chatting to the proud parents of the players was a joy. Goalie, Shannon Lynn's mother and father flew in from Toronto, more family joining from far and wide. John and Gill Beattie still there although injured Jennie Beattie, Scotland star is at home and distraught at missing the finals. Caroline Weir's mum and dad so proud and a squad of Vailla Barsley's family all with the name on the back of their Scotland shirts. Wee Erin Cuthbert of Chelsea, her mum in the airport so excited before the match.

Was this the tartan army? Surely not as I spotted as many cappuccinos as biers. A fans zone littered with kids playing keepie up with no crates of biers littering the square.

You know it's a Scotland game when that excitement and nervousness pervades the day.

On leaving our hotel on route to the game we joined the end of the march to the game. Over 100 fans, Maw, Paw, Granma & Grampa on their way to the Stadium in the lovely and cultural city of Utrecht. Weans, dozens of them , all with flags and pink tops. Waving and whisling to the locals along the canals on the way to the game. A game in a major final. Haud on, just the Women's Finals. 
You know it's a Scotland game when the march back to the city centre is one of silent grief at another defeat. 

You know it's Scotland, we lost, 6-0 by the way. I was only dissapointed the next morning, I will not patronise the team as plucky losers, I have seen it all before. I will only forgive them if they win the next 2 games and qualify for the next round. 

Scotland Women's Team make us proud, even more proud.





Thursday, 29 June 2017

Alan Hansen Westa Guest

All those years ago, when we were going through a bad patch The West of Scotland Tartan Army were approached by the BBC to take part in an TV special. Alan Hansen, former Partick Thistle Player would be investigating where it had all gone wrong for Scottish Fitba, he was not the first looking for the answer and as of 2107 he would not be the last.
The camera team arrived at our Sunday meeting, last Sunday in the month, all invited. A table was arranged upstairs in the Iron Horse, West Nile Street , Glasgow.
Our esteemed Chair, the late and most wonderful Tommy Madden asked that Alan in return would address our meeting, all Scotland fans by the way. He was approached by the director, we had not been deemed important enough at this stage to meet the great man. The answer came back...a big NAW.
Tommy said thanks very much and promptly went elsewhere for a pint.
Mr Hansen, late of Liverpool and Scotland eventually relented and agreed to say a few words to the lads & lasses, all Scotland fans by the way.
We were interviewed, asked our opinions. Filming ended. Looking back our views on Scotland,  ' The Failure Years' were incoherent and incomprehensible , not unlike our then team selection.
Mr Hansen did then address the assembled WESTA membership. He was excellent, funny, informative and I suspected a proud Scot, proud to have played for Scotland and as a lad proud to have travelled to Wembley.
Questioned on Graeme Souness, he was  also as  I suspected a proud Scot and was part of a grand assemblage of Scots playing for a superb Liverpool team, a team that ruled Europe.
However, we home Scots have always has a jaundiced view of the Scot having made it big down south, the dreaded 'Anglo'.
Famous 'Anglos'; Kenny Dalglish, Denis Law, Billy Bremner, Peter Lorimer, Joe Jordan. Bill Shankly, Matt Busby, jings loads of them and more, many more.
Alan , sorry Mr Hansen got so much stick playing at Hampden, for Scotland by the way he would warm up beside Graeme Souness, multiple European Cup winners by the way, World class by the way. Graeme got all the stick.
At the end of the meeting as stand in Chair I asked the assembled members, all Scotland fans by the way, to give Mr Alan Hansen the traditional Hampden greeting and boo him as he left the pub. Iwas joking of course and of course the WESTA memers booed him as he left.
Our garbled views on the demise of Scottish football was of course not used in the programme. A few months later Bertie Vogts got the Scotland job. I rest my case.
In 2004 Wales hammered Scotland 4-0 in Cardiff. Later in the Holiday Inn Express the highlights were on Match of the Day. The pundit was one Mr Alan Hansen who slaughtered the team and the defence (sic).
I laughed through tears of frustration and emotion.
1979 , Cardiff Home International. Wales 3 Scotland 0. Centre half covering John Toshack was a certain Alan (Mr) Hansen. At this stage in his excellent career John was slower than me, I am now 59, John scored a hat-trick.