ONE OF the great joys of this current lockdown is – we all have the licence to allow our imaginations to run riot, should we so desire. For me, that allows me to work on my fantasy of which sports clubs I would buy, and how I would run them, if I ever “did a Weir” and won a mind-boggling prize on Euromillions.
All I can guarantee is, I would assuage over 60 years of hurt and Lugar Boswell Thistle would win the Scottish Junior Cup. The notion of buying what remains of Rangers International FC, if the timing was right following what I now see as their almost inevitable liquidation, somewhere down the line, then running the club properly, also tickles my fancy. But, do I really want to open that can of worms?
Speaking of “The Breengers,” I see the acknowledged expert on all matters Ibrox, “Phil Four Names – The Donegal Blogger” had fresh news for his obsessed followers this week, apparently the near-mythical Albion Car Park is up for sale – further proof, should it be required, of what a basket case RIFC currently is.
Of course, what yer man in Doegal is not telling his adoring public is – there is an ongoing case in France, alleging money laundering and nefarious practices by a bank whose majority shareholder is a Dublin business-man, a certain Dermot Desmond.
Well, since Rangers have, what Phil Four Names likes to describe as: “a Convict Chairman,” it stands to reason, Celtic need one as well.
Phil is very good at selective churnalism. When Channel 4 News's Alex Thomson was all over what is now known as “The Big Tax Case” which eventually did for the 1872 version of Rangers, well Mr T was getting daily name checks in Phil's blog and he was the most-wonderful investigative reporter ever.
Some weeks back, Thomson did a piece on the paedophile behaviour which has seen some familiar figures around Celtic Boys Club enjoy Her Majesty's hospitality in her large and forbidding “bed and breakfast” premises in the Riddrie area of Glasgow. Mr Thomson did a piece on the efforts of Celtic FC to put clear water between that club and the Boys Club. However, you would not have read any of that in yer man Phil's blog.
Mind you, to be fair to Phil; we all need a laugh at this time, and I nearly pished myself earlier this week when he had a go at former Rangers' PR guru James Traynor.
As someone who has shared a few press boxes with wee Jim, I am a wee bit disappointed in the way he forgot the first rule of journalism and became the story. In the last few years, Jim has, I feel, let himself down badly (but, he's not the first and will not be the last journalist to do this).
However, if he lives to be 200 years old, the Donegal Blogger can never aspire to getting anywhere close to James Traynor in terms of talent as a journalist. He's a pygmy taking on Muhammad Ali – an Ali who is impervious to the wee man's poison darts.
And in case you're reading this and feeling smug James, remember, you were only ever the second-best sports writer in your family.
No, when it comes to the Bigot Brothers of Scottish football, I fear whitabootery will always be with us. A plague on both their houses.
THE CURRENT pandemic has allowed our broadcasters to dip into the archives and re-run some classic games of the past. I must admit, I am not a fan of such retro programming – although I would dearly love to see the 1967 Wembley game broadcast, since it wasn't shown live at the time.
What I have been watching again is the ESPN series of 30 for 30 films on American sport; there are some cracking films in there, which have made me aware of great stories which were hitherto unknown to me.
Thes films have also made me realise who obsessed our American cousins are with statistics in sport. Baseball, even more than cricket, is ruled by the numbers, and I now know what some previous “gibberish” in baseball stats – rbis, eras etc - stands for.
In American Football, they also love their statistics, passing yards, rushing yards, third and fourth down completions etc; while in basketball defensive and offensive rebounds, field goal and free throw percentages are studied by all the fans.
In ice hockey, we have assists counts, short-handed goals and power plays either completed or burned – even the dumbest fan knows and appreciates such statistics.
But, statistics mean little in soccer (as the Americans call our game). I wonder how some so-called superstars might be assessed, if we had the same liking for statistics. We might, for instance, find that a guy we think of as a great goal-scorer actually only gets three of every ten shots he takes on target, and only scores with one in fifteen of these. We could also find that a supposed midfield general has a pass completion ratio which is so poor, it would get him laughed out of the game if he was an American quarter-back.
Reading the statistics is a core element in “moneyball analysis” of American sports – I don't know how that might work in Scottish Fitba.
FURTHER proof, should it be required, of the truth of the “Syemour Skinner Dictum: “You Scots are a contentuous people,” came this week in the latest chapter in the setting-up of the new West of Scotland Football League.
As part of the tidy-up, the currently suspended West of Scotland Regional Leagues of the Scottish Junior Football Association decided to settle final positions, by placing the clubs in order, according to the average number of points per game they had won.
This meant that Auchinleck Talbot were awarded the league title, in spite of them being in third position, but with a large number of games in hand over the teams above them.
To me, it seemed like stating the obvious to award the title to Talbot. Every season, because they play so-many Scottish Cup ties – both Senior and Junior, come the light nights, the 'Bot are engaged in playing twice or three times per week as they catch-up. It is always thus and, invariably, when the fat lady finally sings, it is to award the biggest prizes to the Talbot.
But, jealousy runs deep in the juniors and one or two clubs – who haven't beaten Talbot since before Willie Knox became their manager, back in the mid-seventies, are unhappy with the decision.
The fact, a Talbot official was involved on the committee making the decision, has not gone down well in some quarters – cue outrage.
In fact, there were more complaints about Talbot being awarded the title than about Celtic getting the Premier League one – by the same process.
The Scots - a contentuous people indeed – particularly when it comes to fitba.