It was on in the car the other day, and it reminded me of what life was like then, and in particular what parallels we can draw between football then and football now. I was in my youth and was granted permission to attend Paradise on my own, on the 18 Corpy Bus. It’d be rare now to see 12/13 year olds making their way to the game on their own. Kids today are wrapped in cotton wool. A sad indictment of society as a whole. Kids need that protection. It’s not the result of over-zealous parenting. It’s necessary.
Mind you, as I grew to 15, my old dear would have went ape had she know that I spent my paper round on a half bottle of Peruvian Brandy (Devon’s finest) and a few cans of Tennnet’s for the game.
There was no SPL back then. It was the Premier Division, governed by the SFL under one body. We’ve come full circle
There was no Sky TV. We had Scotsport and Arthur Montford.
There was no major partners. Back then these were called sponsors. Mullets were acceptable in the 80s especially among players – latterly the Duck’s Arse – thanks to Charlie Nicholas.
Sitting at games was for the suits. Only Pittodrie and Ibrox were all-seated, barring the east and west Enclosures. Songs were sung in the 80’s that were acceptable, but would now see you promptly ejected from Celtic Park, with an immediate taxi to London Road Police Station courtesy of Strathclyde’s finest.
I remember being in 1st year at school, in East Kilbride, and jotting down the words to Sean South of Garryowen in Mr. Clark’s geography class. I’d be damned if I was going to the Jungle unarmed. There was no way I was going into such a fierce environment only to mumble the words of a war song. I’d have been eaten alive.
The Jungle makes Section 111 look like a Scouts Jamboree. We stood on terraces, we swayed up and down, back and forth. Jesus, sometimes we fell, and if you were lucky it wasn’t into pish or spew. I believe the latest phrase for it is “lateral movement”. All this whilst gnawing on your spearmint chewing gum.
Politics were firmly on the agenda. Especially referring to The Troubles in Ireland.
I grew up Scottish rooted firmly in Irish Catholic backgrounds. Feelings ran high at that time – and for good reasons. The songbook then certainly wouldn’t be acceptable now. Pundits are often quick to tell us that football and politics shouldn’t mix. But football and politics has always mixed. You’re a mug to think that 30 years on the Irish are fully accepted, and back in the 80’s it wasn’t even close.
Anyone who grew up in this era will remember when the now defunct Maggie Thatcher introduced the Poll Tax to Scotland, amidst civil uproar from its residents. Thatcher took her seat at Hampden for Celtic v Dundee Utd in May 1988. The whole arena joined in unison, with a chorus of “You can stick your Tory Poll Tax up yer arse.”
That was acceptable in the 80s. Nowadays, should anyone, or any group, dare to say anything political, or make their feelings known they face being castigated, by not only the media but their own fans. It also says a lot that many of the same football fans who stood there on that glorious sunny day, holding up red cards, have no problem at all with a man who divides his time between the Celtic Park boardroom and working as part of a government inflicting devastation on millions across this country.
And people think it was the 80’s that were backward? That this is “progress”?
Football stadiums used to be the domain of the working class man. You could walk up to the game, can or bottle in hand, and leave them empty at the turnstile. It was acceptable in the 80s. Today, you’d get nowhere near London Road with any alcohol. People go to the games wary of being turned away from the ground as stewards and police can be tight on anyone deemed to be under the influence.
Football, for me is still a social occasion. I like my pint before, and after, the game. I like being in the company of males. My mates. I like being “one of the boys” and I am not ashamed or embarrased to say that the air is often littered with dirty jokes and navy like language.
I’m not justifying any of the above; I’m merely highlighting how sanitised our football game has become. There are times that I’be bite my lip, or sat on my hands, at goings on within Celtic Park. I remember standing, and giving a Celtic player an utter bollocking for being poor. It was, granted, laced with expletives. As silence fell I heard someone “tut”. I nearly burst a blood vessel. I care passionately about my team. How dare someone “tut” at me? Is this what it is coming to? I’m fearful that the day will come when we’ll be sponsored by Werther’s, and all we’ll be allowed to do is rattle their sweetie wrappers.
Of course there needs to be decorum. Otherwise it would be anarchy. Rules do need to be applied, but I think there is an over-exuberance by the politically correct faux intelligentsia who lurk amongst us, awaiting the next person to step out of line.
Take the Green Brigade, and the accusations that they let bangers off at the Cliftonville game. The group, who look to have sung their last “political” ditty in Section 111, distanced themselves from it. Now, the last I heard no-one was rushed to the Vicky. There were no third degree burns or need to call the fire brigade.
Could it get Celtic into trouble? Yes. This is why it was thoughtless. But it wasn’t, as some have suggested, driven by ego.
This is what I’d refer to as boisterous. Daft boys letting off fireworks. But oh no, the PC Brigada want them up in front of the Children’s Panel. People used to light fags with bangers in the Jungle and I’m sure there were a few impromptu circumcisions as the patrons peed into empty cans of beer …
We, as Celtic fans, are spoiled by the environment we have at Celtic Park. Of course it’s miles better than what we had back then. So are cars, TVs and the like. But what’s not better is the atmosphere outwith the European nights and the old Glasgow derbies. Catering is miles apart. You can have a bet in the concourses and even buy merchandise. But what’s all this without the edginess we were afforded in the 80’s?
Take the reaction to the Elfsborg physios, by journalists Angela Haggerty and Phil Mac Golla Bhain. Both firmly rounding on their own fans in broad condemnation of a pocket of people singing “Get yer tits out for the boys”.
Of course it’s wrong, and their arguments are hard to shout down. Would I want that sung to my wife, daughter, sister, mother or friend? No.
Yet what they fail to remember is that football, and many of its male fans, are still hanging on to the last bastion of a male domain. Not everyone is free-thinking, and educated to degree level, or indeed capable of stringing a sentence together. To them it was harmless fun. Most will know it’s not.
But to bang the drum so loudly on blogs and social media merely emphasised their propensity for grabbing the spotlight. Miss Haggerty often retorted to anyone who dared question her with “Welcome to 2013.”… surely referencing that times have moved on.
Time has moved on. Nowadays, football stars pose half naked for the attention of females. Many of said females – and self important bloggers are not immune to this – will post said photos on social media with “Phwoar” underneath.
Perhaps certain players chose to do this, as their choice. But is it not akin to an internet wolf-whistle by accompanying it with “Phwoar”?
What concerns me most about 2013 is that in a so-called developed society, kids in this country are going without meals. People are borrowing money to feed themselves and their families. Everything is going up except wages and the general standard of living is probably worse than the 80s. So in essence, I’m less concerned about Swedish physios receiving some wolf-whistles than others are.
But I wouldn’t want to bring politics into football would I?
Welcome to 2013.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOV5WXISM24 – Calvin Harris
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