Scottish Football, Music and Drugs, Where Did All The Love Go? - Football 1983 - 2018

Written by Johnny Mckeown
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The Scottish Cup Final riot 1980. Scenes of mayhem engulfed Hampden as Rangers lost to bitter rivals Celtic, in a 1-0 Scottish Cup final defeat that ended in scenes described by the legendary Archie MacPherson in his own unique way " This is like a scene now out of Apocalypse Now...We've got the equivalent of Passchendaele and that says nothing for Scottish football. At the end of the day, let's not kid ourselves. These supporters hate each other".
Cue the cavalry as the Glasgow police entered the Stadium, some on horseback but heavily outnumbered. Thankfully "Big Jim" returned home safely "we got beat son" was all he said, nothing about the riot. The scenes shamed the authorities to ban alcohol being allowed in the Stadium and probably prevented me from a couple of full seasons of games as I started to nip Big Jim's head every week and my mum obviously didn't want her son caught up in another riot. A ban that still stands in most areas today unless you’re in hospitality. The only thing that this ban resulted in was glass bottles being confiscated as you entered the Stadium. Not the brightest star in the Sky who signed this law, as anybody knows it’s pretty easy to conceal a half bottle of anything and sneak it into an overpriced hotel wedding, even easier in Capri Sun pouches now!

After finally caving in I was allowed to go to my first match, a Scottish Cup semi-final 1-1 draw v St Mirren in 1983. Pish game from the moment the giant policeman took my unopened bottle of Strike Cola straight out of my hands in an act of theft, as the arrogant twat wouldn't even let me have a drink before I entered the Stadium. " For fuck sake he's only seven pal, c'mon te fuck" said Big Jim "Do you want refused entry for being too drunk?" replied the giant thief. As I said pish game and thirsty as fuck, made worse by the famous cry of the "Here your Macaroon bar” seller. My dad thought a bar of a tablet would cure the thirst situation as I couldn't drink any of the adults plastic bottles that they'd managed to sneak in. It didn't! Weeks later after returning home safely Mum let me go to my first Old Firm match. An experience you couldn't possibly explain until you’ve been to one. A last day title decider where the result at Ibrox meant nothing if Dundee Utd managed a Derby win. 2-0 up at halftime, we ended up losing 2-4 but it didn't matter though as Utd beat Dundee across the road at Dens Park.

That day was different though as a minibus load of dad's pals arrived for six hours of what I can only describe as my first introduction to "Bigotry". I woke after they arrived as the songs started blaring through the house. A living room full of plastic bags littered the floor with cans of beer with topless women on the front. "Go and tell your mum to get you ready son". Five minutes later I was dressed all in blue as Mum left to go shopping, safe in the knowledge my dad and his pals would look after me. As soon as she turned the corner at the bottom of the street I was hoisted on one of my dad's friends shoulders as the music was turned full blast, hearing words a seven-year-old really shouldn't be hearing in a room full of binge drinking adults seven hours before kick off. I loved it though as "we're up to our knees in fenian blood, surrender or you'll die” bellowed from my house at 7.30am. By the time the bus arrived at 12 pm two of my Dad's mates could barely stand. Two more hours of Bigotry and a couple of piss stops later I arrived at Ibrox for the first time. Drinking in the street was still permitted then and all the shops had queues outside their doors. The moment I stepped off the bus you could feel the tension, excitement and anticipation in the air. A game I remember virtually nothing about apart from the pre-match sing song and celebrating a defeat on the journey home. They'd lost the league on our home ground so everybody was happy. For the next few seasons we were up against not only a good Celtic team but also the "New Firm" Aberdeen and Dundee Utd managed by Alex Ferguson and Jim McLean respectively.
New Firm" Aberdeen and Dundee Utd managed by Alex Ferguson and Jim McLean respectively.

A generation of world-class players littered our league. Narey, Malpas, Sturrock Utd. Miller, McLeish, Leighton Aberdeen. Cooper, Burns, McCoist, MacAvennie, Russell, Nicholas etc. Finishing fifth in the 1985 - 86 season barely qualifying for the Uefa cup the next season, we were struggling and didn't look like improving under the legendary Jock Wallace's second spell. All that changed the day my Mum said: "Jim, Jimmy Watson is at the bottom of the road peeping his horn". As Dad rushed to the door followed closely by me I heard him shout "King fucking Graeme" before he sped away. 1986 and there was no social media when you know almost instantly when a signing is made at your club. Dad and I waited patiently on Teletext to change from page 7 of 12 to return back to 1 of 12 which would be the main headline story. 1/1 Rangers announce Souness as player/manager! Holy fuck, this was a game changer. Not only did he bring his knowledge from the best British side ever ( Liverpool ) he also brought the Italian arrogance with him. With English clubs still banned from Europe, he brought Woods, Butcher, Stevens, Roberts and West from down South with the lure of European football and bigger wages. Steven, Francis, Wilkins and hardman Terry Hurlock soon followed. Controlling young established players like Durrant and McCoist proved more difficult though as they weren't as disciplined as the English contingent. McCoist soon won them over in a love/hate/mutual respect relationship. Sealing a new contract in Souness's first Old Firm game scoring a hat-trick in a 3-2 victory in the Glasgow Cup Final. The Souness reign didn't last long as he'd had enough of our media and SFA touchline bans, plus the lure of a move back to Liverpool proved too strong in the end. I was devastated but there was no reason to be as Walter Smith took over and we won the last day title decider with half a team and a makeshift back four against Aberdeen.

We went on to win nine in a row again and the "No one likes us, we don't care" song never rang truer than during that era. Then our second nine in a row never became ten as Wim Jansen's team prevented it. Heyhoo shit happens! If Butcher didn't break his leg in Souness's second season it might have been eleven in a row. I know how they must have felt as I gave my Dad my ticket for the Aberdeen game in Souness's first season when we won the league after our own barren spell. The look on his face was priceless as I hadn't missed a game that season and he didn't want me to miss it, but I wanted him to see it more as he had been unable to go for much of the season due to illness.

Now we were both spending money on good players whilst taking the best players from smaller clubs who'd now become dependent on the income from the Old Firm. Without us in the league (roughly translated, fuck off to the Premiership)”they'd flourish” they said. They only raised their game against the Old Firm four times a season as Advocatt, O'Neil, McLeish, Lennon and Smith shared titles between the Old Firm. Not a single challenge since the early 90's, how the fuck they expected to flourish I don't know?. Crowds and TV revenue would disappear overnight. The console generation emptied local parks as kids would rather play Fifa in their rooms. Ernie Walker's think tank had produced absolutely fuck all in terms of how we could improve as a nation. What the fuck were they thinking about? Tanks!!

I stopped going to the matches during the Marvin Andrew's "keep believing" helicopter Sunday season. Read all about it in Amsterscammed!! (shameless plug for my debut novel coming soon). Fast forward to the present day past all the EBT pish, Saturday the 14th April on the eve of another Old Firm semi final, absolutely fuck all has changed. As a nation of football fans we have completely lost the plot. After the demotion of Rangers to the fourth tier beside the likes of Elgin City, where my nephew Darryl McHardy was beginning his career. The hate towards my club increased tenfold as we became "Sevco, Newco, Old Co and fucking Seb Coe probably". Grown men singing "you're not Rangers anymore" followed by "Can you hear the Rangers sing" if they went ahead against us, but our fans thought "fuck it, just enjoy it"
Marvin Andrews - Glasgow Rangers

Full page adverts in foreign newspapers funded by deranged lunatics and "strip the titles" campaigns started. Twitter legend The Phantom even managed to con £2000 in an hour in a comical "strip the titles" go fund me type tweet. The sooner the rest of Scottish football can get over our EBT years the better. Its called tax evasion and everybody with a good accountant will evade tax. It was a loophole and we exploited it, get over it! We're an institution and will always be Rangers but the hate still flows in our country from all sides, They hate us, we hate them and the rest of Scottish football despise the Old Firm mainly Rangers. Our national team is a fucking joke and a lot worse than past teams who regularly qualified to become nothing but glorious failures in past tournaments. Where did all the love go in Scottish football, or was it ever really there? Certainly not since 1986 when Souness arrived.

On numerous occasions I've been on a supporters bus as bricks smashed through windows even with kids on board, being hit by coins as I've watched our fans doing the same thing in retaliation (not a who started it first argument). I was almost run over as a nine-year-old at a Hibs away match as a carload of Hibs casuals ploughed through us at high speed. Hugh Dallas coined then attacked, bullets in the post for Lennon and umpteen nightclub attacks on players in a city full of hate. We almost had a repeat of the 1980 riot two years ago that led to hundreds of stadium bans for Hibs fans. The list is endless!
Bullets In The Post for Lennon

Will the love ever return to Scottish Football again? Not a fucking chance! I’m a time served Rangers fan since 1983 and self-confessed, unapologetic former 90-minute Bigot, 24-hour former Bigot sounds more appropriate as a supporters bus journey whilst travelling to the matches lasts more than 90 minutes. Writing this article has been an emotional experience as I seen the post on Facebook on Friday night, two days after finishing the football part of this article. About the young Rangers fan with a terminal illness who had sadly passed, his father had requested both sides release thousands of Blue and Green balloons before kickoff. But before the first tackle even flies in all thoughts of tributes will have disappeared as one end will be ‘ Up to our knees in Fenian blood ‘ and the other end will be ‘ Soldiers are we ‘ Scottish Football in a nutshell! No one likes us and no one cares as the standard of football compared to the days when we actually had great players in almost every team is worse, we’ve gone backwards as a footballing nation since my first game in 1983. Past Legends must be cringing at the state it’s become.

The game turned out to be a no contest as we produced the worst and most heartless performance I've ever seen from us. The sight of Scott Brown walking about like Mickey McGuire (Shameless) after a tackle, as the leagues top hardman tells you how far we've gone back as a country. Twenty-nine years ago I was at another Semifinal as the Hillsborough disaster happened. Unbelievably they still wait for justice after all those years, that and the posts about young Kao turned Sunday's game into a bit of a non-event for me. The players made sure of it as soon as the whistle blew for kick off.

Rip Kao

Read 5398 times Last modified on Wednesday, 16 May 2018 11:35
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Johnny Mckeown

Johnny Mckeown

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