celtic football club

They Aren’t My Amigos

No to Newco. Boot them out of the SFA and the SPL.

Can I go a bit off topic now?

When I hear Celtic fans or radio broadcasters talking about ‘the 3 amigos’ (for you youngsters this means Paolo Di Canio, Pierre Van Hooijdonk and Jorge Cadete) I cringe a little every time.

It amazes me how people look back on them so fondly.

It’s not that I don’t remember the goals or the great play or even the great songs. However, I am also unable to disassociate that from who these people are.

I’ll start briefly with the two money-grabbers before I get to the fascist.

Jorge Cadete was a talented striker no doubt about it. So talented in fact that the SFA in the Jim Farry days delayed his registration to stop him playing for us in an important game.

In his only full season he scored 33 goals in 44 games and was one of the best penalty box strikers we have had in modern times.

Nevertheless, when the whiff of the euro reached him from Spain (Celta Vigo), Cadete did not show up for pre-season training the next season and began to mess the club around:  he was subsequently transferred.

It didn’t finish there either. A few years later and well past his prime, obviously needing more euros and after a spell on Big Brother, he returned to Scotland and tried to reingratiate himself to the Celtic support by going on TV and speaking about why he should never have left Celtic and wanted to come back. Then manager Martin O’Neill didn’t bite so Cadete agreed to sign for Raith Rovers before proceeding to do a Judas (he was photographed in the shirt and everything) and go to Partick Thistle. I am not sure this is the stuff of Celtic heroes.

Pierre van Hooijdonk was another excellent striker. 57 goals in 68 matches is an exceptional record by any standard.

However, his attitude didn’t endear to many at Celtic. It has been alleged that he refused to commit to doing any of the club’s charity work. When the time came for contract negotiations and he said on the radio that £7,000 may be good for a homeless person, but £7,000 a week is not good enough for a top class forward” I think that should have excluded him from Celtic great status. After the arguments over the contract he was transferred down south.

He went on to fanny about Nottingam Forest for a while before being scammed for a couple of million euros by a non-existent Chinese textile company.

And now to the meat and bones of it.

Paolo di Canio is a self-confessed fascist  and was also as much of a money-grabber as the other two, though I think the second fact is nothing compared to the first one.

Let’s hear it from the man himself. After making a fascist salute (which he did more than once) to the Lazio supporters he had this to say…

“I am a fascist, not a racist.”

“I give the straight arm salute because it is a salute from a ‘camerata’ to ‘camerati’,” (this is the Italian for members of Mussolini’s fascist movement).

“The salute is aimed at my people. With the straight arm I don’t want to incite violence and certainly not racial hatred,”

Oh well, that’s alright then. He has “Dux” which is Latin for “Duce” as a tattoo and he also described Mussolini as…

basically a very principled, ethical individual” who was “deeply misunderstood”.

He now seems to go on about Samurai culture. The Samurai, if you remember, were another group like the fascists who thought very little about lopping off the head (literally or figuratively – however you like) of one of the little people who they didn’t like the look of.

I don’t know what supporting Celtic means to you, but to me it does not mean cheering on fascists, or remembering their good goals and trying to shove everything else about them down the memory hole.

Even this week he is involved in controversy with the “not a racist” part of his statement coming into some doubt.

The first of the two Amigos are money-grabbers like so many players in the modern game. They are not worse than many others who have played for us since then but I don’t think they should be held in as high-esteem as they are. For me Di Canio is a very dark moment in our history and I am certainly far from proud that he played for us.

They aren’t my amigos.

WELL DONE BARCELONA – NOW WIN THE FINAL

Well done Barca. I was absolutely delighted to see Chelsea lose yesterday. It was about negative football against positive football. It was also about different modes of organisation and guess what – the good guys won [dodgy decisions aside].

When I am asked what team I support I obviously say Celtic. When asked what other teams I like I usually use the old joke ‘Celtic reserves’ although nowadays that should be Celtic under 21s I suppose. Most Scottish supporters are the same about their clubs. This is in marked contrast to somewhere like Italy where people support their local team but will also choose one of Milan, Juve or Inter to support.

However, I have a soft spot for Barcelona for a few different reasons.

• One of their managers [Jack Greenwell, 1917-24] shares the same name as me and may be a distant relation as he comes from the same neck of the woods as one of my grandfathers [long dead so I can’t ask him – we also have a Champions League/European cup winner in the family but he is a very distant relation from me and I have never met him].

• I like the way they usually play an attacking and exciting style of football.

• There is a similarity with the Catalan political situation and that of Celtic with the Irish-English Scottish-English problems.

• They succeed despite the best efforts of the establishment in the state they currently play in.

But in particular, I like the way that the club is organised. Yes, they have overpaid, spoilt idiots running about on the pitch like every other big team but it is a team that is owned by the fans and the president of the club is decided by an election.

This leads to something like them having UNICEF on their shirt and actually PAYING UNICEF for the privilege and giving them other money besides.

This is what I have always wanted Celtic to be like. The fans of Celtic see it as a community. We all feel that our club is different from others. From the history and the beginnings as a charitable organisation, the way the fans behave and the way people rally round when we lose one of our own – it is a very special thing for us.

But I think I am not the only one with whom it rankles that our club is run by some pretty ruthless people. I am fairly sure that John Reid would not have been appointed chairman if the fans had a vote. It made me fairly annoyed that when I was watching the otherwise fairly good Official History that the club recently produced that in the early part of it they seemed to be trying their best to shoehorn the words ‘business acumen’ or similar in so much that it sounded like a New Labour party political.

Some Celtic fans have shares in the club but about the most they get for it is better opportunities to spend money and the chance to have a question fudged at the AGM. Recent efforts to have fans representatives on the board have been rebuffed.

Unfortunately the way the club is currently run means that a system like Barcelona’s is a long way off for Celtic but it is something that the fans should be shooting for.

One look at Barca will show you that there is more than one way to run a club and that a community or supporter controlled model is no barrier to success.

It was reported yesterday that the fans of Stirling Albion are trying to buy the club at a price of 40 quid each. I dearly hope they succeed. If they do, I might change my second [well ok, third] team to Stirling Albion.

And well done again Barcelona – truly more than a football team.

GIE’S ME A SAIR HEID

One of the ways in which Scotland is kept away from itself is language.

From day one we are taught that sentences like the title of this article are vulgar. I used that particular sentence because of something I remember very clearly from primary school.

My friend came in late one morning. The teacher asked him where he had been and he replied that he had a ‘sair heid’.

He was then ridiculed in front of the class for saying it in this way. It was all quite vicious too.

That little display taught me a lot when I was old enough to think about it properly [we were only 7 at the time].

We are always told that the language of Scots is nothing other than a bastardisation of English, which simply isn’t true.

I have a friend in Ireland who teaches Scots as a language to kids. Yes, you read correctly. That is in Ireland, in Scotland we are still told it is wrong. We are told to mend our pronunciation and speak in the ‘queen’s english’.

F*ck that.

We need a formulation of the Scots language. There are dictionaries and so on but original Scots is probably more different from English than Italian is from Spanish [that is the opinion of two linguists I spoke to] and we need to formulate and teach it.

I know that this could lead to arguments about which dialect is correct and so on. I know that this could lead eventually to the same kind of arguments as the one I have just said about Scots/English but it needs to be done for our independence. Very much the same thing happened in Ireland when they were trying to formulate Irish for teaching in schools and it hasn’t done them any harm.

We need to do it.

“Language is memory and metaphor.”

Storm Jamieson