Friday, October 17, 2008

Let's Go Round Again

The first Edinburgh derby of the season comes around and it's full of surprises. For a start both managers are still in place which might be seen as a miracle in itself.

And Derek Riordan is back for Hibs. Back kissing the badge, back scoring the goals.

So much seems the same.

The rumours: Deeks is only getting half what he was on at Celtic, he's shattered the concrete ceiling that was Easter Road's wage structure, Rod Petrie is paying half his wages out of his own pocket and on and on.

The nights out: Deeks trying to sneak into an Edinburgh nightclub despite the city wide ban (you would think club captain Rob Jones would know better than to be an accomplice in that sorry escapade).

But the goals have come and so have the points which makes it seem worth it for the Hibs fans.

Come Sunday though one thing will need to change for the prodigal to complete the fairytale. Hibs have never beaten Hearts when Riordan has appeared on the score sheet...

The Boyd Done Bad

5pm last Saturday. George Burley is being hailed by the press for the double substitution that led to Chris Iwelumo's debut goal, the winning goal.

Somewhere in a darkened corner of Hampden Kris Boyd decides to turn his back on his national team. Nobody cares.

One moment of inexplicable madness can, of course, change a lot of things. Iwelumo was to be fall the guy. Burley the incompetent, blind to the match winning potential of the Ranger on his bench.

And Boyd's decision to quit the national team in disgust was, if not applauded, at least understood in some quarters. Burley was left to defend himself for making the change that cost Scotland the game.

But here's the thing. Boyd was benched by Scotland for the same reasons that he's benched by Rangers. We're constantly told that he doesn't work hard, doesn't do enough for the team.

Boyd seems to think that his goals are enough. His managers disagree. Through stubbornness or through a lack of ability Boyd refuses to change.

And then he throws his toys out of the pram. Not in a spectacular, Duncan Ferguson, I'll never be back kind of way.

Rather in a "this Scotland thing ain't big enough for the both of us, I'll be seeing ya when Burley's a goner" kind of way.

Not so daft Kris. With the qualifying campaign all but dead in the water and Burley not endearing himself to the mass of Scotland's fans in the stadium or in the press box, Boyd will be thinking that he can wander back the minute Burley walks. At this rate that could be sometime next autumn. Not a big price to pay for the striker, is it?

But here's the news Kris. The way Scotland play now, the way we are so comprehensively not as good as our opponents means that maybe, just maybe Walter and George are right. Maybe goals aren't enough. And if he's still not changed then maybe when a new manager arrives and Kris dramatically announces his return he won't find the welcome as warm as he'd like.

That turn of events might seem like justice to many of the Scotland fans who think Boyd has behaved abysmally.

Points of view

So, ages ago I wrote about Izac Cowie the Airdrie fan banned from all Scottish football grounds for three years. I also mentioned that Lothian and Borders' finest had arrested a number of people believed to have been involved in violence at a recent Edinburgh derby. I was applauding the authorities for taking action against people who think football goes in hand with being an idiot.

At the time someone, anonymously, commented:
"Do you believe everything you read in the newspapers? Izak Cowie never said anything about airdrie bieng in the premier league by the time his ban is up.He was escorted to the back of the sheriff court as not to talk to press who were just after a story.He isn't an old nutter either, he has a family who he looks after and provides for.He is a normal guy who might enjoy a little excitement at the week-end.He will serve his time and get back to the football."
Well, clearly I don't believe everything I read in the newspapers. But I do believe that Cowie spoke to the press.

I also believe that a man approaching 40 who chooses to go to football games and make Nazi salutes is an idiot even if he does manage to provide for his family. Either that or he really believes in some sort of neo-Nazi facism. Which I would suggest doesn't really make him a normal guy or, in fact, a role model for his own or anyone else's children.

As for the excitement that he gets from making Nazi salutes. If only we could invent time travel he could fly back to the Nuremburg Rallies and get his thrills with Adolf and the rest of the cuddly, fluffy mass murderers whose party and memory he is so keen to honour.

And that was that. Until earlier this week another anonymous returned to the fray with this:
"But they are nowhere near as much a problem as ignorant arseholes like you waffles on when you don't know what you are talking about all the edinburgh cases have been dropped so civil liberties have been abused without just cause. With this in mind you might want to climb down from your Old Bill bumming band wagaon. As for this quote 'Nor do I believe that every media outlet in Scotland would gang together to make up a quote and attribute it to a nonentity like Cowie.' really don't know how stupid you can be every paper prints the same story just word it different and a nonentity as you put it is much easier to gang up on and stretch the truth to get a story as they can not retaliate or reply as idiots like you will read your paper and self appoint yourself judge and jury."

Now this could be the same person. They certainly share the same cavalier attitude to proper nouns and punctuation. And they are both seeking to justify something that is abhorrent.

Having worked in the "media" I know how they operate and the quote from Cowie was not made up - however much he and his supporters may wish he'd said nothing, he was unable to keep his trap shut because he shares the same need for self justification as my correspondent.

Why anon waited so long I'm not sure but his timing was unfortunate. No charges were brought following the Edinburgh clashes. I don't know why. Clearly old anon thinks it was because they weren't guilty: I on the other hand wouldn't dream of anointing myself "judge and jury."

But members of the groups involved have shown themselves to be guilty of similar elsewhere. Two Hibs casuals have been found guilty of violence and - this is how much these "normal" guys love football - one of them is actually a Hearts fan but chooses to ally himself with the Hibs casuals. Maybe he gets better pies.

As ever when people seek to justify the unjustifiable anon invokes civil liberties. Well, and forgive me if I am "bumming" the police, sometimes the police do need to take decisive action.

I wonder if anon is a casual himself or if he has simply never seen them in action. Maybe that is the only explanation for his desire to defend an abhorrent group of people who, when faced with a simple decision between right and wrong, between acceptable and unacceptable, take the wrong road.

And when these "fans" are doing what they do best what happens to the "civil liberties" of the people caught up in their inane battles who just want to watch a game or simply have the temerity to live in Falkirk, Edinburgh or Dundee?

I may be ignorant and many would agree that I'm an arsehole but if being an ignorant arsehole means recognising how wholly unacceptable the behaviour that anon defends is then I'll take that every day of the week.