Wednesday, 30 December 2009

I've been working on a cocktail called Grounds for...Demolition?

Recording a radio play. The Netherlands, [1949].Image via Wikipedia

I've mentioned before how much I love listening to Danny Baker on the radio. Imagine my delight when, a few months back, I discovered he was back on Radio 5 Live of a Saturday morning with a typical blend of quizzes, phone-ins, random guests and the occasional mention of football.

One of the current features (all of which are eligible for comment by listeners, regardless of how long they've been running or indeed any other new features which may have been introduced that day) is the saving of football grounds from Danny's Totalitarian State Wrecking Ball. Mr. Baker's theory is that we have too many football grounds in the UK and that 20 would, as the road safety folk say, be plenty.

The upshot of this is that listeners can call in and try to save the ground of their choice - when 20 are saved, the rest cease to exist! Many grounds have fallen already, some big names like Anfield and Goodison are no more whilst some of the "wee teams" from North of the Border (Brechin's Glebe Park, Alloa's Recreation Ground) have staved off extinction through the cleverness of their supporters. Intriguingly, any purely football related suggestions (cup finals being played there, Pele or George Best once graced the turf, etc, etc) are liable to immediate anhilation due to lack of colour! Eccentricity triumphs in Danny's Brave New World.

So it was that after many weeks of searching the web to ensure that my memory hadn't failed me, I was able to call in to save Partick Thistle's Firhill Stadium. Eccentric? You bet.

Why should we save it then? asked Danny. Let me tell you...

Some years ago, we had a brilliant management team of the great John Lambie and his assistant Gerry Collins. Many, many colourful tales emerged from the John and Gerry era - a concussed striker led Gerry to tell the boss "Gaffer, he doesnae know who he is!" "Well tell him he's Pele and get him back on the park!" - some possibly (!) apocryphal but the one I thought I remembered definitely happened. Here's the Sunday Herald's version of events:

Banned from the touchline, Collins appeared at a subsequent match standing, complete with hard hat, in the building site that was to become the Jackie Husband stand. His voluble contributions and throwing the hard hat into the air when Thistle scored attracted the attention of the referee. Collins produced his letter from the SFA and argued that the ban did not extend to the terracing. He had eventually to succumb to the rule of law but had shown his mettle.

My own pic of FirhillImage via Wikipedia

Not only did Gerry attract the attention of the ref, he was also spotted by the crowd. I don't think we helped his bid for anonymity by chanting his name!

This seemed to please Danny and his team and I was fairly certain it was job done but I was thrown a bit of a curveball. Mein Host asked me for a "generic" reason to save Firhill, what feature does it have that would make other supporters say "at least that still survives at Partick Thistle"?

Who'd have thought that dangerous, condemnable wooden seating in a 100year old main stand would ever come in so handy? Phew. Call off them wreckers!

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Wednesday, 23 December 2009

...but the fire is so delightful...

Wow and indeed wee. Nevis Range looking fairly spectacular in an Alpine stylee from the Farm Shop at Torlundy.

Road chaos appears to have hit the country though meaning that although there's any amounts of snow over the other side of the country at Glenshee the road is, as ever, closed rendering it impossible to reach the slopes. Don't you just love this country?