Like many a weekend, it started on a Friday night. And quite soon we were wondering if we were really all there.
The usual combination of being confused, wondering if we’d had more to drink than we first thought. That dazed feeling and glazed look. But no, we were absolutely fine.
All that many of us had done was to read (probably more than once) the statement put out on behalf of the Hearts board of directors issued in relation to outside influences on players and the club – the briefing coming just hours after the club had decided to allow Craig Thomson to resume his Tynecastle career following a club investigation into his conviction for “lewd, libidinous and indecent behaviour”.
For those who haven’t seen it, the statement read as follows:
What’s happening with the club today is not a new thing. For almost 7 years we have been fighting to shield the club from crooks, criminals and thieves. Many of the top players at the club have felt the bitter results of the swindles that have been carried out with them on their own skin. [Rudi] Skacel and [Andy] Webster have returned to the club after realising where these “football patriots” have led them.
Over a short space of time 4 players at our club have been on the wrong end of the law. We note that 3 of them are represented by the same agent – Gary Mackay – who has been so vicious in his attacks against Mr Romanov.
Taking into account the facts that have been omitted by the media it can be presumed that each of these cases is not a coincidence, but the result of targeted actions of a mafia that wants to manipulate the club and the results.
Every year Hearts fights to be in the top 3, but even last season in the last 12 games of the season it was almost like someone replaced the team with a different one. Whose fault is that? Players? Manager’s? Or it is mafia.
Stealing players, bad games, problems with the law – all of that on top of record SFA fines. Problems are just shifted to another level.
Mafia are dragging kids into the crime, in order to blackmail and profit on them. It is not possible to separate these people from paedophiles, and you don’t need to do that. Each year we are forced to fight against these maniacs harder and harder. We are standing in their way not letting them manipulate the game of football in the way they want. As such they undermine us in every possible way they can.
The task of the club is to tear these kids out of hands of criminals.
Was this for real?
I had to assume it was, and immediately wondered what the next communiqué from Gorgie might contain. Mention of reptilian humanoids? (Credit for that to Gary Keown.) Or an earthquake on the Isle of Arran?
The old saying in boxing – about having to knock out a home-town fighter to get a draw – still rings true to this day.
Just ask Matthew Macklin, the Birmingham-based Irishman who failed to take the WBA middleweight title away from Germany’s Felix Sturm in Cologne.
And yes, there was a smell after the fight, a right stink over the scoring which saw Macklin lose on a split decision: two judges favouring Sturm by 116–112 and the other seeing it 115–113 for Macklin.
I’d have to say, had the fight taken place anywhere else other than Germany, Macklin would have been on top of the world.
What isn’t in any doubt is that the contest was one of the best fights I’ve seen in ages – 12 rounds of non-stop action and even, with six months of 2011 remaining, a contender for Fight of the Year. It was that good.
Celtic’s Niall McGinn couldn’t hide his feelings at not flying Down Under with the rest of the Bhoys, as reported in the Scottish Sun.
McGinn sought some comfort food at the local Nando’s (other purveyors of chicken are available, such as KFC as preferred by at least one of his Oz-bound team-mates), managing to eat with one hand and tweet with the other.
“Raging I’m nat going to Australia,” tweeted McGinn, the “O” key obviously being a bit greasy.
He added; “Havnt been selected in the 23 man squad folks, so just gota work hard in training in the meantime.” I thot it was got2. But hey, WTF do INO.
It would have been a nice trip for the youngster, who must be wondering about his future in Paradise.
Which took me back to the summer of 1993. Gary McSwegan had finally made it in to the first-team squad at Rangers, and had even scored in the Champions League against Marseille.
I bumped into him at Ibrox the day before Rangers were due to fly to their training base at Il Ciocco in Tuscany, a trip I would be on, and obviously Gary thought so as well.
I then made my way out to Firhill and who should pull up next to me at the lights but Gary. I put the window down and enquired where he was headed.
“Notts County – I’ve just been transferred!”
I don’t often take to writing about the Scottish road network, but today is the day (or tonight is the night, actually) that the M74 extension opens, completed under-budget and ahead of schedule (give or take 30-odd years).
Naturally there was much debate and questioning of the advantages of the five-mile stretch – and of the cost, which was quite astounding. Every mile cost a mere £131 million.
Or to put it another way, one Tore André Flo every 161 yards…
Norway face debutants Equatorial Guinea in the Women’s World Cup in Germany, the 1995 winners edging the match 1–0.
But the new boys – or new girls – had their chances, including this one that was just too much for one supporter. Goodness knows how he’d have reacted watching Hamilton Accies last season…
A couple of taps, a spin of the wrist, and a quick listen to see if it is still ticking. Yes, my timepiece appears in good working order, and it is – going by the wee date window – only 30 June. The English schools are not yet on holiday, Wimbledon is still in full flow, and the summer heat hasn’t yet materialised.
And the reason for my confusion? I’ve just heard Fulham have beaten Nes Sóknar Ítróttarfelag Runavík 3–0 in the first leg of their Europa League qualifier. The new season has begun seemingly just weeks after the last one ended.
Which of course means that there is a possibility – although perhaps slight – that a Fulham player could play for an entire year were they to appear in the 2012 European Championship final.
Still, they could have a real job instead…
The big day, in Wimbledon terms, has arrived – although there could be another one along in a few days, or not.
I for one wish Andy Murray all the best today against Rafael Nadal. The Scot has played majestically at times to get this far, hence the rise in confidence across that land.
But I do wish folk wouldn’t get too carried away with what he has achieved to date.
Debates about whether this will be Scotland’s greatest-ever sporting triumph, should Murray win, are far too premature. As I said the other day, all he has done is to match Tim Henman’s achievement at Wimbledon, who in turn kept pace with Roger Taylor (before he became the drummer for Queen).
And none of them have managed to match polo-shirt manufacturer Fred Perry.
It will take a monumental performance from Murray to beat Nadal, and the same again in the final, regardless of the opponent.
So forget pondering whether Murray would surpass Jim Clark, Stephen Hendry, Sandy Lyle, Gavin Hastings, Denis Law, Allan Wells, Finlay Calder, Liz McColgan, Ken Buchanan, Eric Liddell, Jocky Wilson, Colin McRae, Chris Hoy, Lawrence Tynes, Catriona Matthew, Pat McKay, Jackie Stewart, Paul Lambert, Rose Reilly, Paul Lawrie, Freuchie, Jock Taylor, David Wilkie, Steve Hislop, Rhona Martin, Jim Watt, John Higgins or Rubstick until he actually wins it.
Which might be never. Or if he does, he will join an elite list which, in my mind, no one tops or heads…
– Tweet Stewart Weir with thoughts and comments, @sweirz