PILGRIMAGE – tracing the footprints of lions…


( some guidance for future pilgrims)

Every single Celtic fan I know of a certain vintage remembers exactly where they were when a team of heroes in hoops, all born within 30 miles of Celtic Park, became the first British team to win the big-eared cup. However, only a privileged few can boast of actually witnessing it in person on 25th May 1967 and, sadly, many of them are no longer with us.

Take my own family: Although my late Da (then working at Linwood) did help put the finishing touches to the iconic green & white Hillman Imp (or was it b & w – see below) that led the 1,800 mile “Celticade” to Portugal, he couldn’t just go leaving a wife and 5 young kids behind. However, my Uncle Pat (also RIP) – who ran his own business and who’s kids were grown up – was lucky enough to be there in the heat of Lisbon itself.


In today’s world of low-cost global travel it’s easy to forget that, until the surge of package holidays to Spain in the late 60’s & early 70’s, foreign travel wasn’t really that commonplace for ordinary working class people. Back then, Lisbon itself was a positively exotic location and 15k fans traveling to Portugal by any means possible was an extraordinary feat and an unprecedented event.

What Celtic achieved that day is not only probably the most important day in the club’s history, but something totally unique and miraculous in the world of football, which will never be repeated again. It’s therefore not surprising that, to Celtic fans, a visit to the Estádio Nacional some 12 miles outside Lisbon, is our Mecca, our Holy Grail, our holy pilgrimage on a par with walking the Camino, or an audience with the Pope in Rome.

Having sworn that one day I’d follow in my Uncle Pat’s footsteps and make up for the fact that my Da never made the trip, I was finally able to fulfil that dream in August 2019 – the same year that Big Billy – the legend lifting that cup in that image forever imprinted in our minds – passed away, which somehow made the timing more poignant.

Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but (despite loads of research) I actually found it quite difficult to find clear answers to many of the questions I had beforehand about visiting the stadium. So, now that I’ve actually been there, I thought it might be useful to jot down some details/tips for those of you planning your own pilgrimage in future. Hopefully, this might save you trying to sift out the useful bits from hundreds of pages of Google searches or (often unclear or conflicting) information on Trip Advisor, Wiki , and so on. There’s so much information out there on the subject it would take 1967 years to read it all. So, let me start with some basics…

Where is the Estádio Nacional stadium?

I must admit that, before we went, I was under the mistaken impression it was in Estoril (which is where Celtic’s hotel was) , partly the reason we combined our trip to Lisbon with a week in nearby Cascais (not to be confused with Caxias). However, although it’s in the same direction along the same coast, the stadium’s actually quite near the outskirts of Lisbon (not far past Belém), in the area above Cruz Quebrada/Algés, which is only 5 train stops from Lisbon’s Cais do Sodre station and roughly 12 miles/20+ minutes by road.

The Estádio Nacional stadium, also known as Jamor , is part of a much larger surrounding complex of parks and sporting facilities – the Centro Desportivo Nacional do Jamor (CDNJ) – essentially Portugal’s main centre for sporting excellence – in the Algés/Cruz Quebrada area. It’s located off of the Avenida Pierre de Coubertin.

How do you get there?

Assuming you’re based in Lisbon, the most economical way is to use your Viva Viagem public transport card, which is valid on the costal train line, as well as Lisbon’s metro & bus routes. Take the Linha de Cascais (Cascais line) train from Lisbon’s Cais do Sodre railway station. Get out 5 stops along the line at the Cruz Quebrada station. There are other possible public transport routes but, as they all require changing and still involve a walk at the end, I wouldn’t bother.

Then… assuming you don’t mind a 20 minute walk (partly uphill) …

Cross the line. Turn left. Walk to the end of the street, then turn right. Cross the motorway into the park. Turn left, then follow the signs up the hill towards the (very distinctive) floodlights*

* they’re slanted forwards as if an invisible giant drunk has been leaning on them.

Alternatively, you could rely on Google maps, OR

If you prefer (or are lazy, or don’t mind paying a bit more) you can get an Uber from Lisbon, Belém or Cruz Quebrada. Even a standard taxi cab from central Lisbon won’t set you back much more than 30 euros (ask the price before stepping in!) So, particularly if traveling in a small group , that’s certainly an easy option.

Are there official stadium tours?

No! However – with some restrictions – the public are normally allowed access at the discretion and under supervision of stadium security staff. However, don’t let that put you off! – They get Celtic fans visiting nearly every day, are generally very welcoming, and by & large leave you to wander around on your own.

How do I get in the stadium?

If you’ve walked up the hill, you should arrive with the stadium on your left – there’s a wide open area with large central gates (see 2nd pic) – and a view in front of you something like this…

(The view on your left…. see below.. )

With the stadium on your left, continue walking along the main road past that row of low (rather unassuming) white/red roofed buildings you can see in the 1st pic above. Take the first turning on the left and continue around the corner to your left and you’ll arrive in a small courtyard surrounded by low office (stadium administration) buildings. If you ask there then someone will come and walk you round towards the inside of the stadium.

(In our case we didn’t even need to ask – we’d been chatting to some workmen – they were smiling & nodding “Celtique, Celtic”- so by the time we walked round a security guide was already there to meet us).

Are there official opening hours?

In short – NO! The first thing to bear in mind is that the national stadium is still used for various events – athletics, the Portugese Cup Final (in May), some international matches etc. etc. On top of that, since 2018 it’s been the home venue of local football club Os Belenenses SAD, a small club currently in the Primera division (when Benfica or Sporting visit, the SAD Bellend 😏 fans are outnumbered 10 to 1). So, it’s always advisable to double-check in advance before visiting. Details to follow.

Whats the best time to visit?

Basically, midweek during office hours (when there’s staff around) is the safest bet. In our case, we went during the close season, so Belenenses SAD * home matches weren’t a factor. – They usually play on Sunday’s at 17:00 (occasionally Friday). As for possible other events – these more commonly take place at weekends or evenings. However, it would be a shame to go there and not get in, so I’d strongly advise the following:-

. Check the published agenda at:-


. Check home fixtures of Os Belenenses SAD

– not to be confused with bitter rivals C.F Os Belenenses who play at the Restelo – there’s an interesting history to this – a bit like MK Dons & AFC Wimbledon – see https://thesefootballtimes.co/2019/05/10/the-split-that-led-portuguese-top-flight-side-belenenses-to-lose-their-stadium-badge-and-fans-in-one-season/

. Check there’s no clash with national public holidays

IF in any doubt – better safe than sorry – then best to phone or email in advance.

Phone: (351) 214 146 030 (Ext 1238)


Email : reservas.jamor@ipjd.pt

Ask for Jorge Sena E Silva (Manager)

Are there restrictions on where I can go in the stadium?

Yes! – There are some restrictions.

In short, you’re not allowed on the pitch and some other parts are cordoned off. When we were there, the guard/guide just led us round to the track , then left us to it, so by and large you’re free to wander. However, he did keep a discrete watch from a distance, just in case we got carried away with ourselves, so my plan to replicate big Tam’s goal then run madly in circles wearing only a kilt and waving a tricolour fell by the wayside.

However, as you can see from the pics below you can get close to the pitch, or behind the goal and all sides of the stadium.

Can you get in the (famous) players tunnel?

Normally you can’t as there’s a gate blocking access. Although we were lucky in that our guard/guide let us through the gate on the promise that we didn’t go too far in or make a mad dash for the pitch. We duly obliged, but we can attest to the fact that a quick chorus of The Celtic Song does carry quite an echo in that dark, confined space😉

Can you get to that platform where the cup was presented to Cesar?

Not really. You can get close to it, but it’s closed off behind a 1 meter high (fiber)glass wall and the gates at the side were locked. I was tempted to climb over , but as it wouldn’t have been fair on the guard/guide watching from a distance, and virtually impossible anyway to replicate that iconic shot with the cup, I refrained. (My son thought it seemed “dangerous” particularly as I was nursing bruised ribs and a gouged shin following an argument with a hidden rock at Guincho surf beach).

The closest I could get to mirroring that famous photo was to stand below the platform on a wall a bit further down..

Where is the memorial (50th anniversary) plaque?

It’s on a wall of one of the office buildings you pass as you come in the entrance area. Behind you if you’re facing the pitch/stadium. You’ll pass it on the way in or out , but just ask if you can’t find it!

So, is it worth the trip?

100% – Even if it didn’t have that Celtic history, it would still be worth a visit. It’s the type of stadium that will never be built again. Outdoor. Uncovered. It has the feel of an ancient monument or Roman amphitheater. A completely unique and almost eerie atmosphere. Almost as if the ghosts of footballers past – Jinky, Eusebio – are still lingering there. Despite the fact it’s a bit worse for wear and slightly run down, it has an aura all of its own. My son, who’s only familiar with modern football stadia, thought it was “a fantastic place”.

The fact that, despite (or perhaps because of ) it’s old world charm, this is still the official Portugese national stadium and also close to the hearts of all football fans in Portugal (it’s also their football Mecca) speaks volumes about its appeal.

When I sat on the terrace behind the goal that Gemmell and Chalmers scored in, and where the majority of Celtic fans were congregated, a shiver ran up my spine. Also, I don’t mind admitting that when I thought of my Da (who never made it here) and my Uncle Pat who did – both of whom died young – and all the others who’ve made this journey, I shed a few tears.

The place has a magic all of its own.

How long should you set aside for a visit?

If you include the time traveling back & forth from Lisbon and (let’s say) an hour at the stadium itself, you should set aside 3-4 hours in total. If I was doing it again, I’d probably combine it with the attractions in nearby Belém – the monastery and tower and the pasteis de Belém.

Any other compulsory places of Pilgrimage?

If you’re familiar with ’67, there is at least one other place which features in many of the photos from the time. The Hotel Palacio in Estoril (a few stops up the line) where Celtic stayed before & after the match. After checking out the Hotel, you might want to consider chilling out on the beach at Estoril (or nearby Cascais), maybe even as far as (my favourite) Guincho Beach if you’ve a few hours to spare, possibly even before heading back to Estoril to break the bank at the Casino.

On the way back to Lisbon, you might even want to consider a trip across the bridge to worship at the church & statue of “Christ Does The Broony” 😏

Obviously, none of these attractions can compare to the beauty & the buzz of the Estádio Nacional, but if you are planning a pilgrimage, I can certainly recommend combining it with some time in Lisbon – it’s a fabulous place to visit – or any of the resorts along that coast.

(Added/Inserted 19 Sept 2019)
It’s only just struck me how much our visit to this unique place actually speaks volumes about the close “family” connection many of us feel for Celtic F.C and how those bonds carry down through generations: My Da helped with the Imp that led the “Celticade” of fans on the official journey; my Uncle Pat cheered them on from behind the goal; another family member Jimmy Brennan then led the parade of the team around Celtic Park on 26th May 1967 at the front of the Coatbridge Shamrock Accordion Band! None of the men from that generation of my family are alive today. However, the only 2 surviving male members of the following generations – myself and my son (born 3 decades after Lisbon!) have now honoured their memory and that Celtic family bond by visiting this shrine to the soul of Celtic. A fact which makes me immensely proud!

With a bit of forward planning, there’s no reason why this couldn’t turn out to be the trip of a lifetime for any of you who’ve not yet made the Pilgrimage. ENJOY! #HH

PILGRIMAGE – tracing the footprints of lions…

Dutch “Coffeeshop” in (lack of) Global Franchise shock!!



When I read that Luxembourg has recently announced its intention to fully legalise cannabis (from production through to retail), thereby becoming the first country in Europe to do so, I couldn’t help but wonder if this might be the tipping point which starts the full legalisation ball (tumble-weed?) rolling out across the globe?

With Holland’s unique reputation in this sector, perhaps it’s also high time (groan) some eager, enterprising, Euro entrepreneur in Edam, Eindhoven or Ee (sic!) got ahead of the curve by taking advantage of the Dutch “coffeeshop” (wink, wink) global brand, to compete with existing, uh, stellar franchises? (Thinks: MoonDoe’s, Moondope, perhaps?)

I must admit I’ve never really bought into the all-consuming passion/ fashion for (regular) coffee-shop culture that swept across the planet this millennium. Sure, I get the concept: Pay far too much for exactly the coffee you want – skinny, fatty, flat, latte … whatever … add a trendy-sounding extra twist (pumpkin spice?) – and be fooled into thinking it’s really cool paying for something that you can make yourself for a quarter of the price, in the comfort of your own home.

Then, squeeze in alongside like-minded “coffee aficionados”, to a soundtrack of table-hogging tittering “OMG” teens, jabbering yummy mummies and a parade of poorly coifed posers; whilst critiquing the latest Instagram selfies of your family and friends with “funny” filters, as a substitute for proper conversation. Not to mention total strangers greeting you by name. JOHN!! (Grrrr- I said, not to mention…) – Wow! What fun to be had by all! – Excuse me if I take a global GDPR-like rain check!


Now, with 250 “coffeeshops” in Amsterdam alone, I’m hoping there’s maybe just one far-sighted Dutch coffeeshop owner who’ll take my suggestion and run with it, or at least saunter slowly into the future. I’m even willing to accept only a small % of the annual gross for providing the inspiration!  It’s also worth noting there are already plenty of cool sounding names out there that can easily compete with any fancy-schmancy regular coffee name trends.

For example, are “Christmas Brulee Latte”, “Salted Caramel”, or “Flat White with Cinnamon Spice” really any more enticing than “Turkish Delight”, “Cookies Kush” or “Full, Spicy, Dark Moroccan”? – (“I don’t seenk so”, he says, in best Dutch-English accent). There’s already the appeal of a variety of different ranges – weed, hash, joints – to compete with expresso, latte & mocha; special twists (pre-rolled) or regional name checks – Thai, Moroccan, African – to compete with the penchant for exclusivity or country name checks. In fact, anything that’s currently used to appeal to regular coffee shop goers can be replicated – including a wide selection of chocolate space cakes, brownies and muffins.

sitemgr_edibles basjoe-DSC_0969

So, now that I’ve convinced the afore-mentioned budding entrepreneur that the Dutch “Coffeeshop” brand is THE next big wave in coffee culture, let me suggest a few additional rules that will enhance the experience for future customers:

.  Bearded hipsters and/or young ladies with an ink/piercing count which exceeds their IQ, will not be allowed to serve in MoonDoe’s! The afore-mentioned beards of hipsters will be used to mop floors and wipe tables; and the young tattoo-ed ladies will be employed to make expresso-machine-like ambient background noises (strumming catarrhs?) – MoonDoe’s pledge we will only employ staff who’re so laid back they’re incapable of giving accurate directions to tourists; and don’t really care if they serve you today, tomorrow, or next week, and certainly not before they can attest to the quality of each product personally.

. The regular coffee shop practice of asking for your Christian name when taking your order, then screaming it out full volume when it’s ready, will be replaced by an equally irritating but vastly more entertaining practice, based on appearance e.g. “Lady in dark glasses with the big nose & enormous ass!!” … “Old but still handsome man in shorts with grey-ish  stubble & tartan flat-cap!”. Alternatively, we may consider using your mother’s maiden name – groups of siblings to be numbered chronologically e.g. “Doyle # 2 – economy sized joint!”

. No groups of more than 3 teenagers will be allowed on the premises at any one time, unless they’re bound and gagged, or have proven proficiency in sign-language.

. Any show-off pseudo business types (M/F) posing behind their laptops whilst talking over-loudly to themselves in Jargonese, will be made to clean the toilets with their nice ties or silk scarves. Before being shown the door, their laptops & phones will be confiscated and donated to poor 3rd world marijuana farms – CIAO!

. No product will be allowed to have any more than a 3-word descriptive name. Where this does not provide sufficient defining detail to ensure full customer-specific satisfaction, tough shit! Don’t be such a nerd.

. Last, but not least: All joints must be passed to the left-hand side within 20 seconds of inhalation. Failure to comply with any of these rules will result in a lifetime ban.




Dutch “Coffeeshop” in (lack of) Global Franchise shock!!

SFA Disciplinary Update


Notice of Complaint | Scott Brown, Player, Celtic FC

Wednesday 3 April 2019

Alleged Party in Breach: Scott Brown, Player, Celtic FC

Match: Celtic FC v Rangers FC

Date: 1 April 2019 (retroactively)

Competition: Scottish Premiership

Disciplinary Rule allegedly breached: Disciplinary Rule 18-72 – A recognised football body, club, official, Team Official, other member of Team Staff, player, match official or other person under the jurisdiction of the Scottish FA shall, at all times, act in the best interests of the Association Football club currently known to us as Rangers FC, particularly if that person has the temerity to cause a tsunami of hun tears and bitterness following a defeat. Furthermore, such person or body or fenian bastard shall not act in any manner which is improper or use any one, or a combination of, violent Conduct, serious foul play, threatening, abusive, indecent or insulting words or behaviour*, or basically anything and everything which gets under the skin or knocks the blue noses of persons (aka peepul) out of joint big time. 

(*Henceforth, this rule will be known as “doing the broony”)

Principal hearing date: Thursday 2 May 2019

Response date: Wednesday 10 April 2019

Notice of Complaint | Celtic FC

Wednesday 3 April 2019

Alleged Party in Breach: Celtic FC

Match: Celtic FC v Rangers FC

Date: 1 April 2019

Competition: Scottish Premiership

Disciplinary Rules allegedly breached: Disciplinary Rule 16/90.- Where onor two or three or more players and/or members of Team Staff from one team – particularly if that team wear green and white, are involved in a confrontation with at least 10 or more opposing players and/or members of Team Staff of the opposing team during and/or directly after a match, even if they didn’t start it and it not have happened if anybody other than our beloved Gers had lost.

Principal hearing date: Thursday 2 May 2019

Response date: Wednesday 10 April 2019

SFA Disciplinary Update

IJ-Witness To The Lost City of Mokum


LISTEN! I’ve never been one for subtlety, so I’m just going to spit this right out (I’ll try not to spray) – WTF happened to the Amsterdam I knew and when did it lose its mojo??

When I arrived in the spring of 1980, before the sharp, spiky-studded, dragon’s tail-end of punk morphed into the softer swish of New Wave romanticism, Amsterdam had thrust its peroxide blond quiff above the clouds of miasmatic marijuana still lingering from its post-hippie years; emerging as a vibrant, cutting-edge Euro city, sparkling with fierce energy.

On 30 April ’80 (Koninginnedag / Queen’s Day), mass protests against the coronation of Queen Beatrix – instigated by squatter’s groups (Kraakbeweging) but supported by students, workers, anarchists and left-wing radicals of all shades – rocked the streets; reverberating from the Kinkerstraat & Bilderdijkstraat over to Waterlooplein, then back across the BlauwBrug to the Dam and Rokin. >10,000 police were deployed to quell the riots and over 600 people were injured!


Now, I’m not suggesting I miss the mass riots – although, even the most passive of pacifists might admit they can be cathartic, or even a force for change – but I do wonder what’s happened to Amsterdam to make a repeat of events on that scale totally unthinkable today? Has worship for the false gods of globalisation & tourism torn out a piece of its beating heart? Have the cold frosts of austerity and decades of bluster from centre-right coalitions thrown an icy-wet blanket of conformity over its once radical soul?

Back then, a sizeable portion of the population lived on the hard edges of society, rather than in its soft centre. Across the city many thousands of  young people lived in squats (an odd twist on Prudhom’s “La propriété, c’est le vol !” slogan?) and former working-class areas like the Stadsliedenbuurt & Indische buurt buzzed with a new wave of social integration and activism; fuelled by increasing numbers of “buitenlanders” (foreigners) attracted by its magnetic energy and sense of radical social mobility. (Ex-) Hippies, Punks, Rasta’s, Gay’s & other bohemian tribes lived side by side with students, locals and every shade of “allochtonen”, in a madcap, kaleidoscopic mingling of the masses. You almost got a sense that the lunatic fringes had finally taken over.

In my own case, I no longer felt at home in Thatcher’s London and was busy contemplating my navel – and my future – at a “Kraakpand” (NOT a crack-house, I hasten to add!) on the Barentzstraat, sharing a floor (often literally) with a group of street musicians – refugees from the Embassy Club/ Bloomsbury squat scene, which later burgeoned the New Romantic movement. Even today, the memory of singing an acapella version of Anarchy In The UK outside Centraal Station with The Bikini Machine, can cause me to blush profusely!

My arrival in Amsterdam also coincided with the opening in June 1980 of Mazzo, which effectively became my second home during the hours of darkness. – Mazzo could legitimately lay claim to being one of THE great punk / new wave dance clubs of the 80’s, rivalling those in Berlin, London & New York. I honestly reckon I spent more cumulative hours there than in my own flat (Property Notice: I was the only person I knew who had a job and eventually ran out of excuses for squatting).


Having said that, I must admit that I wasn’t always 100% faithful to my nubile, night-time muse, Ms Mazzo. I even left her frequently for another club love, following legendary dance DJ Eddy De Clercq* (the coolest Belgian in history) from De Brakke Grond to his short-lived but long-lamented, pioneering club De Koer (which sadly closed its doors in 1983) and later through the Pep Club at Paradiso, to the even more legendary RoXY.

Eddy later went on to put the hip in hip-hop and almost single-handedly taught the Dutch how to dance.

However, despite a plethora of other night-time attractions, which later included Vizz, iT and 36 op de Schaal van Richter – not to mention almost weekly visits to the Paradiso and/or Melkweg, depending on who was on – the fact that Mazzo was on the way home and open until +/- 5 AM meant that, even when I’d been unfaithful, I usually ended up dropping by to apologise for my absence (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!). Throughout those years, my wardrobe consisted of more black than your average parish priest – with the occasional concession of a pair of lime or turquoise coloured socks; that emphasised my fleet footwork on the dancefloor, particularly under fluorescent lighting (LOL @ myself).

In passing, you may want to note that, in order to finance my night-life pursuits I found a job – originally intended more as pocket-money than a career – working for the yankee dollar at Time-Life which, along with fellow publisher Elsevier, offered many an English-speaking-but-hardly-a-word-of-Dutch-mumbling ex-Pat fool useful employment, saving many (but not all) from a life of total debauchery.

It never ceases to amaze me just how diverse the workforce was at Time-Life in those days: From bearded ex-hippies, to scions of triple-barrel named Dutch aristocracy, to an American lady that – as a girl – played Violet Beauregarde in the original Charlie & The Chocolate Factory (I kid you not!); to a young man who’d later clone (kluun?) himself into a prominent member of the Dutch litterati (Hi Ray!) In today’s employment market, I doubt if 10% of that workforce would’ve gotten past the first round of any recruitment search, and an equal number would only consider setting up a LinkedIn profile if they thought it had something to do with sausages.

Perhaps my memory has been clouded by nostalgia and decades of passive smoking (I never inhaled, your honour!) or warped by some of the other stuff I did (5th amendment!); but I don’t think the kids today – I have 2, both in their 20’s – and regularly interrogate them on such topics, under a bare light bulb, after spiking their drinks with sodium pentothal – have anywhere near the scale and sheer diversity of entertainment on offer as in 80’s and 90’s.

During that time, I reckon I must have seen literally hundreds of different acts – Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Bowie, Nick Cave… The Fall (at the Melkweg) … Prince at the Paradiso (as early as ’81)… The Smiths at the Meervaart… Siouxsie & The Banshees at the Paradiso during a thunderstorm (with lightning flashing on the stained-glass windows!) … Miles Davis at the Concertgebouw – well, mostly Miles Davis’s back TBH (one for you Jazz fiends) … Grandmaster Flash & The Furious …. 5 pages later … (are Ad Infinitum a band?).


Also, the sheer diversity of cultural life was astounding. When was the last time you saw an avantgarde French performance art group (Urban Jazz?) swinging from wires from the roofs of De Nieuwe Kerk, playing wild, atonal saxophone riffs at full volume? Or, rubbed shoulders with a bizarre piece of living art like Fabiola in the coffee shop at the Stedelijk? Or, watched a German experimental rock group (Einsturzende Neubauten) with instruments made of scrap metal and building tools at the (long since demolished) old prison off the Weteringschans; with the audience joining in and adding to the soundscape by kicking at doors, rattling cages and banging the iron bars?




I’ve no doubt many of you who’ve had the stamina to get this far (for which I thank you) are thinking something along the lines of – “Yeah, but surely there’s just as much going on nowadays in Amsterdam? – He’s just too old / out of touch”. Sure, I get that, but from my recollection, even though there were also separate “scenes” back then, there was also much more crossover and intermingling between the various youth “tribes”. Everything -including night-life – was much more fluid and far less compartmentalised than it is today (as opposed to much more mental).

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor einsturzende neubauten
Einstürzende Neubauten

(So, IF (big if!) my theory is correct and Amsterdam is much less cutting-edge and far more homogenised and safer than it was in my (hey-)day, what would the reasons for that be? Let me throw some random thoughts – some of them fully deserving to be cut to ribbons – at the idea, and let’s see if some of them stick.

The drugs: Back then, the main party drugs of choice were Cocaine – often cut (whether the user knew it or not) with amphetamine (Speed)  … Poppers (alkyl nitrates)  … LSD (acid) was still used, albeit sparingly. Dope has always been around, but IMHO is no less of a problem than cigarette use. Crack cocaine came later. Ecstasy even later. As a result, I reckon far more people then were constantly wired. Thankfully, heroin-use started to die out (along with many of its users) gradually through the 80’s and into the 90’s. Nobody,  with the possible exception of some ancient drug baron in The Golden Triangle, regrets its demise:  Any drug which turns people into sly, mean, selfish low lives has zero redeeming qualities; no matter how “hip” it may have been in rock n roll and other circles. In my mind, I always associate the sad death of Dutch rock star & artist Herman Brood ( Pictured above outside Mazzo in 1990 , by Gerard Wessel) – after he “bungee jumped without the elastic” (his words) to his death from the roof of the Amsterdam Hilton on 11 July 2001 – as heralding the death knell of any hint of hipness of heroin in Holland.

Nowadays, the drugs are (relatively) safer – “designer” drugs with more chemical compounds than exist on the periodic table. Also, the average youth of today is 10 x more savvy about drug use than they were in my day. Gambling with drugs is dangerous but (generally speaking) fewer people are out of their minds and Holland is apparently the safest country in the world to buy them. – With apologies to anyone offended by my tongue-in-cheek approach to such a deadly serious topic.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor drugs

The I-Phone & Social Media: As absurd as it may seem, I can’t help but feel that the ever-shorter attention span, obsession with constant news – whether real, fake, or obscurely niche – and the often meaningless, token online “like” communication of half of the western world, may be part of the problem. – Most young people are simply too busy with their own lives to take things seriously enough to get off their phones and their arses and take to the streets.

Global Politics: The leader of the western world is a ginger buffoon, megalomaniac and asshole (“*”) reminiscent of a villain from the pages of the dystopian sci-fi novels of Kurt Vonnegut Jnr. Russia is run by an ex-spy who does what he likes and seems immune from any pressure from the rest of the world. China is a 1 party-state with the largest population on the planet, who seem quite happy to have no political voice, as long as they continue to see their income grow. Is it therefore any wonder that the youth of such a small country as Holland feel powerless to effect any change and seem unwilling to take up any cause which does not impact them directly?

Dutch politics: Self-serving ex-yuppies have taken over from their predecessors (the boring old farts) and oh, oh, do they feel so smug about it. The relative stability of the economy and general national wellbeing means that only the poorest of the poor feel any pain. The rest couldn’t care a fuck. Dutch society has turned beige and flabby. Today, the student population is almost indistinguishable from the rest of the population and there are fewer political activists than Instagram “celebrities”. There are more tourists coming to Amsterdam than ever before, but what they’re seeing now is a postcard-plastic version of the city. The real city is fading away before our very eyes.

So, is any of this likely to change? Not unless more people start caring more. If the youth of today don’t feel strongly enough to take to the streets to protest about Trump, what would incite them into action? If even something as critical to their survival as global warming can’t shake the young people of Amsterdam out of their inertia & apathy in sufficient numbers to take to the streets, then I fear there’s probably no going back.

Maybe there’s a new global youth movement around the corner which will have as much influence on future generations as the flower-power movement did in the 60’s and punk in the late 70’s, but I wouldn’t bank on it, as youth tribes themselves almost seem to be a thing of the past.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor hippie and punk

Yes. Some people do care, but not enough. Sure, some people do still get angry, but they’re most often daft old buggers like myself, ranting away in stream of consciousness fashion about things that make them angry. What angers me most – in addition to all of the above – is not being able to finish off an article with a cogent argument and meaningful, convincing conclusion. So, people like me also make me angry, as my political impotence is also part of the problem. And – if you live in Amsterdam and are reading this – You! Yes YOU! – Reading this on your phone or laptop, but caring more about the latest trend in coffee culture than any real issues; whilst the vibrancy which made this city what it is, fades to grey conformity and sinks beneath the river IJ under the combined weight of tourism and apathy.

Perhaps that explains why MOKUM is Dead?






  • *NB: Anyone who’s interested in, or was involved in, the Amsterdam  dance club scene of the 80’s & 90s should read Eddy De Clercq’ (aka as  The Godfather of  Netherlands Dance & Professor Party) ‘s biography – Let The Night Never End: – 
  • https://www.lubberhuizen.nl/laat-de-nacht-nooit-eindigen

Laat de nacht nooit eindigen – Uitgeverij Bas Lubberhuizen

IJ-Witness To The Lost City of Mokum

.. and they all lived together in a little crook- ED House


Yeah. I know you’re all fed-up seeing articles, blogs, random stories, bizarre rumours & mad conspiracy theories about the Tribute Act club based at the Big Hoose on Edmiston Drive. So, if you can’t be arsed reading another word of this, I’ll totally understand.

However, I promise you there won’t even be a whiff of pish-stained-trampy-trooserness to this.  In fact, I haven’t a Scooby what this all means either. All I want to do is give you some facts, then let you draw your own conclusions. Although, I’ll be surprised if you don’t think this smells fishier than a fraserburgh fishwife’s fanny on a foggy Friday after five finnan-haddie fish suppers, (with apologies to all wummin’ for the inappropriate  inherent sexism) and doesn’t at least elicit a few questions, like.Why? Why Now? & WTF?

BTW ED House, or as it’s shown in exhibit BON SE above ( presumably in a failed re-branding attempt to attract single ladies?) is the local architectural splendor pictured.

The starting point for this is in the public domain. All you need to do is to Google “Edmiston House CIC Companies House” and take a closer look yourself at Company Number SC520806



Anyway, let me try and put this into context. As it was covered quite recently by all the SMSM, I assume it hasn’t escaped your notice that Rangers International Football Club PLC (2012) had a licence application (which included a submission by Club 1872) rejected, for use of the nearby Ibrox Complex  – the property of Glasgow Live – as a FanZone, due to objections from the Local Community Council?


As per, “independent” fan group Club 1872 (more later) are unable to accept that not everyone is automatically in awe of “the world’s most successful football club”, or that their WATP sense of entitlement doesn’t actually entitle them to anything for free. Nor do they seem to understand that heavy handed statements claiming bias, combined with a campaign of personal threats & abuse – (threats to add injury to insult?)- particularly those aimed at SNP members from Rangers* supporting families – are unlikely to aid their cause. Reporting councillors to the Commissioner of Ethical Standards for daring to answer them back or prove them wrong in public, takes things to whole new levels of ridiculousness.

However, by far the most peculiar aspect to this whole business is that there’s already an area right next to Ibrokes, owned by Hunco (we think) that seems a perfectly suitable location for the proposed Fan Zone and has already been used as such this season. (see pic below) i.e. the area in front of the derelict crook-ED House (shown in red below) – so what’s stopping them from simply pulling down that building if they need more space? Surely, the world’s most successful football club can find a few volunteers happy to please their Probation Officer by taking part in an anger therapy session armed with chainsaws & bulldozers?


Now, let me introduce the cast of characters from this this wee corporate mystery:-

Robert Marshall – Owner of The LoutsDen Tavern.


Greg Marshall – Son of Robert & Alice Marshall – Ex Manager of LoutsDen Tavern, ex- Rangers First board member. Private Twitter name @WATP_Greg  and – this is what confuses me – CURRENT RANGERS SUPPORTERS LIAISON OFFICER !!!  


James Blair (below left)– RIFC COMPANY SECRETARY !!! At one stage the only remaining Director of Club 1872 … Sole shareholder & Dave King’s inside man on the “independent” fan group Club 1872.

Chris Graham (below right) – One time head of Rangers First. Fashion guru responsible for the promotion of Wham Gloves, designer stumble & the disposal 3 day Brogues & Blazer. Forced to resign as Hunco director following an obscene cartoon featuring the prophet Mohammed & Jar Jar Binks. Currently paid by RIFC and also working with Club 1872. Current holder ( going for 55!) of the Jolly Rodger Statement O’Clock Memorial Award. Believed to be the comedy genius behind many a bitter rant posing as public announcement from both club & 1872 and possibly the only animal still to recover from the 2001 Foot n Mouth disease outbreak.

Rangers v Queen of the South 10th March 2015


Now, let’s go back to that Companies House registration of Community Interest Company number SC520806 “Edmiston House CIC”

The original Incorporation document from 20 Nov 2015 was prepared and presented by none other than James Blair himself, from the Anderson Strathern offices in Edinburgh.

The original directors were father and son Robert Marshall and Greg Robertson Marshall.

The nature of the business was defined as “Development of building projects” and described (in Pages 43 & 44 of the Incorporation document)  as being for the benefit of “Supporters and followers of The Rangers Football Club”… “by financing or part financing the refurbishment and redevelopment of the subjects known as Edmiston House, Glasgow and other subjects within the vicinity of Ibrox stadium”

Although, not unlike the board of Club 1872, there’s been a game of musical director’s chairs … Greg replaced with his maw Alice in Jan 2016.. Father Robert resigning Nov 2017, then Greg back in January 2018 to replace Alice as sole controlling director.

Now, there may well be other factors which explain these changes – death, illness or retirement all spring to mind. However, what is not explained is what on earth has Greg Marshall – who has been Rangers SLO since April 2017 – got to do with the refurbishment and redevelopment of … Edmiston House” ??




If this was Celtic SLO John Paul Taylor and the building in question was the Celtic Ticket Office, wouldn’t you want to know WTF he was up to?

Which brings us back to the original subject. Edmiston House & the Fan Zone. Who owns it? I can understand why it hasn’t been knocked down (lack of money). However, I don’t understand what James Blair & the Marshalls are up to with this. It also begs the question as to why on earth would Glasgow CC even consider approving use of their land for a Fan Zone for FREE, when there’s a suitably sized area – apparently already owned & controlled by the “club” , it’s officials, or hangers-on??? right next door to Ibrokes.

When asked about this previously, Robert Marshall has denied (to fellow blue-noses) that this has anything to do with Edminston House – although the documentation suggests otherwise.

However, setting aside the fact that it’s laughable that anything involving drunken fans of Scotland’s Shame could possibly be in the interest of any community, the involvement of both Blair &  Marshall Jr in this Community Interest Company does make one wonder what they’re up to?

Go figure as they say..


.. and they all lived together in a little crook- ED House

How I helped knock England out of the World Cup!


With time running out before the World Cup Finals in Russia provides a convenient excuse for half the male population of the world to do even less around the house, speak to family members in even fewer grunts, and try out a new beer & crisps diet, whilst exercising (ahem) sole rights to the remote and a strict 4 week regime of interval training on the sofa,  now might be a timely moment to recall that time when TIME magazine – or more accurately a free TIME Sports watch premium – played a part in knocking England out of the 1998 World Cup in France. (OK, OK – I’ll stop with the time name checks).

Listen. You’ve every right to be skeptical. Who could possibly believe this could be anything other than total fantasy? Then again, who would’ve thunk that some months before, England coach & born-again Christian – Glenn Hoddle – would leave his wife & 3 young children to move in with a faith-healer and later employ her as a team consultant to the England squad? Sometimes, fact is stranger than fiction and, in the case of Mr. Hoddle, the fact is, he was a bit strange.

The story started one Friday morning when I took a call from our TIME marketing director in London, asking if I could do him a favour: He’d been watching a World Cup preview on BBC TV showing England in training, when he spotted something that almost made him fall off the sofa – “I swear to you. Either I’m going totally mad, or Glenn Hoddle was wearing a TIME Sports watch – Is there any way you could you have a look and see if you can find out if he has a TIME subscription?”

A scan of the TIME subscriber file revealed that there were only 5 records in England with the name “Hoddle”, but only 1 of those had the initial “G”. The address was quite posh, very near Ascot racecourse. As Hoddle was known to be a fan of the gee-gees, it did seem to fit (& newspaper articles confirmed he did live in Ascot). The subscriber contract was archived off our system some years ago. However, as Hoddle no longer lives at the address in question, I see no harm in risking the wrath of the GDPR gods – or privacy laws, by sharing the following extract from our system as evidence. (particularly as I’ll be made redundant in a few months due to the takeover of Time Inc by Meredith)


Further checks revealed that, not only had Mr. Hoddle ordered a TIME magazine subscription only once – for 1 year in 1997 – but –  Yes- you’ve guessed it – was sent a TIME Sports watch as a free gift! Well, you could’ve knocked me down with a proverbial feather! Particularly as a closer look showed that he didn’t actually pay for the subscription, so he got the watch and few months delivery of the magazine totally free, before it was stopped for non-payment!

This particular fact was the cause of no end of hilarity when I reported back to our London office to confirm the details. – The idea that a rich ex-footballer and (then) current national coach, who could’ve easily have afforded to cover every inch of both arms and legs in expensive Rolexes or Patek Phillipes, was wearing a FREE Plastic TIME Sports watch, almost beggars belief.  What a Cheapskate! We also laughed at the thought that, if the England manager was wearing a free plastic watch, one dreads to think what the Scotland manager was wearing (Note: ’98 was the last time Scotland qualified for a major tournament)

The following pic shows Glenn Hoddle during preparations for France ’98 sporting (ahem!) that very TIME Sports watch!


(Note: “Green Flag” were official England sponsors in the lead up to France ’98).

Anyway, now that I’ve established the evidence, let me tell you the rest of the story……

Following my return phone call to London, our Marketing Director shared the information about Glenn Hoddle’s TIME subscription and Sports Watch with other parts of the company – notably one board member – an England (& Man Utd fan) and previous #1 at TIME Europe, who by then was very high up the corporate ladder in New York. By the time I arrived at work after the weekend, emails on the subject had been bouncing around TIME offices all over the world, even reaching as far as the TIME correspondent covering the World Cup in France, where it was suggested that Hoddle’s interest in TIME might provide some leverage in getting a much-sought-after interview with the coach.

During that weekend and over the next few days, every bit of footage of the England team was scanned feverishly by those in the email loop, and every sighting of this now iconic TIME Sports Watch greeted with howls of amusement – not to mention lots of “What if….. ?” jokes (fill in your own scenario).

Here’s another piece of photographic evidence:-


Now, let me explain something that is critical to the context of this story. The fact is, that TIME Sports watch was quite possibly THE most unreliable, shoddiest premium in the history of the magazine – and that’s really saying something considering the amount of cheap plastic tat that has been forced on unsuspecting subscribers over the years. Vast numbers of them were returned by dissatisfied customers as “broken”, “defect”, “doesn’t work”, or simply “rubbish”, followed by large numbers of replacements returned by angry customers, followed by sizeable numbers of returns of replacements of the replacement by customers now apoplectic with raging fury.

The fact that Hoddle had been using his free watch since at least as far back as early ’97 and was still using it +/-18 months later * was a cause of concern as well as hilarity – What if it chose a critical moment in front of a live global audience to cement its place in history by breaking down in full view of cameras, with suitable close ups of Hoddle’s wrist and the TIME logo visible to all?  Well, there’s some evidence to suggest that something close to such a catastrophic event might have happened but escaped everyone’s notice…

* The photo below shows Paul Gascoigne and Glenn Hoddle (with the “even more famous than Gazza” TIME Sports Watch). – The fact that Gazza did not make the England squad in ’98, suggests this could have been taken anytime between Jan 1997 and May 1998 when he made his last appearance, but also confirms that Hoddle was also fond of using it well before the World Cup finals!


Now. Let me take you back to England’s first match in Group G of that World Cup against Tunisia, on 15th June 1998. In the 1st half hour Tunisia dominated, but, despite creating very few chances, England scored with a goal from Shearer just before half-time to lead 1-0. During the half-time interval and into the start of the 2nd half, all the pundits & commentators (+ millions of armchair coaches) were calling for Hoddle to take off the largely ineffectual Teddy Sheringham and replace him with another attacker, with the view that another goal would clinch the game.

Commentators were confidently predicting a substitution around the 60 minute mark and became increasingly frustrated at the lack of attacking options and the fact that Tunisia were still a danger. In the 63rd minute, Tunisian substitute Beya fired a fierce warning shot over the crossbar. During this period Hoddle was seen repeatedly looking at his watch, but as the clocked ticked by… 70 minutes … 75 minutes … 80 minutes – there was still no substitution and that slender 1 goal lead remained vulnerable. – Finally, after 85 minutes, with only 5 minutes left, Hoddle brought on Michael Owen for Sheringham and late attacking pressure finally paid off with a 2nd goal in the 89th minute.

Post-match analysis concluded that Hoddle should have brought on Owen much earlier and there was general puzzlement as to why he left it so late. Instead of giving him half an hour, or at least 20/25 minutes to impact the game, he got only 5. However, those of us who knew about Hoddle’s choice of timing equipment drew our own conclusions.

Intense discussion about the timing of attack-minded substitutions continued again in the lead up to and during England’s next match against Romania on 22 June, and this time it may have proved critical. Romania scored just after the break in the 46th minute. With England trailing, it was expected that Hoddle would immediately respond with one or more attacking subs, but for reasons known only to himself (& TIME staff) he waited another 26 minutes – way too long in the eyes of pundits & commentators – before bringing on Owen with only 18 minutes left. Owen then rewarded him with a goal in the 81st minute.


However, Hoddle’s caution and failure to intervene earlier proved critical when Romania scored a late winner in the 90th minute. Pundits again concluded that waiting far too long to act when they went a goal behind was a critical factor in that defeat. Some of us thought that perhaps something other than Hoddle may have been a factor. Later events conspired to mean that if England had managed even a draw in that match, they would have finished top of their group and had a relatively easy opponent in the last 16.

In England’s last group match, they needed a win against Columbia to guarantee finishing 2nd in the group and set up a match against Group H winners (with 3 wins out of 3) and one of the tournament favourites – England nemesis Argentina. This time, the fact that Owen was in the starting 11 and England scored 2 goals in the first half hour (the only goals of the game) may have masked the fact that – once again – Hoddle took longer than he perhaps needed to bring on his substitutes – With a comfortable 2 goal cushion, did he really need to wait so long and bring on 3 substitutes with only 17, 11, & 7 minutes to go, respectively, to make an impact?  –  In a tournament, resting key players early on can be factor when you get through to the knock out stages.


By the time England faced Argentina on 30 June, TV coverage suggests that Hoddle had ..  erm ..  pocketed the TIME sports watch – perhaps by then it had lived up to it’s reputation, or, following an interview with the TIME correspondent the embarrassment of publically relying on a free plastic watch had finally hit home? However, by then – the damage had already been done. This time neither the Hand of God, nor the wrist of Hoddle, played a major part.  With the score at 2-2 at half time and England down to 10 men following Beckham’s sending off, Hoddle couldn’t really be faulted for his substitutions (Southgate for Le Saux on 71 & Merson for Scholes on 78, ) and they eventually lost in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.


However, questions have to be asked. IF Hoddle had gotten the timing of his substitutions right in that fatal group stage defeat to Romania they very possibly would have won the match and perhaps even gone on to the quarter finals or further. Was that down to Hoddle, fate, time, or that infamous TIME Sport Watch? Perhaps we’ll never know, but I know which one my money’s on. The fact that not only did Hoddle rely on a piece of notoriously unreliable plastic crap, but failed to pay for it, or his TIME subscription, surely sealed his fate??


How I helped knock England out of the World Cup!

26 May ’67 – Paradise Lost & Found – (RIP Jimmy Brennan)


In tribute to big JIMMY BRENNAN who led the parade of the Lisbon Lions around Celtic Park 50 years ago today on 26 May 1967. 

CFCJB25First published on E-Tims  30 July 2015… Photo above courtesy of



I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that – despite the fact I saw my first Celtic match in the same year that Cesar made his debut ( 100 Years BC – Ed ?) – until last week,  I’d never actually “done the tour” of Celtic Park. Neither – for that matter – had my ST holder nephew (28), or my bhoy (19), who both accompanied me.

(BTW:  Those who came here for the Jimmy Brennan bits – Honest-  There is a connection to my tour of CP, so you can either be patient or skip down a page or 3)

Now, I have to admit that – thanks to Celtic Supporters Liaison Officer John…

View original post 1,679 more words


Not Compliant – RFC


by *Rangers Football Club


THE *Rangers Football Club (“the Club”) was informed today by the Scottish FA  (“SFA”) that, after an eight-and-a-half (“8½“) months (not weeks) investigation the SFA (“SFA”) will not (“Not-ish”) be proceeding with a Notice of Complaint in respect of blatant lies submissions by the Tribute Act “Club” to the SFA (“SFA”) at the end of March 2011 with regard to issue of the “Club’s” UEFA licence for the follow follow following Season.

The “Club” is unsurprised that it has now finally been accepted that SFA ( not Scottish FA) will be done about proven accusations made against the “Club” by groundhogs. The “Club” questions whether the time, cost and expense of having RRM inside the governing body was justified and was a good use of our “limit the SFA” (“SFA”) resources.

Disappointingly, and presumably we can add a totally incoherent bit here by repeating ourselves that the investigation – and that repetitive bit we just wrote – was a waste of all parties’ time and resources, the newco has been served with a revised Notice of Complaint relating to the monitoring period subsequent to the grant (not “Grant Thornton or Russell”) of the UEFA licence. This new Notice of Complaint neglects to properly capture the extent of the collusion made between the “Club” and the SFA (“SFA”).

The “Club” will fiercely rant and staunchly rave about this reconstructed Notice of Complaint. Unfortunately monies that should have been available for Scottish schools and health services but were diverted into illegal tax schemes for years will be forgotten as we indulge in spurious moanies about youth and grassroots football that we care SFA (not Scottish FA) about to divert from our cheating ways and forget the rights and wrongs of punctuation in an overly long sentence about doing SFA (not Scottish FA) and preventing anyone looking into the past with purpose.

It seems that Scottish Football (“Fitba”) is, once again, being directed by individuals (“fenian bastards”)  determined to seek justice in the Scottish game by pursuing those responsible at Rangers Football Club (“Sevco”) who were backed by its supporters, even as a bunch of incompetents contrive to ensure that pursuing justice has no sensible purpose or reasonable prospect of success. #WATP


Article Copyright © 2018. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to www.*rangers.co.uk


Translated from the original Sevconian ..




Not Compliant – RFC

(New) Club Statement


by Rangers* Football Club


RANGERS* are beeling about Hib’s decision to cut our fans’ ticket allocation for the final match of the Scottish Premiership season at Easter Rd,on Saturday Sunday, May 13

Firstly, let’s make some token reference to the safety of our fans, just in case we lose again and they’re forced to defend our players by invading the pitch and using corner flags to batter the shit out of some fenian beggars.

This is the least *Rangers expects for loyal supporters who have loyally proven themselves to be the countries’ shame. We plan to take a staunch stand and use the word loyal frequently, as its season ticket renewal time and we need sell our allocation.

There is evidence that we rose through the divisions as a new club, whilst conveniently forgetting the financial loss to clubs the length and breadth of the country, due to the industrial size cheating of our previous incarnation, cheered on loyally by our loyal fans.

Rangers* will,  as always, bear massive grudges against Hibernian or any club that forgets we are the peepul , so if you don’t give us what we want we’ll squeem and squeem and squeem until we make ourselves sick


Article Copyright © 2018. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to sevco.co.uk


To read this latest statement o’clock in it’s original sevconian… see


(New) Club Statement

Exclusive: Chinese Superleague Chairman confirms new bid of 9.9M!






55 mins ago / Chris Jack – Group Senior Sports Writer *

I’m very pleased to report that, after numerous phone calls to journalist contacts in Beijing, I can now exclusively reveal that, not only were the recent rumored bids for Morelos 100% true, but the failed transfer negotiations have been covered in the sport pages of a local Beijing newspaper!

In the back pages of Chinese local language newspaper Hefei Wanbao , vice Chairman Wei Ah Ra Pei Po of recently promoted Chinese Superleague giants Beijing I Redhe –  is quoted as saying “we have now upped our bid to Moreorless  ¥9.9M”



So, in future, I’d advise you not to believe a single word those internet bampots tell you.


When asked to comment on the latest article, a spokesperson of some weight within the Glasgow club, currently based at Auchenhowie,  refused to be drawn further.

“No comment – WATP!”




*Typo / Lost in Translation – S/b Chris Jackanory , Group Writer Sporting Bumfluff

Reporting from The Peepul’s Republic , China!


Note: CHRISTOPHER JACK Graduated from the University of The West of Scotland with a BA in Journalism. He is currently working at the Sports Desk of the Glasgow Herald and Evening Times.





Exclusive: Chinese Superleague Chairman confirms new bid of 9.9M!