Celtic Stories: Juve Got To Be Joking

Celtic fans  Turin 2001

The Celtic Support in the Stadio delle Alpe, Turin, 2001 

Bear writes:  Celtic were playing away to Juventus in Turin in Celtics first ever champions league game in the group stages.  Our first game should have been against Rosenberg at home, but was postponed because of the Twin Towers/9-11 atrocity.

I was running our local CSC at the time, interest was intense and we organised a 77 seat twin deck Neoplan bus to get us to Italy from Renfrewshire with an overnight stay in Southern France.  Sounds glamorous and this thing looked great but only did 60mph max going downhill and all the Kassbhorrer Setras pumped us for speed in the outside lane screaming past at 90!  It was a 2 day donkey ride to get to Turin.

Suffice to say most of the liquids including water had been quaffed by the time we arrived in Turin and plenty thirsty Timaloys were ravenous for swally!

Celtic Security officer Dibble Bawbaghorn had warned us and other CSC’s in advance: no alcohol on sale in centre of Turin.  Absolute no-no.  Complete ban.

Forewarned with this info that I had disseminated to the non believers, I bought an extra 24 cans of Electric Soup from ASDA – put them into two Asda bags and stuck them right in the far corner of the luggage boot before everyone else fired their bags on top.  The lager stash was concealed and my dastardly plan was to retrieve it on arrival in Italia and swagger into the big square with the carry oot.

We arrived in Turin and everyone made their way towards Giorgio Square, with tongues as rough as Shettleston and drier than nylon y-fronts.  I got my hands on my cargo and tried to sneak out the bus park in an alternative route to Piazza Il Geordie.  Trying to be a selfish but thirsty bastardo shames me to this day.  My mates were lambs to the slaughter.  They had no Jack Palance of a Pat O’ Malley and I was rich!

I was making my merry way meandering down the road in the direction of the thirsty and noisy Celtic contingent carrying the two Asda bags full of the amber nectar.  And that’s when it happened . . .

A Celtic fan from another supporters bus came running up towards me at top speed having spotted the cargo in the bags and blurted out:  “Haw Mate!! Whereaboots is the Asda???”

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Celtic Stories: A real Bummer for The Rooter

Johnny Madden player green tint

Johnny Madden – ‘The Rooter’in Celtic kit

There have been many, many times when Celtic players have been subjected to rough treatment by opponents while the referee has failed to step in to ensure fair play.  When it happened to Celtic striker Johnny Madden back in the early 1890s, and the ref turned both a blind eye and a deaf ear to his complaints, the Celt decided to take matters into his own hands – with the help of a knife!

Madden was christened ‘The Rooter’ by Celtic defender Jerry Reynolds due to his ferocious shot which threatened to uproot the goalposts from the ground when he hit the net.  The Dumbarton Bhoy is recognised as Celtic’s first outstanding centre-forward and played for Scotland’s premier Irish team from 1889 through to his retirement in 1897.  He scored 49 goals in 118 competitive appearances for the club and also played in Celtic’s first ever game, the 5-2 victory over Rangers in May 1888, although a year passed before he formally signed on at Celtic Park.

It was there that this incident took place in a game recalled decades later by Madden’s team-mate Willie Maley in his memoirs in 1936.  Celtic were playing Killmarnock at the time and The Rooter kept tangling with the Killie forward James Campbell.  Campbell was a distinguished footballer, the first ever Kilmarnock player to be awarded international honours, yet he wasn’t afraid to mix it.  Curiously, his nickname was ‘Bummer’.   This was supposedly due to his non-stop activity on the playing field – although it’s fair to say that perhaps something has got lost in the translation in the century and more that has passed since his heyday.  (Whether he was related to the famed Irish internationalist Johnny ‘Jobby’ Crossan is unknown . . . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Crossan)

Johnny Madden Celtic Squad 1892

Johnny and his Celtic team mates:  League Champions – 1893, 1894 

Madden complained vigorously to the referee at the treatment being meted out by Bummer.  As well as hacking and shirt-pulling the Killie man kept ‘tapping’ The Rooter’s ankles.  ‘Play on’ was the referee’s instruction as Madden’s fury increased.  It all got too much.  Faced with the ref’s intransigence and Bummer’s persistent fouling Madden walked off the pitch.

He quickly returned, carrying a large pocket-knife.  With the blade open he marched towards Bummer – and handed him the knife. Maley, who was standing nearby and amazed to see his team-mate walk on to the pitch carrying a knife – only to hand it to his opponent – heard Madden’s instruction to Campbell:  Stab me through the heart!

The Killie player was perplexed – to put it mildly – as Madden stood in front of him, asking him to use the knife he was offering to stab him.  The reason?  Madden told him simply, as he looked down at the knife:  “I prefer sudden death to the slow torture that you’re subjecting me to.”

Campbell laughed, Madden smiled – and the referee recovered in time to send Neil Lennon to the stand.  The knife was put away and the rest of the game was played out in a slightly more sporting manner by the Killie man.

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Johnny Madden later went on to greater fame when he travelled to the Czech capital Prague in 1905 to take up a coaching position with Slavia Prague – where he became a legendary figure, earning the moniker ‘The Father of Czech Football’ for his influence on the game there.  He remained in Prague, with his Czech wife and son, until his death in 1948.

Johnny Madden coach Slavia

Read more about this fascinating Celt at The Celtic Wiki:  http://www.thecelticwiki.com/page/Madden,+Johnny

Read more Celtic Stories here:  https://theshamrockglasgow.wordpress.com/celtic-stories/

Celtic Park – New Year’s Day, 1954 (film)

1954  The Jungle and tricolour

Great footage of Celtic Park including The Jungle in all its glory in 1954 as Celtic’s Double-winning team of that season beat Rangers in Paradise.

This is part of a great series of clips relating to Celtic from bygone years released by British Movietone.  There are some real delights in this short film – excellent shots of the crowd and the old ground; Jock Stein as Celtic Captain;  Charlie Tully in full flow and Neilly Mochan scoring yet again in his debut season in the Hoops when he emerged as top scorer with 25 goals.  Enjoy!

The clip of Celtic’s victory can be viewed here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnnAbrfmEZI

Part of a great series of Celtic-related clips which can be viewed on YouTube here:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHq777_waKMJw6SZdABmyaA/search?query=celtic

Thanks to @Fitzpas on Twitter for spotting and sharing these gems.

Frankie Miller – The Brigton Bhoy (documentary)

Frankie Miller 1980s

Frankie Miller is one of Scotland’s best known singer-songwriters who was a major recording star (and sometime actor) in the 1970s and early ’80s, best known for his renditions of the songs ‘Caledonia’ and ‘Darlin’.

Frankie comes from Bridgeton and attended Sacred Heart School in the area – the school that Brother Walfrid was the first headmaster of and home to the first Poor Children’s Dinner Table which Celtic were established to raise funds for.  He is a very well known Celtic supporter and was a long-term drinking pal of Jinky back in the day as well as friend of Billy Connolly, Rod Steward and many other entertainers.

Frankie Miller and Jinky and TB

Tommy Burns, Frankie, Jinky and Chrissie Stewart at Celtic Park in the early ’80s

This is an insightful documentary into Frankie’s life and career as well as the impact that a brain haemorrage in 1994 had on him and his partner Annette, thanks to whose love and support Frankie survived and has recovered to an extent that was initially thought by medics to be unimaginable.

Click here to view the documentary on YouTube:  Frankie Miller documentary – Stubborn Kind of Fella

God Bless You Frankie.

Frankie Miller Celtic Park

Frankie gets a run out in the Hoops in front of the old Jungle

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