Sunday, December 15, 2013

If Paradise was half as nice...

When Celtic played Nottingham Forest in Dec 1983 there was a meeting about tickets. Brian Clough was there and asked Davie Hay right out how many Celtic wanted so they could dispense with the meeting and go and get a drink. Davie said "How much does your ground hold?" Brian looked bored "34,000" to which Davie replied "Right, we'll take the lot"

Yesterday at Celtic Park was one of those days where you wonder why you bother. Walking from Bellgrove station to the park I got soaked to the skin. People were texting me about how great the Man City-Arsenal game was and I was making mental notes on who to kill should I ever thaw out.

I got my usual third degree at the turnstile because I have a student season ticket and then got to concourse realising the entire crowd had decided to huddle there. I approached the Ladbrokes and heard a guy politely question the odds "Here you, the how the fuck is that Pukki only 7/2?" I hope he lumped on.

For some reason, a steward asked to see my ticket at the top of the stairs and directed me right to my seat. I then wiped it dry(ish) before realising it wasn't actually my seat. I should have heeded the warning.

The rain never stopped and the empty(ish) 111 gave a stark reminder of the previous week's events. Plus it made me think that section probably has more cover than mine.

The game was ok considering conditions but eyes went from the park to all around us as.stewards started surrounding a group who were singing. Then all around me people were being told by the police to sit down and shut up by the police.

All this whilst sitting freezing, soaking and guilty only of questioning Bobby Madden's parentage.

The final whistle was a relief on and off the park and folk shuffled.away into the night, presumably to warm pubs and welcoming partners, whilst I trudged back to Bellgrove dreaming of the first train ever to have flunkies to dry you off.

This was only my experience of yesterday, yours was probably different.

I certainly hope so.

Incidentally, a year later, Celtic played Rapid Vienna at Old Trafford and sold 50,000 tickets in two hours. Brian Clough phoned Davie Hay, apologising, saying he now realised he had been serious.

The Asterisk Years Audio Book is out on Dec 22nd. Go here for info www.theasteriskyears.com

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