Monday, December 29, 2014

Intermission*

The curtain came down on The Asterisk Years for 2014 on Sunday and it was fitting that it was in Carluke given the enormous role people from town have played in the project. After the initial flurry of dates, I realised that the tour was an enormous commitment and that time would be needed to re-charge the batteries at some points during it. After a couple of things fell through, I seized the time from now until we resume in Drogheda on January 24th for a complete break and thank God I did, more of that later.

From the two huge screenings in Glasgow in the middle of November, the first place the film was going was Larne. Now, if you're reading this and are part of the Larne tourist board, you owe me money because every time I go there I spend the week before telling everyone how fucking great it is. This is because Larne is, bar none, the place I go where the most folk say "why the fuck you going there?" Apart from the obvious "They invited me", the point of taking The Asterisk Years round the world is to go anywhere and everywhere to get the story out there. The bonus of Larne it has great Tims like Gary Bergin and Martin Wilson, the latter being the current Mayor, who don't hide who they are and what they are all about and I'm drawn to that. It was shown in The Station Bar and once a few technical difficulties were sorted out, the film went down a storm and this was a tough crowd. It's a Friday night pub crowd, most who have a good drink in them and don't know me from Adam, Hugh or otherwise. You know what that is like? It's like being a nude model in front of a room full of artists and waiting to see if they want to paint you. But with a packed pub and tremendous reaction, you feel like the next stop is the Louvre.

Also, where else would I be made an official visitor?


A lovely addendum to the Larne trip was the story of Una. Let down for a babysitter at the last minute, she couldn't make the Larne screening so we decided to take the film to her. So on the Saturday afternoon Gary drove to Whiteabbey and we were very warmly received. Which was handy given that we almost took a wrong turn and ended up in Rathcoole. I know I said I would take the film anywhere but I am going to leap here and say that no one in Rathcoole would be up for screening it. More fool them. The small moments though are the best moments and the afternoon we spent with Una, Patsy and family was one of the best moments.


From the north of Ireland, it was onwards south to Dublin and the actual seeds of this screening were sewn in July. As many of you will know, I have some fantastic friends in Dublin and they are the reason for my numerous visits there. Back in the summer, I knew I wanted this film to show in four places, Glasgow, New York, Philadelphia and Dublin. All them are places that mean something to me and contain people who have had enormous positive impact on my life. So I had been talking to my friend Conor about doing a Dublin screening and we took an opportunity at a Dublin-Meath GAA game at Croke Park to meet up with Ciaran Kenny from the Naomh Padraig CSC in The Clonliffe House and made an agreement in principle for a December 6th showing.

This is important for two reasons, the first is the CSC were in the midst of moving venue and had not set home at this time and second is this is the kind of thing that is required to get an independent tour like this going. That day, I flew over on the early flight on the Sunday morning, ate breakfast, went to the pub, then the game, then met Ciaran, then went out with Conor, Mick and the Bhoys and was on a flight again at 6am on the Monday morning. It all sounds like a doss eh? What's not to love about 24 hours solid on the bevvy? Well, no sleep, nervous tension about all the arrangements and deadlines you need to meet, and your last taxi driver speeding you to the airport and offering you 10 euros for a coffee in the airport because he's been told that the other people in the cab are in an army. Not that I am looking for medals (I'm not a lover of armies that give out medals) but going the extra mile is what you need to do when you hang your balls out there. I've always hated this perception that folk who come from places like where I do are lazy, feckless, workshy and all the rest of the bullshit Daily Mail terms we hear. Most of the folk I know work their bollocks off day in, day out and that's something I've tried to do throughout this project, no matter what it takes, keep going, keep focused, let the haters hate and remember the big picture. Anyway kids, that's your life advice for today.

Dublin was a fantastic screening. Mark at the Bad Ass Café was a fantastic host and another big crowd pitched up and I was especially delighted to hook up with Harper and Joe from the HomeBhoys as both played huge parts in this project and both are solid comrades for life.

Why else would they hold me up?


At this point, my life was college, Celtic games, squeeze in some family life and then weekend consumed by a screening. I could say I couldn't tell you the last time I just sat down with a mate for a beer or chat but I could. It was a Friday night in November and I was sharing a beer with my pal Paul at his house when the polis phoned to say someone had tried to sledgehammer in my front door. This was on the back of a mug posting spoilers of the film on social media four hours before. Relax? I'd love to.



The following week was off to the Irvine CSC and that was another nude model scenario. I'd never been in the club before and only really knew Danny McCambridge, the host, through email. So on a Saturday when most folk were consumed by Christmas shopping, I took a train to Glasgow Queen St, a short walk to Central, and then hopped on a packed train to Irvine. Danny met me at the station and experience tells you this is a good sign and that proved to be the case. The Irvine CSC is a fantastic club full of great people. Great set up to show a film and a nice wee bonus of being able to raise £200 for The Kano Foundation.


And so to Nairn. Now I'd been to Nairn in July and knew a lot of the Bhoys there, none more so than James Wallace and his girlfriend Donna (who doubles as my bodyguard) so I was completely relaxed about this screening right up until the day before when I woke up chilled to the bone, sore throat and feeling like I was ready to climb back in the womb. This coincided with my last day of college for the year and I had a report to finish and a 15 minute presentation to do. I went in and explained to the lecturer about my physical state and she said "Well, thanks for coming in and doing this then" Eh, aye, cheers.

After a gruelling day, I was home, on the couch and on the Beechams. One crap sleep later and I was up for a train to Inverness. The fucking cattle train. Three and a half hours later I arrived in Inverness and was met by James and Duncan at the station before being driven by Nairn. This was mad Friday and I felt like death warmed up. Still, it was the usual warm welcome from James' father and a beautiful room, same as last time, provided. The bed was calling me like a buxom wench with two frothy pints but it was off to The Stables Bar for a test and then a bite to eat before the show. The folk in Nairn are fantastic, guys like Kenny Nicol and Big McGoo are full of life and fun and they gave me the energy that night to keep going until around 11pm. Meeting Liam and his pal from Inverness also did. I was wrecked though and went to bed for another crap sleep before the usual poached egg breakfast and back on the train for the next three and a half hours.
 
I had five days in Ireland to see my youngest son and take a break for Christmas but in reality, I was absolutely fucked. The flu was gripping me like a medium sized T shirt and it was hard to really enjoy myself when the only day I wasn't travelling, due to various family commitments, was Christmas Day and it was taking it's toll. Back Friday night and I was exhausted and ill. I was in no state to go to the Ross County game but I had to because I was picking up a signed ball for the Carluke do on the Sunday. At this point I was probably looking to folk like I had just crawled out a swamp.
 
And so to Carluke on Sunday. I actually felt reasonable on Sunday morning, after a dose of Beechams and Ibuprofen and had to be pretty anal with them, telling them I'd travel alone and back because I wanted to control my arrangements so I wasn't relying on anyone else.
 
 
 
I was picked up at the station by the inimitable Richard Swan and we were joined by the McCardie brothers, Brian and Martin, and off to the hall. And what a hall. The Carluke Bhoys do not do anything by half and the welcome and hospitality I received from President Peter Connolly and his committee of Michael McKeever and Dougie Mooney is something I will never, ever forget. Then, I was blown away by the reception the film got, a standing ovation, and was presented with the picture below, which now has pride of place on the living room wall, and I was speechless. It sums up the Carluke Bhoys and Richard Swan in particular (Was delighted to meet his wife Joanna and get enough material on him to last a lifetime though) and makes all the crap worthwhile. Most of it isn't crap though, that's because of folk like you.
 
Now if you don't mind, the curtain is closed for now, yer auld pal needs a break until we resume again on January 24th.
 
And breathe....
 
 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Christmas* Message





Well, been a while since I did one of these.

So if you aren't interested in a personal message from me to folk interested in what I do, swipe away now.

I wanted to take the time to reflect and give thanks to all those who have supported me in 2014, bar none the most incredible, bizarre and crazy year of my life. If I had to pick a word to sum it up it would be "relentless". From the second in January that I decided to try and make a film of The Asterisk Years right until now, doing this blog after a seven hour round trip to Nairn with man flu to do a screening, my life has been in the control of others. In fact it sums up supporting Celtic as well. It's ups and downs, twists and turns, brightly coloured and never boring. I'ver been on a total of around 40 planes, 20 trains and buses daily and bounced all over the place in pursuit of this story.


They say with a book that it's your baby until you finish it then it becomes the baby of anyone who buys it. That's true but the difference with a film is that you don't sit over the shoulder of the person reading it after they have bought it whereas at each screening I am there, watching the reactions and listening to the comments. Something you don't even consider when making it. No night or crowd is ever the same. I do a Q&A after each screening and you can never second guess the questions. They range from in depth analysis of the content to whether parts of certain people's anatomy still work. Often folk, strangely if you ask me, just want to ask questions about Celtic and, whilst I am always happy to talk Celtic, occasionally it seems to be forgotten that I don't actually make the decisions at Celtic.  The surreal aspect isn't lost on me either. Like when a guy in Nairn on Friday said to me after the Q&A "Now you know how John Paul Taylor feels" at exactly the same time I got a text question from John Paul Taylor.

There's also the fact that some people are dialled into the information whilst others are witnessing it for the first time. So a balance is needed, probably like a comedian telling a joke for the 50th time. Along with a thick skin. You find out a lot about people when you effectively expose yourself to the world. There were a few people in my life who liked to pat me on the head when I tried anything and then when something actually became a huge success, they never mentioned it and barely speak to me now. Others never spoke to me for years and now are all over me. A couple are even nice to my face but wish nothing but misery on me behind my back. You go through a few stages of different emotions because of this, anger, sadness, frustration, disappointment, before the love and support of others washes all that away like a power hose on a Mini Metro.



Of course these situations were a million miles away when I had the idea of the film. In all honesty if I knew how much work and money was required, I'd probably have never even attempted it. I had to ask lots of people to trust me, I had to devote virtually all my spare time to the project and effectively hand my life over to others for them to comment on, judge and feel like they had the right to constantly criticise me. To give an insight, it took nine months for the entire process of making and editing the film to be complete and despite the hugely successful screenings thus far which have ensured almost 1000 people have seen the film already, I estimate I won't break even on the film until post-America. Throughout that I was constantly attacked online, I was threatened and mocked, I was dehumanised by dafties with Twitter accounts, I was constantly told the film would never get made and was constantly given advice by people who, at most, have maybe been to a cinema once.

Not that I am complaining mind you.

I went into this with my eyes open and a clear focus to get the story out there and keep maximising the impact. That's worked so far and my own barometer is when you can silence a Friday night pub crowd with the content of the film.

One of things I've always been about is never doing anything the way folk expect it to be done. It's the old Punk in me (Nigel his name is) about never adhering to the rules and betting the way everyone else thinks is wrong. The Asterisk Years doesn't need the acceptance of anyone, not least the media. 2014 has woken me up to how many people still hang on every word of the mainstream media and need them to say something before they will believe it. I see my job, in terms of the type of citizen journalism I do, as providing an alternative. That's all.  I am not in the business of needing the approval of anyone or needing anyone to tell me what to think about something. Even with the film, I lay out the evidence and Jah makes it entertaining, but it's still you, the viewer, who has to make your own mind up on what to think about it.

The ability to critically think should never be underestimated and it is what is required to make stuff like this succeed. That's the one thing I ask of a viewer.

I feel like I speak about the abuse I get too much. I've already briefly mentioned it here and it does add weight to the abusers but it actually has become a part of my life now. Even on Wednesday there, I was in Frankie and Benny's in Ocean Terminal in Leith and was just casting a widening eye over the starters when a woman screamed in my face that that I was a "Taig scumbag" and that I will be shot soon.

The Meatballs were decent at least.



The flip side of all this has been the support. The amount of people who have stepped forward for me and offered all sorts of things is something I will never get used to. I know those who go on a career path think that it is their natural calling for folk to love them but I've never been on a career path, far less thought folk should love me, stuff just seems to happen to me. Well, actually, sometimes I can make it happen too and The Asterisk Years is definitely one of those things. For me personally, confidence is a huge thing. Anyone brought up on a council estate knows how much confidence is knocked out of you from the minute you can understand words. You only realise this when you get older though and meet people who have been conditioned all their life to feel entitled. So I tried to constantly remind folk throughout this project that a lot of it was about opportunities that are denied for people like us and that we could give opportunities to people through this project. That's why I am immensely proud that this project has given folk the platform to showcase their talent, it's ensured kids can go and see Celtic, hungry people will be fed and homeless people sheltered.

With that being said, it would be nothing and none of that would be possible without the support of the people in the streets, on social media, who stop me at games or on pubs, or on trains and even planes (My claim to fame is being recognised by the passport guy in Dublin, hopefully for the work) Trying to build something that has credibility and fights back at the PR charade that has engulfed Scottish football for a generation.

It does require a lot of hard work though. Take this week again, fresh from the pre-meal outburst, I went home and man flu hit me like a wet kipper across the face and the prospect of a trip to Nairn on Friday feeling like I wanted to crawl back inside the womb wasn't exactly inspiring.

But you have to go.

It's not easy going to different places and meeting new people if you are constantly working on building your confidence and sometimes you feel like Danny Fucking La Rue in a "The show must go on darling" kind of way as one weekend merges into another.

And the reward comes from the people you meet, new friendships you make and new groups that you enlighten with the information (I can say that last part because that's been the main reaction everywhere). My firm belief is that most people are good. You may put out an opinion on Twitter that some people will go berserk about instantly. That's never really the reaction in a group of people when you are face to face with them.

There are different sections to the Celtic support, those who attach themselves to a CSC or specific message board or who just have a particular opinion about who we are. I don't bracket myself with any of them and am delighted to have met folk from every part of the Celtic support even since the premiere in November.




One thing I have to mention, because others are now aware of them, are the stalkers. I have three who never, ever leave me alone. I've had to block one out of everything I am on and I do because his messages got so sinister that I was half expecting to wake up in Misery.

I am sort a "what you see is what you get" type of guy, often to my detriment, because if you ask me a stupid question you'll get a stupid answer, similarly if you try to noise me up, I will noise you up right back. It's something I've tried to curb but I don't come from a place where you nod like a daft cunt when someone is trying to get one over on you.

A flawless moral guardian is something I will never be.

The Asterisk Years was never about me. What I tried to do is make the transition from the sort of cult fanzine style stuff I did(and a lot of folk love) into the investigative stuff it became. So there was a fair bit of me in the book, less so in the audio book and barely any in the film. The next book has none of me at all. With that being said, I had the story so I had to tell it and that's the way we made it in terms of the film.

No apologies for that.

No apologies also for anything that has been done to progress the project through the last 18 months.

Sincere and heartfelt thanks though to everyone who has supported the project and continues to do so. Particularly those who follow me on Twitter, are in Paul Larkin Books on Facebook or joined the mailing list at www.rightgadgie.com

You are the foundation upon which everything has been built.

With just one more date to go for the film this year (and the fact that it is completely sold out) it's time for a bit reflection, a bit relaxation and to get a first draft of the next book done.

Until then, thank you and thank you again, those who stuck by me, I hope now you're glad you did.

Merry Christmas and a Champion New Year.



Paul

*Not really.

Buy The Asterisk Years: The Edinburgh Establishment versus Celtic right here:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/paul-larkin/the-asterisk-years-the-edinburgh-establishment-v-celtic/paperback/product-21192881.html

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Asterisk Years film-Infomercial



This is your genial host, Portly Paul, giving you a run down as to why I am so run down at the minute. I am kidding of course, slightly, as every minute just now seems to be consumed by college work, travelling, eating crap food, spending lots of money on this film and drowning my sorrows when I realise that.

This is the glamour world of film my friends.

Anyway, enough of my gallows humour, I want you to do one thing for, share this blog. It's going to contain all the information need that will stop meltdowns of everyone going to the two big Glasgow gigs.

Hopefully.

The venue information will be available from me from November 4th onwards. I will be emailing all I can but no doubt will miss a few so don't panic, drop me a line and you'll be fine. It has to be underlined here that the reason for the secrecy is security. A lot of serious threats have been made to me and my family and so to have a venue in Glasgow out there for all to see would unleash that beast again. So when you get told, you'll be getting told in confidence and if you blab it in public, you won't be seeing any film, that I can guarantee.

Second thing is, both days of the Glasgow screenings, 15th and 16th of November, are bought and paid for, strictly in the time periods we have booked, 2pm-5pm. Latecomers won't be admitted, there won't be any exceptions and there is no point contacting me or anyone else on the day saying "I'm running late" or whatever because that would be akin to phoning the ref of the game on Thursday and asking him to delay the kick off for 20 minutes,

These dates have been locked in since July and that's ample time to organise.

Similarly we have been organising this since July so please be assured that we have put a lot of thought into the show.

(If this all sounds patronising, I can tell you now I personally have had questions that have asked for the film time to be changed to suit a shift pattern, bands I don't know have been suggested, films by other people to be shown at it and even a comedian offering to host the gig for a mere £700. I can assure you Average Joe Miller is much funnier and slightly cheaper)

We got this.

In terms of the tour, most of that has gone swimmingly. I'll try and explain the process again so that folk can see how it works. If you want to host the film, all you need is venue, a HDMI capable screen/tv, laptop and the will to host it.  Most pubs have these facilities. You know your crowd, you know your venue. With that in mind, you get charged a flat fee, travel expenses and that's it. After that, you do what you like. A lot of folk think we are looking for venues to take over. Absolutely not. If you want to host it, great. That's it. We don't need to convince folk to host it or sell the film to people, it will speak for itself. We have had a few venues that have been really keen and then suddenly contact just stops, which is always a shame, especially when loads of people say that's where they were going to come see it.


If it's a small CSC event, then the fee is the same everywhere. If it's a big event, the fee goes up but not by that much.

With the amount of dates we have on the tour now, there is very limited scope to add more. At a push I'd say we could fit in five more. So if you're thinking about it, now is the time to act.

In terms of actual film, that's done. The master copy is being sent this week and will be tested at the premiere venue this week.

The premiere is completely sold out. If we get call offs the week before, there is already a list of around 30 people wanting to step in.

The best thing to do is go here www.theasteriskyears.com and buy a ticket for the charity screening the day after for just £10.

Speaking of the premiere, a lot of folk are working hard to make it a success. They won't be named yet but will in the fullness of time. Also, it's a film premiere, so if you're going and you're reading the, make sure your sunday best clothes are ready. The dress code is smart because we want you all to look good for the photo opportunities.

Also, there is a bar there which will be free, so drink them dry because it's already been paid for. Once it's gone, it's gone.

Above all else, enjoy this. This project seems to have been laced with stress because, well, it has, but we are here now and have a film, so sit back, relax, switch off your phones and help us fight back.

Because without you, this would still be a stand up gig and you saw how bad those jokes were at the start of this blog.




Monday, August 4, 2014

The Asterisk Years-One Year On

So the final stretch of work needed to complete the film is this week. Just over a year from when I launched this project, it's been a year that even sitting down to write about makes me question my own sanity. What the aim always was was to disrupt the planned David Murray comeback to Scottish football and highlight the role of the Edinburgh Establishment in the demise of Rangers, the constant cheating that went on and the attempted murder of our club so to say that every trophy Rangers won in that Murray era should have an asterisk beside it,

The means to do this was a book, audio book and documentary. Now, let me address the book first. If I've learned one thing it's that folk like me are not supposed to have an opinion on things like this. I've documented the level of hate that has came from one third of Glasgow, at times so bad that you'd think I'd been a serial killer and was documenting how I did it, but this and the style of book attracted a certain type of Celtic supporter who went out their way to stop people buying it. You see what I attempted to do is parallel my own life growing up in Edinburgh with that of the Edinburgh Establishment. There were two reasons for this: To "fashion the narrative" as they say in the Boogie Down Bronx and to tip my hat to those who had bought and loved my books previously and the style they were written in. This upset some Celtic supporters so much that they would take to reviews and Social Media pleading with others not to buy the book. A staggering level of hate came towards me from about five supporters who just seemed hell bent on slaughtering the book no matter what and still goes on to this day. My own take on that is I've read plenty Celtic books I didn't like but the fact that they were written by Celtic supporters kind of stopped me going out and slaughtering them and the writer at every opportunity since reading them. Yet it's me who is the "Schemie embarrassment who should be put down" as one of them so eloquently put.

On a similar note I am often asked about prominent people in the Celtic world and the level of help/publicity they have given this project. One thing I pride myself on is highlighting who helps me and so if you've not heard a name from my lips then you can be sure they haven't helped. To be fair, loads have noticed this and often ask me why? That, for someone with a lot to say, is something I can't answer. For years I punted others stuff in good faith but when the roles were reversed it wasn't to be. As Tony Benn always said "Keep focused on what you're doing and never wrestle with chimney sweeps"

Moving to the audio book and this was when I knew that other information was coming and I would be in a position to start dropping stuff of substance. See a couple of folk still haven't understood that the book was just the start. It was a transition from the sort of "Punk Fanzine" writing I'd done previously into a more investigative style. Yet even two weeks ago I saw someone slaughter my research skills. At this point I point you in the direction of the other blogs that are here and let you be the judge.

Anyway the audio book was a tough slog but worth it. There was a great reaction to it and I was helped by some wonderful voices that brought the book to life. We also added a few new things just to see if folk were paying attention and bit by bit they noticed. This was the final jet fuel needed to do the documentary. It was almost derailed immediately by someone who, to this day, did things that still baffle the rest of us and none of of us have any clue as to why. Another thing you learn, never underestimate the queerness of folk. From total disappearance to an inexplicable unfollow on Twitter, you realise that a lot of folk need their balls cupped constantly in life and I've only got two hands. Similarly some folk start holding you responsible for things others do and say. Remember Tony Benn.

Of course the level of support has been both staggering and humbling to the point of almost being overwhelming. For all the shit I've had to put up with, there have many so many warm bath moments that it's all worth it. You come to expect abuse, and it come from many angles, one person was upset I said Barry Bonds was a cheat whilst another went berserk one day because I said I was off to see my son in Ireland ("You have a fucking duty to answer my messages!!!") and that was someone I've never spoken to in my life before.

Even when the trailers came out, a couple of people who claim to be friends to my face couldn't wait to slaughter them behind my back. No doubt whilst holding their Academy Awards. One thing social media is brilliant for is you know within minutes when someone is talking shit about you. I say to folk like this now, if you don't like me, the project or others involved, fine, but don't run down to the bingo and start bitching about it. Love is all you need.

Hey though, I learned really quickly that with a thing like this, it's easy to spot your real friends and and it gets easier to hold your tongue.

Moreover though, a look back and I am proud of what has been achieved so far,. I think we have brought to the fore some names that were not known and a part of the story that wasn't out there. I also think we have put a serious dent in Murray's comeback and massive obstacles in front of the narrative that certain people wanted to put out there when Rangers were liquidated (Brechin v Sevco anyone?). From Ally McCoist to Neil Doncaster, hopefully their constant two faces are now there for all to see. Plus the photo of Murray and "The man I never met" in Charlotte Square was nice. A dedicated team of researchers make that happen.

So where do we go now? Well, I won't be bombarding you with promo for a while. The premiere is sold out and the charity screening is a third of the way sold out three months before it happens so we can give you a break from it. If you want tickets, they are here www.theasteriskyears.com 

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who has supported this project. Especially those who "Got it" from day one. I'd also like to bend at the knee to those wonderful people who are helping to ensure that this documentary is blasted all over the world. The tour is the last stage and without the use of enhancements either.

Finally, "Bob", Merci.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

One for the Accountants out there

I'm not a numbers guy. So I am left with no clue about this kind of stuff. Which is why I thought I'd put this out there for all number bods and bodettes. It looks to me that this was a business that was being projected to be liquidated way, way before it was? Maybe this is why Project Charlotte came about? But then what do I know?

Well I know that it was Duff and Phelps who did these forecasts back in September 2011.

Pick away.

http://www.theasteriskyears.com/charlotte-cashflow/

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Operation:Clear Murray is underway

Let me first say there are a limited amount of Asterisk Years premiere tickets available. It is being shown in Glasgow, November 15th, 2pm. Tickets are £21 which include a complimentary bar and can be purchased via paypal to westillwon@hotmail.com

So already we have the press punting the ludicrous notion that Craig Whyte killed Rangers. He duped David Murray. As I've told anyone who would listen that is the equivalent of Rodney Trotter duping Del Boy.

The questions the fans and press need to ask themselves are:

Why did David Murray dismiss all other interested parties in favour of Whyte?

Why was David Murray in constant contact with Whyte well after the "sale"?

How was Craig Whyte able to get so much money into the club in loans after "taking over" ?

How come if Craig Whyte really is the big bad guy, he's swanning around Mayfair, attending Prince after show parties and ensuring Gordon Ramsay will never be skint?

Why?

The Asterisk Years can and will prove all this.

PS
If anyone at the Daily Record reads this, we don't want money or accreditation for the photo, please highlight @invisiblesthe instead. Ta.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Asterisk Years Tour-FAQ






Are these the only places that the film is going to?

No. These are merely the first dates. Talks are ongoing with venues all over the world and more dates will be added.

Why isn't the film coming to where I am?

Because you haven't invited us!

Ok, I want you to come to me, how do I go about it?

Just ask us. It really is that simple.

What equipment would I need?

A laptop and a big screen/TV is the bare minimum.

Ok, does the venue need to be huge?

Absolutely not. Big or small, all things are considered.

How much will it cost?

We do deals based on the number of people that will be in your venue. We will ALWAYS try to ensure that your pub, club or CSC does well.

What else do we get?

I am happy to introduce the film and to do Q&A afterwards. I don't have to though.

Ok, you've convinced me, how do I get in touch?

lovest86@hotmail.com or @paullarkin74 on Twitter

You haven't convinced me, I hope it fails.

We're not running a popularity contest.

One last thing, where is the Premiere and how do I get tickets?

It's in Glasgow at 2pm on Sat November 15th. The venue is not being released just now for obvious reasons. Tickets are limited and on sale from July 11th. Join "Paul Larkin Books" on Facebook or the mailing list at www.theasteriskyears.com

 


Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Asterisk Years-Trailer 1.0

So here we have the first ever trailer for The Asterisk Years documentary which is out in November.

There is another one cut and coming out we hope you enjoy this one in the meantime.

https://vimeo.com/98819327

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

John Collins: Fit.

So we have a new assistant manager and it's been warmly welcomed by most. John Collins single-minded style has seen him gain critics but you get the impression that he couldn't care less. For Celtic supporters there a few things we care about and all of them lead to the team winning football matches. There are some concerns with Collins based on previous incidents but, perhaps, they only tell part of the story.

The most common of these is that no players will get on with Collins, he's too stubborn and not good with people. This comes from the player rebellion at Easter Road which, common to popular belief, did not force him out. The accusation was that Collins training and discipline was too much for the players. Yet two players at Easter Road then wouldn't agree. Benji and Zemmama are both devout Muslims. As part of that faith, they observe Ramadan in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar a lot of which includes fasting. John Collins not only changed their training routines to fit in with the custom, he also trained separately with both to show he was in complete support of their custom.

Something that is increasingly important to all fans is how much employees are in it for the money rather than the good of their club. I've seen it leveled at Collins that he is greedy that way, based on his move to Monaco on a free. Of course he did give Celtic six years of outstanding service before then but it should also be remembered that he took the Livingston gig on a very modest salary in order to ensure his children were educated in Scotland.

Of course in this climate one thing that is pertinent to many fans is the issue of, not to put too fine a point on it, is he a yes man? I doubt anything in his character suggest he is but let me point you in the direction of a story from a Celtic youth game last season. Celtic were playing well and Peter Lawwell, rather smugly, approached John Collins and asked him what he thought of them? John Collins proceeded slaughter the style of play and certain individuals in the team much to the shock of Lawwell and a stunned Celtic board.

So, this is the start of something new and it might just fit.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Two weeks on: Are we there yet?

So tomorrow (Thursday) will be two weeks since Neil Lennon resigned as manager. It's been a bit of a circus since then with a constant stream of stories from media outlets that have a lot of words but very little of substance actually in them, a mass outcry from Social Media any time certain names have been mentioned and, of course, a new bookies favourite every two days. Yet if we are to believe Peter Lawwell then no one has even been offered the job, so what exactly is going on?

It is clear that Dermot Desmond is taking the main role in this so it is difficult for Lawwell to drip anything out to his pet journalists like he did when he let a few know when he would be arriving at Celtic Park so he could give a brief comment on Roy Keane. At that point Celtic were supremely confident Keane would be the new manager and were effectively making a soft announcement. By Monday though alarm bells were ringing and it was clear Keane had got cold feet.  Celtic are pretty unhappy that Martin O'Neill leaked the talks and I think there's no doubt he did this to amp up the pressure on Keane staying.

That's politics in football.

Peter Lawwell has been in Ireland and Austria in the last week but none have anything to do with the search for a new manager. One was a supporters function and one is a UEFA meeting and it's clear his involvement in the process is slightly less than he would like.

Dermot Desmond has spoken to a few people in the game regarding our new manager, Gary Lineker and Gordon Strachan are but two, but it is not known what came out of those "advice" talks. Owen Coyle's name continues to be bandied about, I think primarily because he is golfing buddy of Desmond, but he flew out to Tenerife after the Hibs v Hamilton game and has had no contact despite people close to him briefing otherwise. Ditto Jackie McNamara who is a keen spectator from the sidelines.

So where are we? It's difficult to say but we could have a new manager today as easily as we could wait another week. From a fans perspective I don't think many buy into the whole "We are taking time to get the right candidate" stuff purely because there are plenty good candidates out there who are dying to take the job.

After Keane declared his lack of interest, I just wonder whether eyes have turned to another big box office type like Henrik and perhaps a safe pair of hands as his no2.

That's just a hunch though.

As Paulie Walnuts always says "Nobody knows what the future holds, my friend"

Monday, May 26, 2014

Who will direct our football?

You will, like me, have been delighted to have to see the Lions return to the scene of their greatest ever triumph over the last few days. Their wives were even there, something a few of them never got to do first time around. Members of the "Celtic Media Team" followed their every step with pictures and tweets galore. The trip was underwritten by a few choice folk who paid £1800 to join the Lions. It may surprise you to know that they weren't the only ones that they joined as the board and CEO were all along for the ride. Specific instructions were given not to photograph certain members of the Celtic party but a picture slipped out of Brian Wilson, who took time out from abusing anyone who disagrees with his politics, to sacrifice himself for the good of the club. (Which reminds me, I am taking time out of my busy schedule to go to the pub on Wednesday night, please, don't thank me)

Let's have some fun and assume the search for a new manager starts when the plane back from Lisbon touches down shall we?

Like many of you I've not been exactly enamoured with the candidates that have been mentioned thus far. The worst of these by miles is Owen Coyle. It's clear Coyle has been on a mission to raise his profile in Scotland ever since Dave Whelan turfed him out at Wigan. A pal of Dermot Desmond, Coyle was on standby to take over last summer if Neil Lennon had quit then, something that Celtic firmly believed he would do right up until pre-season started. Anyone I've spoke to in and around the game since Neil Lennon stepped down has been aghast that Coyle is even quoted given that he turned down the job in 2009. What concerns me more is that he has none of the qualities required to be Celtic manager. The measure of a man is often in not what they say but what they don't say. Take Paul Scholes as an example, a man who did pretty much everything in the club game but was known as the quiet man of football. So when he does speak, normally complete sense, you listen and you'd be right to. With Coyle, he says so much, so often, you kind of think he'd more suited to replacing Graham Norton not Neil Lennon.

Coyle embodies the kind of stinkin' thinkin' you get at these times, normally fuelled by bookies, which has anyone who knows football just scratching their heads. Put simply the one thing that seems to unite the fans on this subject is: We don't want Owen Coyle.

I know there have been moves in other directions. Davie Moyes was contacted indirectly on Saturday in a "if offered, would you take it?" type way whilst another candidate was asked indirectly whether he'd be happy working under a director of football?

The director of football thing interests, assuming it wasn't Peter Lawwell that was meant, this is a road I'd like to see Celtic go down. It has to be said that whilst success in the league and Europe was there, Neil Lennon's choices of backroom staff weren't exactly a huge hit. Alan Thompson's off the field problems and "friends" were his downfall whilst Mjallby was often at odds with the manager. Garry Parker potters about hoping to be under as little spotlight as possible.

The director of football role in Scotland has a stigma attached and as Celtic supporters we shudder at the Dalglish/Barnes fiasco. Of course it has been in operation, quite successfully, at Falkirk for a few years now. It's a road Hearts have gone down and the current Neilsen/Crawford partnership is due to be replaced from within in around 3-4 years. That's the theory of course, football has many variables and it might not work. That being said, Hearts, living within their means for the first time since the 1970's, have no intention of paying off a whole backroom staff one day and then hiring a new one the next ever again.

Celtic have many coaches who have worked away behind the scenes for years now. Guys like Chris McCart, Tommy MacIntyre, Stephen Frail and John Kennedy are in with the bricks now but does anyone see them as manager material? The last main candidate through the ranks that fans clamoured for was Willie McStay, who never had a hope in hell of getting the top job, and has struggled to get a proper foothold in football since, with it unknown where his latest adventure with Celtic Nation will take him.

I think we could steal a march on a lot of teams by laying down now a structure that is for the long term but from a position of strength. I've said it before but for clarity will do so again, for me the guy tailor-made for the role is Gordon Strachan. In a part time job just now, you give him a remit to set up a structure with emphasis on coaches and players rising to the top then that man will be in his element. He doesn't need to deal with the media, which he loathes, he is able to see out a huge passion he has for coaching and making players better and he can be there to lean on for all coaches at the club, including the top one. He can also deal with the Lawwell/Park dynamic which would take the pressure off a new head coach.

And who should be that head coach?

Many people have said to me "You must want Jackie then?" and I've avoided pleading his case for two reasons, the obvious bias and the fact that he doesn't need me to do that for him. What I will say is that Jackie has a lot of the qualities I'd want from our new man. When he took over at Partick Thistle, he did not think players were fit. After an internal study, he got back that what the problem was was the recovery between games wasn't helping. So he brought in people to deal with it, at his own expense, and, well, you see the difference. When he took over at Dundee Utd the players actually weren't fit. The diet was all wrong and lot of the players were not enjoying their football. He was also told their were no young players worth a game and the club would be saddled with debt for decades. The emergence of young players is obvious, but the increase in crowds due to the type of football played has wiped out the debt. Compare that to the £8m debt Hibs are carrying and the £16m Aberdeen are.

So what are the qualities he has? First off, a strong inner belief in what he is doing. There's no bullshit about Jackie and he doesn't get distracted from his goal. He has standards and I like that in a manager, players need to live up to them or find another club. He encourages youth and good football, thinking long term always. Derek McInnes has received plaudits and awards this season but how good has his team actually played? How many times have they hit four or more goals? How long term are his signings?

It is often said that it's "too early" for Jackie but he has far more experience now than Neil Lennon had in the summer of 2010. Hey, it's all about opinions and I just gave you mine.

Speaking of summer 2010, can we not go through the same charade we did back then when appointing a manager? It's obvious to everyone that Neil Lennon caught Celtic on the hop last week (you don't invite a guy you know is leaving on holiday with you) and perhaps it wasn't the best idea for Mr Lawwell to still go on his trip to Lisbon when we sit without a leader. The days of the long summers of 97 and 98 without a manager are long gone and I hope Celtic don't involve themselves in any kind of stage-managed bullshit and just get the job done.

Otherwise even Brian Wilson may go radge at them.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Neil Lennon: Diminishing love

Once all the instant reactions were ploughed through yesterday, the most telling piece of information came from Celtic, not in what they said, but in when they said it. Coming a good five hours after Neil Lennon had announced he was stepping down, this was not the statement-crazy regime we have all come to know. The issuing of a statement is about as low as it gets in terms of PR. Designed to conduct the debate, it often poses more questions than answers but of course is designed to ensure no questions can be asked.

Once Neil Lennon spoke yesterday you can be absolutely assured that all hell broke loose at Celtic Park. "Akin to Wall Street on a bad day" was how it was described to me. So much in the dark were employees that people contacting Celtic on other matters were being asked "Is it true the manager has gone?"

Of course the real question is: Why did the manager go? As far back November 2012, Neil Lennon's mind was drifting. Concerns over the quality of family life were being expressed by his partner, Irene, his son's conditions at school weren't the best and on a trip to Oxford with Garry Parker and his wife, Neil was given a taste of what life could be like outside the goldfish bowl of Glasgow. Whilst the adulation is always there, the abuse remained daily.

It can never be underestimated what Neil Lennon went through to be Celtic manager (although plenty try) and this should never be forgotten either. We live in an era where before it would be newspapers that were tomorrow's fish and chip wrappers, now it's our feelings that move on quicker than a Sevco Chairman.

The other factor is his place within Celtic as manager. Probably the least amount of power a manager has ever had at Celtic, Lennon became increasingly frustrated at decreasingly low budgets and a level of interference that, whilst happening at almost every football club in the world, eventually became the bane of his life. Forget the cosy statements issued or ridiculous notion that Neil Lennon will be involved in the picking of the new manager (I know one candidate who shuddered at that thought), this is a clean break and one that Neil Lennon made up his mind about in January saying that if he didn't get a proper budget to re-build, he was off. 

There were clues of course.

Mjallby leaving, the season ticket literature had no mention of the manager in it, there were the increased appearances in England to build his profile higher and there was the arse covering from Celtic when Samaras let slip that Lennon had wanted to keep him but Peter Lawwell said no.

Ah, Peter Lawwell. A figure who divides more people than a Celtic Park steward. So entrenched are folk's opinions of him that it's impossible to have a proper debate about him in what has surely been his toughest week as 11 years as CEO. The BT/Sevco scandal is not going away and he spent most of yesterday privately seething at Lennon stealing a march on him in terms of releasing the information.

The question most have in terms of Lawwell's power, (the most powerful man by some distance in the day to day world of Scottish football and second only to Dermot Desmond in terms of power in Scottish football full stop) is would any manager worth their salt work with him? The answer is yes. Primarily because Celtic are a huge club, who win leagues, compete in Europe and offer a huge stage. There's also the fact that the days of Alex Ferguson types running everything are over (Ferguson himself was "advised" quite a lot by the Glazers before he left)

With that being said, it is not healthy for a man with no background in football at all to have such an influence on who plays for Celtic (nor is it healthy to have family members also with no background in football acting as scouts for Celtic)

Ultimately though, Neil Lennon had enough of the small budget, enough of players being foisted on him(Bangura, Balde and Gershon were the ones that really drove him mad) and enough of having to toe the party line no matter what he actually felt.

The Joe Ledley transfer summed it up, Joe asking to stay, Neil wanting him to stay and Peter telling both that Ledley was off to Palace. 

Modern football or too much meddling? You can decide but Neil already has. 

Of course Neil Lennon was not without flaws, his record in the cups was pretty dire and it could be argued that the football we wanted to see only really came towards the end of his time at Celtic. 

Typical eh?

As for the new manager, make no mistake that he will be Dermot Desmond's choice. Only two managers have been selected by CEO's at Celtic since Fergus McCann left, John Barnes and Tony Mowbray, so Dermot's hand is firmly on the chicken switch for this one. Which is interesting because last season Dermot actually attended Celtic Park the least in his 20 year involvement with the club.

Meanwhile we supporters sit and wait, what is the new chapter going to bring us? If it was me? I'd be thinking long term about a management team that would be here for a decade. One that understood Celtic and the absolute importance of remaining on top for at least the next seven years.

They are out there.



Monday, May 12, 2014

Green Brigade Anti Discrimination Tournament-Seize the opportunity

As the dust settles on another season, and fans gasp in horror when they realise the World Cup is still a month away, you may be aware of the now annual anti-discrimination tournament organised by The Green Brigade, this year in Royston on June 14th.

I've been a bit out the loop in recent weeks spending most of my time in exam halls, study rooms and Doctor's surgeries as old age catches up with me and just getting to grips with the latest toing and froing about the banner that the GB had at the Inverness Caley game.

Let me say now, let's not get carried away with the sentiment of it (except positively) and for Christ sake can we remember two things, what Ultras do and that Leigh Griffiths is not David Duke.

What often happens any time the GB are mentioned is that folk dig in further and positions get entrenched to the point where the whole of McAlpine's would be needed to dig folk out.

Now, this tournament is a noble idea by the GB and should be supported by as many as possible in the main anyway but this is a huge opportunity for a lot of people to meet face to face, meet minds and start digging themselves out the trenches.

Firstly, I think this is exactly the sort of event that fans who want Leigh Griffiths educated on the origins of Celtic and evil of racism, that could be attended by Griffiths. I saw him last year attend a similar type of event, of his own accord, at Saughton Enclosure in Edinburgh so it's not like he's someone who couldn't care less about these type of events. The message coming out of an event like this is exactly the sort of message we supporters want imprinted in Griffiths mind.

Secondly, I do think this is a chance for Celtic to get people along and get mingling with people away from the stadium and in a more relaxed environment so common ground can be found. Whilst Social Media has many benefits, one of its flaws is it is not a medium for the type of discussion needed to get a proper resolution in a situation like this. Similarly, a number of issues always seem to arise out of behind closed doors meetings at Celtic Park and so a neutral venue would be helpful. Apart from anything else, it would do Celtic good to show support from a fans initiative that didn't come from something at their own behest.

Thirdly, there are clearly some people out there who are what I would describe as serial critics of The Green Brigade. I accept that some do this for their own selfish reasons and that even the promise of a limo to the ground, rub down whilst there and enough blog copy to feed them for a year won't change their minds but if you're someone who has been critical of the GB then surely this tournament offers a chance for you to give a first hand account of what the GB are actually like and help publicise a noble cause?

Which brings me onto the main problem I find with the GB. The message is being drowned out. Asking most people about the GB and most will point to Fir Park, broken seats and plenty other negative untruths that blanket all the great stuff done, the tremendous food bank drive at Christmas being one of them. Similarly, most Celtic fans dealings with the GB come with a visit to Celtic Park and assumptions are built upon this. I've no right to dictate anything to the GB but I know that the only resolution to this is a dedicated section that brings the atmosphere you created back to Celtic Park week in, week out. I also know that I will get criticism for this article from those who have no time for the GB and never have. My answer to that is to be part of a solution that works for all. Inform your opinion by going to the tournament and remembering that we are all Celtic supporters and far more unites us than divides us.

That goes for Leigh Griffiths, Peter Lawwell and all with the power of the pen as well.

Friday, May 9, 2014

When Wim's Tims changed the world


I guess you don’t feel as tense right now as you did on the morning of May 9th 1998. I was away early that day, so early that I missed a call from a Hibby mate wishing us all the best. The feeling from the Craig Falconbridge goal hadn’t left me, it felt like my heart had been ripped out my chest as thousands gleefully told us that this would be Rangers year (again) and that we were perennial losers.

Deep down that nagged at all of us.

I went through on the train to Glasgow that day and settled into a Gallowgate full of nervous anticipation. The players had gone to Dublin for a couple of days to get away from it all, us fans just has to grin and bear it all week. Every outcome was played out in our heads, every omen was studied and every escape route planned should we not do it. “It” being protecting our cherished nine in a row record.

As the hours ticked on, beer glasses were drained but the humour was akin to pre court in America when you’ve already had two strikes. As we moved along the Gallowgate, faces were studied nervously and, again, we talked about every possibility “Get an early goal” “Surely Dundee Utd will give them a game” “Christ, I keep thinking we have blown it”

Upon arriving in the stadium I got involved in a silly argument with a mate, it was a something and nothing type where the tension far outweighed the subject matter. It was that kind of day.

As the teams emerged, the noise was deafening. I sat in the back row of section 443 and all around me people clenched fists whilst looking at each other, steely determination exuding from all. If the players match the fans, we are going to be fine.

We barely had time to get nervous when Henrik sailed past two defenders and planted a ball in the St Johnstone net like Dennis Taylor on that last black ball in 1985. An eruption of blanketed Celtic Park and as folk held each other for grim life.

Everybody needed a hug.

We expected the barrage of goals to come but of course, this is Celtic, we don’t do anything the easy way and we settled into the ebb and flow of anxiety football.

Anxiety became The Exorcist type fear as George O’Boyle stalked our goal and missed a header that looked easier to score. We all looked at each other as if considering taking up Rugby as it would be far less stressful.

In the second half, news filtered through from Tannadice that Rangers were two goals up and any slip from us would be catastrophic. We made subs and Brattbakk appeared for a walk on part in the war.
A ball was flitted down the wing, suddenly it was in the middle and Harald found a burst of pace that resulted in the time needed for a cool finish and to put us 2-0 up.

The world just turned on its axis.

Simon Donnelly, just subbed, jumped on John Clark’s back. Tosh McKinlay and Darren Jackson danced in the tunnel. Henrik jumped on Harald and pointed at him profusely.

We were lost in a sea of relief, grown men cried and screamed in equal measure, the realisation dawning: we have done it.

The remaining minutes faded away like the last bath water down a plug hole and the explosion from Tom Boyd on full time matched the explosion from the stands that echoed round Scotland and sent the flag up right round the planet: Celtic are back.

As drained as the players, we left the stadium, our seats not allowing us to join the magical pitch invasion and we met with others, equally lifeless and just stood there in awe. As we moved along the Gallowgate once more, bars had shutters down and the first pub we could get in was The Braemar.
From there we got the train home to Edinburgh, a brief meeting with a clearly miffed ICF as well, and went to The International Bar where folk danced in the streets and long into the night.

The players went to a restaurant in Newton Mearns where Phil and Eileen O’Donnell danced on tables and summed up the mood.

From there the players went to play a game in Lisbon that most could not tell you the score of and the next day it was confirmed, Wim was off and Wim’s Tims were no more.


Thankfully our nine in a row record still remained.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Asterisk Years Film-Update

So folks, a little blast to bring you all up to speed with what is happening.

We have November as a target for a premiere. This will be in Glasgow. Now, we know the difficulties that this presents given that hatred one third of Glasgow will have for this but we will find a venue and the premiere will be there. We hope to make this a bit of a gala event with a party afterwards. After all, this is meant to be fun, right? (Anyone with a darkened room for rent, please get in touch)

But seriously.

A lot of filming, recording, animation and research has taken place thus far. The documentary aim is to be about the length that an hour long programme, with commercials, would be on TV. We want it to be something that tells a strand of the story in a simple and entertaining way that folk can watch and digest in one sitting.

We have deliberately not went down the road of celebrity appearances or publicity stunts because we feel that's the part of the thing we are fighting against. We were actually offered two semi-famous people, one by an agent and one directly and it was a bit bemusing. I think the agent was told by their client that "They will definitely be wanting me for this" and came in with "Ok, how much you going to pay then" attitude. Keep waiting by that phone. The other need clarification of Rangers liquidation so I don't think they would have fitted with the vibe somehow.

A lot of this is done on the hoof. In trying to stay one step ahead of the detractors, we haven't been able to reveal where we would be until we went to Celtic Park last Sunday. I originally had an idea to talk to people in the Kerrydale Bar and thought it would be polite to ask Celtic in advance but was met with a gruff "Whit's it fur?" and thought better of it. Funnily enough, after four hours of filming we went for food to the Kerrydale Bar and not only saw a lot of the folk we had spoken to that day but could easily have filmed in there with no one being any the wiser.

That all being said, the filming at Celtic Park was fantastic and it was great to see such enthusiasm for the project. It's a stressful thing to do. Forget the threats and the begrudgers, you're on a very tight budget, which folk have donated their hard earned cash to give you, and you are filming outside. You don't have the budget to cancel a shoot and start again another day. You need to allow for wind, rain, lorries, folk walking into the shot, folk standing staring and about a million other things.

So when folk show up and take part, on or off camera, it makes you feel good.

Right now, we have lots of stuff and it's time for the Editor to start putting it together so we then know what holes need filled and what needs trimmed.

An important lesson we have learnt in all this is focus on the prize. A lot of people have spent a lot of time trying to derail this and belittle it. We just keep moving forward as we best we can.

If you're reading this, you're the reason why.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rangers weren't the only ones to issue side letters



So you all know about the five way agreement that allowed Sevco to join the Scottish Football League? As scandalous as that was, above is the secret side letter that Neil Doncaster gave to Sevco to assure them they had nothing to worry about then or in the future.

The huge emphasis put on the contents being kept private was all from Doncaster and make his utterances about a "full and frank investigation" into the EBT scheme by the SPL seem pretty hollow given he is guilty of a very similar way of business.

Neil is a master at talking plenty but saying very little normally but he seems quite clear here that Sevco under no circumstances were to disclose the contents of the letter unless required to by law.

Except how would they be required to by law if no one knew about it?

One for you to answer, Neil.

Friday, April 11, 2014

When the SPL ratified Sevco as a new club



It seems ridiculous to have write a blog to prove the status of Sevco as a new club given that anyone not hard of thinking knows they are but needs must.

Obtained from a source within Sevco, above is the correspondence sent by Duff and Phelps to Iain Blair on July 27th 2012 to confirm the status that it would be Sevco that were playing Brechin City in the first ever game of the Newco.

Look at the paragraph after the list of players names (actually some had gone by then)

Note the specific request to the SPL board re D1.16.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/143090374/Spl-Handbook-2008-09-10-Feb-09-Current

The relevant extract from above is:

"D1.16 A Registered Player must not, except with the prior consent of the Board and the Club to which he is Registered, play Football for any other Football club in any competition or except with the prior consent of the Club to which he is Registered, train with such other Football Club."

Neil Doncaster and the SPL board approved this request the same day.

A clear line was drawn that Sevco is indeed another club, clearly different from Rangers Oldco.

Permission granted via an explicitly defined rule above, leaves it open to no further debate - Sevco are a different club from that established 140 years earlier.

For the record, the game in question versus Brechin in the Challenge Cup is listed on the Official Rangers website, yet the game was played by Sevco Scotland Ltd.

If it was the same club, there was no need to request permission for the listed players to play for ANOTHER club.  Those players never transferred back either, meaning that they continued to be registered under the new club.

All of this was done prior to the IPO in Dec 2012, therefore any such notion or reference to the same club by anyone at Rangers/SPL/SFA would see them on shaky ground given they knew it not to be true.

I'd hazard a guess that The SFO/AIM Market may be most interested, especially if the IPO makes reference to the same club/history carrying over.

Quite clearly, behind the scenes and in secret, the SPL/Rangers Oldco and Sevco/D&P all knew about the players being transferred from one club to another.

I wonder what the  'institutional investors' think of this?

As for us? This merely confirms what we always knew.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lights, Camera, Action.

The main filming of The Asterisk Years documentary began this week.  There had been little pockets of filming here and there but this is the stuff that's on a clock and costs money. It meant the usual pre-match tension was around on Sunday as worries about weather, locations and any other kind of potential obstacle were never far from the mind.

An early start on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday was called for as was a veil of secrecy not to mention one eye on any potential troublesome passers by. We don't have the budget for security teams and trailers therefore it required a hardy band to do six jobs each whilst the professional Director of Photography got on with the job of filming what needed to be filmed.

A lot of this has to be done against a backdrop of threats, sniping and criticism and it is important to keep everyone happy and creative throughout. Added to the fact that we have the sort of budget that Kevin Smith would sneer at so tension can occasionally be high.

With that being said, it was really good week, save for one train cancellation derailing an interviewee, and the producer seems happy. Said producer is the brain behind this project. He is the guy with a wealth of documentary experience behind him and his advice, cajoling and talent are a major part of why we are where we are right now.

Similarly, the company we hired to the filming and sound are relatively new kids on the block but when you're doing a film that in part deals with certain people getting countless opportunities whilst are others are denied them constantly, it wouldn't seem right not hand out an opportunity when we can. Thankfully our faith was rewarded as the stuff that was filmed captured the exact look we wanted.

Clearly we have had to keep things pretty confidential and not disclose things like locations and the like but we have no problems disclosing the next one which is Celtic Park on Sun April 27th.

Full details can be found here www.theasteriskyears.com

In the meantime, we crossed three huge hurdles this week.

There are three more to go.

The fact that we are halfway there, is down to you.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Lunny green lights a deluge

The message that comes out of the SFA, after the farcical carpeting of Leigh Griffiths for singing in a pub, is not just conformation of bias against Celtic nor the hypocrisy of the many other incidents, perpetrated by the likes of Andy Goram and Hearts, that went unpunished: No. What the SFA told yesterday is that YouTube footage is now taken as hard evidence.

Vincent Lunny just opened a huge can of worms.

Quite what jurisdiction the SFA think they have in the Roseburn Bar in Edinburgh is beyond me but they just ensured that anyone with a camera phone is going to take any and every opportunity to get a football player in trouble and that is a huge problem.

We live in an age where a lot of comment is passed about the gap between players and fans being akin to the Grand Canyon, we don't need any more excuses from players not to mix with the punters.

Especially when you look at the videos that show the impact players can have on the likes of young Jay Beatty.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUInFTAp7uM

That's the beauty of football that clubs very rarely understand but have such a huge impact on our lives.

We need more, much, much more.

In terms of Griffiths himself, I knew the club wouldn't be happy but I am glad that they filed it under "Daft Boy" and moved on.

As for Vincent Lunny? I hope he has plenty email storage.

Friday, March 14, 2014

One night in Coatbridge

So there I was, balls deep in exams, revising for exams and generally worrying about exams when a speaking engagement in Coatbridge came upon me like a source based question in two parts (little college humour there)

I spent all of Monday revising until it was time to hit the road and huge thanks to Ally Holman for the lift to and from the event. Organised by the committee of the St Patrick's Day Festival in Coatbridge, I was approached by Joe Bradley(he of the Celtic-Minded series of books) way back in December to come along and speak to a few people in March. "No problem" and to the back of the mind it went.

Then about two weeks ago word start filtering through to me about it being in a 120 seater venue and the words "Holy shit" were not far from my mind. Don't ask me why but I had thought I would be talking to 10-20 folk in a laid back fashion, suddenly it was like a book launch on tour. Promo mode began because I genuinely thought I'd be talking to three men and a dug having barely mentioned the gig in two months.

Cut to Sunday there and @edgarblamm got in touch to tell me that the venue had told him the talk was now sold out. Curious, I spoke to Eddie Cantwell who, after a few calls and tweets, confirmed that all remaining tickets were gone.

I'll be totally honest, that info nearly knocked me off my feet.

As many will know I suffer from PTSD and one the effects is almost always to think the worst and so this was a real shock to me.

But a pleasant one.

Arriving at the venue, The Columba Club, I could tell right away I was among good people. I nipped in for a quick leak and met an old guy who asked "whae is it that's oan in here the night?" Eh, it's me. He then told me how he worked for Fergus McCann and loved him.

I took my seat and before long was doing a presentation on The Asterisk Years Project. Let me tell you, in any kind of project of this nature you get a lot of shit flying at you. However, nights like Monday make it all worthwhile. A crowd full of Celtic men and women, respectful, intelligent and enlightening. I loved every second of it.

After that, there was a quick break and then a Q&A which heralded lots of laughs and fun throughout.

It was a night I wish lasted forever.

Huge thanks to everyone involved and I hope to see you all again soon.

In the meantime, there will be a few more Presentations/Q&A's being announced soon, if you want to stage one, get in touch.

You'll need to do well to beat Coatbridge though.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Thank you all from The Asterisk Years

So the investors are in and it's time to get down to business. The support we have been shown has been astounding and incredible and I can't thank you enough. As policy now, I personally won't be talking publicly (in terms of on air or from my personal social media accounts) about the film until it is completed but we will be feeding info through the "Paul Larkin Books" group on Facebook, the email information list here www.theasteriskyears.com and through @asteriskyears on Twitter.

In the meantime, check this photo out from May 6th 2011, "Duped" is what he said...

www.theasteriskyears.com

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Asterisk Years Update in Coatbridge March 10th

On Monday March 10th I shall be in The Columba Club, St John Street, March 10th at 7.30pm to discuss The Asterisk Years Project.

Main themes:

-An overview of the story.

-A presentation.

-Update on what is still come.

-Q&A.

This is part of the St Patrick's Festival and the £2 entry fee goes directly to the causes attached to that.

This is an evolution of the book launches and a chance to engage further with people, face to face, to explain the story, update on where it has went and to talk about the forthcoming documentary.

I believe the drink is very cheap anaw.

So if you fancy a night in Coatbridge, I'll see you there.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A club open to all

Sometimes you wonder if Celtic actually enjoy shooting themselves in the foot.  As promises of openness and transparency from this club open to all fade away like bath water down a plug hole, the latest bizarre episode came on Wednesday with the second, invite only, meeting of the year among supporters. This one was padded out a bit more and even I got an invite, but the remit remained the same,  a box ticking exercise to admonish any blame from the board and other employees for the current issues that have seen attendances plummet and have left a lot of fans alienated.

Many of you will know I have banged the drum for ages for talks. That's talks that don't take place behind closed doors and are open to all. Who on earth thought it would be a good idea to create this pecking order of Celtic fans as a way of uniting us all is beyond me. 

As I said, I was invited. In no other capacity than to represent myself. I told Celtic that if the meeting was a closed shop, I wasn't interested. Folk might say that's me off their Christmas card list, but I was never on it to begin with and in all sincerity some of the people there on the Celtic side have treated me like shit for years now so I'm pretty far away from a cosy wee chat from them all. I made this clear to Celtic ad nauseam and felt really low that they were going to commit, in my opinion, a huge error by excluding people. It's not about me though, it's about uniting the Celtic support so why this took place under these circumstances is bizarre.

Hail Hail Media were not invited. I know that HHM told people at Celtic that they were killing any chance of progress by excluding HHM, forums like The Huddleboard and groups like The Green Brigade.

As the minutes were released, it was hard to feel anything other than dismay. I'm sure most who did go to the meeting went with best intentions but around 75% of the questions asked meant nothing to me and, gauging reaction on social media last night, very little to a lot of the folk I read.

Therein lies the problem.

You are always going to get folk saying "They don't represent me" and the only way you counter that is by making the meeting open to all. Sadly, the precedent has been set now.

Also, the strange layout of the minutes made it seem that no one challenged anything said by Celtic. I very much doubt this was the case but stuff looked like it was accepted even though things like them saying Dundee Utd's attendances have not gone up with reduced prices and the vast majority of the support were behind them shutting down section 111, are just plain wrong.

Let's not kid ourselves on either, the 500 pound elephant in the room is Peter Lawwell's running of Celtic. Many, many supporters are very unhappy with it but this was not even mentioned at the meeting and you have to wonder if this was why exclusions happened in the first place.

The absolute worst thing Celtic could do now, by an absolute mile, is make a big show of inviting HHM et al to another meeting because that just shows they have not thought any of this through at all.

I think if you want make things better, you ask the people on the streets what they think, regardless of any perceived status online or if they are going to tell you something you don't want to hear. You can kid yourself on that you are right and everyone else is wrong but when you turn up at the next home game, look around the stadium and ask yourself if you are still right.




Saturday, February 15, 2014

Seize The Opportunity by Graham Wilson

I am having a break until Sat Feb 22nd. In the meantime, I put a gun to Graham's head and he came up with this, See you all later.

Seize the Opportunity
In life there are opportunities that come our way.  Opportunities to earn more money.  Opportunities for love.  Opportunities for happiness.  And opportunities to stake your claim, to right the wrongs, to state the real and absolute truth.  These opportunities are sometimes limited when you’re up against the biggest of presences.  Paul Larkin doesn't care.  Paul Larkin is creating the opportunity to correct the record for the world to see, who've been fooled by a complicit, biased and incompetent domestic media.  And he’s doing it with a panache that will leave no doubt and all are welcome to join him if we are willing and able.
Paul Larkin’s Asterisk Years project has spanned several different mediums from the written word, to audio and now to film.  Each time the awareness of the full scale of David Murray’s cheating expands outward.  When we think of successful documentaries that have gone from book to film and have opened the eyes of many to injustice, we can’t help but think of Michael Moore as the sterling example.  Whether it be the evils of gun violence in “Bowling for Columbine”, the injustice present in the American healthcare system in “Sicko” or the lies and agenda involved with the Iraq war in “Fahrenheit 9/11”, Moore found a way to educate a huge number of people about what really goes on in the dark arts who hadn't been otherwise aware.  That’s what Paul Larkin is doing with the Asterisk Years.
Currently, there is an impression from some in the worldwide football community, that Celtic are somehow now something of a villain in Scottish football.  Running away with the league each year, only as a result of Rangers unfortunate death.  There seems to be a lack of understanding as to how the Celtic support could possibly take such glee from this current state.  Is it any wonder considering the mainstream media go out of their way with every chance, to gloss over the reasons why Rangers are dead? 
Is there ever any mention of how Rangers tried desperately and failed to kill off Celtic over two decades?  Of course there isn't.  
That’s the message that hasn't gotten out.  That’s the message that Paul Larkin is delivering.  And when the world sees it, no longer will the narrative be that Celtic won by default and is profiting now because Rangers ran out of luck.  The world will become aware of the chapter in Celtic’s history that we are currently witnessing and living through.  This is the period where we celebrate our survival.  We celebrate our refusal to vanish into the night in March of 1994.  We celebrate our refusal to sit at the back of the bus because they've had access to more money than us or had the favoritism of the so called footballing authorities. 
In spite of all that we had to face these past two decades, WE STILL WON!  We have a grip on our domestic league because we are survivors and that is truly what must be celebrated now and communicated to the world.  From charitable roots to ascending to become the greatest team the world had ever seen, to innovating the way football is played, to refusing to be put down by our most bitter rival, to surviving and prospering during a new day for the club and the country.  The magical story of Celtic continues on.
The opportunity to support what Paul is doing is there for us all.  The project is as expensive as it is audacious.  Paul Larkin only knows one way of doing this and that’s the right way.  The amount of money and resources that is required to make this happen is mind boggling.  This project demands more than a handheld camera and a windscreen, as if it’s the Blair Witch project.  There are professional cameras required and film, loads of film.  Microphones, staging equipment, editing software, consultants who have major film experience; it’s all incredibly costly but every pound and pence put into it will be worthwhile when the film is released and the pride in our hearts swell into the stratosphere.
Personally, I can’t wait for the completion of the project because I know it’s going to be something amazing that the world will take note of.  It’ll open people’s eyes, change people’s minds and set the record straight in an entertaining, informative and emotional manner.  It’s something that I know I’m going to feel immense pride in having donated to, and played a part in, once it’s out.  It’s a film that will stand the test of time and be something to show the kids and grandkids and say, I helped make that happen.  We can all help make it happen.
If you seize one opportunity this year, where you know you’ll be glad you did once it comes to fruition, this is it.  The now cult-classic film “Swingers” had a budget of $200,000 and is now one of the most quotable movies of the last 20 years.  They had to move heaven and earth to find funding to make that movie happen.  Now, anyone who was propositioned beforehand will kick themselves for not getting involved in that film while they had the chance.  That was a movie about a dopey sod who was going through a bad breakup.  The Asterisk Years is about the football club we all so dearly love and how our resilience made sure justice was done in the end.  Don’t let the opportunity pass you by.
To learn more and to make a contribution to the Asterisk Years project, and stake your claim to creating a historical record that will stand forever, visit www.theasteriskyears.com.  There are several different levels where you can contribute based on what you’re comfortable with.  But like Paul Larkin says, “don’t spend money you don’t have.   David Murray did that and we all know how that ended up.”
Hail Hail and Keep the Faith!