Andy’s Sting In The Tale (15/09/23) “Seminality! –  I’ll Give You Seminality!”

Date: 15th September 2023


We got what we deserved at a sold out Hampden on Tuesday night.

Yes in the cold light of hindsight it was just a friendly game squeezed into a meaningless “150 year Anniversary” wrapper by the SFA marketing team.
A blatant dressing-up of the kind of unimportant birthday celebration that most golf clubs have rendered blasé but as it happens, just about a reasonable enough excuse to hype up a fundraising wheeze against your nearest neighbour.

Nobody knew 151 years ago that the idea to invite England to Glasgow to play at the West of Scotland Cricket Ground  would one day be retrospectively recognised as the first ever international football match, or that it would soon evolve into the British Home Championships that lasted till 1983 and furthermore influence both the creation of the World Cup and the Euros.

If you’re under 45, the Home Internationals were a really big deal in the days before Fifa and Uefa got their acts together, first recognising, then realising the latent commercial value inherent in the Mundial, the World Club Championships, the Euros, and the three Uefa club competitions.

What Uefa and Fifa have introduced and honed since has consigned our annual Home International Tournament to history although I personally would back a biannual England versus Scotland challenge, maybe as a fundraiser for the right football charitable cause.

1872 Scotland v England football match - WikipediaAnyway the Scotland vs England match in 1872 was seminal even if we are only recognising that now and while over the years I’ve seen us win and lose, home and away, Tuesday’s result and what it means got to me in a way that none of the rest ever did.

In the run up to the game I felt we had a good underdog’s chance.
Yes, we were on a run, with good players but deep, deep down we all knew we had been somewhat fortunate in Norway and also that fundamentally England had better players.
I had mostly managed to ignore the media chatter north of the wall. The kind that somehow always seems to start pessimistically then collectively contrives to make us favourites and was smiling, settling down to watch it on council telly courtesy of Channel 4 who provide all English matches free.
A cold glass of Aldi’s very cheeky Greek chardonnay for company set the scene.


England were truly exceptional with a well-balanced team and the ability to support and play one touch and fast.
We were outclassed in the first half and rallied a bit but there was always a gap.
Stevie summed it up afterwards and gave a good perspective.
“England have taught us a lesson. Sometimes you come up against better teams and we’ll take our medicine and move on”.
We will.
Fair play Stevie and well played Gareth.

But something was bugging me and it wasn’t the defeat.

It started to come to a head the next morning when I saw the ‘High Heid Yins’ photo with ‘Qatar home owner’ Gianni Infantino, and others in the bestest Hampden seats in front of the ‘ultra-VIP’ lounge.
The kind of seats that are free to the right people.
The photo itself is owned by Getty Images and can be purchased.
It shows Mike Mulraney, SFA president, man-marking Gianni Infantino, Fifa President, and Ian Maxwell, SFA CEO, man-marking Humza Yousaf, First Minister, and others who I don’t know.
If you look closely you’ll see Infantino is looking completely the wrong way, and 7 others ‘VIPs’ who are in wee worlds of their own with different levels of disinterest.
(But I guess when you get freebies you are not as engaged as those who have to pay).I pondered just how many other people get freebies from Hampden or Scottish football and indeed who are getting ‘just enough to wet their beaks’ in other ways from Scottish football?
And I asked myself the question.

Are they are doing anything, let alone enough, to ensure that they are leaving our game in a better place than they found it.
Scottish football doesn’t need Don Fanuccis who just take, take and take.
But we have a fair few.

So What Was Bugging You Andy?

Scott McTominay crosses Scotland England divide as Harry Maguire offered solace after heavy Hampden backlash - Daily RecordI was happy to be a Scotland fan again with a modicum of optimism that I haven’t had for years.
It got me thinking about how poor we had been, how low we had fallen, and how I prefer where we are now.
And while I can proffer many reasons for why we tumbled down the rankings the only reasons I have for our recent resurgence are Steve Clarke and ‘serendipity’.

So watching us against England I was asking myself if the right moves had been or are being put in place to future proof our current mini-recovery, especially in the long term.

We all know luck comes and goes and yes, we do have the best Scottish team in a couple of generations, and a management group who are grounded and as good as we could ever hope for.
Neither because of good planning on our behalves by those who ran the game.

We will qualify for the Euros and have a financial basis on which to build a long term change if the monies find their way to the right places, but what is bugging me is I have no evidence of or belief that we have engineered the right change and changes to make the right change and changes.

Our team will probably hold on a while, some, but not enough players like Ben Doak will come through the ranks.
The team will become stale, grow older and our performances slide accordingly.
The very hard fact is there are no Scottish football based development initiatives to sustain us at our present level.

England have no magic formulae either but do have 10 times as many players, much more money and the best league in the world.

But we can’t just copy them because we don’t have the resources.

So we have to think smarter and seminally.

That means from the bottom up and right now we’re not even at the races.

I hope the Getty photo get-together started full and frank conversations about structural Fifa help for the wee guys, (like Scotland), with Gianni and the need for football to work closer with the Scottish Government with Humza last Tuesday.

But I’d also bet it didn’t.

We need bigger and better thinking and a long term focus.

And some Seminality.


Fellow comedians and friends pay tribute to Billy Connolly as he turns 70 - Daily RecordAnd as I write that I can hear Billy Connolly shouting our headline, “Seminality! –  I’ll Give You Seminality!”

This Week’s Sting

1. Rachel Plays a Real Captain’s Part

2. Anthemic Whistling and Booing

3. Block Bollocks

4. Las Rojas Siguen Infelices



1. Righting a Wrong SFA Style

The action by the Scottish Women’s team for players to be treated the same as the Scottish men’s team was delayed a day, for “discussions”, and whatever standoff existed went right to the wire till peace broke out just minutes before the tribunal was due to start.
Joint statement by Scottish FA and Scotland Women - SheKicksRachel Corsie the captain had raised the action on behalf of her team mates and countless future players.

“After years of iniquity, disrespect, and in some cases abuse, we have a historic opportunity to advance equal pay and equality on issues such as training facilities, hotels, travel, kit plus medical and nutritional resources”.

Suzanne Mulvey, ex international said, “This action has not been taken lightly. It’s about improving things for the next generation”.

The tribunal case was being supported by the players union.

So an undeclared ‘victory’ for the girls.

Sadly the usual SFA ‘non-disclosure’ bollocks means the deal will be under wraps, (till it gets leaked), but my KC pal told me this morning, “The girls got everything they wanted and more. Yes the women’s game is financially smaller but representing Scotland is representing Scotland. The SFA knew they were on a hiding to nothing so rolled over and had their tummies tickled”.

Meanwhile the questions we would like to know the answers to.

Why did the SFA seek to contest equality?
What were the issues and why?
How much has this diversion cost Scottish football?
Who picks up the bill for the women’s legal costs along the way?
Why all the secrecy and the non-disclosure?

I bet Rose Reilly was grinning from ear to ear when she heard the outcome.
The short-haired Scottish trailblazer who won the World Cup - BBC News




2. Union Blues

First of all I’d like to say whoever decided on a minute’s silence at a sold out Hampden international derby match is a numpty.


It should have been a minute’s raucous applause for all Craig has done.
That booing we all heard was disgraceful and should have made Ally McCoist’s Talk Radio show.
It didn’t.

Secondly I’d like to ask where blue, the colour blue, is found on the English flag which is red and white.
Always has been and always will be so when they use blue it comes from the Scottish part of the Union flag.
And that includes the lionesses who have no rights to declaring blue as their colour.
Why are they trespassing into our colour?
“Get back into the land of red and white when it comes to football colours, you English usurpers”!

Thirdly let’s think about Scottish fans Booing their own national anthem on Tuesday.

I don’t mean the Flower of Scotland dirge we use as a national anthem but the wee ditty with 6 verses about our new king.
The one where the 6th verse actually contains these words, “And like a torrent rush, rebellious Scots to crush”.
I can see how Billy Connolly called it out for being racist before suggesting The Archers Theme as a replacement.

Ally McCoist hits out at Scotland 'SNP fans' for booing England national anthem - Football ScotlandAnyway there has been a bit of media stooshie about the Tartan Army telling the FA what they thought of their choice of anthem.

Ally McCoist came out and said “I think country’s anthems should be respected and I think what happened was absolutely out of order”.

He is right.
We should respect foreign anthems and Hampden usually does, but Ally, here are 4 reasons for the Tartan Army reaction.
(There will probably be more reasons too, and nowadays none of them will lead to overnight accommodation in The Tower, an uneven, no-prisoners fight at Culloden Moor, or captivity for a few years in Fotheringhay.

1. We were Booing our own national anthem.

God Save the King is the anthem of Great Britain and whatever the reasons for showing dissent, it is now a veritable fact that non-vindictive dissent was indeed shown by many at the match, in pubs and in homes too.
A peaceful political response from Scots that I would fight for the right for any of us to make.

2. Some were Booing the English FA for effectively stealing our British anthem and trying to make the geopolitical point that England means Britain. That’s worth a Boo any day.

3. Some were just Booing England before the match and Booing the National Anthem to warm up their vocal chords until a certain Kyle Andrew Walker came on. (He must have Scotland somewhere in him with that name)

4. Some were/are republicans and have no sign-up to or truckle with inherited regality.

So, Ally, four legitimate reasons for the protest for starters.

(I wonder how Mike Mulraney explained the unified disunity to Fifa’s man from Qatar).

2. Hampden, Where The Customer Isnae King

Hampden Park - WikipediaWhen will the SFA come into the 21st century and offer fans a choice where they want to see the match from.
Why are tickets still sold by the old Hobson’s Choice, i.e. take the next in line rather than where you might actually want to sit.
Yes there will be reasons but they are not customer focussed and all just about “this is the way we’ve always done it”.
If The SFA board were treated this way when they went to the cinema they’d walk with their feet.
They are abusing their power here by giving fans no choice.


4. Buena Suerte Las Rojas

The week started with a right wing UK news channel and puppet interviewer, interviewing Luis Rubiales, kindly.
Suzanne Wrack from the Guardian saw right through it and said, “Piers Morgan’s line of questioning was designed to make Rubiales seem reasonable”.

Well today it seems that Las Rojas, the Spanish Women’s Team, are continuing their refusal to play for the Spanish women’s national team.
New Coach, Montse Tome will have to decide whether to list ‘striking’ players or find new ones ahead of her deadline.

The players want more and real changes and feel there is a bigger job yet to do within Spanish football and society.

Spanish players to continue women's national team boycott until FA undergoes more changes - BBC SportAlexia Putellas said, “We are asking for changes so no woman inside or outside soccer should ever have to experience again situations of disparagement, disrespect, or abuse”.

So deadlock in the sun because Spain and football have historic issues.

I say that set against a week where at least 3 young Real Madrid male players have been arrested over sex tape sharing allegations with a 16 year old girl and where Man U loanee Mason Greenwood is due to make his La Liga debut for Getafe against CA Osasuna on Sunday afternoon.
United are paying most of his wages and it has been reported that he has broken the Getafe shirt sales record.

I’d say Spain has a way to go.

That’s it for this week

Feedback input and wee stories welcome as always.





Mirage (Camel album) - WikipediaAndy’s Album(s) of the Week

This week it’s been ‘Moonmadness’ and ‘Mirage’ by Camel.
Two great prog rock masterpieces.


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