Saturday early evening at the Fitbaw Phone Frenzy

Date: 17th May 2020

The latest from SFSA writer Donald Stewart:

The sun is starting to drift downwards. Mid May. In a garden shed, somewhere in Airdrie.

Picture the scene…

It is a Saturday early evening phone in…

Host, Gentile Jim, normally is in a studio waiting till the scores have been read out. Then he can muster the energy to await his first caller. Since taking over the reins of what is known in the community station as the three F’s, the Fitba Phone in Frenzy, he has been almost quite excited.

He was from Airdrie. He never got out much anyway.

But the recent how do you do has made things even more exciting and there is nothing more that Gentile Jim likes than causing a stooshy. He revels in a stooshy. Often, though, he quite likes a stramash, but he has never really worked out the difference.

He is linked by internet and satellite to a young girl in somewhere who controls the station. At least that is what he has been told. He thought satellites in Airdrie started in Wishaw.

The young girl in charge of the phone lines gives him a nod, anything more she feels, just encourages him, as the red light goes out and Gentile Jim goes live!

The problem is of course that there is nae fitba. There’s a lot of phoning because Gentile Jim has heard of this WhatsApp app though he doesn’t have it. His phone was made by Nokia and he refuses to have a camera on a phone, in case the CIA find him, so his phone looks like what it is – ancient.

It means with no Fitba, and a phone with no one on the phone app, he really needs a frenzy; so he has stirred it up. He has claimed hunners o stuff. He has claimed on the Twitter thingmy that people are at it, people are no at what they need to be at, and people are at this when they should be at that. He doesn’t care if they don’t know what this is, or that is but he is sure they need a bit of this and plenty of that to be getting on with.

He is so proud of his twatter as he calls it; he also does not get irony.

He is so ready as the girl – he forgets her name – holds her hand up on zoom – he is in the shed whilst she is at her laptop in a kitchen somewhere in Bearsden – and he sees how many folk are on the hook.

One.

One.

His disappointment is palpable as the name comes through.

It is Ken from Brechin.

He takes a big deep breath and tries to remember, because, like most followers of a big club, he doesn’t know if Brechin actually have a fitba club. No matter he hopes this will last a wee while.

His mellifluous phone voice announces the start of it all…

“Well, folks, hello it’s me Gentile Jim here, once again on the lockdown airwaves, with the Frezny Fitba Phone In. I am just waiting to hear what the major topic of the day is likely to be. Remember now, if ye want me tae stop prattling, phone me and I can get to cut you off live on the radio. First up for you this evening is Ken from Brechin.”

The lady puts her thumb up, ignoring that he has once again got the name of the bloody programme wrong.

Ken is now transferred and it is all live.

“Hello Ken!”

“Jim? It’s Ken here. Frae Brechin.”

“Marvelous Ken. Great to hear from you. Being from up there I take it you support Aberdeen?”

“Ern aw…”

“Acht folks we have found an Inverness supporter in Bre – chin!” Gentile Jim pronounces the town like Gordon Ramsay once did and sounds as much of an arsehole as Ramsay did.

“ER, I don’t support Inverness either Jim. I support the Hedgemen. Proudly too!”

At this point Jim starts to remember some legend about a big hedge and a wee club called Brechin Rovers or something. He wonders if they play on Saturdays but realizes he needs to bring things back.

“Just kidding ye there, Ken. You could say I was hedging ma bets!” He laughs at his own joke. Too much. The young lady online smiles weekly at him, then realizes too late, it will only encourage him.

As his own laughter subsides, he picks it up, “But seriously Ken, what’s the thing that has got you phoning into Scotland’s premium phone in Fitba Frenzy show the night?” Once again, he gets the name of the show wrong and the young lady shakes her head. Jim ignores her.

“Jim, ah’m fizzing. Ah’m in a right state o anger.”

“Sounds it Ken. Sounds it. Ah ken what it’s like.” He laughs at his own joke once again and the young lady refuses to look up this time, this stopping that encouragement nonsense.

“We at Brechin City would like to refute something.”

BRECHIN CITY! That’s the one, Jim thinks as he nods encouragement. On radio this is not a great idea but then again Jim often struggles to have any ideas let alone great ones.

“There was a dossier originating in Glasgow, I think it was started in the southside, that said that Brechin had phoned aw the League Two Clubs and tellt them. Aye tellt them!”

“Tellt them what Ken?”

“A lie, Jim. A bare faced lie is what this dossier tells.”

“Aye but what did Brechin tell the clubs Ken?”

“We tellt them nothing cos we never phoned them.”

Jim starts to wonder if they even have phones in Brechin. He knew a guy from Brechin once. He wisnae very bright. He therefore thinks everyone from Brechin must be a bit dim.

He realizes he needs to prompt Ken into more of a frenzy…

“So, what has this dossier said?” Jim remembers that there a Big Dossier that was presented by The Rangers that he has supported since they paid him a fee for doing something that didn’t work very well once.

“It said, Jim that we had said that Inverness were voting yes so people should vote yes too and change from voting no but we never said that folk were to vote yes because Inverness were not voting no because we never phoned nobody and nobody even phoned us and now people are throwing dog’s abuse.” Jim realized he was still trying to work out what was no, what was yes and why dogs were being thrown when he saw that the young lady was looking at him like thunder; the airwaves had been silent for about 20 seconds – he needed to respond.

“I see.” He didn’t.

“I sympathise with your view.” He didn’t even understand it.

“I think I can see where this is leading.” He had no idea.

“We have corroboration!”

“Is it sair?” Gentile Jim laughs again at his own joke and then stops when he sees the young lady just shaking her head. She signals something with her pinkie that almost makes him blush…

Ken doesn’t notice anything because he cannot see the incident. He is in full flow…

“We are getting unwarranted abuse because there are folk saying we did something we didnae. We have verification from all the clubs that we didnae and we want it known that we didnae… And more importantly we are going to release our own statement on things. A Wee Dossier that will refute all the things we also didnae dae!”

Jim is getting bored but then sees the young lay sit up straight and start to type. He sees names and towns coming through… How has this…

“Thanks Ken,” he says. “I think you have lit a wee fire here…”

His screen says there are people now on the line waiting to talk. There is Lachlan from Ayr, Gary from Falkirk and Ross from Inverness, Dave from Greenock and Ross from Dunfermline… This was media gold!

Jim settles down to a busy night, after which he feels he knows less than when he started. People have called other people things that are simply troublesome and frankly he didn’t understand, the young lady’s fingers got frayed with it all and Jim had to lie down half way through.

But then again in a shed in Airdrie during a global pandemic… what do ye expect?

 

Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an almost original tale, any similarities to persons real or imagined are deliberate. However as none of the aforementioned chairs of SPFL clubs have ever phoned a radio phone in based in a shed in Airdrie, as far as he is aware, this is clearly fictional and never actual happened.

 

The fact is that during the week Brechin City have released a statement to refute allegations including those levelled at their chairman, Ken Ferguson. The statement reads, “In particular, in the recent dossier released in support of the EGM taking place at the SPFL tomorrow (Tuesday), there is an accusation which is pointed directly at our Chairman relating to his part in the run up to the SPFL vote which took place on Friday 10th April. This states, “It has also been alleged that Ken Ferguson (Brechin City Chairman and SPFL Board Director) called League 2 clubs and told them that Inverness had changed their vote to YES and, as a result, the Resolution was going to be approved and that there was no point in League 2 clubs voting NO.”

This is categorically refuted. Unfortunately, this is feeding the current media frenzy and, by association, Brechin City FC and our Chairman are being subjected to un-necessary scrutiny and wholly unwarranted abuse. In addition to anecdotal evidence from all of the other League 2 clubs, we have in our possession verification from each club that no such call was made. Furthermore, each League 2 club is content to provide corroboration to this effect and has stressed that they are entirely relaxed (and in reality appreciative) of the integrity Ken displayed in his role as an SPFL Director in the lead up to the vote.

The Management Committee will issue a further statement in comings days to fully address other allegations that have been directed towards the Club in the media and online in recent times.


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