The Big Levein is in a Christmas Spirit…

Date: 23rd December 2021

The Big Levein is in a Christmas Spirit…

The latest blog from our resident writer Donald Stewart.

“It is that time of year when everybody gets happy…

But somebody forgot to memo the Big Levein…

2021 has been tough for everybody, even those who had a Christmas party in 2020, but this year with the tinsel and the lights up and the tree beckoning presents be placed under it The Big Levein is just not feeling it.

And who can blame him…

Picture the scene…

There are people in the Tiny Castle Nursery who want to celebrate but new restrictions, the fight over who can and should wear face coverings and how many boosters you are allowed to get before the start of a shift have been dominant parts of the conversation since people arrived at the start of the day at 7am.

In the middle of the staff room, they find themselves chatting all of this over, bemoaning life and all that it brings, completely unaware that in the half lit room, there was a figure in the corner.

T’was, The Big Levein and not the Ghost of Christmas Past.

After about 15 minutes of chit chat, the area managers, Mr. English, in charge of the ball pool servicing and Mr. McIntyre who serviced the fast food area and ensured cleanliness was next to godliness in the toilets had exhausted their small talk and general outrage at the state of the world in general when a small whine and huge sigh came from the corner of the dimly lit room.

Neither were unnerved.

They were used to the sudden appearance without warning of The Big Levein.

It was Mr. English now having finished talking of the delicacy of his balls in the pit, that turned first and asked, “are you all right?”

The Big Levein sighed again.

He emerged from the corner to take up centre looking out at the Nursery with ill disguised unhappiness.

“I saw Mr. Neilson’s comments in the comments book,” he replied.

General manager of the Tiny Castle Nursery, Mr. Neilson, had left a bit of a stink in the staff comments book after an inspection had gone a bit wrong. It was not always the best thing to do, to criticise an official, as officialdom had a long memory and were quite sensitive to any form of criticism. In fact, they were over critical at times, about other people being critical, but Mr. Nielson had been livid at what that official had done during his visit, and he vented. The official had a gander at the book before he left and who knows what he felt when he saw what was written.

What they had done, was to down grade Tiny Castle Nursery.

Mr. Neilson was then incandescent.

He knew that there was a nursery in Glasgow with whom they had been vying to be the best in the country who would be delighted with that result and would be rejoicing in the sand pit over what the Tiny Castle, their biggest rivals of this season so far had been given, in their official grading visit.

Mr. Neilson wanted the guy to declare he had made a mistake.

The Big Levein knew all about official mistakes.

He had had an official once say to him that, he might have made a mistake. The Big Levein was sanguine, “he may have admitted he made mistakes, but that’s not the point of any of this.”

Mr. McIntyre, about to interrupt to ask what the hell he was taking about was cut off when The Big Levein continued, “that’s not what I was on about or why I did what I did. It wasn’t for him to explain why he made those decisions.”

The Big Levein realised that nobody understood what he was wittering on about and tried to explain, “I go back to a time at the Ibrox Nursery, when the official was absolutely appalling.”

Both Mr. English and Mr. McIntyre nodded.

Mr. English, asked, “you got fined for that didn’t you?”

The Big Levein then nodded in response.

It was a sore point.

Mr. English sympathised and said, “”I think managers should be perfectly entitled to criticise officials. Sometimes I think they can be a little bit sensitive about this stuff.”

At that the door swung open and travelling salesman, who has the Aldi/Lidl sweets that look like the real thing but are made cheaply elsewhere concession, Mr Broadfoot stuck his head round it.

“All right?” he announced himself as a cheery, cheeky chappie who just wants everybody to buy his wares.

Unfortunately for Mr. Broadfoot, not many people do.

Without waiting for a reply, he slapped down a video camera on the table of this scene out of Christmas Present. Smiling like a melting snowman, Mr. Broadfoot, announced, “there you are – the latest video equipment to sort you all out. We can install it today in the outside areas so that any time you have a conflict in the nursery, you have the video evidence to sort it all out.”

Everyone seems unconvinced so he continues, “I heard about what happened at the thing last week with your visit, and this thing would have sorted you all right out. You could have shown that officious idiot all the things that were good and protected your reputation, but you didn’t. So here I am to sort your problems with the Video Abled Recorder equipment that they have installed in ALL the big places down south. It’s all the rage. And for you, an absolute steal.… What do you say fellas? Worth the punt? I mean what price can you put on your reputation.”

The Big Levein perk up, “this is the future,” he exclaims. The others appear dubious.

Mr. McIntyre asks, “are we allowed to do this and show them to the officials who come and challenge their decisions?”

Mr. Broadfoot responds, “of course you are, 100 per cent. Absolutely. But it’s pricey”

Mr. English adds a few words of caution, “well, as long as you’re not saying, they are deliberately out to get us. That’s the problem.”

The Big Levein tries to interrupt as he slinks back into the shadows, “well…”

He is interrupted by Mr. McIntyre who brings it all to a close with, “let’s not go down that road again!”

And then they see the price tag and lots of intakes of breath mean it is unlikely to be the premium package they go for.

Undeterred, Mr. Broadfoot, knowing his clientele well, has plenty of cheaper alternatives in his van that his pals can fit up for a fraction of the usual fee, paid in cash, directly to him, of course.

His company, Sweet Factory Associates, or SFA for short, can always find a way to fit a budget.

And from afar you could see that in the Tiny Castle Nursery, Mr. McIntyre, Mr. Broadfoot and Mr. English set off on a journey together through the alleged solution, a star of technology, like three wise men searching for an answer. The Big Levein took his leave, disappearing to his new place of business in Brechin to continue his search for a return to prominence and to find a virginal beginning to restart things once again; it is a time to believe in such miracles, is it not?

But as they continue to chat, we wonder, are we seeing a new dawn, a new beginning, the birth of a new reality or does it all just sound like the powers that be shall once again use their Scrooge like mentality, or will the SFA fit the premium version of VAR to help the likes of Tiny Castle get to wjhere they believe they should be…

Tune in next year…


Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an original tale, there is no evidence that Messrs Levein, McIntyre, Broadfoot or English have ever been in the same nursery at the same time, unless you know differently, therefore this is clearly a work of fiction, though it does use the words of each within the telling of the tale.

The fact is that during the last few weeks an astonishing and apparently unsubstantiated claim was made live on air by Craig Levein, that a Rangers supporting referee was given an Ibrox gig in his last game in charge as a favour, during a discussion about Robbie Neilson being furious over an offside goal that saw Celtic draw level with Hearts and how VAR could have resolved that and other issues in the Scottish game, thus avoiding the need to be critical of their decision making and get into trouble as once did, for his remarks. In his recently published autobiography, Jackie McNamara on page 95, added to that impression with the same claim, though he qualified his remarks with, “… I’m not saying anything here to suggest Mr. Tait wasn’t acting with integrity then, or throughout his career.” We couldn’t possibly comment…

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