The distant Ange makes a mark

Date: 16th December 2022

(Photo: @homesoffootball Twitter)

This week’s second blog provided by our resident writer Donald Stewart.

The distant Ange makes a mark

Being the head of one of the two largest clans in the largest city in Scotland is a daunting thing. For many it is the most daunting thing they had ever done. For others it is a role at which you have the right to throw things, but they tend to come from the people who don’t like your clan. They come from people on the other side of the divide. The other clan.

They can oftentimes be ignored as much as you get ignored by them when you throw insults…

But Big Ange, for that is who is the leader throws quips… he does not throw insults. It’s an awkward phase, perhaps…

Today that awkwardness is in full flight at the Annual Paradise Parade of Dance…

At which he is an honorary judge…

Picture the scene…

Fifteen women with their arms folded are standing with one eye on the dancing and the other on the judges. It is a practiced squint more than a family fault…

Each year the parade happens in the East End and the head of the clan is asked to be an honorary judge. Mrs. McGowan is standing to one side with a glower. Recently moved into the parish, her boys are no longer competitive at this level at least but she appears to know Big Ange. To know Big Ange of old.

People generally have found her an OK neighbour, a nice woman, but when the topic of the Big Ange comes up, she has an opinion. Round these here parts, such an opinion can be dangerous…

As the Parade has passed and they are awaiting the judge’s scores and decisions, nostalgia, always a popular topic turns to the Big Ange’s predecessors.

“Yon wee ginger fella was the best…”

“Awa’ wi ye altogether, Mrs. it was Martin, always the boy for me…”

“Acht,” spits out the wee woman in the corner who says very little apart from when the past is mentioned, “cannot hold a candle to the Big Man. Not one of them could make the mark he did. That’s why there are more statues to him than anyone else. European glory and nine Scottish wins in a row. Now that was a man who had his life cut short, but his legacy is what every other one is measured against. Nobody can touch the Big Man.”

Every one of them realises that there is no point in arguing. The Big Man holds a shadow over the rest like nothing ever happened after he left the clan. Nothing.

But for others who were not born at the time, it has been the nights and the weekends since that have been their legacy, their memories and they are not about to just give them up easily. They shall just boast about them out with the earshot of the oldies, still stuck in 1967…

“Oh, the Big Ange won’t hold a candle to any one of them, mark my words,” begins Mrs. McGowan.

They all, involuntarily, turn to her.

Someone marking criticism of their leader is talking fighting talk.

“My boys tell tales,” she continues. “They tell tales.”

One of the number pipes up. “And what of the tales then Mrs. McGowan? Have you examples of these here tales you tell?”

Mrs. McGowan smirks. “Oh, don’t get me wrong. The Big Ange is good, in fact, The Big Ange might well be the best. My Ryan, well he says that The Big Ange is the best he has ever worked with. And he has worked with some of the very best, so I have to take his word for that as gospel, know what I am saying?”

The group are stony faced. Mrs. McGowan senses trouble which is what she was looking for.

She continues.

“He is a man of singular approach. He is not the cute and the cuddly kind, that’s for sure.”

“We don’t need the cute and we can’t be having the cuddly.” It’s a voice at the back of the group, now growing of women of the parish eager to hear what she has to say.

“Maybe not,” counters Mrs. McGowan, “but you all have bhoys who need to be treated right. He was a stony faced, aloof, distant, scary and you dare not break his rules. Ryan said that being in his company once was the worst 16 hours of his life!”

“Why is that a bad thing?”

Just before Mrs. McGowan could answer, a megaphone is sparked up and another intimidating voice of Mrs. Desmond, the matriarch is heard above the clatter, din and concern of the women. It is time for the results. All the dancers are paraded outside the massive club rooms, and it takes no time – it is freezing after all – before the winners are announced, congratulated, given their medals and trophies and the applause is dying down.

It is then that the previously assembled group turn to confront Mrs. McGowan to find that she is no longer there.

As they start to murmur about preparing a lynch mob for Mrs. McGowan, one of their number, who was the “People’s Judge” arrives. She had been in the group to decide the winners along with the Big Ange. Usually desperate to find out how the judging was done these mothers have been distracted by the whole Mrs. McGowan episode, so their People’s Judge has to work a bit harder to gain attention.

“That was the worst 16 minute of my life!” she exclaims.

Gratified and not a little terrified she finds herself as every single one of the women turn to glare at her.

“What?”

“That judging, I swear to God. That Big Ange is a cold fish. Stony faced, aloof, distant, scary and you dare not break the rules under him. What have I said?”

The looks she is getting from the assembled throng are not what she expected. It’s like they each have seen a ghost.

In a car not far distant from the assembled crowd, now changing their plans and abandoning the lynch mob idea that was forming the stony faced, aloof, distant, and scary Big Ange is in a car, on his way to a meeting with The Budge. What people cannot see is him chuckling because his latest wind up has worked so well.

Oh, things in the East End are going to be nothing short of interesting with this joker in the pack…

 

Whilst the author, asserts his right to this as an original piece of work there is no evidence that Ange Postecoglou has ever judged a dance competition in Glasgow, unless you know differently, so this is clearly a piece of fiction, though we have used some words spoken by Ryan McGowan as source material.

The fact is that in an interview with the BBC, on their programme, Sacked in the Morning, Ryan McGowan spoke of his time with the Australian national side when Postecoglou was the team boss. He claimed that on one flight when he was seated beside the big guy, he found him so intimidating it was “the worst 16 hours of his life.” He discovered later, that rather than being a stony faced, aloof, distant, scary and you dare not break his rules kind of guy, he had a devilish sense of humour…


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