Champions For Change!


Tomorrow is the 9th of July. Happy Retaking of Vows Day to Mr and Mrs CELTICROLLERCOASTER!!!! Only time I’ve ever been to such a ceremony,and a smashing day for one and all it was too. Though I did attend a couple’s second marriage after they’d been divorced for about ten years- not sure that counts! But I digress. Tomorrow sees the start of our season. Yep,9th of July and the fitba’s back!

Three weeks off work for our players,and it’s putting a huge strain on them. Callum McGregor for instance-he played 69 games last season,including internationals. And he gets three lousy weeks to recuperate? Not so long ago there was a three MONTH break,near enough,between the seasons. And as I said the other day,Celtic only played 46 games in 81/82-and that included six sectional League Cup games and the European Cup.

Ah,the European Cup. Remember it? When you took your chances on the draw,you could get the champions of Luxembourg or the champions of Italy? We got Juventus that year,papped oot in the first round despite beating Platini et al at Celtic Park. Now? Well,we have four bloody qualifiers to play before we get a chance at that level. Win yer league,play four qualifiers. Come fourth in your league,don’t play any qualifiers at all.

Madness. Money-driven madness. So how did it come to this,and why am I talking about it?

A lot of the problem is geo-political. In the days of the Lisbon Lions,there were only 30 member associations. Add the holders and in the first round,one team got a bye.

Now there are 55 members. So an extra round and nine byes,no? Not a chance. It’s eight groups of four,six games in each per team. And it’s open to non-champions. Loads of them-in fact you’ll be lucky if there’s a dozen domestic champions in The Champions League these days. Greed has become the mantra. Greed has become the driving force. Your admission to the Champions League is a variable depending on how big and how rich your country is.

Of those 32 places,one goes to the holders. Not a problem there. Then the five biggest countries get four each! Add in the holders of the Europa League and the winners of the next-four highest rated countries,and the champions of more than 80% of member countries are scrapping it out for a disgraceful SIX places. And that can include the likes of,for instance,Ajax,who made it to the semi-finals last season before losing to a rather fortunate Tottenham.

So,it’s not The Champions League. It’s the big boys league,and it is designed to keep the big boys getting bigger. And that’s just wrong. It goes entirely against the ethos of rewarding sporting excellence. It means that Barcelona can have a turnover approaching half a billion while Dundee United-who have never lost to Barcelona in European competition-can’t even achieve 1% of that total. It’s wrong.

It was MICK WHELAN who prompted this article. He’s mightily miffed about the whole arrangement too. He mailed me suggesting I did an article about the inequity of it all,and gave his thoughts on how to change things.


I have been thinking for some time about the unfairness of the Champions league. It’s simple enough to put the 3rd and 4th placed teams in the so called big leagues into the qualifying rounds this would create 8 places for the winners of the so called smaller leagues and the bigger leagues would still have a great chance of qualifying. I was hoping that if the Celtic blogs went with the idea that clubs like Ajax Celtic might try and push the idea through the G14. (It was suggested that) I put my thoughts on an Email to you and that you might put flesh on the bones and make appealing to the general support. Thanks,Mick Whelan


Well,Mick. Two teams for each of the top five leagues,plus the two holders. That’s twelve,leaving twenty places. I’d suggest ten to a Champions Route and ten to a non-Champions group.

Politically that would be wise as it still allows the possibility of the Big Five having four teams each. Don’t forget,of course,that these teams think they are so important to the group stages that they demand to be there by right. So it surely shouldn’t be a difficulty to qualify then? After all,if they are concerned about not being good enough to qualify,why do they think they are good enough for the group stages? They are clearly bringing nothing to the party in terms of sporting excellence. And they know it!

It would also mean that at least fifteen teams in the group stages were domestic champions and would provide a wider distribution of the prize pool amongst the minor European Leagues.

Every country with at least one representative gets around €5m,remember. That is a vital cash supplement in many countries. Bate Barisov,for example,had been regulars at the table for years before the latest carve up. Belarus is one of the poorest countries in Europe,might well be the poorest in fact. That €5m would have been a godsend. Those thieving greedy fatcat basturts in Madrid,London,Milan etc CGAF.

They CGAF about the wider game either. They are viewing this as a long-term self-survival policy. The big teams in the big countries have let the genie out of the bottle with spiralling transfer fees and player salaries. They know that it is unsustainable. So,if by their own stupidity and self-importance they can no longer control costs,then they must control income. And The Champions League is the biggest income driver available to them. It’s all about money,it’s all about monopolising it for the few and to hell with the rest of you.

Think about it. Most countries have a top two and a regular third team scrapping it out nowadays. Two or three teams might be in the fray to hang on to their coat tails. But the days of a Cloughie Forest,a McLaren FC Twente,even outliers like Leicester are a thing of the past. I remember Celtic being knocked out of Europe by Alberto’s Real Sociedad. It might happen again-but not in The Champions League.

The big teams are on a road to utter domination of the sport,and I fear it will wreck it. They are operating a cartel,with the full co-operation of UEFA. Mick Whelan is right. This must be stopped,and parity returned to our game.

Football is nothing without supporters. It is also nothing without reward for sporting excellence. It is nothing at all if you can’t play with the big boys.


Above article by BMCUWP. But only thanks to the welcome thoughts offered by MICK WHELAN. If you would like to see your thoughts on just about anything posted as Article of the Day,mail it to Mahe.

As above,if you would like us to explore a topic for you,do what MICK did. We are grateful for all and any input.

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OnlyUberTimWithoutInsideTangibleSouthstand hMmm
July 8, 2019 5:20 am
July 8, 2019 5:32 am

OnlyUberTimWithoutInsideTangibleSouthstand hMmm

Some great videos there,mate. And some cracking goals to round them off. Just texted you with a wee idea. Let me know what you think,please.

For anyone who hasn’t seen the videos,they are towards the end of the previous article.

July 8, 2019 5:42 am


Give up Europe to win the 10? Expectation management of the highest order. We should always strive to be the best we can.

If your successor rates Smith that highly,I reckon that’s a good enough recommendation for me. Certainly better than our new left back pushing Morelos over. I’ll wait till nearer the end of the window before I comment much about it,but I have to say that we have made a good start to it.

Re your wife’s past medical problem,that appalled me. Anyone can make a mistake,I know,but to virtually give someone a death sentence-wrongly!-beggars belief. The stress of that could have been fatal to either of you-especially with your blood pressure! I’m glad she was alright,of course. Long may that continue.

As for your wee pic of Padre Pio…

THE BARCA MOLE had a shrine in his back garden in The Philippines,to Our Lady. Lovely piece of work. Every so often I would phone him up and ask him to plead for intercession on someone’s behalf. We reckoned that as long as it wasn’t for personal gain,it would be looked on favourably.

Load of nonsense,obviously-but you know what? 100% success rate!

Very weird. So don’t lose your wallet!

Twists n turns
July 8, 2019 5:43 am

I’m going back a bit now, maybe 6 or 7 years I can’t remember exactly, but Scudamore was in charge of the FA at the time, and they were proposing a play off system for the 5th CL spot for English teams.
The reason? They said they wanted to end the monopoly of the “ big 4” in England re CL spots.

Unfair was the cry.

I recall thinking – “ so they agree monopolies aren’t good domestically so will introduce a play off system to give a team finishing perhaps 8th in the league a chance to win what?

A place in the biggest monopoly of them all.”

The hypocrisy was nauseating.

Twists n turns
July 8, 2019 5:48 am

Yeah the diagnosis thing was disappointing to say the least. They said she’d been diagnosed by a junior doctor and it was only when reviewing his notes by a senior doctor took place, that they recognised the prognosis may be wrong

To be honest, the relief at the time super-ceded the anger!

Yeah my wallet is safe enough. The chap inside it sees to that ?

July 8, 2019 5:50 am


Your last sentence-I hadn’t thought of that!

Hope your day goes well with the Americans. I’m sure they’ll be delighted with your work.


Twists n turns
July 8, 2019 6:15 am

I’m not so sure they will be happy! I’ve been rattling their cage re funding for a few weeks now culminating in a rather terse communication from me yesterday making it clear where I stood.

Today might be somewhat difficult!

July 8, 2019 6:31 am


Pay peanuts,get monkeys. Hire the best,dig deep!

Good luck,mate. You’ll have them eating out of your hand in no time. And not peanuts either.

July 8, 2019 6:33 am

The two Micks, I agree with what you both say 100%. It’s all driven by greed and self interest. However there is another side which is uncomfortable. Supply and Demand.

Even although we all know, probably throughout Europe and beyond, that the whole set up is corrupt there is still a huge demand for it. I wonder what the total attendances are for every match from the 1st Qualifying round to the final of both competitions. What the viewing figures are.

Like most folk when it’s kick off time at Celtic v AN Other FC it becomes all about the football. We forget for 90 mins about UEFA etc.

Everyone knows the answer. Boycott! But few can be bothered.

The internet & streaming could be the big danger to it all.

Twists n turns
July 8, 2019 6:34 am

I should emphasise the funding I’m demanding isn’t for me or anyone else, it’s essential investment to improve efficiency and maximise profits.

Equipment primarily.

Sound familiar ? ?

July 8, 2019 6:41 am


I said in an earlier article that TV money on which their models are predicated would dry up due to streaming. I still believe that to be the case. Also,I think people will lose interest anyway,meaning fewer people coughing up.

July 8, 2019 6:50 am


Familiar? Hell,yes. You should see how my company operates nowadays!

I remember telling my bosses nearly ten years ago that we needed to replace our vehicles,not in one hit but as and when. We had over twenty at the time. Each should have a lifespan of approx 3-4 years due to mileage,but many of them were already almost twice that.

Set out the figures for them. Even aside from our then enormous repair bills,the vehicles would pay for themselves over their lifetimes in fuel savings alone. Our Transits did 21mpg,the Movanos I wanted averaged over 30.

I only got the replacements trickling in a few years later when the Transits coughed their last. When one blew an engine on the M4,I threatened to report the situation to VOSA. Bloody joke,some people. Want it all,want to pay sod all.

July 8, 2019 6:52 am

If only a groundswell of opinion could be built up amongst the majority of the FAs in Europe. Say 40+ of the 55. Leave UEFA. Set up a new European assc. Run on a better, fairer, reasonable model. Leave the top guns to their own devices. They would die within 5 years. If FIFA dont like it all the better, leave that corrupt lot too.

July 8, 2019 6:56 am

Bobby, sounds like your firm hasn’t heard of depreciation. If the life expectancy of your vans are 4 years there should be money available for a replacement at the end of its cycle.

July 8, 2019 7:16 am


They were on an austerity kick,mate. Removed the capital expenditure from the departmental budget. They went ballistic when I put in a cost-centre transfer and got four nearly-new vans from our site in Weymouth! A fun day to the seaside picking them up,I can tell you.

Twists n turns
July 8, 2019 7:27 am

Reports that Gerrard turned down the Newcastle job.

Awe did he aye….?

Twists n turns
July 8, 2019 7:36 am

How much game time will Broony see this season?

Ntcham if he’s around?


I’d think the 2 main players in the middle would be;


Add Forrest for 3?

Neil still looking at Romaine Sawyers


What will our strongest 11 be?

Are we starting to look good?

Up front Griff Eddie Oko Flex? Shved?

Makings of a good 11 I’d think?


big packy
July 8, 2019 8:29 am

MORNING ALL, bobby and mick great article, but gone are the days when I watched the lions play and win the scottish league and then win the big cup, if you won your countrys league then you entered the European league not now my god how many English teams are in it now , a feckin disgrace, any way ive had more arguments than enough down here with with my English neighbours they have threatened to send me back over hadrians wall.hh.?

July 8, 2019 8:34 am

Twists n turns,
I’m not impressed
with our business so far, we desperately need a right back & someone who can lead the line like Moussa did.
I’m also disappointed we haven’t tried to bring Benkovic back.


July 8, 2019 8:35 am

I also noted that Fraser Forster has been advised to look for a new club.
If the big man is fit, i’d have him back.

July 8, 2019 8:42 am

First of all Thank You BMCUW for your excellent article, secondly I must admit a bias here as Mick Whelan is a personal friend of mine & travelling companion in vast majority of my trips to Celtic Park, As you say it was Mick who provided the genesis of the article and I am sure Mick will be on later to pick up on same and he is well able to speak for himself.
The point I wish to make is we all get angry at the injustices of life and say ‘Something should be done’, However nobody knows what the ‘Something’ is and eventually our anger becomes frustration & eventually resignation & acceptance of the status quo.
If we can identify the ‘Something’ in this instance as a simple coherent proposal to reform the rules of the Champions League to restore it to it’s original noble aspirations and use the power of Celtic Cyberland to promote the proposal and to being it to a wider audience then we are lighting a candle rather than cursing the darkness.
In an ideal situation if these reform proposals were Championed in the first instance by our own Club , it could spark interest with like minded Clubs all over Europe.
I am still 90% a CQN’er and a 10% Sentinel Celt but am a 100% Celtic Fan and would love if this idea simply got exposure on all the different Celtic Social Media Sites. So if the likes of James Forrest & other Influential Bloggers take a peep here as I’m sure they do and decide to take up on the idea then that in itself would represent success.
The reality is there are millions of disenfranchised Football fans all over Europe, the language barrier creates a difficulty but it is not impossible for cyberland to create a link between Supporter Fanzines in various Countries outwith the Big 5 to promote areas of common interest, in this instance Reform of Champions League.

big packy
July 8, 2019 8:43 am

MONTI, id have fraser back in a heartbeat.hh.

big packy
July 8, 2019 8:47 am

CORKCELT, nice to see you posting.hh.

The Exiled Tim
July 8, 2019 8:50 am

I agree with the sentiment of the blog but it’s just not gonna happen, the clubs have the built in fear of uefa-fifa whatever, the fear of losing money, sadly the likes of the splinter groups are just talking shops, they have no teeth whatsoever, they would have the teeth if they so wished to use them but they won’t because of the fear.
All we have to do is to look at home, Res 12 was the silver bullet and our club did nothing about it, why not, because of the fear of losing money and alienating the club against those who would happily see us gone.
How sad is that.

big packy
July 8, 2019 8:52 am

THE EXILED TIM, yes agree so feckin sad.hh.

OnlyUberTimWithoutInsideTangibleSouthstand hMmm
July 8, 2019 8:55 am

Happy anniversary to Mr and Mrs CRC !!

Great Tim, who I had the pleasure to meet once.

BMCUW, on reading your 24th December reminded me of the attraction I felt as a young boy towards Wendy Richard. Even that programme knew that the suits upstairs must never be questioned. But ffs, I didn’t grow up thinking that Wendy should be managing our football team just because she was competent at sales and management. So why are we seeing a fan club defending our accountant so vociferously that they would gladly alienate 80% of the Celtic supporters who used to engage with them ? How bizarre….

July 8, 2019 9:18 am

OnlyUberTimWithoutInsideTangibleSouthstand hMmm

Aye,she certainly filled out the Grace Bros apparel rather nicely. Looked like she’d been dragged through a hedge backwards by the time she got to Eastenders though. I think that might have been the day I realised I wasn’t a teenager anymore!

The more important point,why is there such a vociferous defence of our CEO? I genuinely cannot answer that. It puzzles me deeply. I’ve called him the arch-schmoozer in the past but that hardly explains it. Most people realise they’ve been schmoozed! It’s like a cult,honestly.

Maybe we should call them The Stepford Husbands.

July 8, 2019 9:29 am


I fear that resignation to events has already occurred. The fact that the 44 minor associations did sod all about it at the time speaks volumes. It’s one member one vote,remember. Andorra has as loud a voice as Spain.

Methinks it was only the middling associations which objected. The upper echelon,the top five and the next five,would be all in favour. Why not-it was their idea? The bottom dozen or so wouldn’t care as they would never qualify anyway. That’s nearly half of your votes sorted. A wee promise of a favour here and there,sorted.

Corrupt,as someone much better than I once said.

July 8, 2019 9:37 am

Re corrupt.

It always amazed me that Turnbull Hutton wasn’t put on a disrepute charge for his comments. After all,we’ve seen the charge trotted out for innocuous comments by comparison.

Of course,it may well be that he was. And TH suggested that they reconsider. We will never find out,of course,as the great man is no longer with us. Now we have arseholes leading us. And God designed arseholes to be at the rear.

OnlyUberTimWithoutInsideTangibleSouthstand hMmm
July 8, 2019 9:53 am

Going through the old videos for BMCUW, can’t believe the SPL had this one deleted for copyright ???
No, wait, I can ??

July 8, 2019 9:59 am

OnlyUberTimWithoutInsideTangibleSouthstand hMmm

First time I’ve ever enjoyed Star Trek!

OnlyUberTimWithoutInsideTangibleSouthstand hMmm
July 8, 2019 10:03 am



If it was a Pre- Easties Wendy cult, I could one get on board…..

Obviously, “big Pedro” has some features that some can’t deny an attraction to ??

His big spreadsheets??


Bring back Capn Kirk, I say ! ?

The Exiled Tim
July 8, 2019 10:18 am

We are the only club on the planet that in many supporters eyes, the CEO gets all the credit for what the team and the manager does, how bizarre is that, amazing brainwashing going down me thinks.

July 8, 2019 10:24 am

Great stuff,this EPL. Sign a player for £10m,play him about twenty times in four years,sell him for £26m.

I’ve seen him play,btw. Big bruiser of a lad,played for Chippenham just along the M4. I thought they did well getting about £10,000 from Ipswich for him. Do not pick this guy in your Fantasy League team. Good luck to him,he’ll never need to work again,and I’m sure he will look out for his family,but good grief.

July 8, 2019 10:25 am


Not on here,he doesn’t!!!

OnlyUberTimWithoutInsideTangibleSouthstand hMmm
July 8, 2019 10:33 am

What’s the script with CEOs in the EPL? Are they as well known? On big bonuses?

How big are their spreadsheets? ?

The Exiled Tim
July 8, 2019 10:40 am

No, not on here, thankfully the posters on here are not brainwashed
Pedro is the sixth highest paid CEO of a football club in the UK, no bad for someone who’s team play in a pub league

The Exiled Tim
July 8, 2019 10:48 am

Lovely skill and a raking pass, get him signed Pedro

July 8, 2019 10:58 am


Blinkin flip. Some pass too at the end of it!

The Exiled Tim
July 8, 2019 11:02 am

Reading the Brentford forums they rate him, that’s always a good sign, I recall that we were in for him or at least linked with him afore he joined Brentford, for 2.5 mill, must be worth the gamble imo.

My name is mickwhelan
July 8, 2019 11:09 am

A big thanks for creating a well put together article based on my frustration. Despite all the nonsense you read re the huge Celtic support in Ireland the truth is the vast majority are fans of the Epl and it’s frustrating trying to get your point across to people who at one time had a soft spot for Celtic but soon lost that affection when we beat Man Utd and Liverpool and Blackburn and we as Celtic supporters took a certain pleasure . I have had people laughing at us when Rangers won the league on the last day of the season.I used the term FANS in relation to the Epl fanatics as they talk in terms of we without ever seeing there team play live.Iv had my rant but I am grateful for the opportunity to see my issue discussed

July 8, 2019 11:14 am

Morning all.

Noel Skytrot
July 8, 2019 1:27 pm

It’s all about the dinero, shekels, Euro’s, pounds and many other forms of currency that I won’t list. Like anything else were huge sums of money are involved there’s always corruption, couple that with ego, junkets, cronyism etc this is the end result. Sadly, its the way of the world and football is just another medium for greedy bastards to get rich. If we’re honest, football’s a burst “baw” so to speak.

July 8, 2019 1:41 pm

The Exiled Tim@10-48
Aye that’s all very good but could he produce that skill when he’s having his Achillies raked by sharpened studs and subsequently gets booked for simulation with blood pouring from the wound?

July 8, 2019 2:32 pm

Sadly your article is all too true.
Gluttony is a sin and often leads to destruction.
Unfortunately the stomach has plenty room for more.
Those who could fight for justice and parity are too busy trying to get their own snouts in the trough.
The silver lining is that it is not a bottomless pit and consumers change their consumption habits.
It may not be as soon as we would like but change will come.

July 8, 2019 2:46 pm

Indeed, been a thorn in my side for a few years now, this. I refer the reader to my own piece on it if yous haven’t already –

But again, folk are busy these days so I’ll highlight the wee bit that today’s article touches on, namely how the places in the UCL are allocated:

‘The most galling thing about it all, to my mind, is that if it really had the will and the appetite to redress fairness and the spirit of competition to the sport then UEFA could put an end to this farce at a stroke. The top 6 leagues can have their league winners and runners-up go into the groups, that’s 12 spots. The champions from the leagues ranked 7th-14th go straight in as well. That’s 20 spots. Already you’ve diversified the competition several times over. The Europa League? Something very similar, except with the domestic cup winners (or finalists if cup winners already qualify for UCL) rather than allowing a back door entry into Europe for clubs that have an eye-wateringly huge wage bill but still weren’t able to put together a title challenge. If I can come up with this back-of-a-fag-packet stuff then surely to goodness someone at the European Club Association can propose a better one?‘

July 8, 2019 2:52 pm

I think I will make Fort William my ‘second’ team.

They can only get better God bless them.

July 8, 2019 2:57 pm


I am with Monti on this. I think the player pool is a dog’s breakfast. Edouard will be played out of position because we have no target man. Neither Griff, if fit, nor Oko Flex can play that role. Ntcham and Rogic are either “injured” or want away. Christie is untried after his injury. Calmac may have recovered his form of mid season, he may be burnt out. No RB. Who will be the LB? Julien and Bolo still to be bedded in.

I hope I am wrong but I think we shall get a severe wake up call tomorrow. The St Gallen result speaks volumes.

Having said this, Julien and Bolo could turn out to be good signings, but they will have little to no impact upon the Sarajevo tie.

Sawyers and Smith are experienced players but I have not seen them play. Sawyers may be another Naka or another Evander Sno.

If I am reading the signs correctly that Lenny is going for Attack, Attack, then I fear the worst.

All the best with your business venture!


Mike in toronto
July 8, 2019 3:15 pm

What we now see as the CL was Uefa’s response to threats by many of the biggest clubs to form a breakaway superleague, outside of Uefa’s grasp (which neither really wanted). So, a defacto superleague (with various teams basically guaranteed membership), but run under the UEFA banner, was the compromise solution.

The only way it will change in the future is, if the biggest clubs decide that they want/deserve an even bigger piece of the pie….

unfortunately, Celtic are something of an outlier … massive support, but very poor league, and poor football ….outside of a few exceptional nights in Europe when the crowds are great, Celtic really doens’t bring much to the table … so, their wants will be given little consideration by UEFA…

I read an article recently that listed the 25 teams that have produced the most players in the top 5 leagues in Europe. * Now, this article was from 2017, and I understand Ajax have moved up since then, but they weren’t even on the last in 2017 … Real, Barca, Lyon, Bilbao and Man United were the top 5…

A few surpries (at least to me) somewhat unheralded Rennes and Nantes made the top 10, while Chelsea’s vaunted academy/transfer dealings only had them in 22nd spot.

I haven’t checked to compare the value of the players, so perhaps Rennes are selling for much cheaper …

The only south american team was River Plate who snuck in as the 25th placed team…

However, if one doesn’t restrict things to the top 5 leagues, we see a very differnt story** …. across Europe, Ajax has produced more players (who play in the top divisions across Europe), followed by Partizan Belgarde, Barca, Dinamo Zagreb. amd Shaktar Donetsk. The top English team is, again, United, but they are only 18th.

I haven’t really thought about what lessons to take from this… but will give it some thought, and if I can pull something from it, I will post my thoughts.



July 8, 2019 3:24 pm

I reluctantly have to agree with you.
The complacency of the club and the support is understandable given recent history.
But that is a perilous path.
I think the signings are part based on need and also an attempt by the coach to stamp his authority and prove he is his own man.
Throwing away a successful blueprint carries a huge risk.
New players in a different environment is always a crapshoot.
I sense players strengths may be impacted by a my way or the highway coaching strategy.
To me our biggest area has been the central midfield area and maybe the Sawyer link is an attempt to rectify.
The McGregor love in is strange as he was pretty ineffective for the second half of the season.
I don’t believe it was all his fault
As a fan of Brown i actually think we need to address his role for the betterment of the team.
Central defense is a tough one to call as we had no settled partnership all of last season.
Left back i also feel the same as KT has been poor for the last one and a half seasons when the impact of overuse resulted in frequent injury and the coaching directives nullified his marauding runs and aggressive tackling.
Ed has clearly shown how effective he is coming off the left side and watching him being played like a target man for the old Wimbledon side does not suggest the coach see’s his talent.
I expect he will be sold in January.
Change was inevitable with the Neil’s appointment but the scale and haphazard approach combined with a poor pre season where the only creativity came from youth has me worried especially with a coach who has stated and demonstrated his reluctance to play them.