The Feast from the East

In these difficult times, as we are being subjected to a pandemic that is believed to have originated in East Asia. What started as a virus mainly limited to that region of the world has now become a truly global pandemic. I hope pray and trust that everyone keep safe and we are all fine and well, once it is brought under control.

 

Leaving the pandemic aside for a few moments. I would like to talk about another explosive item that came from that region, from Yokohama in Japan infact, and it arrived in 2005 in the form of…Shunsuke Nakamura.

 

When Shunsuke Nakamura joined Celtic, it was a benefit to the club in more ways than just as a footballer, as he was regarded in Japan as something of their David Beckham equivalent. Celtic also secured the player’s image rights, as a multitude of Asian fans took an interest in what he was doing, and it opened up a newer market for the club and the media, his fans took a greater interest in Celtic. Nakamura (or) Naka had, by then earned 59 caps for Japan but would go on to win many more, he was sought after by some European and English clubs, before choosing to join Celtic.

 

In an earlier article i spoke of Lubo Moravcik, and i think it’s fair to say both of these players were very creative midfielders. Nakamura (or Naka) was predominantly left footed, and Lubo, well no one actually knew at the end, whether he was naturally left or right footed, and it’s probably fair to say that unlike Lubo, Naka was played a lot out of his natural midfield position, due to the SPL cloggers, and it would have been extremely hard for him to be just as successful as some thought Lubo was. He was a player that i found certain Celtic fans could be unfair to, but it did not help that he was played out on the wing more to try and protect him from thugs, and some of the criticism that Naka received, i thought was certainly unfounded, as he was a tremendous talent.

 

Similar to Lubo who had left Celtic in 2002, Nakamura was very capable of showing moments of sheer quality, either during in game play or his dead ball strikes, (incidentally both players wore the number 25 shirt) it’s fair to say he is probably remembered mostly for those dead ball situations, which is a shame as those were only part of his real qualities, albeit they were usually so stunning it was hard for fans not to prioritize them.

 

A Japanese internationalist. Who arrived at Celtic Park after being signed by then Celtic manager Gordon Strachan. Nakamura was small in stature, whose  ability made up for his lack of pace, a wonderful ability to pick out a pass helped him become accustomed to the rigours of Scottish football, teams were unaccustomed to his football intelligence, he was regularly assaulted by thugs, and they just scythed him down, when they could not match his skill. Strachan once said “He will go down as the most-kicked player in the SPL by a million miles and nothing fazes him.” Naka rarely gave the ball away, and had an air of humbleness despite his talents. Spurs defender Steve Perryman said that “Nakamura could open a tin of beans with his left foot”.

 

In his time at Celtic Naka helped Celtic towards three premier league titles from 2006-2008, two league cups and one Scottish cup. He also picked up 3 major player of the year awards in 2007 from SPFA SPL and SFWA, as well as being voted Celtic POTY 2007, and numerous MOTM awards. Naka also appeared in the FIFA World Cup finals in 2006 and 2010 and helped Japan in winning the AFC Asian Cup in 2000 and 2004.

 

Nakamura was forever pushing himself, Gordon Strachan said that after home games, Nakamura did not really join in any off field celebrations, like a quick drink after a game, and instead would change into training gear and go up to the gym and train for another hour, such was his dedication to looking after his fitness. It is probably the main reason that Naka continued in a football career after leaving Celtic till the age of 40. Naka had joined a Celtic team in transition when he came to parkhead, Celtic had lost their main goal scoring hero Henrik Larsson, and were soon to lose the core of the Martin O’Neill side, including Petrov, Hartson, Sutton, Agathe, McNamara. Injury was also to shorten Naka’s time at Celtic in season 2008-2009.

 

If i was to pick only a few games that highlighted Nakamura’s importance to Celtic in his time with us, I would have to pick, his winner against Kilmarnock to win the league for Celtic in 2007, he also supplied the first goal in that game via a corner which was converted by Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink. His Hat-Trick at Dundee Utd. His late winner at St Mirren. His two excellent Free kicks to beat Edwin Van Der Sar, in the Manchester United European games, and probably his first old firm goal.

 

In the first leg of the 2006 Champions League clash against Man U, at Old Trafford, it is my opinion that Celtic were cheated out of a 2-2 draw as Ryan Giggs was seemingly shot by a sniper on the edge of the penalty box, when actually what really happened was, a gust of wind from the onrushing Artur Borac brushed against Giggs hair to send him tumbling down (this is my pet hate with gifted players like Giggs who fall in the box when the wind changes course). Nakamura’s beautiful free kick in 42 minutes made it 2 each, and what a free kick it was, It curled over the wall and left Van Der Sar standing static, as it hit the right hand side of the net. Arthur Boruc incidently was very unlucky not to save both of Saha’s goals, in this game, the current Man U manager Solskjaer, scored number 3 for them, making the final score Man U 3-2 Celtic

 

In the return leg at Celtic park a clever Naka pass to Jarosik, who was brought down by Vidic, in 81 minutes, resulted in a free kick, there was only ever going to be one man taking this free kick, it was Naka, and it was honestly one of the best free kicks I have ever seen, again into the top right hand side corner, though this time Van der Sar did move, however not even a gale force wind at his back would have got him over quick enough to save this one. Louis Saha being unable to convert a late penalty, which was saved by Arthur Boruc, made sure Celtic would win this return leg 1-0 and progress to the next round.

 

For his first old firm goal, Nakamura managed to trap an awkward pass from Gary Caldwell, and somehow managed to control it just enough to let it bounce once and then smash it towards Alan McGregor in goal, with such a force and swerve that McGregor would never have a hope in hell of stopping it, it must have been a contender for goal of the season. I don’t think i’ll ever forget the commentator that day, as the shot left Naka’s foot heading for a certain goal, screaming Naaakaaamuuuraaaaa… !!. Naka should have had a second goal later that day, as his left foot shot once again beat McGregor and Carlos Cuellar standing on the goal line, used his hand to stop the ball going into the net, and was subsequently, and rightfully sent off. Scott McDonald took and bloody duffed the resulting penalty, as McGregor saved his weak effort. McDonald would later make amends for his awful penalty attempt, with his headed assist to Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, who headed in to make the score Celtic 2-1 Rangers.

 

Nakamura was quiet and unassuming, very much like Larsson, he was the ultimate professional, Jackie McNamara, laughed as he let slip once that Naka used to pretend not to speak any english at all to waiting Scottish media, and would only say “No Ingrish”. You can’t blame him for that as the media tend to twist words and spin them for their favoured ‘other’ team.

 

Nakamura left Celtic in 2009. He went on to gain 98 caps for his country, scoring 24 goals. Naka played 166 games for Celtic, scoring 34 goals (this fact from wikipedia)

 

I think one of the best quotes i heard about Naka was said by the Man Utd boss at the time Sir Alex Ferguson, after the 2nd leg of the Champions league game, he told his goalkeeper, Edwin Van Der Sar “I’m getting you Nakamuras DVD for yer Christmas, coz that’s twice he’d done you!”

 

In fairness to Edwin Van Der Sar, who was a wonderful goalkeeper, and personally speaking if i ever was unlucky enough to be facing Nakamura as a goalkeeper for one of his free kicks, I’d simply sit down on my goal line and have a sandwich or something, because there’s no way I’d actually get near enough his strike to save it, why even bother.

 

To me there’s not much in it between Lubo and Naka, in my mind both are Celtic legends (and yes, i know the word legend is used too freely and too often), but i loved both of them. Judge for yourself how special and important this little unassuming guy from the east, was to Club and to Country, and usually when they needed him the most.

 
 

Stay safe. The above is by ASWGL. Should you have an article to submit the address is sentinelcelts@gmail.com and we will happily publish.

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Mahe

ASWGL,
Many thanks. Will reply more tomorrow but I feel privileged to have seen Naka grace the Hoops. Such a player, great attitude, that he came to us is still boggling, but it worked out and a new icon was found.
Some unforgettable goals, big big goals that won games.
What a player. Thanks for the memories Shoonski.
Hail Hail

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

ASWGL

Nakamura was a shining light for us then,in an era when perspiration seemed to matter more than inspiration. That’s not a criticism of WGS,more of what he had to work with.

In fact,I think it’s fair to say that he would have been an even better player in better surroundings. By that,I don’t diss Paradise,just his team-mates generally! Can you imagine him being given the freedom to play,knowing that the likes of Sutton,Mjallby,Thommo had his back?

I remember watching his goal in the second Man Utd game. I watched it at my mate’s new place,rather posh. He’d just moved in recently,having retired as a Warrant Officer First Class doncha know,and I don’t think the neighbours were quite used to the sort of raucous celebration we put on for them! His wife was livid and told us to eff off to the pub for the rest of the game. It was a two minute walk,and we didn’t need to be asked twice!

Great article,mate. And a bloody good spot with the squad numbers too!

Twists n Turns

Good read ASWGL

My memory is shocking as far as remembering Celtic games, but I do seem to recall that we were in the process of signing Naka when we were dumped out of the CL proper v ??

There was talk that he wouldn’t sign following that setback.

I think it was the measure of the man that he went ahead anyway . What a talent. Proper footballer.

Twists n Turns

Was just having a look there to see the history of the number 25 Celtic jersey. After Lubo and Naka, 3 players have worn it. Anyone?

I couldn’t have told you any of the 3 without an awful lot of guesses.

No googling !!

JimmynotPaul

Morning all.
Twists.
Oli Burke?

Twists n Turns

JNP

Yes. Vg.
I knew you’d get one or more ?
I just asked my kids and nephew. My nephew got Burke but only after I gave a clue. They’ve still not got the others yet.

JimmynotPaul

ASWGL.
Thanks for a most enjoyable read.
Mick.
I was at that game.
What an atmosphere, Boruc saving the pen, at the end from Saha? just made it perfect.
Happy days indeed.

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TWISTSNTURNS

I remember that Rogne did. I had high hopes for him.

JimmynotPaul

Ha, Twists.
Thanks for the compliment.
Racking my brain for any others.
Not being successful.?

Twists n Turns

Bobby
That’s very good! My family still not got the others . My youngest is the numbers guy but he’s out at the minute or I suspect t he would get them

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JIMMYNOTPAUL

At the game? Bastert. Yer lucky I can’t get into admin to bar ye!

Kidding,obviously. Must have been a night. Lucky we went to the pub,because I think the neighbours would have organised a lynch mob for us if we had still been in the house when Artur saved that penalty.

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TWISTSNTURNS

Edit “out” to “unavailable”,mate. BIGPACKY’s neighbour will shop him otherwise!

JimmynotPaul

Mick.
One thing i remember is that there was 3 Walk Ons.
The usual b4 K.O. as the teams came out for the second half and not long after full time.
The Man U fans, because of the Liverpool connection with the song, were really going tonto about it, particularly at full time. ??

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JIMMYNOTPAUL

Aw,shame. Quel dommage. YNWA and a resounding GIRUY to the poor entitled wee souls.

Who apparently sang it first anyway!

Twists n Turns

Bobby
Well he’s shopping for my old uncle so I think he’s safe enough.

We are both carrying a letter in our cars which we received from a customer stating they are dependent on us supplying them material throughout this current crisis. So if we get questioned we should be ok?

big packy

MORNING ALLand JIM, bobby@ 804? great article aswgl, loved the wee man, that freekick against man united I swear I just knew that was going to go in, the mrs had to stop me screaming and shouting, come to think of it, its only since that goal my neighbour has been a pain in the ass, he must be a man u fan??

McCaff

Morning all from a wet Renfrew.

I hope this finds you all well and virus free!

ASWGL
Nice one, ASWGL.
Naka was THE quality player of Wee Gordon’s reign. BMCUWP is right to allude to the fact that if he’d better guys behind him we’d maybe have seen the best of Naka. But here’s the thing – that was a very successful period for us in which we won 3 Leagues and 2 doubles as well as CL last 16 2 seasons in a row. There’s a tendency to forget that because the stuff we watched under WGS could be tripe and we were on a spending downturn. Naka ticked all the boxes for Celtic, he was some player, they owned his image rights and we had a serious amount of Asian visitors to Parkheid while he played for us.

SuperMario @2.19
I’ve never forgotten about Jesus and Mary Chain! But the modern way of listening to music has rekindled my love for them! I’ve seen them a few times in the last few years and was supposed to see them last month at a wee 200 cap venue, before they started a national tour, but the gig was cancelled due to some virus thingy apparently!! I’ve got my 18 yr old daughter into them and my nephew, who I took to the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh a few years ago for JAMC 30th Anniversary of Psychocandy, now sports a JAMC tattoo!!

McCaff

Big Jim Packy and Joan Jettwash
Morning Big Jim Packy and Joan Jettwash…how are you this morning? (I’ll no be typing that handle oot every time, I’ll get rsi in my digits!!) 😉 🙂

jimthetim53

Morning all and Packy. Enjoyed that read ASWGL. I remember watching a game (don’t ask me which!) in a pub in Falkirk and Naka scored from a free kick. It was sensational. I thought about it when Leigh scored against England.

That pub was very friendly to my band. The barmaid told me it was a favourite with visiting Celtic supporters. She said the next we were playing in Falkirk to phone ahead and we would get a free meal! Mind you about 20 thirsty bandsmen/women is good for business 🙂

big packy

MORNING MCAFF, how are you, im laying a floor this morning, cannae wait??

McCaff

Morning JtT, how are you this morning?

McCaff

Joan Jettwash and the Dog Groomers
Hi Big JIm Packy….I’m back to that job at Hamilton Tech…I should get it sorted today! 😉 🙂

jimthetim53

Morning McCaff. I’ve got a sore leg. Had it for a few days now. Looked it up on the internet. Sounds like Deep Vein Thrombosis. Sitting around all day isn’t helping.

McCaff

Jake the Peg
Jim, you need to watch that! Get a pair of tights on and do some exercise…but keep the bloody curtains shut ffs!! 😉

jimthetim53

Aye they mentioned a crepe bandage.

big packy

MCAFF don’t tell jim its a surprise, im up here at Hamilton sevices travelled up last night, joan is going to paint jims shed for him ,well you don’t expect me to do it do you, im a drummer ffs, I need to keep my hands safe???

big packy

JIM ,yes ive heard that about the bandage, keep stretching your legs if you can?

Twists n Turns

Jim
You got stairs in your house?

If so , march up and down them a few times.

If not, in fact even if you have, get yerself out on a walk for an hour or so. I went away up the country lanes on Sunday. Cut through a woodland path to where the old lady pit used to be. Thoroughly enjoyed the exercise, and it brought back a lot of childhood memories.

Felt good when I got back. In fact I think I’ll do it again this afternoon. Gotta reduce the cabin fever!

Rebus67

Jim,

Call a doctor. If it is a thrombosis in a minor vein, it is not a problem unless it is happening frequently. If it is in a deep vein, it is serious. Call a doc.

Rebus

JimmynotPaul

Twists.
You are bang on.
Every day at 11, walk time, see if I can add to my annual bird list.
I always feel, so much better when I return.
If you are able to get out for a walk, do it, is my advice to anyone.

jimthetim53

I’ll go for a walk. And yes Twisty I live in upstairs flat so I’ll go up and down several times. If it’s not gone in two or three days I’ll phone the NHS line. (As if they haven’t enough on their plate just now.)

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REBUS67

Very good advice. And Jim raises a good point too,that the pressure that the NHS is currently under means that many people will be putting up with easily sorted complaints,but complaints which could have complications if not seen to.

Bloody nightmare,really.

I estimated a couple of years back that I walk around five miles a night while making my deliveries. Hopefully that’ll do me for a bit,because it’s not as though I can walk to the bloody pub.

Twists n Turns

Rebus
Good advice too. Even a telephone appointment just to get some expert opinion.

JNP – there are some nice woodland walks on my doorstep. I should go more often and take my binoculars with me. As I walked the other day I was looking at a few nests. Brought back some wonderful memories of me and my now now sadly deceased pal going bird nesting.
We had several shoe boxes filled with the different eggs. No internet back then so we would go to the library if we found a nest with eggs we didn’t recognise.

‘Blow ‘ them by piercing both ends with a thorn and into the box full of sawdust.

During the school holidays, we used to set out straight after breakfast. Gone till dinner time. Picnic for lunch. Didn’t cost a penny and such a great time we had.

In and out the streams, looking for nests . There was a huge fallen tree lying in the stream. I recall one day we waded in and walked all along its length. At the very end of it, just nestling in the reeds was a water hens nest. First one we’d ever found. There was always a real thrill to get a ‘new’ type. Chaffinch to Crow, same thrill.

We would hide in the fields too and watch for birds landing. Even though we saw them land, they must’ve landed away from the nests and walked to them. The nest was never where the bird pitched down. As we were surrounded by farms in our village, there were a lot to choose from.

Happy days .

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Wee teaser for you all.

The water in Swindon tastes awful. Too much chalk,it’s like chewing a brick. Surprised the hospital isn’t full of people with kidney stones.

So every night in Oxford,I refill 2x500ml water bottles. They’re getting on a bit,the label actually says 18 fl oz! The Press Shop has a filtered water supply,and you can tell the difference.

So last night,I discovered that one of the bottles had a leak. A pinhole,right in the bottom. How did I fix it to stop it leaking before I got round to drinking it?

jimthetim53

Twisty, I thought taking eggs from a nest was a big no no?

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Oh,and I couldn’t store it upside down,as the bottle holders aren’t designed for that!

jimthetim53

Bobby, sat it upside down?

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JIMTHETIM53

Different times,mate.

jimthetim53

oops!

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JIMTHETIM53

It was actually my first thought. Then I realised the problem.

jimthetim53

Twisty, I have an outside light above my front door contained in a box. 3 years ago a swallow made a nest on top of it. I only noticed it when all this bird shit started collecting on my steps. I was sorely tempted! But I know it’s against the law so I put up with it. The swallow duly had a family. When they flew off in the autumn I put a cone shaped deterrent for next season because I was told it would return. It worked. Shame in a way since I love swallows.

JimmynotPaul

Twists.
Yes, different days, indeed.
We had a few farms around us too.
One guy I knew blew an ordinary white hens egg and passed it off as a Swans, in a swap, as you say, no internet.
The strict rule was, only one egg out of a nest.
The school holidays, kicked out at 9.00 with a sandwich, be back for 8.?
That was the rules, the farmers must have hated us, as we would take any fruit, we could find, to keep the hunger at bay.
We would make tree swings and then the Farmer would find it and chop it, An ongoing battle of the wits.
Can you imagine being away for that length of time, now?

Twists n Turns

JIm
Yes I believe it’s actually illegal but not only was I not aware of that, I don’t think it would’ve stopped us anyway. As JNP says, only one egg from each nest.

JNP – indeed . Different era. No way my kids would’ve been allowed to disappear all day!

Bobby
Did you somehow melt the plastic and ‘ spread’ across the pinhole?

Twists n Turns

Jim
Yes it’s a shame but I can imagine the mess !

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TWISTSNTURNS

What,like wi an old polyurethane Mitre? I was an expert at that,too many rose bushes in my street.

Naw.

Remember those bright red thin plastic balls? Frido? Defied the laws of physics,them. You could hit it with the outside of your left foot and,of course,it would go to the left-then veer wildly right!

I think Nakamura used one against McGregor that night!

Sips

Jim, I had a swollen leg for a week before Christmas time, eventually my daughter dragged me to the doctors.
He sent me directly to the southern with a letter, he suspected it could be a blood clot, sure enough it was, I was injected into my stomach with blood thinners and have been on them since.
I was lucky that my daughter forced the issue as it was a close call.
Get it checked mate.

As for Naka, as I told mick before.
Myself and my kids were lucky enough to be introduced to him, he signed both their tops and tracksuits.
A true gentleman. ?

Twists n Turns

Bobby
Yep. That method!

Hot poker and a very gentle touch ?

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SIPS

Glad you took your daughter’s advice,mate. Only way I’ll see that score you owe me.

JIMTHETIM53

Sounds like a Helpline 111,mate. Either nip it in the bud,or put your mind at rest. Sorted,either way.

jimthetim53

The Starlings In George Square by Edwin Morgan

Sundown on the high stonefields!
The darkening roofscape stirs—
thick—alive with starlings
gathered singing in the square—
like a shower of arrows they cross
the flash of a western window,
they bead the wires with jet,
they nestle preening by the lamps
and shine, sidling by the lamps
and sing, shining, they stir
the homeward hurrying crowds.
A man looks up and points
smiling to his son beside him
wide-eyed at the clamour on those cliffs—
it sinks, shrills out in waves,
levels to a happy murmur,
scatters in swooping arcs,
a stab of confused sweetness
that pierces the boy like a story,
a story more than a song.
He will never forget that evening,
the silhouette of the roofs,
the starlings by the lamps.

The City Chambers are hopping mad.
Councillors with rubber plugs in their ears!
Secretaries closing windows!
Window-cleaners want protection and danger money.
The Lord Provost can’t hear herself think, man.
What’s that?
Lord Provost, can’t hear herself think.
At the General Post Office
the clerks write Three Pounds Starling in the savings-books.
Each telephone-booth is like an aviary.
I tried to send a parcel to County Kerry but—
The cables to Cairo got fankled, sir.
What’s that?
I said the cables to Cairo got fankled.

And as for the City Information Bureau—
I’m sorry I can’t quite chirrup did you twit—
No I wanted to twee but perhaps you can’t cheep—
Would you try once again, that’s better, I—sweet—
When’s the last boat to Milngavie? Tweet?
What’s that?
I said when’s the last boat to Milngavie?

—————————-
There’s more to the poem but it gives you an idea.

The Gombeen Man

Great read this morning ASWGL.

I was at the Man Utd game. My boss organised a trip from Dublin for three of us. Somehow he ended up with a ticket that had a duplicate he spent most of the First Half in the concourse trying to sort it out with the stewards.
I’ll never forget the free kick and the penalty at the end.
I think Gary Neville said to someone, “He’s going to miss this.” Before Saha took it.

Anyway,

I was wondering, if Celtic were in Sevco’s position points wise and in the same circumstances would we be happy if the Plc handed Sevco the title?

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