Raising A Glass…


Interesting. Listening to Planet Rock,jI just heard that Royal Mail will issue a special set of stamps to commemorate Queen. My favourite ever band-though I never bought anything by them after Hot Space,which was a f…..g car crash of an album. 

Reminded me of about six years ago,a fella on CQN-but US-based-mentioned that US Mail had issued a set of Jimi Hendrix commemorative stamps. He would send them over to me,and if anyone wanted one,I could send them one up. It was a block of sixteen,maybe about 10″ square. 

Well,I was fine with that. Happy to be the middle man. Only gonna cost about eight quid or so if all are taken,no big deal. He posted as RWE,and we had a bit of background due to the dreadful illness his youngest son suffered from. 

He kept us all up to date on occasion at a very difficult time as his son Tony went,in his early thirties,from the early diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease,straight through every horrible stage of that most horrible of illnesses,one which leaves you totally aware mentally of…

Being helpless. 

In the later part of his illness,John-RWE-asked members of CQN to mail a special memory of Celtic,or to post it on the blog,so that him and his wife Pauline,and his elder son Martin could compile these into a Book of Remembrance. 

While Tony was still alive,because he was mentally alert and could read them all. 

And yes,it was a hundred,a billion times more difficult for them,to do that than it is for you to read this. Or for me to write it. 

But before that,John had suggested on CQN that it would be great if anyone knew a Celtic legend who might be interested in coming over to entertain Tony while he could still interact. Well,I did-except I didn’t! So I couldn’t say. 

I got a call from the much-missed THEBARCAMOLE the following day. John is in North Carolina. Franny,THEBARCAMOLE,was in Cebu in The Phillipines. I’m working nightshift in Swindon! No chance of us all being on at the same time…

“Why did ye no’ say,Mick? The guy’s crying out for help!”

“I mailed ye about it!”

“Oh. So you did”

Result was,Franny knew a good few Celtic legends. And very well indeed. Bertie Auld was the man for the job,and he was delighted to do this. He and John discussed it,while Bertie also had a wee conversation with an equally delighted Tony. Plan was for Bertie to come over with HIS good pal,Evan Williams. Franny and Evan were well close too,obviously!

All arranged,just put us up. 

Last minute,Bertie’s wife Liz fell ill,and it had to be cancelled. But that wouldn’t mean that it was over. Not when Bertie is involved. 

Bertie still called Tony every week. For as long as Tony could respond. And even after,when Tony could no longer respond,because we knew he could still hear. Despite the pain from it,as it reminded him of how his best pal had left him about a decade previously. Franny had exchanged numbers for Bertie and me,and I had told him that I was so grateful for him doing that. His reply was that he’d do anything for a young fella,especially one with that disease 

Because Jimmy Johnstone was his best pal. And,well…

That’s yer Celtic family,right there. Not a thought for ourselves,not a single one of us. Only to help as much as we can,those that we could. In whatever way. And of course I was,well,to be honest I was dumbstruck at the selflessness of them,that completely obscured the fact that I was helping a bliddy Lisbon Lion help someone else!

Does that make sense? I suppose it does if you’re one of our legends from our era,it’s what they do. Again and again. 

On Monday,another Celtic supporter was born. His forenames are Evan William. It’s a bit of a play on words,his grandfather’s name plus a homage,apparently,to a man who made a difference to them. For Franny,that good pal of Evan Williams,was a bloody good pal to many. 

I’ll raise a glass to John and his extended family in North Carolina. And to the selfless acts of Bertie and Evan. And to every other one that they and others have done,unheralded. 

I’ll raise a glass too,to my pal Franny McClure. It’s not often you meet a bloke in a Crombie at Central Station and just say-pint? That was without an introduction,btw. We had never met before,I just walked up and said-pint,Franny?

I’ll raise a glass to never going into a blue taxi again too. Franny was right. Franny was always right,and I took a leaf from a bush while I was inside Estadio Nacional on 25 May 2017 as we celebrated our our world shattering-and it was!-win fifty years earlier. I blew that leaf away with a silent prayer and a rare sentimentality on the day that our great pal Franny was buried. 

His timing,canny beat that. I don’t know whether to jump for joy now or drown my sorrows on the 25th. 

Bastert. I’ll settle for a smile at the memories. 

Franny was back in the UK often enough,that’s why so many people knew how grand a fella he was. He wasn’t just a bloke at the end of a keyboard. I wish he had been,saved me a fortune in ear defenders!  

And he enabled an inevitable end of life to be so much less difficult,even if you can’t really make that less difficult. As did Bertie Auld,who just loves someone to talk to!

And of course,I’ll raise a glass to Tony Conway,a tragic loss at such an early age,and to his family who suffered every inch with it. They are such lovely people,I’ve met them a couple of times,and I’m so grateful for that. I truly am,and if you ever meet them you will understand why. 

I’ll raise a glass to Jimmy Johnstone,who Bertie had to watch wasting away before his eyes-though Jimmy still had his fun,and a certain incident on an aeroplane springs to mind. 

But most of all,I will raise a glass for Evan William. Our latest recruit. And if I’m lucky,his Mum might join us for the next Hootenanny. With the original not quite ‘Evan William’ sitting there with an abacus and a stopwatch!

Oh,the Hendrix stamps? My young pal,magic guitarist,had just got married. Had a son and has three now. Called his first Hendrix 

They protected the stamps,laminated them and made a mobile from them. I think they play subliminal rock overnight to their kids. Great fun,the lot of them. 


Above by BMCUWP

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June 24, 2020 5:32 am

New Naps Competition

Starts on July 4,with a slightly different format and some VERY GENEROUS PRIZE MONEY,courtesy of…a generous benefactor!!!

Selections from UK and Ireland meetings ONLY on the applicable Saturday. A non-runner can be replaced with a selection on the Sunday.

ALL selections must be entered before the first race of the day.

Points will be decided as before. An imaginary £1 stake,and winnings credited to your running total.

Competition will run for forty weeks-which means,I think that it ends on April 10-Grand National Day.

After 20 weeks,the entrants will split into two groups,Premier League and Championship,based on standings at that stage.

Prizes are as follows.

Premier League Winner-£100
Runner up-£50

Championship Winner-£30
Runner up-£10


Additionally,there will be separate competitions for The Cheltenham Festival and for The Grand National Meeting,each with a first prize of £30.

And the Brucie Bonus of an extra £50 will be available for the spawny git who manages the treble!

So that’s £300 to play for next season,which is more than the SFA have managed to get in sponsorship for the Scottish Cup. Might be worth investing in Timeform,I reckon…

PS-there will also be a Royal Ascot competition. Prizes as follows…

1st…..£30free bet
2nd…£15 free bet
3rd……£5 free bet

June 24, 2020 5:33 am

What an absolutely fantastic article. Brilliantly written and had me smiling and at the same time close to tears.
Remarkably moving. I’ve said before that the articles on here are the best there is. You’ll have to go some to top that one. Could you have captured the spirit of what Celtic means to us all any more powerfully? I think not.

Welcome Evan William.

Thanks Mick.

June 24, 2020 5:44 am

Speaking of kindness:

Johnny Hayes has deferred his salary from Aberdeen, for ONE YEAR.

June 24, 2020 5:50 am


Bloody hell!

Tax dodger…

June 24, 2020 6:42 am


Cheers,bud. You’d have got on like a house on fire wi Franny.

June 24, 2020 7:04 am

Franny is my brother’s name Mick. ( Well Francis to me but his pals and wife refer to him as Franny)I’m heading to his on Saturday for dinner and a few drinks as it happens.

How’s the weather in Swindon? Poor here, dreich. I heard Engurland was expecting a heatwave?

Bad news on the caravan front. Refused access again despite the promise of the 2nd July. Hey ho.

Should’ve been at Hamilton today. Non starter obviously.

I might go to the zoo. That’s allowed. Or is it? 5 miles restriction? Who knows.

Was talking to a fella yesterday at my work. Came in to quote some work for me. He has 5 offices. He spent all last week setting out the 2 metre distancing stuff. Called his staff. Explained he’s putting 4 in each office. Most refused to return. Still not safe they said. Toilet is too small. What if they all need to go at the same time?
He said one who is coming back told him she’d been talking to the others who told him that with 80% salary, without working they don’t need to buy train tickets if sitting in the house so they’re no worse off, hence they’ll refuse to return.

He wasn’t sure where he stands legally on it so he’s taking advice. Called me last night. He’s been advised to start disciplinary procedures for unauthorised absence. Sound advice? I’m not so sure. Even if it is legal it’s hardly gonna lead to a good relationship when they do come back. He’s struggling badly though. Doing everything himself with the help of his partner.

I know what I’d do but most wouldn’t agree with me so I’ll leave it at that.

Fucking mess.

June 24, 2020 7:40 am

Financial Fairplay rules are being relaxed for the coming season to combat the effects of the Coronavirus on football. This means affluent club owners are allowed to inject cash into their club’s with ease to make up for a loss of earnings on projected earnings which will likely not be scrutinised to any degree in two seasons time.

The thought being, the likes of PSG and Manchester City can plough millions into their club and pay big fees for players around Europe, seeing the money trickle down to smaller clubs.

UEFA have made it clear clubs can look to their rich benefactors to make up the shortfall but at the same time making sure the rule of paying clubs transfer fees promptly is still applied as FFP rule.

So where does that leave Celtic?

The club are about to go into July and at the moment, that’s when deferred wages and cuts to wages are expected to stop. The club will need to either negotiate with their staff again or look for a more permanent fix.

Celtic have a majority shareholder in Dermot Desmond who could make up the shortfall. As we said above, Celtic’s projected earnings for this year could encompass Champions League money and gates, so the silent shareholder could put down a whopping amount of cash in loans or shares to make sure the club actually comes out of this very strong as far as we understand.

However, that’s never been Desmond’s style. He likes the club run as a business and to be self-sustainable. Given the financial crisis ahead for many clubs in our game, will the Irishman have a rethink? Are his personal finances already taking a toll that it wouldn’t be prudent to inject cash into the club?

There’s always the option of making up the very minimum of the shortfall, but again, we’re not sure if this is something on the shareholder’s mind.

Celtic are about to go into their ten in a row season and as it stands right now they’re actually going to have to cut their wage bill – not even maintain it.

This could speak to the club paying too much out in the first place on wages throughout not just the playing staff but the whole club.

UEFA sources confirmed that clubs would be allowed losses in excess of €30m as long as they show this was caused by falls in revenues because of the shutdown.

In the grand scheme of things, this could be the end of FFP as we know it at the moment. Changes have been discussed and there’s talk of wage caps coming into football in the coming years.

Right now, it’s all about coming out of this crisis as best we can.

June 24, 2020 7:42 am

Above article courtesy of celtsarehere

June 24, 2020 8:06 am

Bobby, as Twisty says a lovely article and very moving.

Twisty, everything I’ve ever read about DD shouts out that he has no emotional connection to Celtic. It’s all about money. Golf seems to be his sport. You could count on your hands how many games he attends or AGMs. Even if he was to dip into his pockets for Celtic at this moment it wont be charitable. A bit like the Bunnet – I’ll help out just now but i’ll walk away with a fortune! But he gets lauded by some fans for his honesty about this!

June 24, 2020 8:18 am

Thoroughly agree. He’s a businessman first and foremost. So were you so am I , but to lesser degrees of success and wealth obviously. We are paupers ( relative to wealth) when compared to DD.

What we have more than him, in abundance, is our love and attachment to the club.

Unfortunately he has the keys.

More likely he’d loan the club money as opposed to ‘ gift’ them money.

What is the stat again? 1% of the world population own 70% of its wealth? Something like that.

Celtic must have about a million supporters worldwide. One man has the power though, and a handful control the voting. Never demonstrated more than the AGM res 12 vote. Will it always be thus?

big packy
June 24, 2020 8:19 am

BOBBY, remember you e-mailing that story to me a while back ,was nearly in tears, likewise now, you will never break up the celtic family.H.H,

big packy
June 24, 2020 8:29 am

JIM, just replied to your e-mail?

June 24, 2020 8:30 am

Twisty, every time I think about Celtic from a business perspective I am faced with the conundrum of what Celtic stands for versus being viable. Auldheid talks about a membership scheme. I haven’t read too deeply into that but it always reminds me of the Co-operative movement. A business run for the benefit of its members, with a ‘left’ leaning perspective. Importantly, One Member One Vote! No big rich cartels. Despite some failings in it’s history which I will not go in to, it is still here and thriving.

big packy
June 24, 2020 8:34 am

TWISTY, celtic is just a plaything to DD i think his son has more interest than he does ,oh for a brian dempsey ?

June 24, 2020 8:39 am

Packy, don’t know anything about DD’s son but at least he attended the AGM!

June 24, 2020 8:48 am

In 1926 during the miner’s strike (then a general strike for a short time) the local Co-op where I lived opened two soup kitchens and provided all the necessary food for the locals so they got at least some food and did not starve.
Imagine Tesco or Sainsbury doing that?

big packy
June 24, 2020 8:56 am

JIM ach memories, when i was a kid in glenboig ,the coop was the only grocery store, no big supermarkets in them days ,my mum bought everything from the coop, BTW the last driving job i had before i retired, the company head office was in rochdale ,and there was a bridge you went under, and it said on it, welcome to rochdale, home of the coop, another true story?

June 24, 2020 9:00 am

Morning all.
Thanks Mick for a fabulous article.
Franny is missed by all, who knew him. He was the guy who would go out his way to help anyone, in need.
He was in Norwich when my oldest daughter went to work there and he couldn’t have done anymore, to help her settle in, he became like a second father for her, down there.
As for wee Evan what a lovely family, he has been born into.
I was chatting to Grandpa, yesterday, and he is another of lives good guys.

June 24, 2020 9:15 am

When I left school I worked for the Co-op. it was compulsory to join USDAW the shop workers union. I left after a couple of years to join Wullie Low’s which was anti-union, similar to another Dundee firm DC Thomson. However as a sop they started up Staff Committees who could discuss anything bar wages. Needless to say i was on the committee in Wishaw. For all that, they were a great firm to work for. When things were tight in the 70s & 80s, sometimes they barely made a profit but their were no redundancies etc. It was still a family firm and they took a hit. Then Tesco bought them over.

big packy
June 24, 2020 9:25 am

JIM, talking of tesco, im going there now, killing 2 birds with one stone, taking joan to tescos for some supplies, and walking the dugs round the rugby field at the back, do you need anything?

June 24, 2020 9:26 am

Two bottles of white wine please. I’ve got a match to watch with Garry at 5pm on Pick channel.

big packy
June 24, 2020 9:34 am

JIM, consider it done, catch u later?

June 24, 2020 9:56 am

Yes , from a business perspective I feel we are as far removed from the ‘ co-operative’ mode as it is possible to be.

As a society however, one thing this pandemic shows is that people, for the greater part, still retain that spirit of cooperation. Care and share.

I was at my mums on Sunday. I hadn’t seen her for a few days. We were talking about the horse racing. I’d had a bit of luck at Ascot earlier in the week, and had given her a gift as a way of her sharing my good luck.

She said to me
“ can you remember the nom de plume I used on my horse lines on a Saturday when you were a child?”

( a local guy used to collect the horse lines in the pub. You just wrote your selections on a piece of paper and used a nom de plume as a way of him knowing who to pay out)

I said to her “ yes I do , it was Meg R”

She confirmed I was correct and said – “ we’ll do you remember me winning a lot of money and how it came about?”

I didn’t remember it. She told me that one Saturday morning an old tramp was walking up the country road adjacent to our house. She called him over and took him in and gave him breakfast, then made him some sandwiches and gave him a few clothes to see him on his way”

Then later that morning a little boy came to the door collecting for something and she gave him a donation.

When she went out into the garden later that morning, there was a robin sitting on her chair.

Now don’t ask me the names of the horses but that same day when she was picking her horses there were 3 that related to those events. Robin something, something else to do with a little boy and something or other that related to a tramp.

She put all 3 on her line, bet them in 3 x doubles and a treble and yes, they all won!!

I thought it was a nice story and it made me smile. Kindness can indeed sometimes be rewarded. ?

June 24, 2020 10:09 am

Something afoot with Leigh G?
I’m hearing he posted some cryptic message about ‘ not being here next year’ then deleted his twitter account.

Hacked? Rumour? No idea. Anyone else aware of anything?

Bada Bing
June 24, 2020 10:11 am

Twists- I have been carrying out Covid 19 Risk Assessments for businesses trying to put measures in place, for staff,customers and suppliers. If the guy has taken measures, SD between work stations, facemasks sanitizer available, hot water and soap,has a toilet policy- 1 in at a time,I would suggest he has taken sufficient measures to minimise the risk,if staff refuse they could be on a sticky wicket,it will probably be an HR issue now.I work 1 day a week for an outsourced H&S/HR company based in Hamilton, let me know if he wants details. HH

June 24, 2020 10:26 am


The guy has definitely done all of that. My son is the compliance officer for the airport, and confirmed everything that needed to be done was done.

I can also confirm, that HR have indeed become involved and as you say, the employees are indeed on a sticky wicket.

What’s more ( and I’m not saying he’s right or wrong , just reporting what he told me) he might end up in bother himself because he told me that one way or the other he’s gonna make a point of getting shot of most of them. He’s not happy!!

June 24, 2020 10:29 am

Great read, brought back some happy but sad memories if that makes sense. I will be very surprised if little Evan’s first Celtic strip is not ordered yet by Papa. Maybe it will have to wait till Billy comes down off cloud 9. Incidentally, little Evan was not born, but was growing inside his mother’s womb, when she visited the Vatican and Rome. Technically he was in the stadium to experience Celtic beat Lazio in Rome. So chuffed for Billy and his ‘shadow’. This wean is going to be a massive Celtic supporter, not that he knows it yet. God bless the Celtic family. One of the nicest guys I have the pleasure of calling a friend. Hopefully he gets back on here posting, when he returns to terra firma. ???

Bada Bing
June 24, 2020 10:31 am

Twists- please advise him not to discipline anyone without getting HR advice, it can be very costly, no matter how much he’s in the right, employees have a lot more rights than you think, and due process must be carried out.

June 24, 2020 10:36 am

Griff posted the lyrics to a song from West Lothian bhoy Lewis Capaldi. They are pals on twitter. Nothing in it, I think. Griff periodically closes then reopens his twitter account. Some sick huns have pounced on it. Sad peepul.

June 24, 2020 10:55 am

Whilst you are getting Jim his two bottles of wine, could you pick me up six tins of Guinness please. Get the boot down and you will make kick off for the Man Utd v Sheffield United match on Pick TV at Jim’s. ?

June 24, 2020 11:00 am

The 2 main gripes we seem to have re the governance of the club are:-
1. The plc ownership model
2. Lack of transparency/honesty by the club
Some might say that 2 above is a direct consequence of 1, but I would argue not necessarily.
I’m not sure of the distribution of the plc shares, but I think DD owns approx 32% and a US based venture fund 18%. A major director of the fund is under investigation by the US financial authorities, so their shares may come up for sale. The point is that the fans, despite what Fergus promised, do not have control. The plc could be destabilised by market forces if venture capital funds have too much equity, since its priorities are different from the football club.
What alternative ownership models are available? Membership scheme where the club executives are elected say every 5 years. Major problem is that folk wanting to be Club Gaffer will promise major signings, act like populist politicians, and use the club’s profile to boost their own agenda. It happens today with Barcelona the clearest example. Imagine the fun our MSM would have exploiting an election for Celtic CEO. No thanks.
I don’t want a plc model either so we should have a full discussion about the ownership model we want. It won’t be easy, but nothing about following Celtic is.
If our board had not been so sleekit in its dealings with the fans in the last decade or so, the financial security afforded by the plc may have made that model more palatable to enough fans to ensure its continuation. Resolution 12, the boards collusion with the cops against our own lads, and Bankier’s “behave yourselves” comments have created massive mistrust between fans and board. Only Celtic could do this on the cusp of history.

Fairhill bhoy
June 24, 2020 11:52 am

BMCUWP-outstanding article,straight from the heart.?
Welcome wee Evan,you will be spoiled rotten by your papa that’s for sure?

June 24, 2020 1:18 pm

Very good post G. Hope you are well.
The current plc model is not how I think Fergus envisaged it to be. It is interesting to note David Low becoming increasingly involved in commenting on our business affairs. I have been informed by a good source that Fergus McCann and David Low still have a very close relationship. How we proceed from here, is, as you suggest, a bit of a conundrum.

June 24, 2020 1:26 pm

New #lockdown reopening target dates:

3 July
? self-catering property
5️⃣ mile travel rule for leisure easing

6 July
??outdoor hospitality

13 July
?‍♀️ outdoor sports for children
? shopping centres

15 July
✂️ hairdressers
? childcare
? cinemas, galleries, museums

June 24, 2020 1:46 pm

Great story Twisty. That win on the horses couldn’t have happened to a nicer woman – your mam! I know from experience her kindness. (And talent)

June 24, 2020 2:00 pm

Afternoon all, I hope this finds you well!
Beautiful story, Bobby. The power of the Celtic Family should never be underestimated, not taken for granted!!

June 24, 2020 2:01 pm

Garry, doon at the watter the noo to see the big ship coming up, have you got a view of it from your place?

June 24, 2020 2:02 pm

See Man U had banner in stands attributing Jock’s Football Without Fans statement to Matt Busby.
Another corporate owner using catchy slogans to separate fans from their money.
These corporations give not a jot for the history, cause or supporters unless it is a useful tool for raising profit.
Football without soul is also nothing.

June 24, 2020 2:20 pm

My kitchen window looks onto the Clyde.
Have I missed it?
Don’t see anything.

June 24, 2020 2:23 pm

It’s not passed yet Garry! My boys boat sat nav says it’s coming from Erskine at the moment. I expect if you look dowriver you’ll see it v soon!

June 24, 2020 2:30 pm

Cheers, I face Erskine/Inchinnan.
Eyes peeled ?

June 24, 2020 2:33 pm

Garry, I think it’s at the mouth of the Cart right now

June 24, 2020 2:34 pm

We’re further down at Braehead so no sight yet

June 24, 2020 2:36 pm

Garry, I can just about see it approaching Yarrows, you might have missed it!!!

big packy
June 24, 2020 2:45 pm

AFTERNOON ALL and JIM,, jim got your wine, garry got you 24 cans of guinness, im dropping jims wine off at the larkhall true blues rangers supporters club, where he is a lifelong member, is there a helipad in dalmuir where i can land this bliddy thing ???

June 24, 2020 2:48 pm

Good afternoon all from Govanhill. Great article Mick. And here is the quite wonderful James Marshall Hendrix. https://youtu.be/xPx-cL2t9TE

big packy
June 24, 2020 2:52 pm


Mike in Toronto
June 24, 2020 2:53 pm
June 24, 2020 2:54 pm

Same to you BP.

June 24, 2020 2:57 pm

Morning troops.
Quality read Bobby. You’re a good man among good Tims. You’ll not meet better than them. My type of people.
Welcome Evan William

Great story also Twists.
Back after coffees

Hail Hail

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