To see him play, was to witness a genius at work.

I hope you’ll forgive me, since it’s a Celtic themed blog, but I thought I’d skip my usual Celtic player tribute for a change and turn to my favourite player ever.

Diego Maradona the classic number 10 was given the nickname “The Golden Boy” he was the first player ever to break the world transfer fee twice, to Barcelona for £5 million, then to Napoli for £6.9 million.

Raised in a shantytown on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, he was a son of an Argentine father and a mother of both Italian and Croatian heritage. If anything he taught us that being born into relative poverty should never deter us from following our dreams.

When Diego first came to Argentinos Juniors for trials they did not believe he was only 8 years old, although he was small in stature he played like an adult, when they eventually discovered that Diego was telling the truth they decided to devote themselves purely to him, it was clear, even then, he was an exceptional talent.

Maradona made his professional debut on his 16th birthday, and that debut was to become legendary as he nutmegged opposition player Juan Domingo Cabrera during the game and left Cabrera standing for dead, Diego would last five years at Argentinos Juniors, from 1976 to 1981, scoring 115 goals in 167 games, before his then, huge transfer to Boca Juniors, a team he always wanted to play for.

Diego then went to Barcelona, after the 1982 World Cup for a then world record transfer fee of £5 million Maradona won the Copa del Rey and the Spanish Super Cup, The following year, Barcelona beat Real Madrid in El Clásico, Maradona scored and became the first Barcelona player to be applauded by arch-rival Real Madrid fans. Only Ronaldinho (Nov 2005) and Iniesta (Nov 2015) have been given such an ovation as Barcelona players, from the Madrid fans at the Bernabeu.

Diego’s early days at Barcelona were looking very good, however it was to get harder due to illness and injury, a case of hepatitis, followed by a broken ankle from a reckless challenge by Athletico Bilbao’s Andoni Goikoetxea (Nicknamed the Butcher of Bilbao) threatened to wreck Maradona’s career, but he overcame both.

More however was to follow, during another game against Athletico Bilbao, in which Barcelona lost 1-0 Andoni Goikoetxea (The Butcher of Bilbao) again, made another reckless challenge on Diego, whilst Bibao fans were taunting Diego throughout the whole game with racist insults towards his father, this together with xenophobic terms being directed towards Maradona from Bilbao player Miguel Sola, made Diego snap, A right old brawl ensued in front of the King of Spain 100,000 fans inside the stadium and millions watching on TV.

The brawl effectively ended Diego’s Barcelona career, and he was sold to Napoli for 6.9 million.

To try to guage the extent of Maradona’s popularity we can look at his presentation to Napoli fans, a massive 75,000 fans turned out just to welcome him to the club. The fans were convinced that their saviour had arrived. One local newspaper printed that even though Naples had no mayor, very poor housing, schools, buses, mass unemployment and sanitation was awful, none of this mattered, because we have Maradona !

Maradona like every other genius had his off field demons, like Jinky and Best had with alcohol, Diego’s was drugs.

While at Napoli Diego Maradona reached his peak, and became revered as Napoli won their first ever Serie A Championship, sparking a city carnival celebration which ran for over a week. Hundreds of new born babies were christened Diego.


Napoli captained by Diego would also win the league in 89-90, Coppa Italia in 1987, the UEFA Cup in 1989 beating Stuttgard 5-4 over two legs, and the Italian Supercup in 1990, and he was the all-time leading goalscorer for Napoli, with 115 goals, although his personal problems increased and his cocaine use continued.

Maradona made his full international debut at age 16, against Hungary, The 1982 World Cup will be renowned for the one where Diego Maradona was repeatedly fouled, some shocking refereeing decisions, and it led to Maradona being sent off for a retaliatory challenge against Brazil’s Batista.

The 1986 World cup however was to belong to Diego Maradona he finally stamped his dominance on the world stage to become the most dynamic player in the competition, Argentina with Diego would beat West Germany in the final, on the way to the final Diego would score five goals and made five assists, none are more spoken about than his 2 against England, with the background of the Falklands War between Argentina and the UK still fresh on peoples minds.

The infamous Hand of God goal, followed by his 66yard run past 5 players and the goal of the tournament, it was later voted as the greatest goal in the history of the World Cup. He gathered the ball in his own half, turned round taking eleven touches he ran 66 yards, gliding past five English players before he left keeper Shilton on his arse, and slotted the ball into the net. Also voted Goal of the Century in 2002.

Yes, Diego sure had his demons, sometimes brought about by the company he kept, fex: his links to the Cammora (Italian mafia) while at Napoli, but what he did outwith his day job, could easily be forgotten for what he showed when he stepped onto a football pitch the wee man was a genius with a ball, i always felt it was a priviledge to watch him.

Regarded as one of the most technically gifted dribblers in the game ever, Johan Cruyff said he noticed similarities between Maradona and Messi with the ball seemingly attached to their body when dribbling.

From Master to apprentice ?

He may have been silly after he had done it all on the biggest football stage in the world, and his demons multiplied with his fame, but there is no doubt whatsoever, that Diego Maradona was an exceptional and truly unrivaled player and an outstanding talented individual and athlete.

If you do one thing with your spare time, I seriously suggest you spend 20 minutes and watch this compilation video of this wee genius at work, undoubtedly the most skillful player ever, and probably the worlds most fouled football player …..oh to have seen him wear the famous hoops.

RIP Diego Armando Maradona.

Notify of
Garry Postecoglou

Puff
Thanks for the Irish Brigade, Fenians of the Rock.
Always gets my blood pumping for the match.
Here is another tune that is always on my pre match playlist.

https://g.co/kgs/aDGxWj

jimthetim53

It’s only fair to play some Czech pop music in honour of our worthy opponents tonight.
I don’t think Annie Lennox has too much to worry about!

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS
fan

Had the pleasure of seeing him play twice.
Best of all time with ball at his feet with Messi a close second.
Pele is still number one for me with combination of his skill and speed of thought.
Hard to imagine we will see their like again with modern overcoached and overcautious approach?
It’s particularly so in the west.
Maybe only hope is some impoverished place that produced the 3 geniuses above.
Bring back the mavericks!

Garry Postecoglou

JTT53
The Czechs are a mix of Celtic, Germanic and Slavic peoples.
They are our friends. 👍💚

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

FAN

I’ve said for years to my sister in particular that the game needs its mavericks,and that Celtic is the natural home for them!

Leggy

Fan,

Totally agree !!!

Bring back Moravcik 😃😃😃😃

Garry Postecoglou

BMCUW
Kyogo and Abada could be those very mavericks we desire?

jimthetim53

Yes I realise that Garry, it was just tongue in cheek laugh at typical Eurovision stuff! 🙂

Leggy

Talking about Pubs from years gone by;

Does anyone remember Thrums in East Kilbride !!!

Now that was a pub 👍👍

One of the best Celtic pubs around at the time.

HH 🍀🍀🍀

Garry Postecoglou

JTT53
I know Jim.
Don’t know of one band or artist from Czech Republic.

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

LEGGY

I think the last to fit the bill was Paddy McCourt. To witness him in full flow was just a pleasure.

Moravcik too,of course. Possibly the most gifted player we have had in my lifetime. I wish we had signed him when Tommy Burns took over,or maybe even at the start of The Centenary Season!

Garry Postecoglou

BMCUW
Lubo was born in June 1965, the same as me.
He would have just turned 22 in 1987.
Imagine?

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

LEGGY

Ah,we can dream…

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

Blinkin’ flip! Crystal Palace valued at around £600m?

World’s gone mad…

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2021/aug/11/crystal-palace-sell-875m-stake-to-us-businessman-john-textor

bada bing1

The game is live on Ladbrokes website, I pressume you need to sign up,stick a fiver in your account…..

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

BADABING

I hope that everyone who is there tonight has an absolute ball! I’ll track it down on a dodgy stream as usual,probably with a sidebar offering me dates with Asian cuties!

Clearly,these sites have me in a different demographic…

bada bing1

Season Tickets sold out

McCaff

Good afternoon all from your holiday-refreshed Royal Burgh correspondent! I hope this finds everyone well and excited for a similar performance to Sunday’s!
SFTB… if you’re lurking, my better half finally remembered to submit the entry fee for me and Wee McCaff for the Predictor! I have told her a few times but she insists that she kept forgetting, apologies for the delay and she is now on a Final Written Warning! 😉😁

McCaff

Here’s a question for any ST holders…I’m going tonight but will my Virtual Season Ticket still be usable if I scan my ST to enter the stadium? I doubt Celtic’s software will be so advanced as to ‘block’ entry or viewing?!

big packy

AFTERNOON ALL and JIM, jim, remember a while ago you asking me who were my fav players when i started going to parkhead in 1964, well i liked ian young and my fav goalie was john fallon, because john wore a green jersey and frank haffey wore a yellow one,,also liked johnny divers what a shot he had on him, but my 2 best favs were duncan mckay, and a ghuy who played left back ,give you a clue his nickname was the president, cyber pint if you know his name.👍

auldheid

ASWGL

A wonderful tribute and no wonder he took drugs.

Some of those tackles!

Shheeesh

jimthetim53

Packy, John Kennedy. Is that same one who is now on our coaching staff? LOL 🙂

auldheid

Big Packy

Duncan McKay was my favourite too.

I reminded Big Billy at a charity event that his first games were are right back. I think McKay was injured.

Haffey, McKay, Kennedy, Price Evan’s Peacock, Auld, Jackson , Colraine, Divers and Byrne are in my memory although not sure if they played in that team. 2; 3: 5 formation.

Jim Conway played at CF too and I saw Tully, Collins and Fernie play. Bobby Carrol is another of that time. Came from the Juniors, Irvine Meadow possibly. In a game at Airdrie a fan threw at black pudding towards him saying ” that’s two puddins on the park noo” He was not setting the heather on fire.

See now I think about it, pound to a penny the puddin thrower was Kev, released from the jungle. 🙂

big packy

close jim but no cigar😎 it was jim kennedy boy could he tackle😎

big packy

HI AULDHEID, im so jealous, you saw charlie tully, bertie peacock, boaby evans, and the wee barra ,loved to have seen them play👍

bada bing1

Season Tickets sold out,go and back the man Celtic, this is precisely the time to get a couple of new guys in, huns looking vulnerable, watching them the other night, they look as if a few players don’t want to be there, and hankering for a move

jimthetim53

Yip I had another look it was indeed Jim Kennedy. There was a John Kennedy at that time too. A goalkeeper. He was Jock Stein’s first signing at Celtic. But he was on to no chance behind Ronnie Simpson & John Fallon. He didn’t get many games.

bada bing1

McCaff- no more games on Pass to Paradise

bada bing1
big packy

AULDHEID, were you at the game at parkhead when frank missed the penalty think it was against airdrie, we were winning 9-0 never forget that game😎

Chairbhoy

Good Afternoon – looking forward to seeing us playing football the Glasgow Celtic way the night…

I’ve re-subscribed to CelticTV for the first time in quite a few seasons, going to buy a Jersey an awe.

Did try to pre-order one last month, find the e-commerce tuff at Celtic but will persevere, it isn’t the fault of the current CEO and him and Ange need our support.

For me it’s time to back the club again.

Hail Hail

big packy

JIM, you mean you didnt believe me, how dare you sir😎😎

jimthetim53

Packy LOL 🙂
I’m not going to argue. I lost a pint bet in the pub yesterday with my cousin. I was determined Batman was from Marvel comics not DC.
I lost! Bloody mobile phones, you can get proved wrong in a couple of minutes. 🙂

auldheid

I meant to copy my thoughts on Twitter here to which I’ve since added some more.

Re CQN Article on FFP on Twitter.
Ah the break even rules. I kept away from them so good to read about their possible impact.

But at what point do UEFA get involved? They dont grant licences the SFA do. In 2011 they were relieved UEFA did not have to be shown future financial forecasts at monitoring stage & of course the licence itself was granted by SFA in circumstances they decided not to investigate, which is not surprising since they were involved.
My point is what are Celtic doing to ensure SFA do a diligent job or would it not be in the Company’s interest to ensure the grant is FFP compliant?

What I’m really asking is have Celtic decided it’s not their job to keep Rangers competitive & go for CL money & keep Celtic at a competitive level in Europe as opposed to Scotland & ditch the blue pound model?

Failing to plan to qualify for CL for 4 years now looks deliberate. End Tweets.

To which I’ve added in response to blogs about Rangers financial state

With the signing of players based on football needs rather than a return for investors from sell on income, it might be that Celtic have decided the blue pound dependency is too risky.

However it is also very risky to turn our back on what that mob are up to. They are cheats surrounded by cheats and we take our eye off them at our peril.

By “we” I dont mean bloggers who point out their reckless behaviour because that is what it is, wrecking our game. I mean Celtic who did all they could to keep Rangers going, after their collapse and possibly before it given their reluctance to bring their behaviour into the open. In fact it goes beyond reluctance to obstruction and mendacity.

That dependency has produced the consequences we saw last season and hopefully Celtic have learned from it.

My overall point is without some informing us of the situation over there, Scottish football as an institution would do SFA which is why the custodians of it are called the SFA. Reporting the state over there is all grist to the same mill of trying to bring about change.

Who we sign is important but so too is providing a level playing field for them to play on and that is Celtic’s job. One they failed spectacularly to do last season.

big packy

JIM little story, when i used to go on the muirhead celtic supporters bus, it had to leave glenboig by about 1-0 clock to get to parkhead for the kick off ,now these 2 brothers rab and zeke murphy were always late, one would be in the betting shop the other in the pub, half the bus had to go looking for them, when they finally got on the bus none of the two of them could stand up, half bottles of eldorado in every pocket, they slept all the way to parkhead, and we woke them up on the way back home,,they were not very pleased😎

Hot Smoked

It won`t happen but I wonder how this would work:
………………………..Hart……………………….
Ralston…………Starfelt…………………Taylor
…………Soro………………..McCarthy
Abada….McGregor….Christie…. Forrest
……………….Kyogo…………………..

Celtic Champs Elect

Pele for me by a distance – dribbling with both feet shooting with both feet crossing with both feet heading ability scoring goals with both feet he also had pace and vision beyond his years

Oh and just the 3 World Cup winners medals

By a distance as they say

auldheid

Big Packy

My memory has picture cards as the index to events or how to get from a to b if I’ve travelled the journey before, so if Haffey’s penalty miss was at the Celtic end v Airdrie I must have been there.
However the reliability of the index diminishes over time, so thank God for Google.

bada bing1

With a sell-out crowd set to back the Bhoys at Paradise this evening when they face FK Jablonec, we are delighted to announce that a Pay-Per-View service for tonight’s match will be available from StreamDigital – priced £9.99 –for tonight’s crucial UEFA Europa League third qualifying round tie.

StreamDigital will enable those who didn’t manage to secure a seat to tune in to watch all the action with this Pay-Per-View service available to supporters in the UK and Ireland for tonight’s match.

The Hoops head into the 2nd leg against their Czech opponents with a strong 4-2 aggregate lead and will be looking to make home advantage count, with a packed Celtic Park behind them for the first time in a long time.

PPV customers can tune in from 7:15pm, with Connie McLaughlin live pitchside at Paradise, joined by John Hartson and John Collins bringing you all the pre-match build up, LIVE from Celtic Park.

Gerry McCulloch and John Hartson will then take over on commentary duty, as the game gets underway with kick-off at 7:45pm.

Visit ppv.celticfc.tv to secure your PPV access for Celtic v FK Jablonec tonight (KO 7:45pm), priced at £9.99 and available in the UK & Ireland only.

fan

AULDHEID
This line jumped out at me
(That dependency has produced the consequences we saw last season and hopefully Celtic have learned from it.)
Here’s hoping .
Totally perplexing that we would make a pact with the devil for what amounted to far less riches than European group stage qualification would have brung.
There of course was no guarantee we would have qualified for group stages but surely less risk than partnering with cheats who have never adhered to the law or signed contracts in their history be it past or present.
Even getting to group stages once every 3 seasons would have far surpassed the income our pact with the devil produced.

Rebus67

Great tribute article that has made me think. Who is my favourite player? Frankly, I could not answer that with just one player. My answer would depend on which position we were talking about, and perhaps, Celtic vs non Celt. Even then, it would be tough to confine myself to one choice.

What popped into my addled mind immediately, however, was an answer that will surprise a few. Have I aroused your interest yet?

John White of Scotland and Spurs is my answer for what was the inside forward position and is now the midfield attacking slot.

White, nicknamed the “Ghost”, was an under appreciated player in a Scotland team from the late fifties and the first half of the sixties(1959-64). This team was building towards greatness, finally achieved through beating England at home after they won the WC. White was over shadowed by the likes of Denis Law and Jimmy Johnstone and the slim Jim version of Baxter. However, he was only truly appreciated after his untimely death at the age of 27. A vital cog was lost to an improving Scotland team. White was the essential link between defence and attack…..The mechanism for transitioning from defence to attack. He ghosted between the lines of opposing teams, ready to take a pass and move it on rapidly. His movement and positioning were way ahead of British football of that period. He could score because he had a powerful shot but, for Scotland, he fulfilled the midfield link role. I spent games just watching White’s movement and trying to predict where he would move to maximum effect. He was a genius!

Who knows how he would be regarded if he had lived beyond his 27 years. Tragically, John was struck by lightning on a golf course, while sheltering under a tree. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. Although White was a loss to the world of football, he was a bigger loss to his 22 year old wife and two children. A Scotland XI played a Spurs XI in a testimonial match for his family. John, you were gone too early but not forgotten.

Rebus

Chairbhoy

AULDHEID @ 2:23 pm,j

Thought I might see a post on this from you, pity you couldn’t illuminate us further on the current FFP rules and their impact – of course under the circumstances totally understandable.

On Paul67s article yesterday he alluded to the fact that Rangers were already in breach but having UCL money this season would have saved them – I didn’t understand that.

I get that the extra from the UCL money would be regarded as football income, what I don’t get is how it effects the last three seasons!?

You will know better than most that the SFA will be in no rush to sanction Rangers for a FFP breach, the fact that as things stand it seems we don’t have one means they don’t even need to start the cover up.

It seems to me that the figures we are talking about are small beer and not a patch on the industrial cheating of Rangers Mk1.

I mentioned in a post on the CQN article…

… After all they always looked light in terms of this seasons UCL challenge but rather than splurge in the transfer window like they did back in the day with Jelavic, they pretty much went with what they had – the lessons have been learned, the largesse is no longer there, far from it.

The significance of the Jelavic signing won’t be lost on you, they could have saved the money and paid the WTC tax bill with it.

Beyond Rangers being Rangers and following there own rules I see very little parallels in the “hand to mouth” operation at Ibrox and the colossal corruption of the SDM era.

Newco Rangers will have seen a great model for a Scottish football club during Brendan Rodgers’ tenure at Celtic Park – they expect to be a hundred, million pound business and they’ll throw everything into the mix to achieve that.

Maybe being naive but I can’t see that as cheating.

Hail Hail

BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

REBUS67

I’ve read plenty about John White,and how good a player he was. A tragic loss,indeed.

Rebus67

Bobby,

I believe the development momentum of the Scotland team of the sixties was lost along with White. That team had a lot of egos and each trying to win a game on their own. White moulded them into a team. Various attempts were made to replace White, unsuccessfully. Dave Gibson of Leicester was one. He was not a failure but he was a totally different player from White. Gibson did bag two goals in a 6-2 hiding of Spain in the Bernabeu! However, White’s subtlety was lost.

Rebus

McCaff

BADABINGBADABOOM!…a wee excerpt from Saturday’s email re the Dundee game – “With full capacity crowds confirmed for upcoming fixtures at Paradise – we cannot wait to welcome you home and hear the roar of a packed Paradise once more.

With this great news confirmed, we wanted to let you know that we will NO LONGER be sending you these Pass to Paradise Matchday Guide emails before each game.

The Pass to Paradise will still be in operation for the next few games, but this is the last time we will send you your login details, so please keep these safe for upcoming fixtures.”
From that there is a suggestion that the game will still be televised! I’m obviously going to the game and was wondering if my login deets would be usable for someone not going!

bada bing1
bada bing1

McCaff- I didn’t think there were any more games on it? I haven’t had notification of tonight’s game?

Rebus67

Chairbhoy and Auldheid,

I hesitate to post this but feel I should put forward an alternative view. The issue? Celtic collusion in aiding Sevco.

Where is the evidence of this? Where is the smoking gun? Secondly, even if it could be proved, which law, football or otherwise is it violating? Certainly, it would be a breach of faith for many fans but is it “illegal? Perhaps some law of competition would be violated but that would be a very tough case to prove. Too many factors involved to show clear causality…..think of confounding to be succinct.

I once did a study of teachers’ salaries and the sales of alcohol over two decades. Both variables increased in tandem over that period, but could I conclude that teachers were drinking more? What I see is a similar type of evidence presented on how the performances of the two clubs change, and then a gigantic leap to associate the two according to a predetermined agenda.

Please do not conclude that I think Sevco and Celtic run their businesses flawlessly. I do not. But where is the evidence of collusion? Simply, observing that one club is up when the other is down, is necessary but NOT sufficient.

If I were to draw the analogy in religion, I’d classify myself as agnostic rather than atheist. Show me and others the beef!

Rebus

Rebus67

Bada Bing,

Good one! Unbelievable!

Rebus