|WINTER'S WORLD FEATURING RANGERS v MOTHERWELL
6th May 2012
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Monday and the massive City v United game, not a classic but special mention to referee Andre Marriner who had a superb game. The Ice-man was cool and calm throughout and received deserved acclaim after the game.
I had been lined up to do a half-time and full-time assessment of his performance. They didn't even bother ringing me. That speaks volumes for certain areas of the media, as we were going to see in the next few days after the surprise appointment of Roy Hodgson as England manager.
Taking the piss out of his speech impediment and also questioning him playing in South Africa early on in his career. He's on a hiding to nothing already, also the fact that this country does not have the quality to compete with the best is something that will be overlooked when the character assissination continues.
His crime is perhaps not being Harry Redknapp but when you look at their respective CV's then perhaps the FA have got it right. Let's be honest, Harry like Cloughy before him was never going to be the squeaky PC manager that the FA require. Hang on though, the Sun is probably trying to dig some dirt on him as we speak!
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In Scotland the Rangers saga runs on and Darlington look set to leave the Arena. Scum bags have brought these clubs to their knees but thanks to the fans they will continue, though at what level is yet to be decided.
Tuesday evening and Sedgefield races, not a successful night on the punting front and it was Baltic as well. I recall the same meeting twelve months ago when a pleasant spring evening was made all the more enjoyable as Celtic imploded at Inverness and handed the SPL title to Rangers. What a difference a year makes!
Lady Ibrox at the stables on Wednesday, she is ready for her racecourse debut at Beverley on Bank holiday Monday.
Wednesday and a double stable visit, firstly to Nigel Tinkler's then to Alan Brown's, both in the Malton area. An enjoyable day with some beautiful creatures. Running plans agreed for the next few days, weather permitting.
On the night I went to see my oldest son Craig play in the Northern League's Second Division Cup Final at Norton for Northallerton Town against league champions Team Northumbria. They were a goal down within minutes, not a good start. They equalised soon after though but my real interest in the game ended soon after.
I am not a lucky person. Craig usually gets sent off or carried off when I watch him. At least this time he walked off, but a split chin that needed stitching ended his involvement in the game. He is fearless and never holds back. His aerial challenge saw him head the back of his opponent's head and that was that.
His side though went on to win 3-2 and create an upset. It was good to see many old faces from the League who are stalwarts and keep the League going. I owe a lot to the Northern League and it's good to see the success their sides continue to have in the FA Vase.
Had a chat with George Courtney. Still going strong and enthusing about more great prospects on the refereeing front emerging from the north-east. We continue to breed them up here!
Super Ally, a legend on the pitch and a legend in the dugout. He's one of our own.
Elsewhere Rangers were thumping the Arabs and off the field a preferred bidder has been found. Let's hope this time the guy is genuine and not another money grabbing sleazebag. Personally I would rather have local owners not foreigners. They don't tend to share our passion but see football clubs only as a business opportunity. Rangers are so much more than a business or indeed a football club, they are an institution and this time they have to get things right.
Darlington look to have gone in the direction that perhaps they should have done a few years ago, becoming a community club and starting again. I am delighted for their small loyal band of supporters. A good day potentially for the supporters of both clubs.
Friday and off to Oldham then Dumbarton for speaking engagements taking in Rangers v Motherwell at Ibrox enroute to the John Greig RSC Sportsman's Dinner.
The last three seasons have seen winning post match parades, not this time, but still the players receive adulation and thanks from their loyal supporters.
Friday night in Oldham and working at a catholic social club that I have worked at before, the last time for a 'Celtic' team, this time though for a junior set up. They had invited wives and girlfriends, which whilst they were very easy on the eye can be problematic as they don't understand sportsman's dinners.
It did not auger well when a silly cow sat right at the front not only answered her phone but continued to enjoy a conversation right at the beginning of my speech. That, coupled with the bar still being open and the ordering of drinks, could be heard across the room. Things got better though and all in all it was a good night. John Stiles, Nobby's son was the comic and he's top draw and went down very well.
Simply the Best, Rangers fans No.12 for ever.
Bed by 1.00am, up at 6.00am on the road by 7.00am, 220 miles passing the floodlights of Oldham Athletic, Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End, Carlisle United, Motherwell, some other ground in Glasgow and then after a memorabilia pick up in town parked up at the Wee Rangers Club. Tons of tweets from fellow Gers, a meeting with some of the Leven lads, a pint then a cheeseburger for my belated breakfast.
A strange mood, with some treating this as the last ever game at Ibrox. Personally a new compnay will be a continuation of the same to me. After Whyte though I am taking nothing for granted. Jury out on Miller.
Surely the administrators will check this guy out properly and my only question is why? Why does a Yank want to buy Rangers? What are his motives? Could it be out of the frying pan and into the fire?
I suppose beggars can't be choosers. Perhaps a bad choice of description. I remain confident for the future though. Those who make decisions at the SFA might be realising that hammering Rangers might backfire on Scottish football. I am sure that we will all be back at Ibrox in August in the SPL and I hope I am correct for the fans' sake.
Full-time and the stands prove that "We don't do walking away."
The game was a typical meaningless end of season affair, Rangers misplaced passes and a continued lack of width, no right back and same old, same old. Motherwell were very well organised, soaking up what pressure they were put under in a comfortable manner and with better finishing they could have taken all three points.
JIG worked his bollocks off and was committed to the cause, Ness and McCabe worked hard until they tired, Goian yet again didn't fancy it after receiving a knock. Heart of a pea!
Steady from Bochanegra, Wallace, Edu and Whittaker continues to look not too competent wherever he plays. The main threat and inspiration was Aloko who was unlucky with his clever twists and turns.
Kyle Bartley switched inside though he was a poor man's Bougherra with thrusting runs unfortunately with no end product. Nil-nil and the man of the match yet again was the Twelfth man. The fans were once again magnificent, noisy throughout and the final whistle rendition of 'No Surrender' brought a tear to the eye.
The banners say it all. Super Ally and the players have put the club before themselves and that will never be forgotten.
I endured ninety minutes of tone deaf singing from my neighbour, 'Spacecar' Lee, more annoying than the tit behind who thinks he is Ally and offers coaching advice for the entire game. I am sure many others have to endure similar twats at every ground in the country!
A few traffic dodgers, but those who remained gave the players a rousing reception. Those who showed loyalty beyond the call of duty will not be forgotten. Super Ally's words on the blue and white cards were sincere and deserved to the fans that like himself will never walk away.
Emotional and the pitch parade, whilst lacking the usual trophy or two, nevertheless spelt out what the club and its supporters are all about. Simply the best!
Ross looks at Streetcar with the thought that surely no-one can sing so out of tune!
In the hotel and decided to watch the first half of the Cup Final in my room before getting ready for the Dinner for the John Greig RSC. This was only the third FA Cup Final I had missed attending since the Manchester United v Southampton game in the 70s. I missed Saints v Arsenal due to filming Superstars in La Manga and then Everton v Chelsea due to a speaking engagement. Likewise today this booking that I had accepted in January 2011 took preference.
Things started to go wrong as I realised Scottish ITV were not showing the game. I had placed a few quid on Chelsea to win 2-1 @ 9/1, from the balance left in my Bet365 account after a losing afternoon at Ibrox. 0-0 draws are not good for the punter!
Plan B, go to the Lodge where the Dinner was being held and watch the second half. Went to the Lodge only it was not the one. By the time I got to the correct venue it was 2-1 to Chelsea, but half an hour to go!
Well was it over the line? No way, not because of my correct score forecast, but because the whole of the ball was not over the line. Credit to the lino. Well he would have been castigated had he got it wrong.
The truth is that the correct decision was made more by good luck than good management. Another three-four inches and it would have been a goal and detecting that from 40 yards away is a nigh on impossibility. Goal line technology please, sooner rather than later.
The players united for the cause and still proud to wear the shirt.
The night was a cracker, great audience, chaired by John Rowan, whom I worked with last year for Dumbarton Rock Bowling Club and the brilliant Scott Glynn, he of 'turkey' fame. It was social event as opposed to a fund raiser but I managed to convince the committee that we should play my red and yellow card game and have a small auction. We raised over £500 for Erskine Hospital. Great result and the icing on the cake to a great evening.
Sunday and the return journey back home via Ibrox for a meeting with a local junior club's secretary who needed some memorabilia for his team's fundraising event that afternoon. Click this link for available items.
For the last time at Ibrox this season, Rangers line up on Saturday afternoon against Motherwell.
Home and watched Manchester City's title clinching victory at St James' Park. Fergie will be steaming!
The week ahead - racing at Beverley on Monday, Lady Ibrox's debut and First Fast Now in action again. Tuesday Catterick races as my filly Phair Winter is running.
Friday night and speaking in Hull and Sunday back up to Perth to watch Rangers final game of the season against St Johnstone. the last three seasons have seen final day title clinching performances and I saw them all. This time attendance is just as important to show continued support and devotion and look forward to the future.
Wednesday night action from Norton and the Northern League Second Division Cup Final between my son's Northallerton Town and Team Northumbria.
Anyone interested in booking me to host or speak at their event me can be assured that as well as speaking I will give maximum help to fundraising on the evening with my auctioneering skills, contact me regarding availability by clicking here.
Enjoy your football.
Tuesday night action from a Baltic Sedgefield.
A special thank-you. The players show their appreciation for the magnificent support of the Blue Order and Union Bears.
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