Champions League, Satire, Scottish Football

Real Madrid: Sold For Scrap

IMG_4360

Good Evening.

Congratulations to Real Madrid on winning the Champions League last night. Using the David King Bullshit-Soundbite Principle, I am delighted to confirm that the presence of Celtic in this year’s competition proper means that Real’s triumph actually counts.

Well done lads!

As you might expect, the victors were delighted at the end of the game. Not only had they become Champions of Europe for 2016-17, but they had also notched up a record-stretching twelfth European Cup/ Champions League title. Whatever you may think about Real Madrid over the years, the cumulative achievement – including three titles in four years – is quite something.

However, I have no doubt that some peddler of pish will soon pipe up and argue that one team dominating makes the competition boring and risks creating a crisis in European football which will see fans walking away.

Because that’s the sort of crap we get to hear about Scottish football from people who really should know better (and indeed who probably do know better) but who hanker after long-discredited sham of a game rather than teams playing by the rules and living within their means.

And these bizarre individuals expect you to buy their papers and listen to/ watch their broadcasts! 😂

What a joke!

But I digress…

Clumpany sources tell me that Real Madrid’s euphoria last night may have been justified, but it was also extremely short-lived. After the players collected the trophy and returned to the dressing room, one of them made the fatal mistake of going online on his phone.

Oh dear.

For when he looked at Twitter he suddenly realised that twelve European titles aren’t really that impressive at all. Because his timeline contained tweets about the world’s most successful club being Rangers, who are ’54 and counting’. Or something.

Ashen-faced, he passed his phone around the dressing room and one by one the players and staff of Real Madrid fell silent as they realised that all their efforts were ultimately worthless.

The Spaniards’ head of media made a few phone calls to check the truth of the tweets. He was eventually and unexpectedly put through to the Scottish offices of noted Spanish football historians Nivel Cinco who told him that yes indeed Rangers are the world’s most successful football club.

As you can imagine, everyone was utterly distraught, and The Clumpany understands that in a fit of pique, Real’s twelve European Cups are now being sent to the scrapyard. No one at the club wants to be associated with the embarrassingly hollow boasts that could be made about all that European silverware when someone else is clearly more successful.

Fair play to them for knowing their place and realising that they are NOT ‘The People’.

However, don’t be fooled into believing that Real Madrid have thrown in the towel completely. The Clumpany hears that their disappointment has served to give them a steely resolve to overcome Rangers in the glory stakes.

Word reaches me that Real’s twelve European Cups will be melted down and refashioned into a giant hand sticking two fingers up in the air. This will then be photographed and copies sent to an army of creditors. Real Madrid will then liquidate, their assets will be reformed into a new club, and Real will claim to have bought enough history (from anyone prepared to sell it) in order to have

  • a large number of domestic cups
  • one European trophy which still smells of the toilet in which it was presented; and
  • 55 domestic league titles.

A compliant media will be expected to pretend it is still the same Real Madrid, the domestic authorities will bite their tongue, and the Real fan base will play their part by hounding anyone who points out that this is a massive intelligence-insulting pisstake.

However, care will be taken to ensure that the single European trophy isn’t a European Cup. 

Because that would blow the entire sham’s cover at a stroke.

After all, it is blindingly obvious that the world’s most successful club wouldn’t ever actually win the Big Cup.

Isn’t it?

#KeepOnClumping

Celtic, Champions League, Football Blogging Awards, Hibernian, Media, Scottish Cup, Scottish Football, Sevco

Party Like It’s 19 Points Clear


Good Evening.

The Clumpany would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. I suspect that 2016 is unlikely to rank highly in many folks’ list of ‘best years ever’, so let us hope for better things for the world in 2017.

From a footballing perspective, New Years’ Eve brought to a close a truly remarkable first half of the season for Celtic. Champions League football, a League Cup, and a domestic league campaign of nineteen wins and one draw represents a phenomenal achievement by the club. As does their 19 point lead with a game in hand.

And while everyone will naturally salute Brendan Rodgers (who has had a transformative effect on the club from the moment his appointment was announced) and the players, we should also show our appreciation to the backroom staff, board and fans who have all made a huge contribution to the success of the past few months.

Football is a team game on and off the pitch and Celtic have been getting it right in both contexts so far. Let’s see what the second half of the season brings, but as we head into the winter break it seems reasonable to draw breath and reflect on a job well done to date. And remain on the board’s case about Resolution 12…

Naturally, I enjoyed today’s victory against Sevco. The manner of the win was  very satisfying, and I would be telling a lie if I didn’t admit to savouring the Sevco cheerleaders in the media being made to squirm. Folk whose daily turd-polishing output wouldn’t know the truth if it dressed up as Lord Hodge and screamed in their faces “liquidation means death you jokers!”

We have now reached the point where a significant proportion of the MSM’s Sevco output seems to consist of blatantly rewritten history and bullsh*t narratives about a rosy future. Facts, analysis and realism are strangers to pieces which are so fantastical that they are almost certainly written using dodo blood on dried unicorn skin.

Day after day, these imposters tell you that something which you saw occur didn’t actually happen. And then they get uppity when you challenge them! If it wasn’t so outrageous it would be pitiful.

I am sure the imminent January transfer window will see yet more Sevco tall tales wheeled out on a daily basis. And I am certain that the likes of you and me will be standing ready to laugh out loud at the patently obvious spin.

But before we launch into 2017, allow me to dwell on my two favourite football ‘moments’ of 2016. One of which I really didn’t enjoy at all.

The uncomfortable one was Celtic’s Champions League playoff round second leg against Hapoel Beer Sheva on 23 August. Having won the first leg at home 5-2 (a fantastic result which subsequently looked even better as Hapoel racked up some great results in the Europa League), Celtic lost the second leg 2-0 after a pretty abject and nerve-wracking display. 

Celtic went through to the Group stages 5-4 on aggregate but the game was absolute torture. I am sure The Clumpany wasn’t the only one who felt sick as the minutes ticked by. With Celtic having been away from the Champions League for two seasons, and with so much potential excitement, money and prestige at stake, the game carried huge significance right at the start of the Rodgers era. 

And Celtic made it! 

Just. 

The subsequent ride in the Group stage got off to a very bumpy start against Barcelona, but then continued in exciting and creditable fashion. The 3-3 draw against Manchester City will certainly live long in the memory.

But it only happened because Celtic made it through that agonising fixture against Hapoel, which I hated and strangely almost loved at the same time. 

Would I go through it again? Hell yes! 

My second ‘moment’ of the year is the Scottish Cup final, when Hibs dramatically beat Sevco 3-2 with THAT late David Gray winner. Yes I enjoyed seeing Sevco come a cropper, yes I loved seeing the colossal sense of entitlement displayed by some brought crashing down, yes I was appalled by some of the scenes after the game ended, and yes I would rather have seen Celtic lift the Cup.

But do you know something? David Gray’s goal, ending both a 114 year wait and the longest running joke in world football was absolutely magnificent. 

David Gray: OOFT!

It was so fantastic that it prompted one of my most witty and incisive Tweets ever:


It was a moment of pure magic and you would have to have possessed a heart of stone not to be pleased for Hibs and their fans, whose post-match ‘Sunshine On Leith’ was utterly spellbinding:

Sunshine On Leith: Cup Final

Genuine football magic and a piece of history right here in Scotland. It was – and remains – something to treasure.

On a personal note, I would like to thank you all for your support during the year. Aside from all the hugely enjoyable interactions on Twitter, I am grateful for the 2.75 million blog hits and over one million visitors in 2016, as well as for the votes that got me to the final of the Football Blogging Awards for a second successive year.

Aside from the occasional need for a break, I enjoy writing my output and hope to continue it in the New Year.

This year’s Top 5 most popular blogs have been:

Dembele: My Champions League Wantaway Hell

Bad News For Rangers*?

Sevco v Hamilton: What REALLY Happened…

The Death Certificate

A Phone Call From Lionel Messi

The World Cup Of ‘Liquidation Lies’, which took place over the course of a week in February also proved very popular, and culminated in a glittering award ceremony attended by a very special guest.

Finally, please allow me to mention my two favourite MSM pieces this year. Both of which I discussed in ‘withering’ fashion.

Firstly, Gary Ralston of the Daily Record ‘losing his relationship with Rangers*’. I guffaw at this one every time I think about it!

A Vigil for The Daily Record

And secondly, Chris Jack of the Evening Shark-Jump suggesting that Scottish clubs don’t deserve a Champions League invite:

Let’s Not Bother With The Champions League

What was he thinking?!

Hope you all have a great evening and a Happy New Year.

And please,

#KeepOnClumping

 

Celtic, Champions League, Media, Scottish Football

Why Brendan Rodgers Wants To Leave Celtic

“F*ck it. I’m off…”

Good Afternoon.

Well done to Celtic – all the players, management, backroom staff and board members – on a more-than-creditable performance in the Champions League this season.

Qualifying was a huge leap forward after the disappointments of recent seasons, and following the opening day drubbing by Barcelona the progress on the pitch has been clear for all to see.

Of course, Celtic didn’t win any games, but three draws in such a tough group is commendable stuff, and with a little bit more composure when goalscoring opportunities came, the Hoops might have ended up with more than three points.

But they didn’t, and European football is over for another year, leaving us with some great memories particularly the pulsating game at Celtic Park against Manchester City which was football at its most thrilling.

There can be no question that Celtic’s campaign was a huge GIRUY to one of the most ludicrous articles I have ever read in the Scottish sports press. Which makes it doubly pleasing!

Let’s Not Bother With The Champions League

Hopefully the experience and money generated can help the team to kick on next season should it win the domestic league and earn another opportunity to try and negotiate the banana skin-littered qualifiers.

Sadly however, I fear that Celtic might have to play those qualifiers without Brendan Rodgers. Because, despite what he said in a press conference a few days ago, it seems as though he is actually pining for a return to the English Premier League.

Here are a few quotes from the Celtic manager to ponder:

“I don’t see it [Celtic] as a stepping stone. I’m going to be coaching hopefully for another 20 odd years, and it is highly unlikely I’m going to be at Celtic for 20 years because of how the modern game works, but my intention is to be at Celtic for as long as I possibly can, to help the club grow and develop, and to take it as far as I possibly can.”

“I grew up supporting the club and I’m very fortunate. For me, I’m living the dream, being the manager of Celtic.”

“The most important thing for me is happiness – if I’m happy, I’m winning. And I don’t necessarily need to be working in the Premier League to be winning. We’ll see where the next 20 years take me, but at this very moment in time and certainly for the immediate future I’m very, very happy.”

That seems pretty clear to me. But apparently – deep down – he actually wants to leave:


“Longing”, eh?

When challenged about this quote, Tom English (to whom far play for responding) had the following to say:




Well that’s me convinced Tom! 😉

Perhaps you can bring us some more evidence to strengthen your already compelling case? For example:

“The way Rodgers straightened his tie was a sure sign that he is nervous. He must be about to meet Dermot Desmond to tell him of his plans to leave”.

“You don’t sip water the way Brendan Rodgers does if you are staying at Celtic for the long haul”.

“Brendan Rodgers said Scott Brown could play in the Premier League. And he’s clearly going to take him there himself”.

“Peter Lawwell spoke of how Celtic could possibly be the biggest club in Britain if they played in England. He clearly knows that Rodgers is off there”.

“Have you seen the Celtic Christmas advert? Packed full of subliminal messages about Rodgers wanting to walk away. That bit where the door is shut in his face? A sure sign that he’s going”.

“Rodgers hasn’t signed a lifetime contract with Celtic. Clear proof he only wants to be there for the short term”.

“Brendan Rodgers has bought Patrick Roberts a massive suitcase as a bonus for scoring against Manchester City. It’s big enough to fit a person inside. Mark my words, Rodgers will be hiding in it when Roberts goes back down south”.

“Rodgers has a subscription to a TV channel which shows the English Premier League. How much more evidence do you need of his ‘wantaway’ hell?”.

Enjoy Brendan’s Celtic reign while it lasts everybody. The clock is apparently ticking…

#KeepOnClumping

Champions League, Media, Scottish Football, Sevco

Lionel Messi Pays A Visit To Sevco


Good Evening.

Following Celtic’s Champions League fixture against Barcelona, stand by for a spectacular piece of morale-boosting news for the Sevco faithful in one of tomorrow’s papers. I’ll leave you to guess which one.

Here is the article:

>>>>>>

Magical Messi’s Ibrox Inspiration

Dave King’s Rangers* rebuild received the Messi seal of approval yesterday as the legend took a tour of Ibrox and marvelled at the magnificent stadium.

Despite having been previously rejected by the *Gers, Messi expressed his appreciation of the tactical genius of Mark Warburton and his exciting brand of attacking football which won silverware last season.

The hero also enjoyed an extended kickabout with the first team on the hallowed turf.

Andy Halliday remarked of the encounter “It was great to pick up some top tips on unlocking defences, although I’m not sure we needed them to be honest. This team can beat anyone on its day. We are Glasgow Rangers* and defeated Linfield 7-0. I’m not sure why Messi thought I would have a spare copy of Joey Barton’s book, though? Do I look like I would have a spare copy of Joey Barton’s book?”

Other squad members took the opportunity to pose for pictures with each other, and even allowed Messi to join in for a couple of them.

Messi then received a tour of the famous Ibrox corridors under the guidance of captain Lee Wallace who expressed regret that he was too late for the most important meal of the day. “I told him that if he wants to experience a real El Classico, he should try our breakfast buffet”, said Wallace. “It’s got cornflakes and… and… and… well it’s got cornflakes and things. It’s absolutely top-drawer. Which incidentally is where you can find the spoons.”

Messi then met board members at the top of the marble staircase and showed his class by respecting their request not to ask them any questions whatsoever. The final calong point on the whistle-stop tour was the trophy room, where Messi was disappointed to learn that the 12 European Cups were at the cleaners and so unavailable for viewing.

Having signed some autographs on pieces of paper which were definitely not cheques, the superstar was whisked away to continue his preparations for the Gers*’ eventual return to the Champions League by playing Celtic.

“It was a brilliant experience for everyone involved, especially Messi”, said a spokesman. “He learned what this club is all about, its big plans and its destiny to regain* its place at the top of Scottish football and then conquer the world as a precursor to taking over the entire galaxy. Now please remember to say that the board is doing a great job at least twice in the article. We’ve an AGM coming up.”

Sadly no pictures are available of Messi’s visit to Sevco, but our sources confirm that it was a truly historic, history-laden occasion in the long history of the club.

>>>>>>

The Clumpany admits to being excited at the prospect of seeing this story in print, especially as I am EXCLUSIVELY able to bring you a picture of the esteemed visitor to Ibrox.

Here he is:

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Mr (Lionel) Messy̶i…?

#KeepOnClumping

Celtic, Champions League, Scottish Football

Joey Barton’s Passing Statistics


Good Morning.

I am sure we all remember the boasting when Joey Barton – Scotland’s Player of the Year 2016-17 – signed for Sevco during the summer. Celtic captain Scott Brown was a particular focus of his gleeful comments. For example:

“Without being disrespectful to the players up there, people keep talking about Joey Barton v Scott Brown. He’s not even in my league – he’s nowhere near the level of player I am.”

“He can’t get near me. If I play well, Brown does not stand a chance. That’s not me being blase – that’s just me stating what I believe.”

“But you know what? I’m comfortable with that. I’m comfortable with expectation, with pressure, with my own focus and performance. If I get to that level then unfortunately for everyone up there, they won’t be able to live with me.”

We can also recall how the now-perpetually-suspended Barton didn’t even manage to come off second-best in his much-hyped ‘confrontation’ with Brown in the Celtic’s 5-1 hammering of Sevco In September.

Scott Brown cruised through to the next round of ‘Footballer Death Stare 2016’

The evidence seems pretty clear-cut: Barton was talking Grade A nonsense before the start of the season. However, it is always good to have a bit of data to provide confirmation. And so The Clumpany thought it might be helpful to compare Scott Brown’s passing statistics in the Champions League group stage with Barton’s own recent passing performances.

Here are Brown’s statistics:

v Barcelona – 94%

v Manchester City – 91%

v A German Team 😉 – 96%

v The same German Team – 96%

Those are pretty impressive, especially given that that they were achieved on the biggest stage in club football.

And what about Barton? Well, top Clumpany data-gatherers have been working through the night, and I am delighted to be able to bring you the following information:

“Pass me the driver.”

“Pass me the 4 iron.”

“Pass me the putter.”

“Pass me the salt.”

“Pass me the pepper.”

“Pass me the parcel.”

“No, I said pass ME the parcel! I don’t care if this is a children’s party game. I’m a winner in everything I do!”

“Pass me another 5,000 copies of my autobiography to sign. I need something to do.”

“Pass me the sick bucket. I can’t read these nauseating Scottish match reports any more.”

“Pass me the remote control. I don’t fancy watching Celtic in Europe tonight.”

“Pass me a ‘club’ tie for my hearing.”

“Pass up a £2m payoff by walking away for nothing? You must be joking!”

“Pass me my payslip. KERCHING!”

I am sure we can all agree that despite the versatility of Barton’s passing play, there is only one winner in his duel with Brown…


#KeepOnClumping

Celtic, Champions League, Scottish Football

Celtic: Getting In ‘The Zone’


Good Evening. [And please ‘vote Clumpany’ on Twitter and the FBA website!]

It is not generally fashionable to be complimentary about those who run Celtic Football Club. In fact ‘the powers that be’ have often been in receipt of severe ‘stick’ over their

  • signing policies, 
  • choice of managers, 
  • apparent lack of ambition,
  • possible unwillingness to stand up for the club in the face of some questionable governance by the SFA and SPFL; and
  • non-payment of the Living Wage.

Some (but not all) of the criticism has been very well deserved, and I await with interest the club’s eventual position on the issues raised by ‘Resolution 12’, and the need to have the farcical Lord Nimmo-Smith commission overturned.

However, credit should be given when due. And there is quite a lot of credit to be  bestowed just now. The ambition shown by the board in tempting Brendan Rodgers to Celtic was magnificent, as have been the new signings. The fact that they have resulted in Champions League football coming back to Celtic Park for the first time in three years is little short of fantastic!

The safe-standing section is the result of a lot of hard work being undertaken over a very long time. It is undoubtedly a huge enhancement to the matchday experience, as well as being a point of interest and envy for clubs around Europe. It has – without question – put Celtic ‘on the map’ when it comes to discussing how to operate a 21st Century football stadium.

The recent moves on paying the Living Wage are also welcome, if shamefully overdue.

But it is today’s ‘Family FanZone’ event in George Square which I particularly wanted to draw attention to. It was a huge success and drew 7,000 people – many of them children- to a celebration of Celtic in the city centre. These sort of events are familiar in other parts of the world, but not in Scotland. To have the ambition, energy, resources and confidence to decide to stage it and then pull it off so well speaks volumes about a club which is comfortable in its skin, proud of its history, excited about its future, and not afraid to shout about it.

This was an upbeat, optimistic and distinctly modern event. As such, it seemed to encapsulate the Brendan Rodgers-managed, Champions League-playing Celtic Football Club of 2016. 

Well done to all involved. Let’s hope that this is just the first of many such events.

#KeepOnClumping

NB The Clumpany has somehow made it through to the final of the Football Blogging Awards 2016, in the ‘Best New Blog’ catgegory! You can (and should!) vote again in the following ways:

  • Completing the form on the FBA website by clicking here and selecting ‘The Clumpany’ from the appropriate drop-down menu.
  • On twitter, by clicking here.

You can cast a vote on BOTH Twitter and the website. 

Many thanks!

Celtic, Champions League, Media, Scottish Football, Sevco

A Great Football Philosopher Speaks


Good Afternoon. 

What an absolute joy it was to watch Celtic play Manchester City on Wednesday night. At the end of the game just a single point was won, but the nature of the Celtic performance was very uplifting and provided great cause for optimism as they continue their journey 

  • in this season’s Champions League; and
  • along the longer-term path of rebuilding and development which Brendan Rodgers has spoken about. 

Rodgers has been absolutely clear that Celtic are far from being the finished article, and we would do well to remember that. However, Wednesday’s performance against an English Premier League side who are led by one of the world’s best managers and who had been unstoppable so far this season felt very significant indeed.

Celtic gave as good as they got – and then some – on the big stage and enthralled a truly remarkable crowd in a way that harked back to some great nights of yesteryear. Given Celtic’s European struggles of the past two seasons it almost felt like an extremely unlikely treat, but a welcome one nevertheless! 

A big well done to everyone involved for putting a smile on our faces, getting a great result and for reminding the world that Celtic and Scottish football haven’t gone away. 

More of the same against Borussia Mönchengladbach please!

It would be remiss of me not to remind you all that Wednesday’s performance and result was a great big GIRUY to one of the most ridiculous articles ever published about Scottish football. The piece in question appeared in the Evening Shark-Jump on 19 September 2016 and contained these immortal words:

“When it comes to European football, we just don’t bring anything to the table these days.”

“Let’s make other friends and go to a different party instead.”

Oops! [NB see Let’s Not Bother With The Champions League for the full, breathtaking wibblery.]

Meanwhile, The Warbmeister has made a bid to join the ranks of football’s great philosophers. The Evening Shark-Jump reports the former City Trader stating:

“We need to put the ball in the back of the net. Possession is nothing without goals.”

Wow! Who knew?!

It’s not exactly “football is nothing without fans” though, is it?!

Warbo’s incisive comments came in a piece which appeared to show a manager still feeling the pressure of a poor start of the season:

“MARK WARBURTON admits his summer recruits are still coming to terms with life in Glasgow as they look to get up to speed this term. The Englishman added eleven players to his squad for Rangers’ return to the Premiership but has seen his side struggle in the opening weeks of the season.”

“And Warburton reckons it will take time for his players to adjust to the scrutiny they are under at Ibrox. He said: ‘What they’re dealing with, in a very polite way, is you guys. Clint Hill with his vast experience and where he’s played at, Niko vastly experienced internationally as well, they are staggered by the amount of focus on Rangers and Celtic. 

But that’s Glasgow. It takes some getting used to. It’s a goldfish bowl and it takes some getting used to. Every goal is scrutinised, every miss is scrutinised. I had a guest in from Fleet Street earlier in the week. I won’t say who but he was a decent guy, a big guy who came up and was staggered that there was 20 odd pages on the Aberdeen game.

He couldn’t get his head round it and he is a senior sports writer. But it is Glasgow. It’s Rangers. It’s the stature of the club. It’s the size of the club.People come from clubs down south and it’s hard to realise the size and the scale of Rangers until you get here and you do the media and you read the papers every day.’

‘You guys have lived it all your lives but if you come from outside, it’s different. When Tottenham play Arsenal, there will be a bit in the Evening Standard and a little bit in the Daily Mail and then it’s on to the next thing because there are so many other teams in London and England. But here, the scrutiny and the focus is more on the team. And whatever you say, it does take time to adjust to it. That’s the honest truth’.”

Warbo appears unfamiliar with the English Premier League as the rest of humanity understands it. That is a league  where every bowel movement, tactical gamble and goal of the leading sides is subjected to trial by Sky Sports News and covered in mind-bogglingly tedious detail by the written press. Indeed, anyone might think from all the noise around it that it is a multi-billion pound industry followed by millions of people around the world. Unlike Sevco…

Even outside the Premier League you have Newcastle United. Now there’s a circus upon which the local press are utterly fixated! Day after day after day…

Not for the first time, Warbo seems uncomfortable with media scrutiny and criticism, despite having the luxury of the most sympathetic press pack in the world on his doorstep. I note that the Evening Shark-Jump does not consider why Celtic’s new signings appear to have settled into the Glasgow-based football much more easily than Warbo’s. Perhaps Brendan Rodgers has just been lucky? Or perhaps his side have simply been playing winning football?

Warbo has previously said that people have advised him not to read the papers. He might do well to heed that advice and pass it on to the players who he says are being (goldfish) bowled-over by it. Personally speaking, I hope he doesn’t. Purely in the interests of comedy, you understand…

Finally… The Clumpany would just like to say how much it enjoyed the Daily Record’s take on Warbo’s comments:

Does a goldfish bowl actually have a “deep end?”

I fear not…

#KeepOnClumping