The Glorious World of Scottish Football Commentary
February 1st 2010
I am still recovering from the amazing experience of being at Rugby Park and the crazy world of last Saturday’s Kilmarnock v. Dundee United match. A gorgeous Scots winter day for a start; it has taken me thirty years of football-watching to see a 4-4 draw and honestly it could have been much higher. United were 3-1 up after 35 minutes and looked like they would score a barrowload, and then when Killie fought back, aided by United kamikaze defending, and went 4-3 ahead in the second half it looked briefly like they were going to storm ahead.
My recent posting on the future of Scottish football has been picked up and prompted even more thoughtful musings from James Hamilton http://mtmg.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/the-scottish-and-scottish-football/ – whose original thoughts inspired my piece and Rob Marrs –http://leftbackinthechangingroom.blogspot.com/2010/01/we-need-to-talk-about-scotland.html
It is refreshing to see the quality of writing that Hamilton and Marrs display about the Scottish game which is a world apart from the narrow mainstream media diet in the BBC, STV and most of the print press (Graham Spiers honourably exempted).
Hamilton has a wonderful, potent way of describing parts of Scottish life such as how BBC Scotland cover our football:
Sportscene is filmed on a depressing, recession-blue set inside what appears to be an abandoned refrigerated warehouse. The presenters wear the expressions of doomed men.
He then moves on to a wider Scottish and British canvas which is worth quoting at length:
I do think something is coming to an end. It goes for the whole of Britain that, when the last of the comfortable predictions has died out and all is dark and wet and frightened quiet, good things are beginning. So it is, I think, for Scottish football. It’ll take many years for it to reach the national side, for reasons I’ve discussed before. But the worst is over, before we know it or are aware of it. It feels like 1980 in Scottish football: all unemployment queues, dodgy auction surplus shops in the High Street and no one to vote for. There are people in the jungles of Scotland who fight on unaware that that early ’80s recession has been over for thirty years.
Hamilton then pulls it back to offer some glimpse of sunshine:
The football one’s over too, for all that it doesn’t yet show. When it does, it’ll become clear that the Scots pulled themselves out of it, on their own and on their own resources, and it’ll be a point of pride in the end. But even in my own, sunny version of Scottish football history, it’s been a low and bitter period for all kinds of reasons.
That’s powerful, relevant writing in my mind, covering culture, society and the role of football. It would be good if we could have more of it rather than Stuart Cosgrove slumming it as a McLad and Jim Traynor to name but two.