NTV 244 Out Now

ntv-244-cover

Includes paper copy and PDF.

Tales From The Crypt – BFDJ

Public Notice

The Curator of the Crypt hereby gives notice that MR DEREK JOHNSTONE is hereby interned in the Crypt forthwith. For services to ugliness, PIE CONSUMPTION, and SHEER INARTICULACY NOTABLE EVEN IN THE COMPANY OF THE CAST of Super scoreboard his pleas for induction have been accepted.

Abandon all taste YE who enter here.

Signed

The Curator

———————————————————-

The Curator has seen fit previously to mention the latest internee in previous articles in this space filling segment of your favourite blatt. Indeed in the very first article Big Fat Derek Johnstone (BFDJ) was described as being both ‘a fat, inarticulate oaf’ and as having been ‘rather a good centre forward’. The curator sees no real need to revise either of those original assessments although it is doubtful if this article will dwell on his undeniable – if short lived – talent.

But we will start at the beginning and one of the darker days of my childhood- the 24th of October 1970. On that cold, wet, windy day Celtic were to face Rangers in the final of the League Cup a trophy the good guys had won in each of the previous five seasons. In the recent past the Celts had beaten Rangers twice very easily – once in a League match, the other in the final of the Glasgow Cup when a largely reserve side outplayed a full strength Rangers team by three goals to one. Celtic were therefore hot favourites to win.

But Rangers won 1-0 and the scorer of the only goal on a bucketing day was a sixteen year old called Derek Johnstone who had scored just before half time with a header not dissimilar to the one Pele had unleashed against England four months before. Evan Williams was, alas, no Gordon Banks, and though the Celtic ’keeper made a decent effort at saving it was a goal.

The Typewriter Loyal went into the happy equivalent of meltdown to acclaim the somewhat plump new boy.

The sense that Rangers had discovered a prodigy capable of overturning Celtic’s dominance was increased when in the Scottish Cup Final six months later the already larger-than-life teenager grabbed a late equaliser to force a replay. Candid Cameron et al’s cup overflowed.

Reality returned in the replay when Celtic won 2-1 – with the real Johnstone (Jimmy) roasting Rangers in a victory that was much more comfortable than the scoreline suggests.

BFDJ undoubtedly had his moments as a player during much of the seventies although as I recall he wasn’t as much of a thorn in our flesh as his early promise had suggested. He topped scored in the Scottish League of 77-8 and, by now sporting a bubble perm, was seen, in the usual quarters as being likely to be a big hit at the World Cup in Argentina in June of that year.

I doubt that the coaches of Holland, Peru and Iran (or indeed Brazil, West Germany, Italy and eventual winners Argentina) were soiling their boxers at the thought of their teams having to face an elephantine, poodle-heided, pie eating champion from Dundee but I still admit he was quite a good player and he might have done better than some who were to feature in Ally MacLeod‘s now infamous team.

What went on at Scotland’s training camp prior to the first match with Peru has long been the subject of rumour but whatever it was BFDJ didn’t do himself any favours and even after Scotland’s capitulation to Peru it was the hardy slimline Joe Harper of Aberdeen whom Ally MacLeod used as back up striker.

And so it was that BFDJ’s Scotland career petered out, its highlight surely having come in a 1973 match with Brazil when he scored a brilliant diving header to become only the second Scot to score in a match involving the two countries.

That it was an own goal scarcely seemed to matter. My dad and I laughed all the way home.

BFDJ’s career had been flying high prior to that ill-fated trip to Argentina but although he was still only 24 his career had peaked by the time MacLeod’s team arrived back in Scotland. He was troubled by injury and struggled during the 1978-9 season under Rangers new manager John Greig. His injury in the second half of the season led to the rumours – at least amongst Celtic fans – that Johnstone enjoyed a less than harmonious relationship with his boss.

Whatever the truth, when Rangers played FC Koln in the second league of the European Cup quarter final (with the Bundesliga side one up from the game in Germany) Greig chose novice striker- and the massively ugly poor man’s Don Kichenbrand- Billy Urquhart – over BFDJ. Admittedly Greig couldn’t have managed a drinks party in a brewery but it did hint that the rumours among the forerunners of the Internet Bampots might have some truth to them.

A clear sign that BFDJ was no longer flavour of the month came from an unexpected source at this time when the Daily Rectum – then just a mediocre paper as opposed to be the World’s Worst Newspaper- printed a letter from a reader suggesting the BFDJ bore an uncanny resemblance to the Crossroads’ character Benny Hawkins (ask your grandparents).

looklike-johnstone-and-benny
Above: Inarticulate, overweight and unable to see any bad in the object of his affection. Crossroads Motel’s resident Brummie bumpkin Benny’s unrequited love for the fragrant receptionist Miss Diane has nothing on BFDJ’s slavish devotion to the team who play in blue at the soon to be renamed Ibrox Stadium.

There were to be few upturns in BFDJ’s remaining years at Ibrox. Rangers’ fortunes nosedived after the twin debacles in the spring of 1979 against FC Koln and Celtic* and then in a home match in the Cup Winners’ Cup Rangers crashed to a 3-1 defeat to Valencia. Two of the Spanish team’s goals came from a striker who had done quite well at the World Cup in which BFDJ had not featured, one Mario Kempes.

The contrast between the athletic and gifted Argentinean and the lumbering, man-boobed Johnstone was stark. BFDJ did get Rangers goal but the sight of his immense effort to simply get up from the ground after scoring the goal must have given more encouragement to the visitors than the homesters.

Six months later in the Scottish Cup Final Johnstone’s attempts to out jump the Celtic centre half were mocked by, all of people, Rangers great Jim Baxter who suggested that it would have been hard to get a sheet of lavvy paper under BFDJ’s feet when he was trying to head the ball.

Celtic’s centre half for the game was Mike Conroy who had never played in that position before. No Man of The Match award was so easily won as the one Michael earned that day.

Johnstone hung around Ibrox for a further three years after which time even John Greig had seen enough. BFDJ tried his luck in Hollywood but was turned down for the role of snobbish barfly Norm Peterson in the series Cheers on the grounds that the Scotsman was too fat.

A brief spell at Chelsea – at that time a horrible, poor club as opposed to the horrible, rich club they are today – a return to Rangers and a mildly disastrous spell as manager of Partick Thistle and that was it from the one time Golden Boy.

I could make feeble jokes that he would step on speak-your-weight machines to the sound of the machine bleating ‘no coach parties’ but I’ll resist. Instead he became an inarticulate oaf on a succession of crappy Scottish sports programmes. For a flavour of his frequently-bafflingly-illogical-but-always-slavish-supportive-of-Rangers contributions have a read of umpteen back copies of this very magazine and its very own Johnstoneballs column.

A less amusing but no less pertinent insight into his confused, sub-literate, nasty inability to grasp reality came as early as 1981 in a series of interviews in The Scottish Daily Express after he’d put in the latest of a series of transfer requests.

In the spring of 1981 Rangers’ sectarian signing policy was something of a lukewarm potato in the Scottish media and so it was understandable that the Rangers captain was asked for his views. Like some porcine Scottish version of a pre-Civil Rights Southern States White politician in their attitude to African Americans BFDJ proclaimed that whilst he had nothing against Catholics he would be sad to see Rangers ending any of their traditions. After all he ‘reasoned’ didn’t Celtic have theirs?

Hmmm. BFDJ sees decades of acknowledging your own origins but discriminating against nobody is pretty much the same as decades of craven sectarian kow-towing to a ‘minority’ of your own club’s support. Well that’s all right then.

It’s easy to laugh at BFDJ – other than perhaps Boris Johnson the one time Rangers centre forward is the biggest buffoon in Britain. But like London’s former mayor, BFDJ is not quite as amiable a duffer as his media image would have us believe.

Inarticulate, oafish and looking like a character from a rotten seventies soap opera he may be. But that doesn’t necessarily make him a good person. Welcome to the crypt.

crypt-johnstone-pie
Above: A rare shot of BFDJ during one of his radio phone-in gigs. Any criticism of his favourite team invariably pushes his voice up so many octaves that he can only be heard by dogs or bats.
JIM PAYNE

* I really don’t need to remind you about what the ten men did on 21 may 1979 did do I? Oh all right – a goal down with 22 minutes to go the ten man Celts end up winning four goals to two.

The Book of Wisdom – Part the Umpteenth

book-of-wisdom-cover-with-mag
book-of-wisdom-heading

1. And so it was that at that time the Timmites had put aside their rejoicing, and had taken unto themselves once more their garments of sackcloth and they ate unto themselves but locusts and they commenced once more weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, for the Hunnites had smitten them thrice and they were sorely tormented.

2. And the Hunnites saw this and they rejoiced, for they had amongst them a prophet, and this prophet walked among the scribes and the pharisees and they did gaze upon this prophet with wonder, for he did gladden the hearts of the Hunnites.

3. And there was one among the scribes who calleth unto himself Keith, who was the son of Jack, which means in the language of the Hunnites the one who speaketh through his back passage, and he did mock the Timmites saying, “Behold ye Timmites, a new prophet hath come among us, the Hunnites, and he is calleth unto himself Why-Tee, and he shall smite ye Timmites sorely once more, for sheckles hath he aplenty, and his sheckles shall not be counted for truly he hath as many sheckles as there are grains of sand in the desert, and many are his camels and his tents and his other things, but mainly his sheckles.”

4. And the Timmites looked upon the prophet of the Hunnites and they were afraid of him and his mighty sheckles, for had the scribes not written that the Timmites would be once more smitten, and they bessecheth unto the Lord, “Oh Lord, spare us from the Hunnites and their uncountable sheckles, for we shall not countenance but one more year in the barren wilderness, nor yet can we endure more lamenting, and we are truly sick of locusts.”

5. And the Lord heareth unto the prayers of the Timmites, and he spoketh unto them as unto a voice from a cloud, or a burning bush, or a piece of toast and he did say unto them, “Fear not my Timmites, for Why-Tee is but a false prophet who hath made unto himself but little profit, and I shall send among the Hunnites one who shall maketh unto their knees tremble and their beards falleth unto the floor and their camels reek with pungeant gas, for ye shall have vengeance on the Hunnites and it shall taste much sweeter than the sweetest locust.”

6. And so it came to pass that the Lord sent among the Hunnites one calleth unto himself Hec-Tor, and Hec-Tor did seek out in the land of Israel the tax collectors and the thieves and the robbers and prostitutes, and he did say unto them, “I shall require but the services of the first of ye, for we shall go forth and find the prophet of the Hunnites and smite him sorely.”

7. And when Hec-Tor and the tax collectors did finally gaze upon the prophet of the Hunnites he fell upon his knees, for he was afraid of the tax collectors, and he did void his rheum and he did void other less pleasant things as well, and he did rent his garments and gnasheth unto him his teeth and googleth unto him his eyeballs and he did beg mercy of Hec-Tor, saying, “Spare me from the wrath of the Hunnites, for I have deceiveth them and they shall stone me and flay me and useth me liken unto one of their goats.”

8. And Hec-Tor saw this and he sayeth unto Why-Tee, “Truly ye shall endure much suffering ye false prophet, for the tax collectors shall have thy sheckles, and thy camels and thy sandals and thy robe off thine back, and ye shall be casteth out into the land of Ad-Min, for the Hunnites must suffer for the worship of mammon and false prophets, and they must wander the wilderness for three years, and ye shall go to Montrose and Berwick, and ye shall be mocked and scorned and treated liketh unto a plague.”

9. And when the Hunnites heard this they raged and wept and wailed and gnashed their gums, for they knew they had been forsaken by the Lord.

10. And the Timmites gave thanks unto the Lord, and the Lord saw this and he was pleased, and he sayeth unto the Timmites, “Truly shall ye put aside thine locusts for ye shall rejoice in the land of milk and honey and jelly and ice cream, for Beram Kayal hath come to pass.”

 

2015 16 issues

Director of Football – Ally McCoist

earwig-mccoist-game-large

There are some pretty good Photoshop gags doing the rounds at the moment, so when I was sent a link to the PC game “Director of Football – Ally McCoist” by my devoted readers (Sid and Doris Bonkers) I naturally assumed it was an amusing spoof of a football management simulation (probably put together by Doris in a rare moment of sobriety).

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this was no joke! The game was published by the developer Empire Interactive and released in 2001. So successful was the game that it helped Empire go into administration in 2009. A case of life imitating art… (or is it the other way round?)

Nevertheless, it’s still possible to get your hands on a copy second hand. You can buy one on Amazon, for example, for 99p (or you could splash out the extra 1p and buy Rangers Football Club).

Having chosen to buy it, the player then adopts the persona of the cheeky chappie himself, at which point Robert de Niro-like method actors would presumably eat their own body weight in Greggs’ products before settling in to an extra-wide chair. The challenges ahead are made clear in the list of features:

“Being a football manager is a tough job. Team motivation, training, squad selection ­these are just a few of the things that have a direct effect on the result of the match.”

Very true. Yet there’s no mention of tactics or substitutions, so maybe you take a leaf out of the Director of Football’s book; send your team out then stand at the touchline looking as though you’ve left the oven on back home.

“But the Director of Football does all this plus; take charge of sponsorship packages, stadium refurbishments, balance sheets as well as making sure the team performs in the league.”

Those balance sheets can be darned tricky, so make sure you get that right, and it might be advisable to take precautions when supervising stadium refurbishments given the amount of asbestos about.

Assume the demanding role as Director of Football
Maybe you can build one of the biggest clubs in the world

Then again, maybe you can’t..

Find a sponsor, expand your stadium and reduce your car parking

Expanding your waistline might be a better option.

Increase your ticket prices and extend your corporate boxes

Now you’re talking – get those prices up…

Balance your books as well as your team

The former looked as challenging as the latter with Aluko and Naismith falling all over the place at the time.

“It’s all well and good for you to mock Mr Earwig,” I hear you say, “but what’s the game like to actually play?”

Not being inclined to try it out for myself, I’m afraid I will have to rely on passing on the reviews that accompany it on the Gamesgeek website. Alas, some of them are none too complimentary, as this sample of comments shows:

Reviewed by: droid from here
off the radar
When it comes to the beautiful game there is nothing so far removed from it than this. But if you like it ugly and PHAT then this is one of the most excellent and undignified of experiences you will ever have. I eagerly await the Offshore Trusts, Super Score Board and “It wissnae me expansion” packs. Top tip when purchasing the game – I phoned up the store in advance and offered to pay £10. When I went to buy it I only put down £3.78 which, for a very important piece of football history, has got to be the deal of the century and as close to real life as one can get.

Gameseek Customer Rating 5 Stars
So good I nearly pished my best crimpolene.
Truly a most steadfast and dignified game. A big hit at lodge slumber parties.

Reviewed by: Ethel Cardrew from Dundee
Not bad but took over 100 hours of game play to unlock the ’sign a Catholic’ option but be careful as there’s a slight chance you’ll loose the bitterness perk as a result. Also, don’t forget to download the ’heavy handed policing’ code when playing UEFA competitions.

Gameseek Customer Rating 1 Stars
To be honest with you, I was disappointed, to be fair.
Bought it but returned it straight away as I do not have a widescreen monitor. All I could see was Ally’s bulging waistcoat buttons.

Gameseek Customer Rating 1 StarsReviewed by: billybhoy from glasgow
Not Very Realistic
Would expect a ‘day in court’ option and there should also be, a pay your taxes and beat the wife and kids after a defeat options, think I’ll save my money for the when Sally met Hector DVD special.

Gameseek Customer Rating 3 Stars
When the going gets tough
I found the tactics menu a complete joke…. All it allowed you to do was play bounce games. I also really struggled on the finances section of the game.Couldn’t for the life of me call a board meeting or get my accounts audited.

Gameseek Customer Rating 4 Stars
A tweak here and there
I was having real difficulty with this but eventually twigged a cheat to cut down on costs. All I needed was to replace the hmrc.tax file in the install directory with a wages.ebt file and Bob’s yer auntie’s brer. No catchin me now.

Gameseek Customer Rating 5 Stars
oozing with dignity
A fitting tribute to the final manager of rfc

Gameseek Customer Rating 5 Stars
Very reealistick
Great game, love the bit when me and Fat Coisty fight over the last packet of Monster Munch at half time then he goes and buys a family bucket of KFC.

Reviewed by: Hunskelper from Free Derry
Lacks Dignity
After playing this, I was disappointed that I couldn’t unlock the secret ’Manchester riot’ level and instead had to make do with the ’straight arm salutes in Israel’ and ’urinate on a War Memorial in Barcelona’ awards. Poor graphics too as you can’t see the Fat Paul Le Guen’s legendary brown brogues of dignity.

Gameseek Customer Rating 2 Stars
Not very realistic
Not a very realistic game, I looked in the accounts section and there doesn’t appear to be any books. Anyone who’s played this game know where I can find the Rangers Account Books section? Will this be added on TGEF expansion pack?

Gameseek Customer Rating 4 Stars
Reviewed as told by Keeck Jackson
Excellent game, as a Loyal Follower of ragers I play this on my Lap top in between Media House telling my what to write. This game is so real I can smell the pies off Sally’s chins.

Gameseek Customer Rating 1 Stars
Game might be Discontinued
A contact called Hector the inspector has recently informed me that the game might be over with no further updates. In view of this, I would advise all the peepel to look out for bargain prices in the January sales

Gameseek Customer Rating 5 StarsReviewed by: Wee Jamesie Cotter from UK
Magical. I loved this,especially the Patsy Kensit pumping mini game.The stealth sections to avoid the missus were very realistic.

Too difficult
Completely unrealistic…. in my first season I was already pumped out of three competitions by the middle of September. Nonsense.

Gameseek Customer Rating 1 StarsReviewed by: steak-femto from Paradise
Constantly Crashing
A huge HMRC logo comes up, and then it’s always game over.

Gameseek Customer Rating 1 Stars
Sir Walter Smith – Legned.
Excellent game – the game mechanics are excellent, the only thing missing for me were the Crippled War Heroes at half time. I like to see the heroes we could’ve saved by paying our taxes.

Gameseek Customer Rating 5 Stars
Hugh Dallas
This game is so real, you can actually see the fear in the goat’s eyes. Highly recommended to all of the wee arrow people.

Toodloo the Noo
EARWIG

 

2015 16 issues

No More (Cult) Heroes

fwl mccourt

He was the Derry Pele, the man with the twinkle toes and the seemingly indestructible liver.

Paddy McCourt was signed by Gordon Strachan after having had spells with Rochdale, failing to impress Motherwell after a two week trial, Shamrock Rovers and Derry City (where his brother was a director). Not exactly a sparkling CV but the word from Ireland was that this guy was a major talent if he applied his mind to it. The footage on You Tube (admittedly never a foolproof test) suggested a player of some ability, and of course there was the odd fact that while with Shamrock Rovers he had three goals in contention for goal of the season in one year.

But on his arrival at Celtic Park he disappeared from view. Apparently his level of fitness was closer to pub league than SPL.

His debut in the Hoops was as a sub in a 4-2 win over Hibs but that was one of only 5 appearances we got off him that season (all from the bench).

The following season wasn’t a whole lot better under Mowbray. 14 run outs, although he did manage 3 goals, including an incredible solo run and chip again Falkirk. For the most part he was the star of the reserve team, which is probably the ultimate in being damned with faint praise.

The arrival of Neil Lennon changed how Paddy was used and the way the support viewed him. During season 2010-11 he made 31 appearances, scoring 7 goals. He was a key player in certain games and a couple of his goals will be long remembered: as a sub against Hearts he took on and left for dead 3 defenders before deftly lifting the ball over the diving keeper.

It was a goal that had class stamped all over it and the support responded warmly to the way he would always look to take on players not with pace but with guile and sleight of foot. Those were the trademarks of his finest goal, but it is one that is all but forgotten because it arrived in the game that, for my money, cost us the league – the game against Inverness. Not the one in April, the one in November, where we were 2-0 up and could only draw. The loss of those points wound up being crucial because you can always drop points in the highlands – the grounds there are tough – but when Celtic are 2-0 up at home with only about 20 minutes to go 3 points must be delivered, it’s that simple.

We were already a goal up when the ball arrived at Paddy’s feet about 25 yards out. He beat one man with a perfect switch of feet, dummied his way past another before taking the keeper out by feigning to shoot and then casually walking round him to roll the ball into an empty net. A joy of a goal and actually our 600th in the SPL, but one lost in the disappointment of such a poor result.

Even with that, the game that will live longest in his memory, the one he will relive the most, came two months later at Ibrox.

The common wisdom was that we were to be slaughtered. Celtic’s form had been shaky and the previous game had seen us narrowly beat Motherwell 1-0 only thanks to a deflected shot from Paddy. Hooper was injured, Stokes was out and Scott Brown had got himself sent off in the last minutes against Motherwell meaning he couldn’t face Rangers (1872-2012 RIP) either. The makeshift nature of the Celtic line-up can probably be best summed up by saying that up front we had Samaras and Paddy and up until that point of the season Paddy had probably gathered more game time than Sammy.

The first half was a bit of a siege. Samaras was running a lot but not seeing much of the ball. Paddy was being nullified by the sheer pace of the game, although he did produce one reverse pass that came very close to opening them up.

At half time the TV pundit opinion was that it was a matter of time until a Rangers (1872-2012 RIP) goal arrived. But during that halftime Lenny told McCourt to move closer to Sammy and work as a pair.

Within 5 minutes of the second half Paddy had shot just wide from a Sammy knockdown. Truth be told he should have done a lot better, but it mattered not, he became a presence in the game, not just as an attacking force and once Sammy had done his thing and we had established a 2-0 lead there was Paddy tackling on the right wing, chasing back and generally defying the wisdom that said he couldn’t last 90 minutes (although it could be argued that his first half efforts meant he hadn’t really put in a full 90).

That game was probably the high point of his time at Celtic Park.

He appeared as a sub in the cup final that May and would have had a clear view of goal if it hadn’t been for Stokes being a greedy sod. He had scored the final league goal of that season in a 4-0 win over Motherwell. But that was his last goal for us, despite making over 30 appearances in the following two seasons.

His last two seasons at Celtic were tales mainly of sub appearances. Very rarely was he started. His role was almost that of a kicker in American football, introduced only when the occasion called for it. With the increased role for Forrest and the arrival of Commons, together with the superior goal threat that these players carried, it was easy to see why.

One of the knock on effects of this was been the introduction of a modified Billy Ray Cyrus song in his honour. The punk wars were not fought for that kind of rubbish!

But the song acknowledged the fact that he was surplus to requirements. His main contribution in his final season was possibly as a sub at Tannadice in the autumn. He gave up the possession that led directly to their equaliser.

He had become the luxury player that we simply could not afford. When it became obvious that his days were numbered my only concern was that he didn’t move to another SPL club. We all knew what he could do when properly motivated and on his day no defence could stop him. The last thing we needed was that running at our back four.

Pat McCourt was probably the most naturally gifted player we’ve had the club since Lubo, capable of turning an entire defence with one pass, taking a defender out of the game with one perfect first touch and seeing all the angles of the pitch, all the possibilities before anyone else.

The downside was always the murmurings about his lifestyle. Put bluntly, for the talent he possessed he should have been playing at SPL level for a hell of a lot longer and possibly at an even higher level.

His final appearance was in the 2013 cup final – as a sub obviously – but the esteem that his teammates had for him can be gauged by the fact that as he came on he was given the captain’s armband. He signed off his Celtic career as captain of the team that won the cup. Cool.

He left with 2 SPL winners medals and 2 Scottish Cup winners badges.

fwl mccourt with cup

AB Murdoch

NTV 243

243-cover-front

On sale now.

Includes paper copy and PDF.

 Subscribe here

2015 16 issues

Yalta Conference CSC

Good luck for the new season to Brendan and the Celts from all the Bhoys at the Yalta CSC. Down with the fascists and Keep the peace!

ht yalta hats