Friday, 8 October 2010

Derby Day: Memory Lane

I'm a Celtic fan from wayback, so when the A-League throws up it's first real Derby tonight between Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart I've been having flashbacks to "my Derby," Celtic v Rangers.

And funny how littleof my flashbacks are about the football!

Born in England just 300 miles from my local team, Glasgow Celtic, I attended many many Old Firm Derby's.

The Old Firm game is known for, well, it's fan hatred. It always seemed funny to me that depending on which house you were born in you hated the Pope, the Queen, England or Ireland, Paul Gascoigne or Paulo De Canio, Green white and gold or Red White and Blue, oh and of course the Celtic then Rangers star Mo Johnston.

United at last both sets of fans hated Mo-Jo just never at the same time!

So here's the top few memories as you wait for the Derby tonight. And go Melbourne.

1. Taking my girlfriend on to the terraces of Celtic Park with 92,000 in attendance, it was terraces in those days, and leaving the ground after the game the amount of moisture on the concrete was amazing. The smell of urine unbearable.

"Eamonn why don't the blokes go to the toilet at half-time instead!"

2. Rangers fans invade the pitch as Celtic leading 2-0 give away a penalty. Rangers fans head back onto the terraces, it takes some time, and the penalty is taken and missed. The fans pour back on.

3. Having seen Celtic defeated 3-2 at Hampden Park in the Scottish League Cup Final I dash with my younger brother and friend to the nearby train station. Delighted to make the train as we head back to England, laughing at our fleet of foot, we sit in our empty carriage dressed in our Celtic regalia.

The heart stops when we pull up at the next station, the other side of Hampden, and the platform has about 5,000 Rangers fans ready to board. That was not a pleasant journey. Thank God Rangers won that day!

4. Up high in the stands in Hampden at yet another Celtic Rangers Cup Final, this time we won, Celtic fans pour onto the pitch to celebrate their victory. Unfortunately some twat had left the Rangers gates and pitch access opened so they poured on as well.

The ensuing battle was kinda interesting from my vantage. The two goalmouths became first aid posts for the wounded, Police on horses drove at the two sets of fans, goals posts were turned into weapons and I only left when the Stand I was sitting in was set on fire!

As I looked back Scotlands Premier Sporting venue had been turned into a tip, Bricks, wooden posts, bodies were just strewn across its entirety.

5. Streaming away from Celtic Park fans had their seperate routes, Celtic fans down one long street to the City, Rangers down the other.

But of course in any City fans had to criss-cross.

Walking in the midst of thousands of Celtic fans singing, we'd won, I watched as a Rangers young man attempted to cross the road. Booted and pelted, he stumbled only to be kicked again and again. He eventually crossed the street, seemingly no harm done!

Couldn't happen in Melbourne could it?

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