Tag Archive | Henrik Larsson

The Glory And The Dream (A Poetic History Of Celtic Football Club )

On the day my club win the treble of Championship , League Cup, and Scottish Cup I take a poetic journey on Celtic through the ages from our formation in a church hall in the Calton, to a treble clinching Scottish Cup Win at Hampden this afternoon. I have given it the title The Glory  And The Dream in tribute to Tom.Campbell and Pat Woods who are the co-authors of the best ever history of our club .I hope you enjoy the read .

The Glory And The Dream

In a church hall in the Calton

a football club was born 

to feed the people of Glasgow’s East End

 who had fled famine and starvation 

inflicted on their nation 

by a cold and callous imperial United Kingdom 

but though founded to assist the Irish catholic poor 

our founders made sure no-one was excluded 

on the grounds of colour, creed,  or religion 

we would make it our mission 

to play up and play the game 

Willie Maley was the first man to claim 

the manager’s chair

moulding  teams with passion and flair 

which would be the Celtic way 

from our earliest days 

we would start as we meant to go on

attacking play to entertain the fans 

on terracing and in the stands 

this would be of paramount importance in our club’s story 

we play not for wealth and riches 

we play for the glory and the dream 

right from the early years 

when Maley built our first all conquering team 

set records not equalled till Stein 

made legends in green and white

Sunny Jim Young, and Jimmy Hay 

had their days in a trophy laden side

Quinn, and Gallagher added their names to the legacy 

that will be forever Celtic 

as did Johnny Thomson the bravest of the brave 

who went to his death to save us from defeat against Rangers 

and James and Willie McStay 

played a part in our story 

and even now when you mention Jimmy McGrory 

fans still know a name which  like so many others 

is immortalised in the songs we sing 

the post war years would bring us difficult times 

trophies like food still rationed in paradise 

as in the period between the wars 

we faced challenges with only occasional success

one off trophies were what we did best 

Exhibition and Coronation Cups 

both decked in green and white 

in the early to mid fifties whilst still  single 

my dad had in his words a team worth cheering 

a double built on that coronation victory 

fashioned by a half back line of Peacock, Evans, and Stein 

and the wing wizardry of Charles Patrick Tully 

who when he scored direct from a corner  

was ordered to take it again 

he did and placed it

 in exactly the same spot of the Falkirk net 

In 1957 and not long married came a memory

the old man would never forget 

when Lambhill’s finest Billy McPhail 

played a part in Hampden glory 

in a game forever etched in our club’s story 

as Rangers were crushed 7-1 in the league cup final that year 

as our fans cheered Hampden success 

we would be tested once more 

and for seven long seasons 

the trophy room would have none of the major honours 

to display to our faithful support 

the turning point came with the appointment of Stein 

a tactical genius who built teams to play in the traditions of the club

the man who had spies in every pub 

built a team capable of winning the European Cup 

and breaking down Inter Millan’s rock solid defence 

relentless attack was the plan 

which would take the team to glory 

on the greatest night in Scotland’s sporting history 

as with pride in the jersey 

and fire their hearts 

bhoys became men 

and lambs became lions 

under the Lisbon sun 

we won everything we entered 

that golden season 

including the second of nine successive titles 

Stein would create three sides during this time 

some of the football sublime to watch 

it was the way the game should played 

as names  like McGrain , Connolly , Hay and Dalglish 

gradually replaced the heroes of Lisbon 

with Atiken , Burns, and McCluskey coming later 

fulfilling potential under Ceaser 

the man who captained our club

 on the greatest night in our history 

now in the gaffer’s chair 

he crafted a team built on guile and imagination 

the inspirational skills of Charlie Nicholas and Paul McStay 

showed that we will always put talent before age 

if your good enough to play the game 

 Celtic Park will be your stage 

as it was for McClair , McGarvey , McAvennie, McGhee 

Provan and McLeod 

in the dark depressing society that was 1980’s 

there free flowing football did the hoops proud 

though rewards were thinner on the ground 

than a team of their talents deserved 

a centenary double was won

with a McAvennie brace at Hampden

 in the sunshine of a may afternoon

the fitting reward for a club in the mood for a party 

but just when we thought we were flying  high 

the next nine years reminded us 

that sometimes even great clubs 

have barren years 

hopes were soon replaced by fears

then in 1994 our fans made a stand  

and by their actions saved the club

we love 

we demanded changes

the board had to be replaced 

and a man in a bunnet saved the day 

Fergus believed in the Celtic way 

and slowly but steadily we were back on the road to recovery 

we were playing great football under Tommy Burns

the bhoy from Soho Street 

who when he played was a poet with a ball at his feet 

whose twists and turns had those in the stands

 jumping up from their seats 

and the jungle chanting  his name 

but unfortunately the trophies never came 

and with Rangers equalling our  nine in a row 

we had to make a change 

heartbreaking though it was

It was the right decision 

though when we brought in Wim Jansen 

from Dutch champions Feyenoord 

some of our fans said oh my god 

what have we done 

but cometh the hour cometh the man

and our Dutch master had a plan 

he signed Marc Reiper to shore up our back four

he bought in Burley and Lambert midfield men who could score 

but the best thing he ever did for Celtic 

was sign a bhoy called Henrik 

and with the addition of one or two others

discovered we had a team 

capable of writing an important chapter in our story 

we stopped 10 in a row and I was there to see it done 

when at 4.31 on the 9th May 1998 

Harold Brattback was fated to be the man

 who brought the title home 

and sparked scenes of celebration 

from our fantastic support 

Paradise was a sea of green and white

we were back where we belonged 

champions of Scotland 

then as sometimes  happens

we didn’t build on the progress of that season

Wim was allowed to leave 

and for a couple of years we were underachieving again 

until Martin O’Neill took the reins 

in  his first old first old firm game 

we had a beautiful Sunday which brought a 6-2 victory 

we were_3-0 up in just 11 minutes

personally I thought we let them off lightly 

 like all our fans I was delighted with a treble won in style 

football with a smile has always been 

the way we played the game 

yes we’ve had heartbreaks along the way 

Seville was a hard one to take 

especially as we watched 

our greatest rivals claim the treble 

but it fired our determination to succeed 

and in the main the early years of the new millennium 

have belonged to us 

Sutton , Hartson , and the Hooperman 

provided, goals to savour

and Petrov and Lennon the engine room for our success

Lubo’s artistry was something I was blessed to watch 

in the years since then  players and managers have come and gone 

but the glory and dream lives on

and in this history making season

a team unbeaten, in all domestic competitions

won the treble with flair and ambition

by playing the Celtic way 

now there are new heroes

who in years to come will be named 

when this generation are grandparents 

as they remember Stuart Armstrong, Tom Rogic Moussa Demeble, Craig Gordon, and Scott Sinclair 

they will talk of Kieron Tierney, Leigh Griffiths,  and Scott Brown 

and the 5-1 thrashings handed to Rangers at home and away. 

by the team that Brendan made

they will recall with pride the days we dug deep and ran on  empty 

because we are Celtic and that is what we do to win

for our  ever faithful fans 

it is the spirit of the club 

the beating heart of every Celtic team 

we play up and play the game

and we do it  for the glory and the dream 

© Gayle Smith 2017 


Tears At The Bells

Hey Readers

In this my first poem of 2017, I think on new year memories and why as, I celebrated Celtic’s hogmanay victory over Rangers at Ibrox I wept as I thought of my dad in the early hours of ne’erday. I’ve titled it Tears At The Bells I hope you enjoy the read.  

Tears At The Bells

I have to admit there were tears at the bells
as I looked to the sky and thought of my dad
It’s always the same at the New Year
especially if we cheered the hoops to victory against Rangers
they all counted but for some reason
the ne’erday  game mattered more
my dad knew the score
we would always be underdogs in this city
for as long as Scotland remained a British colony
equality wasn’t something they would ever do
the we are the people brigade
deluded themselves they were the chosen few
and still do even though the world moves on
and the empire has no chance of striking back
the union jack was never a comfort blanket
not for our kin
we play the only way we know
the Celtic way isn’t just to win
it’s to do in style
I think he would be proud
of the team we’re building
though he wouldn’t hear talk of Dembele  being the new Henrik
Celtic would always need different players for different times
each would be heroes in the hoops
as long as they wore them with pride
played with passion and gave our fans there all
he would have marvelled
at some of our play
but bemoaned our careless defending
whilst I would accept it
as a risk we have to take
because of the team we are
the team we will always be
a club like no other
if you know the history
and history was something
he taught me well
last night as I listened to The Wild Colonial Boy, Scottish Breakaway, and The John MacLean March
my rebel heart was lifted
I should have resisted
not listened to Flight Of Earls but as I did so
I thought of him
and I knew they’d be Tears At The Bells.

@ Gayle Smith 2017

The Bhoy From The Bhangra And Bagpipes Traditions Plays Fair To Beat The Bigots

Hey everyone It is with a sense of outrage that I read in yesterday’s Herald that  Police Scotland are investigating the disgusting online racist attacks on SNP Scottish Government Minister following the recent bombings in Paris. In rants which can only  be called the voice of a brain dead a number of those on the far right margins of society have claimed in the most vile terms  possible that Mr Yousaf was in fact a known supporter of ISIL

Now I hate to disappoint these potential MENSA members but as someone who has campaigned with Mr Yousaf  the only things I know him to support are Scottish Independence, Glasgow Celtic,  fairness, and  human rights.  You know, the values people like these are always prattling on about but believe apply only to them.

Unlike these people  Humza Yousaf is a man of honour, integrity, and principal who would and does defend the right to free speech even for those who would spew such poisonous bile against him and attempt to tarnish his personal reputation.  This is the politics of hate, and smear, and at the heart of is a culture of labelling, scapegoating, and blaming. This attitude is at very best unhelpful and at worst potentially dangerous as it is exactly what the terrorists want .

Make no mistake this kind of Islamophobia  is  exactly what ISIL are praying for. This kind of scenario plays right in to their hands. It is the kind of reckless stupidity which creates breeding grounds for their anti western rhetoric to flourish and  the seeds of mistrust which will be sown as a result of it will be the best recruiting sergeant they could ever have dreamed of. For these fools to claim that Humza Yousaf will be having a whip round for the families of ISIL terrorists is, if one wants to be brutal about it complete and total insanity and those spouting this garbage are seriously unhinged.  The fact that one would be social commentator claimed that  Yousaf was as a big a threat to Britain as  ISIL , whilst another claimed that they would send him to Syria shows that reading the Daily Mail  for more than 10 seconds at a time can have catastrophic consequences for your ability to reason.

Since his election to the  Scottish Parliament and especially  since becoming a prominent member of both the Scottish National Party and the Scots-Asian community this talented young cabinet minister has had to develop a thick political skin over the last few years. It is to his considerable credit that he has  not only done so, but has at all times conducted himself with a dignity which his detractors will never be able to equal.

You know it is at times like this I think back to time when I was going through some difficult times and the woman who now leads an SNP Government First Minister Nicola Sturgeon helped me deal with a transphobic incident  from those who  didn’t want to understand  my gender identity issues by advising me to ignore the comments of small minded bigots and  assuring me that I would be judged on my character not on my wardrobe.  If you substitute wardrobe for faith then she could make the same statement to her Minister for External Affairs and International Development.

Finally I conclude this short post by paraphrasing the words of the woman who is now leader of the Labour Party in Scotland Kezia Dugdale who said a year on twitter a year ago that the next leader of the SNP after Nicola would surely be her friend Humza Yousaf. This is surely testament to the fact that people have friendships across the political spectrum and that in a democracy is exactly as it should be.  The bigots who target Humza Yousaf with their obnoxious and abusive behavior would do  well to remember that fact.   Unfortunately though they will choose not to and carry on hating whilst the bhoy from a Bagpipes and Bhangra tradition who dreamed of being the new Henrik Larsson gets on with the serious business of playing fair to beat the bigots and win for our country a  Scotland of equality, inclusion, and respect.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Glory Be

Hey everyone This poem was inspired by my wee chosen sister Catherine Baird. The inspiration came one Monday when on the road home from Words and Music we got talking about faith. Now with me being a Christian and Catherine being an Atheist it is I think fair to say the discussion got interesting especially when I asked her if she had ever thought about going to church. Catherine ever the diplomat said no because there were too many rules and regulations or if you like too many our fathers and glory be’s.
This set me thinking yes I know it’s always a dangerous idea when I do that I thought to myself what if I wrote my own version of the B-Attitudes and brought it them up to speed. This is the result of that thought I’ve given it the title Glory Be I hope you enjoy the read

Glory Be

Glory Be to Donny Osmond
glory be to teenage dreams
glory be to the Bay City Rollers
to boys and Jackie magazine
glory be to mother nature
glory be to package deals
glory be Estee Lauder
glory be to microwave meals
glory be to reality telly
to Simon Cowell and Jeremy Kyle
glory be to the Edinburgh festival a month of magic on the mile
glory be to freedom fighters
to James Connolly and John MacLean
glory be to Celtic connections
to Scotland becoming a nation again
glory be to Lady Alba
glory be to Alan Bissett
glory be to spoken word nights
to a better land and those who’ll build it
glory be to songs and stories
to Robert Burns and Jessica Ennis
glory be to Rachel Sermanni
to Nicola Sturgeon and the Dennis The Menace
glory be to brilliant inventions
to irn bru and tarmacadam
glory be to Madonna and Kylie
glory be to Henrik Larsson
glory be to socialism
glory be to real equality
glory be to human kindness
to helping a planet out of poverty
glory be to independence
to sexy men and powerful woman
glory be to life as I know it
glory be to the fact I’m human

@ Gayle Smith 2014