Sunday 23rd January 2011
v Coasters at The Oban Community Pitch
Martin Kelly, Arthur McCue (John Crosbie), Calum Colquhoun, Jason Rae, Stuart Waugh, Ally McNaught (Danny McFarlane), Andy Dick, Paul Stormonth (David Blair), Paul Joyce (c), Adam Walker and Sean Connolly
An away game in Oban is always to be looked forward to, not for the football but for the beautiful scenery on the journey (which bizarrely takes two and half hours on the way there and three and a half on the way back).
To focus the minds of the squad on the big game they assembled at the Moat House Hotel for a quiet evening before the journey to the lovely West Coast town.
Mister C, and his sunny disposition, arrived at the hotel late on after attending to his Uncle Avram who was described as being “in good spirits and even cracked a smile the other day”.
However, in the early hours of Sunday morning even Mister C’s genial manner was tested to the full.
There was a knock on the penthouse suite door and there stood Club Tour Guide, Tommy Cook, with urgent news.
“I’ve just been informed that Club Legend Jazza has been booked for a darts exhibition in Oban so the luxury coach will now have to leave at 6am”, announced Tommy.
It seemed ridiculously early but we had already promised Andy Boy that we’d stop at Taynuilt so he could pay homage to the Crosshill Goal Machine statue which is the centre piece of the village.
“Okay Tommy, go and knock on the doors and get the squad downstairs for a quick breakfast”, instructed Mister C.
It was a bleary eyed group that assembled in the dining room and Dougie was last to arrive after ushering his Brazilian houseboy down the fire escape.
“Okay, who’s all here ?”, asked the Boss, looking round a threadbare squad.
“It’s who’s not here that’s the problem”, said the ever positive kit man Old Reg Winkerman.
“Mister Joyce has dropped Ally D, Jaaack and Neil. Craig has a long standing arrangement to provide a birthday cake for a children’s party. And Marzinho is still in
“Even worse”, called a breathless Club Lawyer F.Preston Dalrymple, as he stomped into the hall with his entourage, “Wee Al is helping police with their enquiries after a theft of twenty silk cut from Sadiq’s Superstore in Shawlands”.
Just another Sunday and it was apparent Mister C was getting to the end of his tether with the mounting problems, but who could he turn to in his hour of need.
Up stepped Mister Motivator, in a fetching lime green mankini, and he took the Boss aside to see if he could help.
“Well Boss, Danny’s back”.
“Yes, but is there any good news ?”
“I mean look at the squad we’ve got ? Two keepers and neither of them are first choice Graham “The Cat” Carmalt who is still out with a mystery injury”, rambled Mister C.
“We’ve got no left back and I can’t play Joycey there as he will just moan even more if he’s got to play in defence”.
“Arthur’s best days were in the 60’s, Jason and Stuart lack the experience of Tall Calum, Andy D’s only in the team so he can defend corners, Sean’s covered from head to toe in bandages and we’ve got that wee guy who plays up front but his name escapes me”.
“Even worse the Neville Brothers are with us again as they’ve nothing better to do and LHD’s
“Motivatory, me old pal, what am I going to do ?”, an increasingly distraught Mister C pleaded to his friend and colleague.
“Well Boss, we’re going to lose anyway so just make it up as you go along like you usually do”, said the motivational genius before he went to take the team through a thirty minute skipping session.
“I don’t know what the Club’s paying you but it’s not enough”, shouted a delighted Mister C as Mister Motivator jogged off into the distance with imaginary music playing in his head.
Talking of music, the team coach finally headed off along the Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond with the soothing sound of Guy Lombardo, or Labi Siffre, playing and only the noise of, presumably, energy drinks cans being opened to spoil the atmosphere.
The first stop was the village of Taynuilt which was put on the map on 25th October 1987 when the great Crosshill Goal Machine, brother of Club President Lord Drennan, scored his famous hat trick.
We were all excited to see CG’s beautiful bronze statue but Andy Boy was beside himself as we held a minute’s silence at the wonderful erection.
Just to clarify, CG isn’t dead, we just couldn’t think of anything to say that would do the great man justice.
His influence can be seen all over the village as thousands of visitors flock to the CG Machine Tourist Information Centre each year.
CG, who has a bothy in the village, kindly donated his famous duffel coat and Isle of Mull tammy to the Centre and there is also a video interview he did with Andy Gray and Richard Keys (ED: can we change this to “interview he did with Lizzy Greenwood-Hughes”).
The village pub, Mach’s, is adorned in memorabilia and decorated in CG’s favourite colours, green, yellow, purple and brown (dark).
The Crosshill Goal Machine enjoys a relaxing pint in Mach's.
The “Well……Eh” local shop does a roaring trade and it’s fair to say that Taynuilt will never be the same again due to the heroic deeds of the world famous Crosshill Goal Machine.
It was an emotional Andy Boy who led us back on the coach and it had been quite a roller coaster of a week for our bulky forward.
Doctor Kuntz had said that Andy’s knee injury may mean he’ll never play again, although he might be back in a fortnight.
Then he got the good news that he’s been selected for the next series of “The Biggest Loser”, ITV’s new “let’s all laugh at fat people” programme, which is only on our screens to justify the wonderfully talented Davina’s wages.
After leaving Taynuilt It was a quiet and subdued squad who made their way to Oban for our next engagement.
Aulays Bar was the venue for Jazza’s darts exhibition and there was a poor turn out in the pub with only five Polish trawlermen in attendance and they had only come in to use the toilet.
Despite this Jazza got out his Shrek arrows and proceeded to show his skills although his effort at “Round The Clock” had to be halted after half an hour when he got stuck at seven.
His piece de resistance, three bulls in a row, was also abandoned on the grounds of health & safety (gone mad).
To be honest it wasn’t Jazza’s best performance and there were ironic cheers when he finally hit the double after attempting to beat his record for least darts to score 301.
It took him a mere 57 darts with 33 of them being attempts at double one, or “Madhouse” as I believe it is called in darting circles.
An auspicious start to our Oban adventure and we had to leave Doctor Kuntz at Aulays as the big game was taking place at the Community Pitch at Oban High School.
The reason for this was because of the injunction that is out on Doctor Kuntz regarding his proximity to schools for a minor incident (he claims she told him she was sixteen) in the late 70’s which led to the good doctor being struck off.
But who could we get to stand in as Club Doctor as it is far too dangerous these days to play football without a qualified medic ?
Step forward Doctor Thomas M. Moon MD who had only come along to watch the game but was persuaded to get into a white coat and matching bunnet.
As the squad trooped into the impressive girls changing room there was only one question on everybody’s mind. Who was going to play left back ?
“So what do you think Mister Joyce ? We could play Uncle Crossers there as he’s maybe left footed”, asked Mister C
“I can play there ?”, shouted a lone voice from the back of the dressing room.
“Or what about putting Arthur over to that side just to confuse Coasters………..”
“Pick me, I’ll play, please”.
“Or Jazza as he used to be a left back in his younger, fitter days…….”
“Oh, please let me play there, it’s my favourite position”.
“Oh, okay then Phil, you can play there seeing as there’s nobody else”.
With that Phil and his brother Gary high fived in glee. Ironically this is also a scene they have filmed for the popular musical comedy drama much loved by young people, and the occasional oldie.
Personally I prefer Fame and I used to have a good cry at the many problems that poor Leroy suffered. And also at the singing.
The game was being played to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Alexander MacGregor Memorial Shield and Coasters had promised to put out an older team for this auspicious occasion, and to give us a chance to make a game of it.
Unfortunately Mugsi MacGregor, the veteran Coasters keeper, was held up in traffic after Daisy the cow (pictured below) made a run for it and blocked both lanes of the only road leading into the popular seaside resort.
John “Scotty” Scott, the Coasters manager, was going to don the keeper’s top himself but, seeing as we had a plethora of top class keepers (mainly at home), he asked if we could help out.
“I’ll dae it nae bother”, shouted Dougie and there were obviously no objections as we could suddenly see the possibility of an upset.
The teams came out to a deafening roar and lined up to shake hands in the spirit of the game and to kid on that there is respect in The Beautiful Game.
There was a shock for us when we discovered that the four match officials were all female with Argyll’s top whistler, Jeanie McKercher being in charge of the game.
The McNiven twins, Jessie and Bessie were running the line with the stern faced Aggie McCorquodale (Miss) being the fourth official in charge of keeping order on the sidelines.
Of course, it was no problem having females as officials as they tend to be experts on every subject anyway in my experience.
As the game kicked off our intentions were clear as Slide Tackle Stu took centre and booted the ball out of the stadium in an effort to waste as much time as possible.
Unfortunately the ball was returned by a passing hill walker and the game continued.
The team briefing had been centred on not losing an early goal but we surprised everybody, including ourselves, by taking the lead.
A free kick on the left hand side was curled into the area by Sean and wee whatshisname rose to head the ball into the net.
What made it easy for the wee forward was the fact that Dougie has behind the goal talking to one of the Ormond Saints guys who had managed to get a ticket for the game after he’d heard the “orange one” was playing.
The team were ecstatic and mobbed Sean for his brilliant cross whilst the wee forward guy moped back to the halfway line feeling unappreciated as usual.
Could this be our first victory in Oban at elevens (we did beat Coasters twice at a charity fives many years ago when a certain Mister C scored the winning goal in both games, but doesn’t like to talk about it, against Mugsi who, as we all know, can fair fill a goal) ?
The home side started to impose themselves on the game but luckily they didn’t have their shooting boots on and missed the target a couple of times.
Safehands made a great save from an edge of the box shot as Coasters piled on the pressure but we were standing firm.
Paul even managed a shot at goal at the other end but Dougie, unexpectedly, held his effort from long range.
Only a minute to go to the break and it looked like we’d hold onto the lead but the fates conspired against us again.
Veteran Coasters defender Bertram Gemmell strode forward from the back, played a one two then, seeing Jason coming to challenge him in the area, threw himself to the ground with a thud.
“Penalty”, roared the crowd and Jeanie McKercher pointed to the spot to our horror.
This wasn’t as much horror as was felt in the local hamlet of Auchenshoggan, population 6, who had to make a full scale evacuation thinking the area had been hit with a huge earth tremor.
It’s fair to say we weren’t happy and the fourth official, Aggie McCorquodale (Miss), called over the referee to complain about something that was said in our technical area.
Referee McKercher addressed out backroom staff, “okay, somebody said, “haw hey, no way in the book, that was never a thingmy, you don’t know what you’re doing and should be home cooking my tea, which has to be at 6pm on the dot for medical reasons”. So who was it who said this ?”
“Doesn’t sound like anything anybody on our staff would say as we all fully respect women”, lied Mister Campbell, “oh, any chance I can get your phone number for a friend of mine, he thinks you’re gorgeous ?”
“Okay, I’ll let you off this time but Aggie will be keeping an eye on all you lot, especially the big guy in the bunnet”.
After all the commotion the penalty was stroked into the net by Bertram and the half ended with both teams level on a goal apiece.
Back to the girls changing room to find LHD using the hairdryer in preparation for a second half performance.
“Okay, Uncle Crossers is being kept in reserve, so LHD’s coming on for Jazza as our only change”, declared Mister C.
Up piped Old Reg Winkerman, “what about Danny, is he not getting on ?”
“Oh right, I forgot he was still here. Heads or tails anybody ?”
“Right Gary Neville you’re off and Danny can come on, to no effect”.
“Boss, why are you taking off the ineffectual Jazza ?” said nobody in particular.
“Well, he has to nip back to Aulays to play a big money game against local darts champion One Eyed Bert McMaster (below), best of three, winner takes all”.
There was a mountain to climb in the second half so Gary Neville went away to do that whilst the team filed out the tunnel.
In the spirit of the contest, Coasters had decided to put some of their younger players on in the second half as we’d obviously surprised them by being level. And it made a difference.
The half had hardly started when we were three one down as Coasters hit us with two quick goals.
Worse was to follow as Coasters put their famous passing game together and Safehands get beaten in a one on one situation before he failed to stop a close range header.
Defending corners was even proving difficult and Andy D, all on his own in the area surrounded by eight attackers, failed to prevent a fifth goal as we fell apart.
In an effort to stem the flow Arthur was removed with Uncle Crossers taking his place at right back which meant he made a foray forward and shot just wide from 25 yards.
The pressure was all coming from Coasters though and a long range shot flew past Safehands before a seventh ended the game as a contest.
Or maybe it was still game on, as Andy D played a superb six inch pass to Danny from the centre and he strode forward before unleashing a rocket shot that trundled into the net to make it 7-2.
Where was the keeper this time ?
Well Dougie was wrestling with a streaker who had jumped out of the crowd and made a beeline for the ridiculously tanned one.
[An 18 year old man, Mr William Fernie from
To the dismay of the crowd Danny refused to celebrate but only because he couldn’t remember what to do after scoring a goal.
Another goal would make it interesting and Uncle Crossers duly got one, in his own net.
With the game probably safe, Coasters wheeled on their manager Mister Scott and he immediately made an impact by skying the ball into the harbour from a corner.
A thirty five yarder made it nine then Oban property tycoon Alasdair “Nice Guy” Nicky rounded things off with a header after a shot had rebounded off the post.
The final whistle came as a relief and we had been well beaten despite our long spell in the lead.
As we trudged back to the changing room Arthur appeared having quickly shaved, cut his hair and changed into his best posties uniform as he was going to knock on the officials door and see if they fancied a bite to eat. They didn’t.
Back onto the coach then off to Coasters for soup and sandwiches with our veteran opponents, some of whom were too young to get served so waited outside.
Whilst they were outside, the presentation of the Memorial Shield took place with Mugsi MacGregor, who had been helicoptered in as Daisy was still on the loose, collecting the trophy and making a speech of epic proportions.
A three hour “bonding session” ensued and we were lucky enough to be asked to take part in a football quiz which local question master William “Bluenose” King had put together.
Surprisingly a team from Coasters, “The Loyalists”, managed to win, despite our Dougie’s best efforts.
So it was time to depart but where was Jazza ?
“Tell that wee guy who plays up front to go to Aulays and see what’s keeping him, and be quick about it”
Back rushed the wee forward with the news that Jazza said to go without him as it was only one game all and they were still playing the decider.
Off we went for a relaxing journey home which didn’t contain copious amounts of alcohol, endless singing of songs, Sean falling/pushed into a bog, nonsense banter and a superb time together.
(A great day out and thanks to Scotty and the Coasters guys for all their hospitality, and letting us take the lead for so long.
Undoubtedly one of the best bus journeys for a long time and a day that we all enjoyed.)
Player of the Day (apparently): Jason Rae
The match officials