Off The Bawl - 21 September 2011

Tam Cowan and Stuart Cosgrove

Greeeeeetings!!! Our guest on Saturday was legendary referee Willie Young who retired six years ago. He hasn't changed a bit. He's still slow and overweight.

His hair, however, has certainly changed - but only if you believe listener Tommy McGinn who asked: "Is it true that Willie permed his hair for his first ever senior game?"

Sorry, Tommy, that got a shake of the head from Willie. Perhaps you're getting him mixed up with John Rowbotham?

Meanwhile, on the weekend that Celtic fans were planning to dress up at Ibrox as Hector the Taxman (who, ironically, is probably now the one and only man who can win the SPL for the Hoops) we discussed the great terracing wind-ups.

We also allowed listeners to fire any refereeing questions to Willie, while our team of the week was The New York XI.

And, in the week we all learned Atletico Madrid are known as The Mattress Makers (it's because their first-team stripes look like old-style mattresses) we examined some of the great club nicknames.

Here's another selection of the most petty and ill-informed texts and emails on radio...


Ian in Kilwinning said: "When Alex McLeish was going through a bad patch at Ibrox, the Aberdeen fans unfurled a banner at the ground that read 'Agent McLeish: Mission Accomplished - Return To Base'. Absolutely brilliant and it's been copied many times since."

Anon said: "At Parkhead in 2005, the Dundee fans chanted 'There's Only One Panorama!' This came the week after the BBC programme's expose about sectarianism in Scottish football. Surely one of the most intellectual chants ever?"

Robert in Aberdeen said: "Just after Kris Boyd walked out on Scotland, the Dunfermline mascot Sammy The Tammy pushed a pram onto the park before a Pars v Gers game and, right in front of the Rangers fans, proceeded to chuck out all the toys."

Jambo Jim said: "A few years ago, Hearts played Rangers in an end of season game at Ibrox. The match was very important for the home side, but not for the visitors who had already qualified for Europe. So, as the teams ran onto the park, all the Jambos took out their Sunday newspapers and totally blanked the game!"

Lefty the Aberdeen fan said: "The Aberdeen Red Ultras unfurled a banner - 'Lithuanian State Circus - With Diving Cheats' - when we went to Tynecastle in 2007."

Kenny Adie in Inverness said: "Back in the old days when Jim Leishman was manager at Inverness Thistle, he had lost his driving licence so the Caley fans' chant the following week was 'He's fat, he's round, his car is in the pound! Jim Leishman, Jim Leishman!' To his credit, big Leish appeared on a bike at half-time and pedalled round the pitch giving out the scores and the lottery numbers. Different class."

Chris in Troon said: "The most bizzare banner I ever saw was at a Celtic v Hearts game in the 90s. It simply read 'Mick Galloway Owes Me 50 Quid'!"


Steevo in Greenock said: "I got 8/10 on the SFA website quiz Have You Got What It Takes To Be A Referee? Can you please ask Willie when I start?"

But John from Aberdeen said: "I took the same test on the SFA site and I got 1/10. Surely there's a better chance of me getting a start...?"

Napoleon said: "Can Willie please explain how, in the entire history of Scottish football, the SFA has managed to appoint not a single referee who supports either Rangers or Celtic?" (No, he couldn't, Napoleon.)

Finally, a genuinely fascinating question from Stuart in Dundee who said: "How long after the match can a referee book or send off a player? Do they still have to be in their strips, in the ground or what?"

Well, according to Willie Young, the ref can take action against the player any time after the game so long as they're still "within the environs" of the stadium. Apparently, David Syme once booked Graeme Souness in the foyer at Ibrox when both gentlemen were making their way home!


John 'Gable Endie' Brady said: "Montrose FC (and, indeed, the people of Montrose) are known as Gable Endies because of the architecture of the town's High Street. In the old days, the port of Montrose traded with Holland and Belgium on a regular basis and builders copied their continental style of building houses gable-end onto the street. Although many have since been demolished, you can still see quite a few houses built that way on the High Street.

Davie Robb said: "Arbroath are known as The Red Lichties because of the red light on the port side of a fishing boat that's visible as the boat returns to (Arbroath) harbour."

Tom in Caithness said: "Wick Academy are known as The Scorries as that's the Caithness dialect for the seagulls that blight the town."


The New York XI (aka Flushing Irvine Meadow)

Stadium: Central Park

Manager: Madison Square Gardiner Spiers

Mascot: Bronxi Bear

Match commentator: Charlie Mannhatten

1/ Tin Pan Ally Maxwell

2/ Kirk Broadway

3/ John F Kennedy Airport

4/ Richmond Gough

5/ Gordon McQueens

6/ Pat Stanton Island

7/ Apollo di Canio

8/ David Tribeckham

9/ Yank McAvennie

10/ Trevor Brooklyn

11/ The Statue of Lafferty


The last word this week goes to Motherwell fan Mark who said: "I'm a season-ticket holder at Fir Park and my brother, who is blind, travelled up from Cheshire for the St Johnstone game on Saturday. I provided the running commentary and, at the end of a thumping 3-0 defeat, he stood up with his hands in the air and shouted, 'Thank God I am blind!!!' Lots of strange looks from other fans, but plenty of laughs as well."

PS. The song that played us out? Well, as a wee tribute to Jim McLean on the day they re-named a stand at Tannadice in his honour, we finished with the wee man's theme tune... Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now.

To join in the fun on this Saturday's show, call 0500 929500, text 80295 or email

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