Why Rangers needs a bartender from South Philly
I think we’re all familiar with Rangers current financial problems (basically there’s a good chance the council will be cutting the grass by summer) so I won’t bore you with another postmortem of the ongoing debacle.
Instead I want to propose something, but first, some bio.
My dad is a huge Rangers fan.
Ask him who scored for Rangers on a certain date and year and he’ll know, that said he still has difficulty remembering when his first born entered this world so I think you can guess where his head is at. As for me, I was raised Catholic, in Catholic schools with Catholic friends but, to have something in common with the old man I supported a Protestant team, Rangers. This fact made my schooling and interaction with my peers ‘interesting’. I was in the same league of popular minorities as Gay Disco Singers of Iran and the Boat Builders Union of Kansas. As I got older I turned away from both teams, God and Rangers, disillusioned with the message of both respective parties.
So here we are.
Having been away from the game for close to 14 years I’m coming back to this with fresh eyes. And from what I can see, things haven’t changed. In fact cathartically the tumor of riches, mixed results and relying on foreign mercenaries which was malignant when I was a child has finally crippled the patient. It simply beggars belief that you can try and run a business when you’re paying a team and bench six figure salaries per week each, when you don’t have anywhere near that revenue coming through the gates. Regardless of the the ever increasing cost to the faithful supporter who, each weekend, drags himself to a turnstile and forks out a fortune to see a half filled stadium viewing a team of non-locals play a tepid game with another batch of foreigners for 3 points.
Now this piece isn’t about foreign players.
They’ve brought plenty to the Scottish game, but with their inclusion on the team sheet, for 3 times the cost, the local talent, and believe me its out there, hasn’t got a hope in hells chance of breaking through. And yeah I know there’s ‘recruitment drives’ and ‘youth teams’ but we all know that in a starting line up an O’Connor or Smith won’t be picked over an Argento or Vlaskov.
Back in the NFL during the 70‘s.
The Philadelphia Eagles were at rock bottom as was the country. Strikes and recession were the norm (sound familiar?). The team brought in a new coach who decided to open up training to locals, a team try out kind a thing, as a way of bringing the community into the game and reinvesting local enthusiasm for the team.
From that a single player was chosen.
A 30 year old bartender called Vince Papale. He was fast. I mean really fast. He wasn’t a pro, he didn’t necessarily have the same experience as the other players but he had something that the rest didn’t. Heart. He along with the coach united the team and the fans and they found their soul again; to play not necessarily great football, but their best and to let the chips fall where they may.
What’s the NFL got in common with the SPL?
Not much. Their league works and every fan of a respective team is a passionate die hard who will cheer and fight for their teams in rain, hail, snow and beer cans. The Eagles stadium has a jail in it. THATS how passionate these fans are!
Okay get to the point Andrew.
Football is more than trophies in the cabinet and owning prima donna players who’s surnames end in vowels. Its about four jumpers on a pitch of grass or on a slab of chipped tarmac in front of a council estate garage. Its about getting together with your mates and playing, I mean playing. Running till your lungs burn and your legs ache with tiredness. Tackling till your trousers are greens with grass stains and hacking till your shins are gashed and bloodied. Playing in the warm afternoon sun or the cool darkening evenings, football connects.
In those 90 minutes it doesn’t matter who you are.
You could be the rich kid or the poor kid. A catholic or a protestant. When you’re with your mates smacking ten colours of shit out of an apposing team its glorious and accepting. Somewhere along the line, the clubs lost that. They got seduced with the money, the promise of outside investment and the promise of outside talent. Instead we, the fans, got outside prices and outside stadium views as we’ve been priced out of the games.
So here is what I propose.
For each team in the SPL not just Rangers or Celtic but all of them. Find YOUR Vince Papale cause he’s out there. Find someone from the loyal communities who support you to bring together your teams and their fans. Bring the passion back to the game. Bring the unpredictability back to the game.
Cut wages and cut prices.
Only when a working man can take his son to a game and still have change for an ice cream on the way home can you call yourself a team that serves a community; your original modus of operandi. Your very reason for being.
If you do this maybe we won’t get the same style of football that hired guns on six figures a week can give and maybe the quality could suffer. But in return you’ll have what all businesses need, a consumer. A dedicated, committed passionate soul who’ll bring his son through a turnstile every single week. And as they walk up the cement steps and look out over a pitch they to can feel that sense of being home, of being with your mates of having a common experience with everyone else from the community.
At this stage its worth a punt.
Student, Producer and financial backer of Guinness.
Current Vacancy/Apply Within
We’ve all been there:
Name, DOB, Age, Qualifications, Where Did You See This Position Advertised and my favourite loaded question ever, What Would You Bring To This Position?
It used to be so straight forward. Apply. Hear back in a couple of days. Go in and have a chat and from then on it was maybes aye, maybes naw. The point being, you had a chance.
Well far be it for me to point out the obvious but this is now no more, and mores the pity.
With record unemployment for those aged 18-24 and the rest made up presumably from us older folk, aged in the staggeringly ancient bracket of 25-60, its not just right grim up north but across the world.
Folk of every class, creed, age, sex, Rangers fan, Celtic fan can now be found in queues outside the JobCentre for the sign on. If your one of the lucky ones, such as myself, your hiding (yes I’ll admit it) in higher education, building your ticket to hopefully gain a gig upon leaving the safety and protection of the uni gates. But come June, that bubble bursts.
I’ll just be another member of the now not so exclusive club of folk with a rather shaky start on the employment ladder. The ladder of which has been missing since the banks borrowed it and never gave it back. The point being that if you think its bad now, just wait for when the TV goes black and the radio falls silent.
What do you know that we don’t Andy I hear you proclaim? Is Anonymous going to mangle the network? Not to my knowledge no. What I’m referring to is the Idea Blackout. And when it hits you’ll know it.
Without the new blood going into networks and shaking the establishment with new ideas and styles, as is the way to innovate and move the flag pole further along the open plain of creativity, media is humped.
This of course doesn’t just impact my sphere of interest but also: engineering, medicine, linguistics, chemistry, darts. It’ll hit everywhere. Slowly at first then after that it’ll snowball.
Case in point: young engineer has a new design for bridges that can save lives in the third world. Where’s his/her outlet? Where can they get a gig to showcase their idea and also save lifes?
Answer: they can’t. Not in this climate.
And all the while politicians and industry come away with lines like “ We’re fully aware that this crisis in employment has impacted the young particularly hard. So we have launched a feasibility study to examine how we can best remedy this situation in the long term”.
We Scots have a cracking turn of phrase for just such a comment, “Go’n away and dinnae talk pish”.
How about instead we devise a way for ideas to creep through to business?
We could call it The Note; a system whereby if someone has an idea they can submit it for serious consideration to a company. If it takes off its win/win if not then its back to the dole queue, point being what’s too loose?
Bottom line there’s a gap on the horizon. A big one. A lack of an entire generations ideas is creating a huge gulf in the advancement of our species and the world we interact with. A new type of bridge design could be handy in that case, don’t you think?
P.S. Before I forget, businesses that advertise positions externally that have already been filed internally need shooting. Its down right evil. There, that’s my spiel.
Happy new year all! I trust the blue tack and drawing pins that were once holding up your crimbo decs are now hanging idle on your walls, and that you’re living in the same mortal fear, as I am, of the credit card statement coming to a letterbox near you very soon.
Its been an interesting couple of days for radio. A huge low pressure moved in from the west and with it came winds in excess of 100mph. Roofs were blown off, wheelie bins emigrated and my neighbours cat joined the Paras. The electricity supply to my island and 99,999 other homes was ‘disrupted’ for over three days.
This presented some problems for those affected, but living on an island presents two major problems unique from the mainland experience; communication and logistics. When the power went off, it stayed off. Just like our ferry after 8:30pm at night, after that we were on our own. Kinda cool, but also kinda scary.
The only source of timely, relevant and up to date info I had came not from my Mac or iPhone (no lightbulb juice = no charge), but my battery powered radio. Yes, such things still exist!
Picture the scene: First Night Of The Cut – dark room but for a red light glowing from a Sony battery powered radio. Alas, salvation! Information on what happened, information on when it’ll be back on and god forbid some tunes in between….hazzar!
Well not quite.
At this point I should say that my island, surprise, surprise is at sea level, and doesn’t receive a lot of signal above 99 on the dial; so no commercial content, just the beeb.
“Not to worry though” Andy thought, Radio Scotland will be on the ball with live content, a guy in the hills with the engineers working on the leccy supply. Maybe another bloke at the council office reassuring folk that all is well and that you’re not cut off. But no. Nothing. Just the same schedule and the same prerecords.
Now, I enjoy hearing about early ninetieth century chin fiddle designs in Nova Scotia just as much as the next chap (this wasn’t actually on but you know what I mean) and I love hearing midmorning chats on how to prevent baldness. But when 100,000 homes are experiencing the worse blackout for over 40 years it may be an idea to cut to live and shake up the schedule to mirror the events.
Our local shops overnight stripped their window displays and put out front their candles, blankets and torches. What people needed to have. They adapted. So when radio comes into the fore as the only accessible medium for communication with the outside world it would have been a comfort to all if Radio Scotland had followed suit.
When parents have no hot water to wash their wanes (Scottish kids), or when the elderly living on their own have no means of communicating with the outside world cause the TV is dead, radio should and must come to the fore to inform people as to what is happening.
Connection is our business. Intimacy is our business. If we don’t deliver on it we’re doing something wrong.
Radio Scotland had an enormous opportunity to educate, entertain and inform (I’m sure I read that somewhere). And while my comments here and on Twitter may land me in stick when it comes time to apply for a gig at PQ, I stand by them.
My three nights in the dark with no iTunes, Spotify, Twitter or Al Jazeera made me think quite clearly about what radio should be. If I wasn’t committed enough, before the blackout, to work in the industry, I am today.
Producer, Student and financial backer of Guinness
So today, riding the train to uni, minding my own business and bang – no we didn’t hit anything thankfully. But I was struck by an idea: Rail Radio.
Why don’t trains in fair Alba have radio piped in?
Benefits to train company: Information for travel and delays via say Travel Scotland (?), discount tickets, emergencies, messages to love ones (you forgot your keys Little Johnny so I hope you’ve got your grapple hook to reach the windows. Love Mum) kinda thing.
Benefits to radio: More listeners = more wonga from advertisers and increases your reach which for a commercial radio station can only be a good thing.
This is the ‘we’re aw doomed’ bit
I am Scottish and as such I have a healthy dose of Calvinism so here goes
Problem 1: Tech issues and coverage. Receivers, opt out for train station names, driver kill switch and coverage. I’m sure though this can be overcome by a bloke in overalls with a spanner
Problem 2: Dosh up front. Who forks the bill for the infrastructure? Train company or do they tender for the service to be provided by the radio stations, lock stock etc.
Problem 3: Shows. For my money I’d say that operating as a network (rail! See what I did there?) station with a breakfast, drive-time and database selection in-between would be the most feasible way of operating it. More folk on the trains at these times it goes without saying
So yeah, just a brief thought.
Okaydokey, this is going to be a sort of play area. What do I mean by that?
Well, if I’ve got any ideas for radio, life and everything else that I think could help folk then I’ll chuck it up here. Free of charge.
However there are rules. If you take, you have to replace. I want to use this space for sharing and debating ideas, so play fair
The Chuck Norris Idea also known as the Jean Claude Van Damme Idea
What is it?
A smashing idea for a networked commercial radio outfit.
Why networked commercial radio?
Well cause to pull it off would cost a ton of royalty flashcards of which they have.
Huge amount of publicity!
So here it is.
Setting up an ad campaign around the breakfast show host that they will/could take Jean Claude Van Damme in a public fight, and set up a Judo ring in say George Square in Glasgow to allow for maximum exposure.
Van Damme is the current face of Miller Beer. Both the station and the beer could cross promote each other till the cows come home.
Also the option for a network brand to have one on each day of the week across the country. For example, Monday in Glasgow, Tuesday in Manchester etc.. the free press alone makes this one pay for itself.
So, go forth and attempt. There are plenty of DJ’s who’s heads I’d like to see mangled!