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Paisley Daily Express

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Paisley Daily Express
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)Reach plc
EditorGavin Mcshally
HeadquartersAnderston, Glasgow
Circulation1,890 (as of 2023)[1]

The Paisley Daily Express is a Scottish newspaper based in Glasgow, covering the Renfrewshire area. The paper, which is currently owned by Reach plc has its main offices in Glasgow. The paper is sold in newsagents and general stores throughout Renfrewshire. The contents of the "Wee Express", as it is known locally (to distinguish it from the "Big Express" i.e. the Scottish Daily Express) are typical of a local newspaper: local news, human interest stories, classified advertisements, intimations, church news, crosswords, wedding photographs, school photographs, local sports (mainly about the town's football team St Mirren), letters to the editor and so on.

The paper was once based in New Street in Paisley, but its main editorial operation was relocated to Glasgow in March 2012. A small office within Paisley's YMCA building serves the paper.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Football's Most Dangerous Rivalry


MALE SPEAKER 1: So there's a guy lying in bed, a Catholic, Celtic fan. He's lying in bed. He's totally dying, on his last legs and that. All his family ask him, any last requests? [INAUDIBLE]. And the guy's like, aye, I wanna become a Proddy. And the family are like, what? Excuse me, what? And he says, honestly, that's really what I want to do. So they get a minister in. The minister comes in. He coverts him to a Protestant, and a Rangers fan, and that. And the family are like, Dad, why would want to do that? Because see, if I die, that's one less Proddy bastard to worry about, eh? [LAUGHTER] KEV KHARAS: In late winter, 2011, I traveled north from London to Glasgow to get an up-to-date look at one of the oldest rivalries in world football. The sectarian divide that splits Rangers and Celtic has its roots in things that happened across the Irish Sea centuries ago. Today, the hatred is just as strong and continues to split the city in two. MALE SPEAKER 2: I definitely think people, they see themselves in the context of the Old Firm, as either green or blue, Catholic or Protestant, British or Irish. MALE SPEAKER 3: I think at the end of the day, though, there's a certain mutual respect for each other's fans. KEV KHARAS: So what do you think of Rangers fans? MALE SPEAKER 4: Scumbags. MALE SPEAKER 5: Celtic fans, I think they're crass, disrespectful, and definitely Irish. MALE SPEAKER 6: I fucking hate Rangers! MALE SPEAKER 7: Rangers fans, they don't know who they are. They get brought up to hate. MALE SPEAKER 8: The kind of lunacy that you get with Celtics, why you would seek out the company of of people who are mentally disturbed has always been a bit of a mystery to me. MALE SPEAKER 9: I bumped into a Celtic fan with one shoe on. And I went, you've lost one shoe, you stupid cunt. He went, no, no, I found one. [LAUGHS]. MALE SPEAKER 10: There are songs I've heard sung at football matches the last two seasons that have no place in Belfast in the 21st century, never mind Glasgow. MALE SPEAKER 11: Follow, follow, we will follow Rangers. Anywhere, everywhere, we will follow on. Dundee, Hamilton, fuck the Pope and the Vatican. If they go to Dublin, we will follow on. KEV KHARAS: Living in England gives you a very black and white impression of the Old Firm. If the cliches about Celtic fans are true, they're all Pope-obsessed, IRA gun-runners. And if you're a Rangers fan, you're probably a right-wing Protestant who only smiles when you think of the queen. Of course, these cliches don't tell the whole story. This is a complicated hatred. But one thing both sides seem to agree on is that they should be allowed to hate. The Scottish Parliament feels differently. And it's just passed a new bill aiming to make songs about Huns and Fenians a thing of the past. In Glasgow, there were murmurings of money problems at Rangers that threatened to make the Old Firm itself a thing of the past. But on my first visit to the city, it was time to get a tour. I met Joe Miller, founder of Celtic fanzine "Not The View." JOE MILLER: This is the traditional route that Celtic fans will walk up to Celtic Park. This is called the Gallowgate. It's a very kind of strong Celtic area. And this used to be a massive Irish community here. Celtic Park, paradise we call it. KEV KHARAS: After watching Celtic fans bond with the players, we headed over to Rangers' home, Ibrox, in the West of the city. JOE MILLER: This area here is Bridgetown. This is where my father's from, in fact. And it's a massive Rangers area. KEV KHARAS: Do you ever hang out here? JOE MILLER: Oh no. God, no. Glasgow is-- you walk into a pub, and anything can happen. It's just the nature of this city is very hard. I got a kicking once going to Ibrox. I got a sore one right between the legs. This is Paisley Road West. Just hold your breath here, guys. We're coming up to Ibrox. You'll probably smell it. KEV KHARAS: Have you got a name for Ibrox? JOE MILLER: Oh, yeah. Castle Greyskull, the Hunnery, Shit Pit. KEV KHARAS: At Ibrox, we found our first proof that the rivalry extends beyond Scotland's borders. It came in the form of a friendly German football bigot. When did you first start liking Rangers? GERMAN MAN: First game was in '86. KEV KHARAS: OK. What do you think of Celtic. GERMAN MAN: [LAUGHS], Fenian. Fenian bastards. MALE SPEAKER 12: You shouldn't say that on camera. You've just shamed the whole of Germany. [LAUGHTER] KEV KHARAS: The next day, we went to meet a man named Mark Dingwall, who runs Rangers fanzine "Follow Follow." MARK: Obviously because of the background, it means more to more people, I think, than some of the rivalries that you would get down south. But it's not really quite as serious, I think, as it's often portrayed in documentaries, where because of the religious side of things, they try to make out that Glasgow is a sectarian hotbed. I think that that's a myth. KEV KHARAS: Maybe Dingwall's right, and the idea of Glasgow as a furnace of sectarian hatred is a false one. But pretty much every flag we saw for sale on match day referenced the old Troubles in Ireland. MARK: Well, it's about the culture. I mean, if you look at the links between Scotland and Ireland over the last 200, 300 years, we've probably had about a million people immigrating to Scotland from Ireland, and vice versa. So you do have this culture. My view would be that a lot of the media and, well, the political class, they only want to concentrate on what they perceive as violence and bigotry. They don't actually want to look at the positive aspects of that, or in fact, the historical reality. KEV KHARAS: What do you think of this phrase, "90 minute bigot"? MARK: I think it fairly well sums up what happens at Old Firm games. This is the release valve for mainly working class people at the end of the week. Because they go out to football. They can say what they want, do what they want, have a drink, have a laugh, be loud and boorish in a way that they aren't during the rest of the week. KEV KHARAS: The next day, I jumped on the train north to Dundee to meet Joe Miller and some of Celtic's loyal away support. STEVEN: It wouldn't bother me tomorrow if they went bust. And it was a big Tesco, or whatever. In fact, I would gladly shop in it. MALE SPEAKER 13: It's a kind of religion to folk. That's because you turn out every week. Glasgow's got a strong Irish community. But we couldn't express ourselves in the community. There was no St. Patrick's Day parades or celebrations. A woman once said to me, and she goes, are you one of those Fenians? And I was actually taken aback. She labelled me a Fenian. KEV KHARAS: Was it a girl that you were trying to crack on to? Or an old woman in the shops? MALE SPEAKER 13: It was an older woman. I was still trying to crack her as well. That label right away was, I'm a Celtic fan. I'm a Catholic. I'm an Irish republican. These are all the labels that are tied down with that. And I may not have been any of them other than a Celtic fan. With Celtic fans, there is this cult of victim-hood on the one hand. Then on the other hand, they want to be the tough guys. They want to support the IRA and push people around. I would say that Celtic in the last 5 to 10 years are probably more Catholic, more Irish and more republican. KEV KHARAS: Do you think that Rangers fans and Celtic fans are sort of inherently different people? Maybe because of their upbringing? MALE SPEAKER 13: We're more open, I think. When Rangers fans go abroad, they go on a rampage. When we go abroad, we're probably up singing and dancing, having more fun and meeting friends. KEV KHARAS: Do you have friends that are Rangers fans? MALE SPEAKER 13: Acquaintances. MARK: I have acquaintances that would be nominal Celtic fans. But general delusions about persecution, about being a member of the IRA, about claiming that your grandfather fought in the General Post Office against the British, that your granny was raped by the Black and Tans. I mean, this is not really the type of people that you want to associate with. KEV KHARAS: We saw a sticker up at Ibrox. It just had a picture of the Union Jack that said, love it or leave it. MALE SPEAKER 13: Yeah. Yeah, well, we're told to go back. Their famous shout is, the famine's over. Why don't you go home? I've Scottish. I live here. I like this country. KEV KHARAS: Do you think the bill will help? MALE SPEAKER 13: The bill won't help that. Because it's just attacking football fans. There's a culture out there that has to be changed. MALE SPEAKER 14: Celtic! Come on you boys in green! MALE SPEAKER 15: Come on you boys in green! MALE SPEAKER 14: Glasgow's green and white. MALE SPEAKER 15: Glasgow's green and white. MALE SPEAKER 14: Glasgow's green and white. MALE SPEAKER 15: Glasgow's green and white. BOTH: [CHANTING]! MALE SPEAKER 14: Celtic! MALE SPEAKER 15: Celtic! KEV KHARAS: Recording crappy footage on my phone, I made my way into the ground, where Celtic's fans were going through their repertoire. [CHANTING] KEV KHARAS: They didn't seem too worried about falling foul of the anti-sectarian bill. [CROWD SHOUTING] MALE SPEAKER 16: Orange bastards! MALE SPEAKER 17: Up the IRA! KEV KHARAS: I'd made an appointment to see Nil By Mouth, a charity based in Glasgow that wants to eradicate sectarianism from Scottish life. They were set up after a 15-year-old Celtic fan died after having his throat cut on the way home from a match. MALE SPEAKER 18: I came to university in Scotland in 1999. And I went to watch an Old Firm football game in the student union's bar. And I heard this shocking taunt, which was, six million Jews. And it should have been Protestants. How many layers of ignorance do you have to get through to come out with that type of stuff? People have often put to me the idea that in Scotland we have 90-minute bigots. Now, you know that kind of idea. For 90 minutes, we go, we watch football. We taunt the other sides. We use these kind of words. And then we go back to our kind of life. Now I'll put it to you in this kind of context. If I use the term nigger to you, you'd find that quite offensive. And quite rightly, because it's a disgusting term. Does that make you a 90-minute racist? Does it really? You know, we all have to have laws. And we have to have boundaries as what is acceptable behavior and what is not. And if you don't have that, then it's a bit of a free for all. And people do what they want, as and when they want. KEV KHARAS: This is Abdul Rafiq, a Muslim Rangers fan who's banned from football matches for five years for singing anti-Catholic songs. So how has this ban order affected your ritual? Because I imagine it must have been a pretty big part of your life before. ABDUL: Yeah, I used to go to all the Rangers matches. But now, to suddenly not be allowed to go to matches, it's had a big effect on me, you know? And I just don't think the punishment fits the crime, just for singing songs, you know? I was singing the "Follow, Follow" songs. But there were some added-on words that you're not supposed to sing. KEV KHARAS: What were they like? ABDUL: Dundee, Hamilton, eff the Pope and the Vatican. You know, that one. KEV KHARAS: The banning order has made Abdul a pretty famous guy. He's well-known both on the streets of Glasgow and on the internet. ABDUL: Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside. And I do like to be beside the sea. With a hammer in my hand, Fenian bashing on the sand beside the seaside, beside the sea. I've got friends that are Celtic fans. So it's only a game. It's only a bit of banter. And I've got to sign in at a police station in the first half of every Rangers game for the next five years. I'm on my way just now. KEV KHARAS: Abdul's also famous for being the only Muslim member of right-wing nationalist group the English Defense League. ABDUL: If you're born in Britain, then it's natural to like your country. The flag of my country is red, white, and blue. Rangers play in those colors. I don't go to the mosque to pray five times a day or anything. But I'd still like to be a good person. That's being religious as well. I'm a good person. I'm good to accept everybody. So that's being religious. So I would say I'm religious in a way. KEV KHARAS: Do you think you get picked on because Rangers is, you know, traditionally a very Protestant club. ABDUL: Because of my connection to the EDL and SDL, the police recognize me. So I do get picked on by the police. That day I got arrested at the football match, the officers recognized me. And it was a high-profile match because we were playing Chelsea. And the Chelsea fans were there chanting my name. KEV KHARAS: Really? What were they singing? ABDUL: They were just chanting the name, Abdul, Abdul, EDL. I have a few racist remarks from Rangers fans. Just a few. But you're always going to expect a few anyway. KEV KHARAS: As Abdul lapped up the attention outside Ibrox, keeping the rain off his head with his Union Jack umbrella, I couldn't come to think of him as a spiteful guy. It just seemed like he wanted to be part of something, even if that something had turned him into a football bigot who hangs out with fascists. What is it that you identify with with the EDL? ABDUL: Well, the EDL are against extremism. They're against all sorts of extremism. They're not against just Muslims. They're against all, even the Catholics, IRA, and that. And I'm born and bred in Britain, and I love my country. So I'm against any sort of extremism, you know. And they're open to anybody. They're not racist and that. KEV KHARAS: Do you not buy the argument that they are themselves racist people, the EDL? ABDUL: But if they were racist, they wouldn't have me with them. KEV KHARAS: Do you think they might be saying one thing and doing another, trying to hide, maybe, the fact that they are racist? ABDUL: Well, they're asking me to bring more Muslims to join up. When they're down your street, they don't shout abuse at Muslims. They actually say to them, come and join us. MALE SPEAKER 19: You little poof, where are you going? Are you banned from still going to Ibrox? ABDUL: Aye. I'm back with EDL, though. He was from the EDL. MALE SPEAKER 19: Don't let them video you. ABDUL: No, it's all right. They're not going against it. MALE SPEAKER 19: They'll fucking put it against you. ABDUL: No, it's all right. KEV KHARAS: Abdul's mates didn't seem to like our cameras all that much. So to avoid a beating, we went elsewhere. How does it make you feel when you see? ABDUL: Well, when you see that, it makes me look out to be as if I'm a Catholic-hater or something. But that's not the case, you know. Because I just think that it's banter. Another notorious Ranger celebrity who is against the bill is Sandy Chugg. Sandy was one of the stars of the Scottish football violence scene of the '80s and '90s. He led Rangers' terrifying Inter City Firm into battle many times. SANDY: As much as I dislike Celtic songs, the IRA songs and that, I will defend our rights to sing them. The product's not great. The crowds are dwindling. And they want to lock up people for to provide a wee bit of atmosphere at the football. [INAUDIBLE], well done. Good, good. Keep it going. KEV KHARAS: As far as we know, Sandy isn't a hooligan anymore. Instead, he spends his time here, training kids at this school in Glasgow's East End. SANDY: Come on, [INAUDIBLE]. Wrap your feet around it. Come on. I started playing about 8 years old. Then I was picked up with the Rangers, under-14 level. I spent two years there. Unfortunately, I wasn't good enough to make the grade. Other things in my life at the time as well, the Casual scene. I was finding out I was a lot better football Casual than I was a football player. So I sort of got sidetracked. KEV KHARAS: Do you regret that at all? SANDY: No. To be honest, I loved the scene. It the biggest youth culture explosion, in my opinion, since the Mods. Boys from Yeovil to Inverness were involved in fighting each other, fighting the law. To be part of that, looking back, although I know I wouldn't say it makes me proud, I am sort of glad that I was involved in it. I was lost to the rave generation for about two or three years. That was the next new wave of youth culture. It led me to three years in prison for dealing LSD and ecstasy. That's my major regret in life. And my one ambition was to be a Royal Marine. Blew that out of the water. I want to prove to the parents that despite my past, I'm the best person to coach their kids. KEV KHARAS: Even though a minority have complained about Sandy's past to the school, he didn't seem too worried about re-living it in front of the parents and their kids. When you see your picture next to words like scum, and thugs, and wrecking the good name of the Tartan army, I mean, how did that make you feel? SANDY: In a strange way, I was slightly proud to be recognized. But when I look back, and I'm looking back over a lot of stuff here, I'm kind of thinking, that wasn't really one of your cleverest moments in your life, you know what I mean? KEV KHARAS: Yeah. SANDY: It's something to look back on. Maybe some people have photo albums. KEV KHARAS: I mean, was football violence an addiction for you, do you think? SANDY: Oh, most certainly. Without a doubt. No matter how hard I tried to walk away, I always seemed to get dragged back in. A lot of people liked the camaraderie. I liked the violence. I'll be honest. I'm not going to beat about the bush, I liked the violence. KEV KHARAS: So what for you is the biggest misconception that people have about the Glasgow football rivalry? SANDY: I think the biggest misconception is primarily a religious aspect. In my own personal opinion, I believe it's now turning into a national identity. It's Scottish-British, or you're Irish. KEV KHARAS: That guy going mad with a bin is Sandy's old sparring partner, John O'Kane. John was one of the founding fathers of the Celtic Soccer Crew Firm. His life with the Casuals saw him up before the judge 66 times. I'd arranged to meet him in a pub across town. Was there, when you were fighting, that kind of unwritten, unspoken code? JOHN: After a Scotland game, we got into a fight with Patrick Thistle. And there were a few of them on the ground after it. And the rest of them had run away. And we'd gotten them up and made sure the guys were OK, and things like that. You all right, mate? All your mates have fucked off and left you. I'm just making sure you're OK. It's an unwritten sort of rule. A fight's a fight. KEV KHARAS: Does that mutual respect extend to Rangers fans? JOHN: No. Certainly not. Because I've been stabbed, had my ear cut off by the Rangers, and been slashed so many times. They actually threw one of our boys off a bridge near Ibrox stadium onto the M8 motorway. KEV KHARAS: The big guys with him were from Shebeen, Glasgow's premier republican band and lifelong Celtic fans. GRAEME: [SINGING] I have four green fields. Each one was a jewel. Nil By Mouth is the worst. They don't live in the real world. Celtics are singing "The Fields of Athenry," then they're singing "The Famine Song." Who cares? Who really cares about it? It's a bit of banter. [SINGING] And my four green fields. Run red with their blood, said she. KEV KHARAS: So do you feel like Shebeen might be under threat from the bill? GRAEME: Well, if they come in and arrest me or Alan for singing songs of Ireland, then I'm a political prisoner, in my view. Sectarianism is divisive. Republicanism is about unity. [SINGING] And my four green fields will bloom once again, said she. [APPLAUSE] GRAEME: That's a wrap. KEV KHARAS: We had already met Celtic men in pubs. Now it was time to meet Rangers men in pubs. And they were all men. I've never seen so many tough looking guys as those that poured out of Ibrox subway station on match day. Most of them called in at the Louden bar en route to the ground. There's a guy over there just being let away by police. And I think he's one of the two guys that came up to us just now outside the Louden bar and started harassing us. They didn't like the camera or my accent very much. They called me an English wanker, which is difficult to deny. Then his mate came over and started shoving me and grabbing the camera stuff and kicked me. So I guess he's been having a bit more fun inside the stadium as well. MALE SPEAKERS: [SINGING IN UNISON] As I walked round and round, the penny arcade, just ring the bell on the big bagatelle. And you'll make all those colored lights cascade. ROBERT: I think 99% of the Rangers and Celtic are well behaved. I think they get a bad press because it suits the politicians. MALE SPEAKERS: [SINGING IN UNISON] Yes it played and it played, played all the time. Roll up and spend your last dime. ROBERT: I have no animosity towards anyone, including Celtic fans. I'm not a lover of their club. I think their club is corrupt and always has been since the day it was formed. I mean, that's only my opinion. And I'm allowed it. I'm Scottish. And I'm proud to be Scottish. I'm not born in Glasgow and some sort of pseudo Irishman. I don't know where they get that from. MALE SPEAKERS: [SINGING IN UNISON] Step up and play, each machine seemed to say, as I walked round and round the penny arcade. Just ring the bell on the big bagatelle. And you'll make all those colored lights cascade. KEV KHARAS: The Rangers fans we'd met have been disappointed. But so far we'd only been shown around the city by a Celtic fan. So they told us to seek out Darkhorse, Rangers fan, cab driver, raconteur. DARKHORSE: She says, you need to stop, driver. I said, what for? She said, I need a toilet. I said, I can't stop on the motorway. But there's a garage a couple of miles up. And she says, no, if you don't stop, I'll piss your seat. I told her I'd punch her cunt in. That's what I said to her. So she didn't piss the seat. I've taken a lot of people right to the hospital after a Rangers/Celtic game, after the derbies. It's a pretty bad sight, you know. Mostly slashes, bottles, knives mostly. The last Rangers game, I picked up two fellows in a town. And they were telling me, they were up with their kids. And two Celtic fans attacked the father in front of the kid. That was the last Rangers/Celtic game. So there you go. All because they're English. MALE SPEAKERS: [CHANTING] Hail hail, the Celts are here. KEV KHARAS: On derby day, Glasgow was buzzing. U pubs were rammed with both sets of supports. These fans had traveled all the way from the Falls Road in Belfast to watch the crunch match at Celtic Park. MALE SPEAKER 20: Come on the Celts! KEV KHARAS: Ond man who wouldn't be attending the match, however, was Abdul Rafiq, whose anti-Pope banter earned him a banning order. Can you remember your first derby day memories? ABDUL: That's going back about 30 years. At that time, you were able to sing what you wanted. There used to be much more trouble at that time. And there was more singing. KEV KHARAS: Do you prefer that kind of more resentful atmosphere? ABDUL: Yeah, definitely. Because the atmosphere is what makes it. It's biggest club match in the world. And what makes it special is the atmosphere. But it's just a game. And to me, it's just a bit of banter. Stick your right hand out, and you punch a Taig about. You kneecap the bastard when you get him down. That's what it's all about. KEV KHARAS: I've found some examples of anti-Celtic, anti-Catholic stuff. Is that OK if I show you? You can tell me whether they're banter or not, or whether they cross the line. "Jungle Bhoys Against Reporting Pedophiles." So that's alleging that Celtic fans are sort of part of some big Catholic pedophile ring. Is that too far? Or is that banter? ABDUL: I'll just put that down as banter. KEV KHARAS: Yeah, Just banter. Another, "Sweeping Child Abuse Under the Carpet Since 1972." ABDUL: I'd Just put that as banter. KEV KHARAS: How about that? A Celtic fan making a monkey sign at El Hadji Diouf. ABDUL: Well, some people will take that serious. But other people will just look at that as banter, you know. KEV KHARAS: So that's 50/50. That's on the line. ABDUL: 50/50. KEV KHARAS: So there's a fan attacking Neil Lennon. ABDUL: Well, that's obviously gone too far. Because he should never have come on the pitch to attack. I know a lot of Rangers fans don't like Neil Lennon. But I've met Neil Lennon myself. And he says he doesn't mind all the abuse he gets. But he doesn't like it when somebody comes and attacks him on the street, or whatever. KEV KHARAS: "Celtic will get fucked up the ass like what those Catholic priests did to little kids. #pedophiles." ABDUL: Just banter. Just saying that. KEV KHARAS: Yeah, but it's child abuse. So I don't know, is that? All right. Well, that's the end of the bant-o-meter. ABDUL: The only bit I see as over the line there was when Neil Lennon was getting attacked. When they're actually violent, when they're fighting each other. That's when it's over the line. But when it's just singing and taunting one another, I don't see why the police should bother moving. Just let them have their fun. KEV KHARAS: Looking for some of that fun that Abdul mentioned, we headed down the Gallowgate to the Barras. the Celtic stronghold in the East of Glasgow. There we ran into ardent Celtic fan, Jonny. We talked to him about derby day in the city. So we're in the Barras on the day of the match. What's it usually like here on match day, on derby day specifically? JONNY: Today it will be busy very early. There'll be a lot of Celtic congregating early. A few beers. All of us are just excited about the game ahead. This is an area of predominantly all Celtic fans, republicans, you name it. KEV KHARAS: Does that kind of safety that you get here knowing that you can drink with Celtic colors on, does that change on derby day? Will there be Rangers lads up here later looking for a fight? JONNY: There's every chance. But I can't remember, in the last few years, anyway, that I've drank here that any Ranger fans or loyalists have come down here and achieved that. Even came down here. The last thing was a wee story we spoke about the last time we met, which was nothing to with Rangers, may I add. It was just another bunch of right-wing fascists that thought they would come down here and start a bit a nonsense. And they just got a kick up the backside and sent home. KEV KHARAS: So what happens if the Rangers fans do come up here and they're looking for a flight, and the word gets around? JONNY: Well, this is the difference. I mean, looking for a fight is one thing. A Rangers fan walking down here just with a Rangers top on, nothing would happen. He wouldn't get dragged off the streets and brutally butchered in the middle of an alleyway. I'm sure the vast majority of Rangers fans would just like to stay in Rangers pubs, listening to music that celebrates their culture and whatnot, as opposed to coming down here looking for trouble. KEV KHARAS: Is it good conditions for a fight today, with the wind howling and the rain lashing down? JONNY: Excellent conditions. [IRISH MUSIC PLAYING] KEV KHARAS: Hi How are you doing, mate? You all right? SANDY: Yeah, soaked. KEV KHARAS: How are you feeling? SANDY: Nervous, nervous. It's been three, four days of anticipation. So I just can't wait to get it on. KEV KHARAS: I read in your book about-- was it Mr. Blue, when he stormed the Gallowgate? Were you there then? SANDY: Yeah. Well, basically, we used to meet in a pub called Minstrel's down at the waterfront. And somebody came up with a bright idea one day of going up the Gallowgate. And anybody that knows the Gallowgate knows that it's probably the most no-go area for Rangers fans. 40 of us decided to go up one day. 40 turned into 20. All the Celtic pubs were emptied. The Celtic Casuals came out, your John O'Kanes and that. John, as usual, was quickly put on his backside. But it was pandemonium. KEV KHARAS: Do you think there will be anything like that today? SANDY: For any young boy wanting to get involved in football violence these days, I kind of shake my head with a wry smile knowing the surveillance techniques they're up against. It's not like you can go and have a row in the middle of the city center now. And if you do that, you're on camera. You're getting your door booted in six weeks later. And you're looking at a year, two years in prison. KEV KHARAS: So you mentioned John O'Kane. SANDY: I mean, I've got a lot of respect for John as a boy, because he's a game lad. He may be put on his arse a lot. But gets up every time and wants to have another go at you. So hats off to him for that, know what I mean? KEV KHARAS: So where abouts are we now? Where abouts in Glasgow? JOHN: This is Broomielaw, or Clyde Street. It was always a good place for having a battle. Because of the one-way system that used to be here, it's easier to get away from police. KEV KHARAS: Have you yourself been caught up in any trouble around this area? JOHN: Well, I could have lost my life one night here after a Celtic/Rangers game. Just around those traffic lights there. That's where the Rangers mob have lined up. And we've lined up here. And we've charged at each other. I've charged in with a can of CS gas. I spayed it. But there was none left. And in front of me was a guy brandishing a knife. So as I turned, he got me at the top of the leg. And I staggered along the road. And I fell in a heap. My trousers were crimson, basically. And my mates had stopped a taxi. The taxi driver actually stopped. And they dragged me in. And I was like, what's wrong? What's wrong? Panicking. And he took me too hospital. If he hadn't taken me to hospital, I had burst a major artery, and touch wood, I wouldn't probably be here if it wasn't for the taxi driver's quick actions. Again, scary thing. KEV KHARAS: Do you find that the trouble nowadays is more chaotic and less organized than it used to be? JOHN: When it comes to Celtic/Rangers games, yeah. There seems to be more sporadic violence, where you've just got groups of Rangers and Celtic fans just wanting to have a go at each other. KEV KHARAS: With kick-off fast approaching, we traveled to Denny, 20 miles outside of Glasgow, where some excited Celtic fans had hired a lodge for a pre-match piss up and a singsong. MALE SPEAKERS: [SINGING IN UNISON] When I see you Celtic, I go out of my head. I just can't get enough. I just can't get enough. All the things you do to me and all the things you said. I just can' get enough. I just can't get enough. We slip and slide and we fall in love. And I just can't seem to get enough of-- [CHANTING] MALE SPEAKER 21: There's only one show in town tonight. It's been bubbling up for four or five weeks. And this is what it's all about. Getting the Huns in our own back garden, giving them a good seeing to. KEV KHARAS: Do you have many mate who are Rangers fans? MALE SPEAKER 21: Not really, no. KEV KHARAS: You keep them at arm's length? MALE SPEAKER 21: Aye, further than that. MALE SPEAKERS: [SINGING IN UNISON] Singing I'm not a Billy. I'm a Tim. Thank fuck! Singing I'm not a Billy. I'm not so fucking silly. I'm not a Billy. I'm a Tim. Thank fuck! MALE SPEAKER 22: As you know, we hate the Rangers, absolutely hate them. So we come in, have a few drinks, listen to the banter, get kettled up, and off to the match. MALE SPEAKER 23: Fuck the Huns! [INAUDIBLE]. MALE SPEAKER 22: Come on, you boys in green. [CHANTING] MALE SPEAKER 21: When you think of a Rangers fan, you basically think a guy about 18 stone, with a big handlebar moustache, with greasy hair that hasn't been washed for about two or three weeks. And I don't know if you're familiar with the Orange Walk. He'd be the boy banging the big drum. MALE SPEAKER 24: You see Rangers pubs and that, they've only got a capacity of 25. Because they're that big. They can't get in. They enjoy a munch. Do you know the difference between an apple and an orange? You can't get an apple bastard. MALE SPEAKERS: [SINGING IN UNISON] Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart. And you'll never walk alone. You'll never walk alone. MALE SPEAKER 22: Usually, when you're out in the jungle, the mighty jungle at Parkhead, you know? If it wasn't for somebody chucking a bottle at your head, it was somebody pissing on your leg. But as long you win, who cares? You know what I mean? KEV KHARAS: So that's to protect you from the bottles? MALE SPEAKER 22: That's correct, from the bottles. But there's fuck all to protect you from some cunt pissing on your leg. KEV KHARAS: Your head's intact. But your legs are full of piss. MALE SPEAKER 22: Yeah, right. As long as your head's intact, you know what I mean? Up the fucking 'RA! Know what I mean? Come on! MALE SPEAKER 25: Up the fucking 'RA! Brits out now! MALE SPEAKER 26: The Celts. MALE SPEAKER 22: Jesus! [LAUGHTER] MALE SPEAKER 22: [INAUDIBLE] MALE SPEAKER 22: Best of luck. Best of luck for that match. MALE SPEAKER 22: It's a fucking certainty, mate. We'll fucking pump the gypsy bastards. MALE SPEAKER 24: Are you getting a Buckfast for the bus ride? MALE SPEAKER 22: Fucking soap-dodging fucks! MALE SPEAKERS: [SINGING IN UNISON] Let's all do the huddle. Let's all do the huddle. [CHANTING] MALE SPEAKERS: [SINGING IN UNISON] Let's all do the huddle. Let's all do the huddle. KEV KHARAS: The police don't tend to let Rangers and Celtic play each other in the evenings anymore. They think the fans will drink all day and end up kicking each other's heads in. But for whatever reason, tonight they'd made an exception. And with everyone well oiled, it was time to get on the bus and head to the ground. And why should the party stop just because you're barreling down the motorway in storm weather? MALE SPEAKERS: [SINGING IN UNISON] Oh, son, I see in memories, too, of far-off distant days. When being just a lad like you, I joined the IRA. Where are the lads that stood with me when history was made? A Ghra Mo Chroi, I long to see the boys of the old brigade. KEV KHARAS: After days of talking about it with everyone I'd met, I'd finally arrived at the derby. It was fucking freezing. And I could hear fragments of forbidden songs caught in the gale winds that were whipping off the earth. I made my way through the turnstiles to see if the atmosphere in an Old Firm game was so horrible and poisonous that the government absolutely needed to step in. The mood inside was tense. But not as violent as the media and the politicians would lead you to believe. Tonight Celtics fans went home the happier after a 1-0 win. The club were back at the top of the table. The Fenians had beaten the Huns. [CROWD SHOUTING] KEV KHARAS: What is it about Glasgow that you think generates this kind of gang culture and this kind of tribalism? JOHN: It's really hard to put your finger on. Glasgow's a crazy, crazy city at times. There's areas where you can't venture into. I think the authorities have just turned a blind eye to it, basically. KEV KHARAS: Do you regret anything that you've done? JOHN: I'm too old to regret. You make you own bed. You'd better lie in it. KEV KHARAS: In Sandy Chugg's book, he identifies you as the top boy at that time. And he talks about the Rangers fans taking the Gallowgate and stuff. JOHN: I've not read it. KEV KHARAS: Have I told you what he said about you? JOHN: No. KEV KHARAS: When I pushed him, I backed him into a corner. And he said he'd be quite proud if you'd grown up a Rangers fan and been a member of the ICF. Because you were always a game lad, were his words. JOHN: Aye, but I'm not going to get a tan. I'm don't want to get a fake tan like him. KEV KHARAS: You know, he said he respects you and stuff. But he said that he's suspicious about where your tan comes from. SANDY: [LAUGHS]. KEV KHARAS: He says you spend too time on sun beds. SANDY: He might be right. He might be right, yeah. [LAUGHTER] SANDY: I don't think John O'Kane's seen sunlight, never mind a sun bed. I hope he's keeping well. JOHN: There's people that there's a mutual respect between. But there's other people who don't have a respect. They've just got a hatred. And they want to stab you. And they want to kill you. And they want to do things like that. If you do them fair enough, that's what the buzz is about. It's not about inflicting pain and harm on people. It's a big game. Waking up with a machine that's going, beep, beep. And you know when it stops going beep, you're dead. It's one of the scariest things that can ever happen to anybody. KEV KHARAS: Has it happened to you? JOHN: It's happened twice. KEV KHARAS: How does that effect people close to you? JOHN: It's hard to say. I think that it did affect my dad quite a bit. KEV KHARAS: How about your own children? JOHN: Touch wood, they're good children at the moment. I wouldn't want them to get involved in anything like I've been involved in. I want my kids to have a life that I didn't. KEV KHARAS: How about your missus, or their mother? JOHN: I don't really want to talk about that. KEV KHARAS: OK. Pitched street battles between gangs of screaming men might be a thing of the past in Glasgow. But there was still the issue of the chanting. Will Scottish Parliament's new bill really be able to extinguish a loathing this deep-seated? MALE SPEAKER 18: If you look at the context of the whole stadium, the overwhelming majority of people don't want anything to do with it. They want to watch the football. Nil By Mouth want to help the silent majority find their voice. MALE SPEAKER 27: There's too many people here getting offended. They're looking for reasons to be offended. Whether they like it or not, religious, cultural, and national divides will always be here in Scotland. KEV KHARAS: After spending so many hours in the company of people whose thoughts and feelings are dominated by their football clubs, it wasn't surprising to me that I found myself taking their side. To me, it seemed patronizing for people who weren't fans to take their words out of context, then insist that people should take offense to them. After the win on derby day, Celtics fans had celebrated as if Rangers would never be top dog again. I thought finality like that didn't exist in football. But a few weeks after the game, Rangers were forced into administration by an unpaid tax bill of nine million pounds. If they fail to find a rich, white knight to rescue them from the financial mire, they'll die, taking the rivalry with them. Celtics fans haven't reacted to the news with much sensitivity. I saw this graffiti sprayed over the side of the Louden bar and asked Joe Miller to explain it. What was your immediate reaction when you hear the news that Rangers might be going bust? JOE: Jelly and ice cream was my immediate reaction. KEV KHARAS: Can you explain the jelly and ice cream thing for people who might not know it? JOE: Well, a group of guys used to always say, we're having a party when Thatcher dies. And then it kind of carried on, jelly and ice cream when Thatcher dies. And then we went a wee bit further and went, let's have it when Rangers die. So jelly and ice cream when Rangers die. Pass the parcel when Rangers die. All that kind of stuff. It's good natured. MALE SPEAKER 28: Yeah, jelly and ice cream. That's quite appropriate for Celtic, isn't it? Everybody knows about their cover up of child abuse in the early '70s with Jock Stein and the directors, allegedly. KEV KHARAS: What would happen to this pub if Rangers went out of business? MALE SPEAKER 28: I would think we would probably closely follow them. ABDUL: If the club's dying and you're celebrating, it's like celebrating the death of something. You know that's sick, you know? But that's the nature of football fans here in Glasgow. Celtic need Rangers. They just think, OK, if Rangers are closed they can laugh at Rangers fans and think they can win the league every season. But it will kill Scottish football, you know. We need two clubs. KEV KHARAS: How is the kind of financial troubles that Rangers find themselves in? And how has that kind of effected the mood in the city? SANDY: Well, obviously, one half's delighted. And the other half, it's been like a death in the family. I have a few close Celtic fan mates and a few acquaintances. And it's been real relentless. It's been really bad. KEV KHARAS: I mean, how big a hole would it leave in your own life if Rangers were to go to the wall? SANDY: A massive, gaping hole. I've always grown up always thinking there would always be a Rangers for my kids, for my grand-kids. 140 years of history. We're not going to give that up all that easy. We will fight to the bitter death. But as we say, I'll follow, follow. And I'm sure a great deal of many thousands will continue to follow, follow as well. No surrender. KEV KHARAS: Would you miss them if they want bust? JOE: Miss who? KEV KHARAS: Rangers. JOE: Miss who? Loving Celtic doesn't mean anything about Rangers. Nothing about Rangers. Loving Celtic only means loving Celtic. ABDUL: I would miss the Old Firm games. To me, that's the biggest game you can get. To me, without a Rangers/Celtic game, there's nothing in Scottish football. KEV KHARAS: I went to Glasgow an outsider. And I still am an outsider. But I understand the rivalry enough to know that the cliched, black and white idea that people have of the Old Firm is just ridiculously wrong. There's no doubting that some pretty hateful things have been done in the name of the rivalry. But while it's still here, it certainly makes Glasgow life richer. Savage it may be, but it's become part of the city's humor. Fans here have spent so long trying to get under each other's skin that the rivalry is now embedded beneath the skin of the city. And Glasgow is a city with a very thick skin.


  1. ^ "Paisley Daily Express". Audit Bureau of Circulations (UK). 4 August 2023. Retrieved 2 September 2023.

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