By Jim Thornton:
Keep Taking the Tabloids?
Great to see that the Daily Record is backing The Away End’s Sell Out Saturday campaign. They obviously know a good idea when they see one.
We at The Away End don’t mind the Record embracing our initiative if the end result is more bums on seats. We don’t even mind them referring to it as ‘… the Record Sell Out Saturday campaign …’, as they’ve started to do; imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery. Just as long as James Traynor doesn’t actually embrace us in person.
The Glorious Eleventh
We chose August 11 as the big day because Celtic are in the USA that weekend playing ‘a glamour friendly’, and Rangers – let’s face it, they’re Rangers no matter what the pedants say – will, SFA licence permitting, be up at Peterhead on Division Three duty, leaving an Old Firm-free day in the SPL.
The initial focus will be on that Saturday, but there’s no reason, of course, why the initiative can’t roll over into the weeks (and months) that follow, and into the SFL as well. If nothing else, it would give clubs who are away from home on the Glorious Eleventh their turn in the limelight. For the time being, though, let’s do our best to make sure we get the campaign off to a flier on the big day.
Aberdeen v Ross County
The Aberdeen fans have taken to Sell Out Saturday big style; even the great Denis Law is backing the initiative. If only he could be there for the Ross County game; if Denis needs a lift to Pittodrie we’d be happy to oblige. The Lawman (© Jonathan Watson) never played for the Dons, starting his career instead with Huddersfield before moving on to more exalted surroundings. Mind you, West Yorkshire is famous for its woollen industry, so I suppose it must have felt like a home from home to a wee boy from Aberdeen making his first venture into the big, wide world.
It’ll be County’s first-ever season in the top league of course. They open their campaign at home to Motherwell before heading over to Pittodrie, so what are the odds on them being top of the table after their first two games?
Dundee v St Mirren
Good on the Dee for keeping their season ticket prices at First Division levels. Take a bow, guys, as even former Arab Andy Gray would say.
Unless the BBC send him screaming and kicking to Peterhead, I’ve no doubt Chick Young will be in the City of Discovery to welcome his beloved Buddies back to Dens Park for the first time since they were humped 4-0 there in December 2005. The Saints, however, got their revenge the following April when they beat the Dark Blues at Love Street to win promotion back into the SPL. Chick’s prediction for the big game? An away win for the Gers Saints.
Dundee United were down to play Celtic; now they’ve got a free weekend because the Parkhead club are on their jolly to America. So why don’t the Arabs take the opportunity to toddle along from Tannadice and support their local rivals? Perhaps some enterprising Tayside entrepreneur could give out some of those scarves you see with both sides’ names on them – you know, half tangerine and half dark blue. Or am I taking this goodwill thing too far?
Hibs v Hearts
Some Hibs’ fans are talking about not going to the game because the Hearts’ support will noise them up about last season’s Cup Final debacle. Ah, diddums. Perhaps the Jambos should wear big girls’ blouses to even things up.
If it’ll make Hibees feel better, go and buy a new top from the club shop and I’m sure Rod Petrie would agree to put a number ‘7’ on the back of it for free. They could then all do a Poznan celebration in front of the Hearts fans to remind them of New Year’s Day 1973. In fact, why not go the whole hog and have ‘1973’on their shirts?
Inverness v Kilmarnock
Surely a stick-on to be shown on BBC Alba, if only to see Terry Butcher being interviewed in Gaelic.
A long trek from Ayrshire for Kilmarnock fans, though. So what about Diageo, who recently closed the historic Johnnie Walker plant in the town, laying on free buses for the troops as a gesture of goodwill? Over to you Killie fans - if you don’t ask you don’t get. And just think of the adverse PR for Diageo if they knocked you back.
Motherwell v St Johnstone
Celebrity fans Tam Cowan and Stuart Cosgrove will surely be at Fir Park to support their teams, so why not a penalty-kick competition at half time between them and a pairing of Neil Doncaster and Stewart Regan?
We suggested a couple of weeks ago that the Olympic organisers could do worse than speak to Craig Whyte about shifting the large number of unsold football tickets, especially for the matches at Hampden. Like James Traynor, Lord Coe must read The Away End, because I see Seb’s now announced that the remaining tickets will be sold ‘by hook or by crook’.
Spark of Genius
QPR’s chairman Tony Fernandes let it be known a few months ago that the club needed a new ground. Now his manager Mark Hughes has proudly confirmed that he’s bought Man Utd’s Park. Do you think Sparky wasn’t paying attention when his boss made his announcement?
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