Jan 292013
 

Your Chance To Get Involved

 

Bill Boland

 

As many of you will know, I am currently writing a book regarding Celtic Football Club and it’s supporters. Relax, I’m not trying to sell you anything, as the book is still a fair way from completion. Anyway, through this process, I have been fortunate enough to meet Mr William Boland, who holds the title of being the oldest surviving Celtic player. Mr Boland turned ninety three at the end of November and, after a somewhat regrettable delay caused partially by the festive period, Celtic Football Club have recently been kind enough to donate a signed shirt as a gift for Bill.

For this reason, I am now aiming to raise £75 to have the shirt professionally framed at an establishment in Glasgow, before meeting Bill at his home once again to give him his present. As ever, I do not want to take any money from anyone cannot afford it. I’m certain Mr Boland would agree in this regard. I don’t want anyone to throw serious money at this either. Even a pound or two really would be much appreciated.

You can also split your donation between this small appeal and our larger Motor Neurone Disease Scotland 2012/2013 season appeal should you wish to do so (£370 raised in the first half of the season for what is a very worthy cause). All you need to do is specify, when donating via the link below, where you would like the money to go (e.g. £2 donation, £1 to MNDS and £1 to Mr Boland’s present) – whatever you like.

If you would like to make a donation, you can do so by clicking here, scrolling down the page and clicking on the “Donate” button in the sidebar.

UPDATE: Due partially to my naivety and an issue with a widget, we had issues with the initial direct link. If you want to make a donation on paypal, without going through the method above, you can do so by sending the pound or whatever it is to “maleysbhoysenquiries@hotmail.co.uk” on there.

I should emphasise at this stage that this is not a gift from myself to Mr Boland, but a gift from all of us. For this reason, whether you choose to donate anything or not, you will be welcome to submit a message for Mr Boland, all of which I will pass to him personally. If you would like to, you can do so by simply leaving a comment at the bottom of this article.

Also, he does not use the internet, and his family are fully aware of what we have planned, so there is no risk of him finding out about this appeal.

Having listened to him for hours on end, and written a rather lengthy chapter detailing his life as a Celtic supporter, as well as a Celtic player for a time, I know that Mr Boland would not expect anything from anyone in terms of material gifts. After all, he is a very humble man. However, as an ardent Celtic supporter, even to this day, I know he will be absolutely thrilled with his present. He is a true gentleman, and it really is a pleasure to have gotten to know him.

If you are interested in reading more about Mr Boland, his “Celtic Wiki” page is available here.

Thank you.

P.S. For the sake of clarity, once our target is reached, I will publicise this as soon as possible both here and on Facebook. However, if, by chance, we take in, for example, £95 in total before I manage to reach my computer, the extra £20 will be donated to Motor Neurone Disease Scotland.

Jan 212013
 

Supporters’ Meeting Bears It’s First Fruit

The Kano Foundation have now taken well over one thousand children to matches at Celtic Park without charge.

 

Today, The Kano Foundation have given me permission to publicise the following news on their behalf. As a result of our supporters’ meeting with Celtic Football Club and their caterers The Lindley Group last week, I am happy to announce that the groups of children whom the charity take to matches at Celtic Park, will now receive subsidised food inside the ground, for the first time.

A week ago, at our meeting, the representatives of The Lindley Group in attendance admitted that they had not heard of the charity, or the good work that it continues to carry out at Celtic Park. Until now, whilst the charity itself provided a snack for each child, anyone who wanted anything to eat from the catering kiosks had to both queue and pay for it themselves. This meant that volunteers from the charity would often have to take a large group of the kids down into the concourse at half time, which, as many of you will know, can be a chaotic enough place for someone with one child, let alone up to fifty of them. With the long queues came occasions when some of the children would miss goals or other significant moments in the match, much to their disappointment.

However, from now on, thanks to The Lindley Group and Celtic Football Club, each child will now receive a choice of a burger or a hot dog, a bag of crisps and a Capri Sun, for only £2.50 each (which is a significant improvement from the £5.90-6.50 or so it would have cost previously). These meals will also be brought to the children in their seats behind the goals in the Lisbon Lions Stand at half time every week, saving them the hassle of navigating the busy concourse area.

Whilst I would be the first to accept that it would be all but impossible to totally overhaul the catering situation at Celtic Park overnight, this is an almost immediate improvement for some of the most worthy recipients present on match days, and it is much appreciated. One of the regional directors involved with The Lindley Group, Billie O’Neill, has also agreed to take part in an upcoming bungee jump which will raise money for the Kano Foundation.

In summary, I would like to thank Celtic Football Club and The Lindley Group for their help in this matter. However, I’m sure everyone would agree that the people who continue to deserve our praise and gratitude more than any others are those involved with the day to day running of the Kano Foundation, a group who epitomise what Celtic Football Club has always stood for, openness and charity.

 

Having seen how happy the work of the charity makes their guests, I simply cannot praise them highly enough for their efforts.

Jan 182013
 

Celtic’s Iron Man Dies

 

 

Above, you can see a fictional character. Marvel Comics’ “Iron Man” is a superhero who created a suit of armour which makes him all but invincible, allowing him to save the day time and time again from the pages of dusty old books to the high definition spectaculars of modern cinema. Having made his first appearance in 1963, anyone with an interest in the world of comic books will have no doubt heard of “Iron Man” and, having made his first appearance over a decade earlier, anyone with an interest in Celtic Football Club will know the name of Sean Fallon.

However, whilst Marvel’s “Iron Man” is a wholly fictional character, Celtic’s “Iron Man” was most certainly not. Born in 1922, in County Sligo, Ireland, he was around long before the red suited figure you see above. An able swimmer and talented Gaelic footballer in his youth, Sean didn’t require a suit of armour to play sport, because, in truth, he was built like one. With an incredible pain threshold, and an instinctive will to win, he once injured his collarbone whilst playing for Celtic, and despite the agony coursing through his body, he allowed his arm to be placed in a sling and continued playing to the final whistle, before finding out later that night he had suffered a rather nasty fracture.

 

Fallon, Sean - Pic

 

Before his £5,000 move to Glasgow in March 1950, Sean featured for St Mary’s Juniors, McArthurs, Sligo Distillery, Sligo Rovers, and Glenavon in Ireland. He made his Celtic debut in a 2-2 away draw with Clyde in April, and within minutes of Willie Fernie giving the Hoops the lead, Fallon had his name on the score sheet too, albeit at the wrong end. As the home side took the lead with moments remaining, it looked as if Sean was about to taste his first defeat as a Celtic player, until Charlie Tully popped up with almost the last kick of the game to give the Celt’s a point.

A year later, Celtic beat Motherwell 1-0 to win the Scottish Cup for the first time since 1937, giving the long suffering Celtic supporters something to cheer at last. Within another year, Sean was named Club Captain, and he remains one of only three non-Scots (Bertie Peacock and Neil Lennon being the other two) to hold the prestigious title. He soon handed the position of Vice-Captain to one Jock Stein, earning the newcomer respect within the dressing room and cementing Stein’s long term friendship with Fallon. In 1953-54, Celtic, won the Scottish League Championship and the Scottish Cup, with Sean scoring the winner in front of  packed Hampden Park.

And then, in 1957, Celtic ran out against Rangers in the final of the Scottish League Cup. Having won the trophy for the first time only the previous season, the Hoops were keen to retain their trophy, and as you all know they did it with some style, recording the largest cup final defeat ever seen in British Football. Although the famous song “Oh Hampden In The Sun” doesn’t mention Sean by name, unlike the Celtic goalscorers that day, it is clear that he played an integral part in that famous victory in the south side of Glasgow.

Sean’s playing career was ended in 1958 by the accumulative wear and tear of injuries over many years. One straw broke the camel’s back proverbially, and Sean was finished, having played over two hundred and fifty times for the Celts, chipping in with fourteen goals and making eight appearances for his country. However, this was not to be the end of Sean Fallon’s Celtic story – far from it in fact!

 

Fallon, Sean - Pic

 

In 1965, Fallon was appointed as Jock Stein’s assistant manager at Celtic Park, and would go on, once again, to play an integral role in the success of the Football Club he loved so dearly. When Jock Stein was seriously injured in a car crash in the mid 1970’s, Sean took over as caretaker manager for a time, before he became the Club’s head of scouting later in the decade. During this period, Sean secured the signatures of several future Celtic stars, including Kenny Dalglish, Danny McGrain, and Packie Bonner.

Sean was last employed by Celtic Football Club in 1978, but was a regular around the ground in the decades to follow. He died in the early hours of today, the 18th January, 2013, having unfurled the Scottish Premier League flag at Celtic Park in August. Undoubtedly, he will be missed massively by all of the vast Celtic support, but at times like these we should also remember those who will miss him most, his family and friends.

Throughout this article, you can find pictures of a true “Iron Man”. The green and white Hoops of Celtic worn by Sean Fallon are just as recognisable around the world as the red and gold of Marvel’s creation, and I know who I would have fancied to win an imaginary fight between the two.

And so, as we say goodbye to our hero, we can all take some comfort at least from the fact his legend will never die.

Rest in peace Mr Fallon.

 

Fallon, Sean - Pic

 

Jan 162013
 

Happy Birthday To, Eh, Us!

 

hooper4

 

As some of you will have heard, we are celebrating our second birthday at Maley’s Bhoys today. In this time, we have grown from nothing to form our small part of the vast unofficial Celtic media. Without your support, this would have been simply impossible, and therefore I owe each and every one of you my personal thanks. In the future, we aim to continue to work with other outlets, representing the fans of Celtic Football Club, bringing small pieces of history to life, and raising more and more money for charitable causes, in the true spirit of Celtic.

It has always been, and continues to be, a tremendous privilege for myself to run this website. Even in a relatively short period of time, I have been fortunate enough to meet numerous fantastic people whom I would never have been introduced to otherwise, and I hope to say hello to more and more of you in the coming years.

Here’s to another year! Hail Hail.

Jan 152013
 

A First Step

 

125125

 

Yesterday evening, myself and a group of fourteen other supporters attended a meeting at Celtic Park regarding the catering available to fans on match days.

 

In attendance were:

David Stothers (General Manager, Celtic Football Club)

Alistair Anderson (General Manager of Lindley Catering at Celtic Park, The Lindley Group)

Steven McDade (Regional Director For Northern England And Scotland, The Lindley Group)

Billie O’Neill (Regional Manager Scotland, The Lindley Group)

Myself (Administrator, Maley’s Bhoys)

Gillian Lindsay (Co-Founder, The Kano Foundation)

Thirteen other members of the Celtic support, many of whom you will probably know from the online world

 

Our guests were specially invited in an attempt to cover as many demographics of the vast Celtic fan base as possible. Individuals of different ages and backgrounds were involved, as well as people with significant experience in the catering trade, and a couple who are vegetarian. Several parents who bring their children to the football were also in attendance, and Miss Lindsay spoke excellently with regards to the children whom the Kano Foundation bring along to Celtic Park on a match by match basis (all of whom currently have to pay fully for any food/drinks they buy inside the stadium).

At the outset of the meeting, it was revealed that this was the first supporters group of it’s type to consult with the Club in this manner since The Lindley Group took over kiosk operations nine years ago. Whilst I am pleased that we were able to have such a meeting, it was highlighted that consultations with the Celtic support should occur on a much more regular basis than once a decade, and this was agreed by all parties present.

Billie O’Neill, who formerly worked at Celtic Park with The Lindley Group, then made a short presentation about who their company are, and proceeded to discuss the new products they have introduced in sections of the ground this season. Once Ms O’Neill was finished, I made a relatively lengthy statement outlining why we were here, before the meeting was opened up to questions from guests.

As discussion progressed, it became clear that most supporters felt that there were several issues they would like to see addressed at Celtic Park. Whilst there were differences of opinion regarding which was the biggest problem, these issues centred predominantly around product quality, pricing, lack of choice, waiting times, and staffing issues. Several individual experiences of poor service (in whatever form) were soon highlighted, and both the Club and The Lindley Group have now officially committed their willingness to listen to to any concerns and ideas members of the support may have, and work with them, through ourselves and other supporters’ bodies, in order to improve the service available to us all. In the coming months, this consultation is set to notably step up a gear.

Over the next set of home matches, I have been asked to gather as much feedback as possible from you all with regards to all aspects of the service you receive (product quality, waiting times etc) so problem areas can be highlighted and addressed. For this reason, I would ask you all to tell your friends and colleagues about this, as well as relaying this message on the almost endless list of other unofficial Celtic websites out there. When registering a comment, whether it is positive, neutral or negative in it’s nature, please remember to include your section number (if not the stall number itself) inside the ground.

For this reason, we have now set up a Twitter account solely dedicated to the match day experience at Celtic Park. Obviously, this will predominantly focus on the catering side of things in the immediate future, but in time I hope it will give all of you somewhere to pass comment on your experiences, regardless of whether they are positive or negative in their natures. This account can be found at @MBCelticPark.

Continuing on with the events of meeting, one member of the support asked whether the Club (or The Lindley Group) currently sample their own food that is being served from their stalls on match days. Whilst they highlighted the fact that an employee of the Scottish Premier League does so at all top flight grounds four times a season, it became clear that no more than this was in place at this moment in time. In light of this, it was agreed that, from now on, a member of staff will be tasked with randomly checking and tasting the food being served to supporters around the stadium on match days, in order to help ensure that a high level of quality is all that is acceptable.

Towards the end of the meeting, I summarised our current position, which is as follows:

“As the unofficial representatives of around two thousand people, both those who completed our survey and the hundreds more who have taken the time to send in their individual comments, we cannot support any renewal of the current catering contract (due to expire in 2014) until significant and tangible improvements are being reported to ourselves by members of the Celtic support.”

On a personal level, I am hopeful that we will be able to work with The Lindley Group and Celtic Football Club in the coming months and years. The openness to consultation and discussions we have seen over the past few months from both parties has been encouraging in this regard. However, until improvements begin to be made on the ground the statement outlined above will, sadly, have to remain our official position on this matter.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Celtic Football Club and The Lindley Group and their representatives for taking the time to meet with our supporters’ group. I would also like to thank the Club for hosting the event and being kind enough to provide some tea, coffee and sandwiches for our guests, many of whom had come straight from their workplace.

Finally, I would like to thank the group of supporters who were willing to give up their Monday night in order to attend our meeting, particularly those who had travelled some distance in the process. This sort of show of support and interest will be critical going forward, and your attendance was massively appreciated by myself.

All in all, last night was a small step in the right direction. However, there is still some distance yet to travel.

Jan 102013
 

All Comments Passed To The Club

 

 

In September of 2012, we organised and carried out a survey regarding supporters’ views on the match day catering available inside Celtic Park. Within forty eight hours, we had received over one and a half thousand replies, which were duly collated and published as the results of our survey. These displayed that, on the whole, the fan base were far from happy with what is currently on offer, and these results are available here.

Since then, I have met with representatives from Celtic Football Club and their suppliers, and the results of those discussions can be found here. In addition to this, the Club asked me to go away and assemble a group of around fifteen supporters to attend a larger meeting in the future. As some time has passed since then, this meeting will now take place next week, and while I can only ask a minority of fans to join me for this meeting, I feel that, as an unofficial representative of yours, I should offer you all the chance, once again, to put your opinions regarding the catering in writing.

To do this, please leave a comment at the bottom of this article. They can be as long, or as short, as concise, or as detailed as you like. Providing they are reasonable in their tone (i.e. not insulting etc), all of these will be passed to the Football Club next week (as all of your previous comments were) and I will attempt to cite some of the best ones during our upcoming meeting. Also, if you feel there are questions which need to be asked, you are more than welcome to leave these as comments below as well.

Once our discussions have taken place, I will, of course, update you all regarding the results in an article sometime next week. Having said all of this, I would just like to thank you all again for your continued support.

 

Please Note: When you submit a comment, if you have not submitted another one on the website recently, your comment will go into a holding folder until I approve it. This technology prevents spam or grossly offensive comments appearing on the website. All others will be allowed through, regardless of whether I agree with the points made in them or not. Thank you.

Jan 092013
 

Your Chance To Have Your Say

 

 

Well, here we are. I was going to publish this tomorrow, but by total coincidence and through no fault of her own, one Angela Haggerty joked about someone hosting awards to me tonight, so I thought I might as well run with it now, rather than risk being beaten to the proverbial punch.

Last year, someone (Celtic Underground if my memory serves me right?) held a rather popular set of Twitter awards. Since there have been no repeat of these awards, I’ve decided to hold a small set of our own. Not only will you all have the opportunity to vote for your favourite sites, accounts, bloggers, fans and bampots, you’ll be able to vote for the award categories as well. The only rules are they need to be Twitter, and Celtic related. Obviously, we won’t be able to make use of every suggestion if a lot are made, but we’ll pick the best ones.

At this point, the only confirmed category is “Best Overall Unofficial Account of 2012″, which will be the main prize up for grabs. To suggest categories you would like to see included, please either contact ourselves on Twitter or leave a comment below. We will not accept any votes until these categories are finalised, and the voting period begins (keep an eye out for updates on Twitter).

I should highlight at this stage that we will not be accepting any nominations for ourselves, on the off chance that anyone wanted to suggest us. All in all these are awards just a bit of light hearted fun, with aim of recognising some of the people who help to brighten up the daily lives of people they have often never met.

Thank you, and all the best for 2013.

 

Jan 082013
 

New Year, Same Nonsense

 

 

Where to start? Well, before discussing the crazy ongoings of today, I suppose I should begin by politely and sincerely wishing you and your families a very happy new year, and all the best for 2013.

Moving onto the matters at hand, we have appear to have witnessed an outbreak of sheer lunacy in the south side of Glasgow, particularly focussed around the National Stadium, and the home of Glasgow’s newest Club at Ibrox. While those in the corridors of power at Hampden have announced a proposal for the reconstruction of Scottish Football, one James Traynor has made his literary debut on the official website of The Rangers. Whilst both outbreaks are serious, that which occurred at Hampden has the potential for longer and more serious ramifications for the city of Glasgow, and the country as a whole, so I will begin there.

Imagine it, the future of Scottish Football. How does it look? Rosy? With gleaming silverware adorning the trophy cabinets of Scottish Clubs who continually trounce across Europe, as fans pack stadia across the country on a weekly basis and all Clubs are free from financial worries? No? Well, if those at Scottish Football’s governing bodies have their way, this somewhat flippant example of my imagination may begin to look even more far fetched.

12-12-18. Those three numbers will soon become rather infamous throughout Scotland’s footballing circles, as therein lie the plans to “save” Scottish Football. For those of you who have missed the details of the proposals, I’ll provide a quick summary.

As early as next season, 2013-2014, Scottish Football may look distinctly different. The Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football Leagues will disappear in their current forms, to be replaced with Premiership consisting of twelve teams, a Championship made up of twelve teams, and a National League with eighteen participants. However, midway through the season, the Premiership and the Championship will simultaneously split and merge into three tables of eight. As one unofficial Aberdeen supporters’ account rather beautifully put it on Twitter, a “Super-8, Middle-8, and Releg-8″ style system could soon be a reality, as forty one of the forty two Clubs will vote on it at the end of the month (note – The Rangers do not have a vote as they are not yet a full member of the Scottish Football Association).

A similar set up has been trialled in several countries around the world over the years, with Austria being one notable example. Without going into any great detail,  the fact that the system is no longer in use in Austria tells it’s own story. It was a failure, and, to my knowledge, there has yet to be any notable example of this system being regarded as a success.

 

 

On a practical level too, this idea appears to be rather ridiculous, especially when you consider that it could only be months away from implementation. Let’s look at Division Two, with Stranraer (on 18 pts) and Albion Rovers (on 14 pts), who currently find themselves in ninth and tenth places respectively. These two sides are in the midst of a relegation battle, to avoid the drop to Division Three. However, with the passing of this new proposal, the rest of their seasons could become irrelevant, as they could both be faced with bottom tier football next season, regardless of their endeavours thus far in 2012/13.

Meanwhile, Arbroath and East Fife, who currently lie in fifth and sixth places in the table, could suddenly have an enormous mid-table fight on their hands, with the victor gaining a lucrative place in the so called Championship next season. In Division Three, The Rangers could win the title by twenty or thirty points, all to no avail, as they could face the prospect of bottom tier football once more, when promotion should be their reward for their efforts (presuming they win their Division).

All in all, this is utterly farcical. You simply cannot move the proverbial goalposts midway through a season. Undoubtedly, Scottish Football needs to change if it is to move forward, both on and off of the field of play. However, this is not the way to do it. If things truly are to progress, then matters such as ticket prices, safe standing, television coverage, grass roots football, fan ownership, the introduction of a pyramid structure and the consistent and examinable financial management of our Clubs should be on the discussion table long before this proposal.

The three governing bodies, the Scottish Football Association, the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football league should be merged into one, singly accountable entity, not two as these proposals suggest. There should be a clear out of some of the dinosaurs who continue to stalk the corridors of power, and greater fan representation, even at the highest echelons of the game. Average Scottish Football supporters must be made to feel that their opinions truly matter, and that their voices can actually be heard.

Generally, when people rush tasks, in any walk of life, they are not completed to the same standard which they would have been had a more reasoned, measured approached been taken. I feel that this is clearly the case here, and I for one hope Celtic will vote against these proposals in the coming weeks.

 

 

Meanwhile, at Ibrox, James Traynor has taken up his role at the new Club, and treated us to a statement worthy of any propaganda outlet. Whilst ranting and raving away about how “sporting integrity” and the big bad boys at other clubs (with Celtic being the only one apparently worthy of a particular mention) were out to get the Old Club, Mr Traynor produces a few lines which are both inflammatory and vaguely threatening in their nature.

Before discussing this though, he describes those articles which, in his somewhat bizarre view of the world, attempted to hurt the old Club as “…blogs clattered out by individuals who are no better than semi-literate.” Well, Mr Traynor, thank you for that ringing endorsement.

Continuing on the main issues I alluded to previously, Mr Traynor states: “Word of advice gentlemen. From now on be very careful when talking or writing about this club. To paraphrase something said about another club, Rangers will not be treated less than others. And although there is no desire to pick fights, be assured that no one will attack Rangers with impunity.”

Now, I’ll largely leave you to draw your own conclusions here, but I feel this is the sort of statement which you would expect to see on an unofficial supporters’ website, not the new Club’s own official outlet. Clearly, the superiority complex and bravado which were once badges of honour displayed by the old Club are traits which have remained strong within Ibrox Stadium, even through the bad times.

He then finishes with a rather amusing statement, “Tolerance and sanity. That’s what Rangers will demonstrate and maintain, especially when back at the summit. After all, someone has to. 12-12-18. Dear God.”

“Tolerance and sanity” Mr Traynor? This coming from the man who once described a favourite of the old Club’s support, the “Famine Song”, as “banter”? Incredible.

In summary, the outbreak of lunacy continues across the south side of Glasgow, and if it is not contained soon, then I fear all of those with an interest in Scottish Football may well see the negative results in the years to come.

Anyway, that’ll do me for now. After all, it’s a real struggle for a semi-literate individual like myself to pen an article such as this. Now, where’s my Lego? Quite impressive don’t you think? It even has a floating pitch!

 

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