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March 2007

1. First home and away matches?  

Home - Argentina 1990 1-0 Stewart McKimmie. I remember the sunset from the old uncovered "Sellik" end, and looking way down on McKimmie's goal, which was clearly a belter.

Away - Belgium 2001. Least said about the match the better but I remember me and my mate Chris finding the Grand Place just by listening to the noise in the distance and following it through the streets! Amazing atmosphere in there. Didn't have a working mobile. Had never heard of a "TAMB" or an email list but there were so many people there those two days that I still managed to bump into literally dozens of folk I knew from all over the country. Even some from Skye I hadn't seen for 7 years! Needless to say, beer was consumed.

2. Best away trip?  
Can't pick.

Slovenia 06 (great performance, really fantastic place, endless free beer in the Union Brewery!!!).

Graz 05 (Good performance for most of the game at least, great party in a surprisingly beautiful city, and travelled on to Vienna and Bratislava, which are both fantastic).

Valencia 04 (total comedy in the stadium after a promising performance cut short, another fabulous city for a party, and a beach full of amazing seafood restaurants and bars with topless sunbathers a handful of yards away - paradise surely! The amusement factor of ordering something called "fartons" can't be overlooked either).

Estonia 04 (a long night of celebration flanked by a short time in picturesque Tallinn and that overnight ferry to and from Stockholm never disappoints for a good night!)

3. Best foreign stadium visited?  
Either the San Siro in Milan or the Mestalla in Valencia. Both pretty poor in terms of facilities but breathtaking arenas for a game of football. Thought the Stade de France was a bit soulless and the less said about Cardiff the better.
4. Best foreign pub/club visited?  
Impossible. I can’t remember the best ones – I was errr enjoying them too much. Have to admit a soft spot for “Auberge” in Dusseldorf though. Also, “Bar Belgique” was well worth tracking down up a side street off the Damrak in Amsterdam. In Prague you can take your pick from quite a few too.
5. Describe your usual match-day attire  
Kilt, Loony Alba or NATA or Scotland shirt, Glengarry that weighs a ton with Loony Alba badges. Curse that balding salesman!!
6. Is there anywhere you have seen Scotland play that you would like to go back to?  
Already been back to Tallinn, Ljubljana and Paris twice. Would like to go back to Valencia.
7. Where have you have seen Scotland play that you would NOT like to return to?  
If I never see Kaunas again it will be too soon. Of course, I never actually made it back there on the last trip (getting stuck in Vilnius – it’s a long story – mistakes were made – people were punished) which perhaps demonstrates a deep seated desire to avoid the place at all costs. Or maybe I just had too much to drink the night before and got lost. You decide.
8. And where do you want to go to (but haven't yet)?  
A World Cup or Euro Championship Finals Tournament. Anywhere! I don’t care! I’ll even go to Kaunas as long as we can just qualify!!
9. Who's the best Scottish player that you have actually seen?  
Kenny Dalglish.
10. Who's the best opposing player you have actually seen?  
Zinedine Zidane.
11. Who would you most like to see succeed Craig Brown?  

Anyone but Berti Vogts. I have a feeling he would be a disaster. Don’t ask me why.

(Note from webmaster - okay, so I forgot to change this question from last time in 2002...)

12. Favourite Scottish home and away kits of all time?  
1982 v-neck for both.
13. . And your least favourite?  
The current ones. They are pi$h and that bloody “Y” on the front is a national embarrassment. What other FA in the world would put their national flag on the jersey and then destroy it by removing part of it? FFS!!!
14. What is your favourite and least favourite Scotland chant/song?  
Favourite – keep it simple with “We’ll be Coming”. Can’t beat a big crowd marching towards a stadium with that on the go. Least Favourite “Stand up if you hate England” or “we hate Jimmy Hill” both as sure a sign that the game is boring the ar$e of everyone as a Mexican wave and both an embarrassment. Support the team on the pitch – never mind England – they’re not bothered about us so it’s kind of stupid giving them the attention that they don’t deserve. It only makes them look important in some way. The Jimmy Hill thing was funny when he was actually being a pain in the ar$e on the TV but half the kids in the ground now probably have no idea who he is! Shelf life people – shelf life! If only Gary Lineker scanned properly. Maybe give it a go with Ian Wright!
15. Which have been the highest and lowest points of supporting Scotland?  
The home play off win against The Netherlands has to be the highest. It’s the closest I’ve got to seeing us qualify in person and everyone was sky high for those few days until something that I can’t quite remember now happened in midweek. Lowest point – it would be easy to say the return leg of that game or even the debacle in Cardiff a few months later but, strangely, it was the Belarus home game under Walter Smith. I think I’d built our chances up so much as we were getting to the point where we could steal a qualifying place at the last minute only to see the team go out and play so badly it was like watching Vogt’s teams at their worst. We never looked like getting anywhere near to getting anything out of a game that we had to win and it was all very disillusioning to have made the effort to keep supporting the team and keep believing only to see such a pathetic, negative display on the field when it really mattered. That one really got to me for some reason. I could blame Smith for the tactics but there’s not much point dwelling on that now.
16. Favourite domestic stadium?  
In Scotland - Celtic Park. Don’t care what anyone says about facilities or build quality, like the two foreign ones I mentioned earlier, it’s a great arena for a game of football. Big and imposing but still tight to the pitch.
17. Best domestic match ever attended?  

In Scotland – A couple of Celtic v Aberdeen games in the late 80s and early 90s stand out, and any one of them probably deserves the title on technical merit, but I’ve still not recovered from the most recent domestic game I saw whilst back home for the festive season. After a dire Celtic v Falkirk match and a freezingly cold, uninspiring Brora Rangers v Inverurie Locos tie over Christmas, the Stenhousemuir v Albion Rovers game in early January was amazing! 0-4 to the Rovers with a hat-trick and a Stenny red card along the way. All action flowing football from Albion Rovers? Unbelievable scenes.

Foreign – Valencia v Villareal. Season opener a few days before Scotland played in the City’s other stadium in 04. Easily the most amazing standard of football I’ve ever seen in a league match anywhere. Massive crowd generated an incredible atmosphere too. And all for 13euros a ticket, paid at the stadium 5 minutes before kick off. All football should be like this. And they actually have bats living in the stadium and flying around the floodlights catching bugs!

18. Favourite chant/song heard at a domestic match?  
Don’t know about favourite but the (unintentionally) funniest one I heard recently was a bunch of Celtic fans singing a song about Neil Lennon that included the line “He’s like me and you, he’s a poor boy too”. Do they not realise how much this guy earns in a week!!!!???!?!!??!!! FFS!!!
19. Best domestic pub/club?  
The Lowlander, Drury Lane, London.
20. What are your pet hates?  

I could write a whole page just of these... (Webmaster: and he has - click here and here to whizz down the page to read them!)

I’ve been forced to stop this now but I reserve the right to send more pet hates to Paul as and when I feel like it.

21. What makes you chuckle?  
Paul Allison, after a few bottles of complimentary wine, in full high-speed motormouth mode, explaining at length about the last remaining habitat of the European Bison to a group of frightened looking BA Stewardesses trapped in the rear of a 737 waiting to empty on the tarmac at Kiev Borispol airport.
22. Best night out ever on a TA trip? (aka the "Tuesday Night in Graz Award")  
I could be awkward and say the Wednesday night in Graz. I usually really enjoy at least one big night on every trip so it’s hard to pick (cruising the bars of Copenhagen or all-nighters in Tallinn in 04, drinking in Manolo’s across the road from the Mestalla in Valencia then getting soaked with cling film wrapped round the kilts in a torrential downpour, getting bussed out to Saronno with about 50 others to meet Steelpeach from the TAMB for a big karaoke party the night before the Italy game in Milan – rarely seen so many people so drunk in such a small space! There was even a stramash with knife wielding gypsies and cleaver wielding pseudo-mafioso thrown in for free). However, I think I’d have to go for the overnight ferry from Stockholm to Tallinn en route to the Lithuania game in 2003. Travelling in a big group with all the guys I started going to away games with. Just too many weird things happened that day/night, from drunken darts contests with a Swedish bloke in the afternoon to the big communal feed on the ferry heading out through the Swedish islands at sunset, the most barking mad cabaret acts on the ship, none of whom had any idea what was going on with 50-odd TA onboard thanks to Tom Small’s “BattleBus2”, many private jokes that I won’t go into here, much drinking of cocktails, the TA discovering that if it was your “birthday” then they got you up on stage and gave you a free bottle of wine, drinking with the Russian cabaret magician called “Snow Tiger” who did his entire act accompanied by the theme from Wonder Woman, drinking so much bloody mary that the ship ran out of Worcester Sauce, having the rules of “Shagopoly” explained by a certain chemist fae Forres, the innocent Berti Vogts lookalike in the ship’s nightclub who had no idea why he was so popular, the Scandinavian school trip or whatever it was on the dancefloor, random guys in kilts lying on the floor, locking arms to block the exit singing “We Shall Not Be Moved” when they tried to close the club at about 6am, then finally being very rudely awoken about half an hour after falling into bed by the deafening sound of ice grinding against the metal hull about 3 inches from my head in our cabin right down at the bow waterline of the ship, scrambling out of bed, totally pi$hed, running up the stairs three at a time with the kilt half on and the bootlaces undone, convinced that the boat was sinking, only to be met by a bleary eyed footsoldier at the top of the stairs, clutching a coffee and informing me that it was just the ship breaking through pack ice. Got to see the most amazing sunrise over the frozen Baltic but didn’t get much sleep. We promptly got off at Tallinn only to bump into a guy from my work out there celebrating his 40th with his missus. Given the total state we were in they were less than impressed by the TA’s legendary drinking abilities. We did take them to the Depeche Mode theme bar mind you, so it wasn’t all bad. I swear, by the time we left it would only have taken two more pints and they would have been sneaking onto that big bus with us for the overnight drive to Kaunas! (the fools!!!!!!)
23. You're stranded on a remote island in the Hebrides. Before the ship went down you managed to salvage some belongings (to help you pass the time until you're rescued) including...  
1 book? Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy

1 magazine? Something morally reprehensible and Danish

1 album? Screamadelica

1 film? Local Hero

1 beer? Three Sisters

1 spirit? Apfel Korn

And 1 famous member of the opposite sex? Nigella Lawson – on the strict understanding that she does all the cooking and never invites her old man round. Failing that, someone morally reprehensible and Danish.

Hates #1  
Politicians (all of them), Boy Bands, Girl Bands, Reality TV shows and “stars”, drivers who pull out into the road when they want to turn right out of a junction, drivers who sit in the outside lanes on motorways when the inside lane is empty, drivers who pull out without looking, drivers who find it impossible to fit their car between two white lines in a car park, the mothers who come round and block my street twice a day because they’re too lazy to walk the length of themselves to park in the right place to take their kids to school and are incapable of driving the comedy 4x4s and roadtanks that they feel are somehow necessary to carry a small child from A to B, commuters who put their feet on the train seats (what ARE you thinking about!), blokes who pi$$ on toilet seats (the seat lifts up you morons!), English TV presenters getting Scottish place names or football teams wrong (yes, there is a difference between “Dundee” and “Dundee Utd”!), people who SHOUT INTO MOBILE PHONES, kids, airport security staff who haven’t got the mental capacity to get their heads round how a kilt and sporran works and why it doesn’t make any difference whether you take it off or not (and we trust you with our lives!), almost any English sports “pundit” or news reporter, and that Northern Irish guy off Radio5 too, mint sauce, trains that turn up early instead of late, people who arrange work meetings before 9.30 in the morning or after 5 in the evening (GET A LIFE!!), bigots, racists, apathy, organised religion and the dangerously irrational fanatics it creates, creationism presented as science, drinks that taste of aniseed, AfterShock, hailstones, licensing laws (why should the Government tell me I have to go home at 10:45 at night?? I’m an adult and I pay my taxes dammit!), the Royal Family and all their pathetic sycophantic supporters (I don’t need to be “reigned over” thank you very much), people who moan about water shortages and blame everything on the water companies whilst happily wasting gallons of the stuff every day on pointless nonsense like having 8 baths or something, people on my TV this week moaning about having to use energy saving lightbulbs because “they take a few seconds to light up properly” (FFS! Alright then, we’ll just let a few dozen South Pacific archipelagos disappear under the rising waves so you can avoid having a very slightly duller lightbulb for 3 seconds each time you turn your light on. What goes on in these people’s heads?!?!?!?!), NTL, voice-activated automatic phone lines (just what accent do you have to have to get these damn things to work?), websites that don’t work with Firefox (get it sorted), TV “talent” shows (obviously I’m stretching the definition of the word “talent” to breaking point here but stick with me), re-releases of albums or movies I’ve already bought that have miraculously now had even more extra scenes or tracks added since the last “special anniversary” edition that I paid for 6 months ago, shoes that are clearly not designed to be worn on human feet as they cut them to ribbons after ten minutes (how difficult is it to make shoes that actually fit feet? Surely that is the only purpose of shoes and we’ve been making them for hundreds of years now. You’d think we’d have at least got close to getting it right by now. Or do I just have really strange shaped feet?), that picture of me in shorts that Paul keeps posting on the TAMB, CD boxes that have the little teeth in the middle broken before you’ve even opened the box (how does that happen!!!!! And why don’t you use one of the million or so other designs that don’t break?!), stickers on CDs or DVDs or records that are attached by the strongest glue known to man and will NOT come off without ruining the cover of your brand new CD/DVD/record (ba$tards!), London taxi drivers who insist on gathering together in large herds of empty taxis all over central London after midnight on a weekend apparently for the sole purpose of not accepting ANY FARES WHATSOEVER and refusing to go anywhere that anyone asks them (how do you make any money?!?!?!?!!), the shocking lack of public toilets these days, pineapple, especially when it’s added to other food just to ruin it as well.
Hates #2  
And another thing.........

People who get off an escalator or walk through a door and immediately stop, blocking everyone else's exit, so they can stand and gawp around them like goldfish who have just passed through a portal to another dimension rather than intelligent human beings who have merely entered the pants department of M&S, the French language (why do you need to have 7 different versions of every vowel FFS? And why do you insist on giving inanimate objects a gender? How much wine do you need to drink with your meal before you start looking at the cutlery and thinking of it as female or male?????), those little knitted dolls people put over bog roll, shiny metal tissue paper boxes in cars (WHY???), tetrapak cartons in all their many devious forms, hot air hand dryers in toilets, junk mail, pop-up windows, all microsoft software, that little bloody paperclip "help" thing in MS Word, speed bumps, liquorice, wasps, women who go out wearing a really short skirt then proceed to spend every second of the evening frantically tugging it down in a vain attempt to cover their legs up completely (this is of course the direct equivalent of buying a postage stamp and then trying to wallpaper your living room with it - here's a top tip girls - if you don't want the world to see your legs then WEAR SOMETHING ELSE!!!), smoke in pubs and restaurants (tired of walking around smelling like a stale ashtray after every visit - roll on the smoking ban!), work, hangovers, tomatoes in a fried breakfast.


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