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SFL Say Yes to Doctor No

Erstwhile supporters of Gretna will be puzzled at yesterdays events at the Scottish Football League. When their club’s administrators started to make staff redundant the SFL acted in jig time to immediately relegate the club to division three thus scuppering any rescue deal from interested parties. Soon afterwards the liquidators sold any assets sold off and and Gretna no longer had a football club in the Scottish League.

On Wednesday Livingston FC went into administration and following the SFL rules and the precedent set in the Gretna case they were also relegated to division three as their interim manager Donald McGruther acknowledged that the end had come were dramatically saved as the SFL tore up their rule book to let a former bankrupt and his sidekick take control of the club.

The league, subject to a vote amongst members will allow Livingston to complete this season in the first division. That may be  in administration but controlled by a company called Livingston 5 of which Neil Rankine and Gordon McDougall who now have 75% and (nice touch) the Livi Trust holds 25%.  Livi Trust owns therefore 25% of a holding company i.e. hee-haw.

However Rankine now hopes to persuade Angelo Massone to sell him his shares at a knock down price and take full control of the club.

Neil Rankine and Angelo Massone

Neil Rankine and Angelo Massone

Goodness knows what will now unfold at Livi. Neil is one of the most unpredictable and capricious characters in the Scottish game. He is also a shrewd cookie and is funding his latest adventure with the tidy pile he made on the sale of his shares at Dumbarton FC.

To be fair to him, whilst he got a very, very good price for his shares at DFC he did not, as had been widely predicted close them down and skip off into the sunset with millions (the land value at Dumbarton).

Maybe he has genuine plans for Livi as they have an SPL ground and a large potential support. This support has however not been forthcoming under four different ownerships in their short history.

Maybe the SFL felt that Livingston was just too big a club to lose when there was a chance that they could continue no matter the circumstances (and rule bending required).

Whatever happens now though the SFL does not come out of this episode with much credit.

With several SFL clubs in a complete financial mess, it will be interesting indeed to see how things proceed next time (and there WILL be a next time) a club finds itself in administration.

See my previous article on the subject here.



Tornedo_385x185_595325aThis was the scene in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis yesterday as a tornado wreaked havoc as it twisted its way through the Western Isles town.

It will of course be a matter of time before the Wee Free clergy deem that the freak weather conditions were God’s way of expressing his displeasure at Calmac’s introduction of a Sunday ferry service to Lewis

Unfortunately God is unavailable for comment.

Wedding (Fern) Cake.

Yes indeed my good friend and correspondent Fern Cake gets married at a picturesque venue on the shores of Loch Lomond on Saturday. I just hope that there is time for the future Mrs Cake and he to look in and study this video.

Given that the groom and best man are to wear kilts and profess to be true Scots, some of the moves here could be a sensation. 8)

Feline Good.

I wrote here about one of my suppliers’ more unusual pet products.

The same manufacturer produces and markets this item:


Non alcoholic of course and a novelty item.

One wonders however if the marketing bods have spent enough time developing the product below:


Doctor Feelgood – Back in the Night

Harmonica Lewinsky are back rehearsing and all being well we’re headlining another charity gig at Coopers in Helensburgh on Sunday 23rd August. Our new guitarist is my old friend Keith (check out his contribution on my Helensburgh Blues) whom I first played in a band with 33 years ago.

Back then we played this song.

Last night we were still playing it and we’ll play it on the 23rd.

When I heard this record at 15 years old I thought it was the best thing I’d ever heard and I thought the band were the coolest dudes on the planet.

It is still in my all time top ten.

The Helensburgh Big Cat!

Yes my home town has been all over the broadcast media today. It seems that MOD cop Chris Swallow (!) took some film of what he thinks could have been a panther on the railway at Winston Rd. railway bridge. To watch the film which lasts over one minute click here

Harmless Enough?

Harmless Enough?

On my first viewing I thought it looked like a dog but would a dog “tightrope walk” along a single rail? If it is a big cat then perhaps the built up nature of the area makes it an unlikely one for an escaped/released/imagined big cat to be wandering in.

Map of the area.

If you look at the map you’ll see the bridge where Old Luss Road meets Winston Road.  You can see Kildonan Drive which is mentioned in the BBC article. The family Bigrab lived in Lochranza Drive (see junction with Kildonan) until 2005 and the kids’ school is nearby.


Perhaps Not!

Perhaps Not!

Gardening Times

In June I wrote here about my first job at the Clydesdale Bank. From there I went to college for a year and then had a job in a local shop which I didn’t fancy much. Then it was on to driving taxis for a while (of which I will write sometime because there is a FUND of stories there).

However in the summer of 1978 I decided the outdoor life appealed to me and I applied for a job as a gardener. I thought it’d get me by the summer as I decided what do do with my life. The vacancy was with a small local firm who had several garden maintenance contracts. The company was owned by Hans (not real name!), a wee German guy who had stayed in Scotland having been a POW here in WW2. He was I suppose about five feet five inches in every direction, his rotundity emphasised by the dungarees that he wore. He was similar in stature to a weeble those kids toys which were weighted in such a way that when you knocked them down they’d spring back up again.

Despite having been here for over thirty years Hans still spoke (and shouted) in a very pronounced German accent and it was sometimes difficult to make out what he was saying. He had what they refer to these days as anger management issues which meant he was on a short fuse all of the time. This was particularly the case on the many occasions where people would not understand what he was saying.

A typical conversation at work would be thus:

Hans – “Go ent do ze veeding on ze paths, and ven you hef doon zet go ent collect ze van ent vee vill put ze roobish een eet”

Worker – “Eh?”


His main anger and scorn was reserved for Peter one of my co-workers, but he pretty much shouted and ranted at all of us. Peter was referred to as PEE-TAH!
“PEE-TAH! – for fooks sake vot are you doing stending zare vis your hents in your pockets? – I em note paying you to stent zare ent do sot all!”

One day Peter, as the job sheets were handed out in the morning approached Hans. Peter was an ardent Celtic fan and they were playing Dundee away in a midweek match that day.

“Hans I’ve got terrible toothache. I have to go to the dentist at four o’clock and it doesn’t look like I’ll make it back to work”

“PEE-TAH! Do you sink zat I float up ze Clyde in ze banana boat son? eh? Listen Pee-tah you are vorking for me! note fore Billy Mac-Neel!”

As I recall we covered Peter’s absence to that he could go to the game.

One day as I was digging a flowerbed Hans boomed over “Robert! do you vont a share?”

“Eh?” I called


“A share?”


Well I put up with a few weeks of it until one day after several hours of his teutonic twitterings I’d had enough.

I planted the fork I was using firmly in the ground and said “Look Hans I’ve just about had all I can take. Stuff your job and I’ll come by and pick up what you owe me in wages”

“You’ll get fook all in vages Robert! – go ent take a running fook to yourself!” he said as I walked off down the driveway of the house we were working on with an extreme sense of release and freedom.

Then it hit me.

I was in Kilcreggan.


It’s a small village on the Rosneath peninsula about 18 miles from where I lived. To be precise it is eighteen miles from anywhere. The next bus might have been Thursday………..or Friday.

I hitched a lift and after a couple of miles a passing Esso tanker took me back to Helensburgh.

I went straight over to my former employer at the taxi firm. He had a wry smile on his face. “Did it rain then? – I thought you’d be back!”

The taxis are a whole story on their own.

Watch this space.