Jabba’s final column

why I am completely giving up on football – and going to ibrox

jabba-byline

(From the Govan Bugle archive – December 2012)

This will come as heartbreaking news to my loyal readers (Billy and Wilhelmina Bonkers) but I herewith announce that this will be my last ever column for the Bugle (Hooray – you’ve been losing us readers for years – Ed).

It was never a job, because the word ‘job’ suggests hard work, and regurgitating press releases from Sir David Murray is not really that hard.

When hacking out this, my final piece of incoherent stream of semi-consciousness babbling, the memories come flooding back, like the North Atlantic pouring over the decks of the Titanic. But all bad things must shudder to a halt, and even the biggest balloon will eventually squeak out the last of its wind. So here we are.

My 97 years in the business of cheerleading for Rangers has been a deeply humbling journey, especially for anyone who has had the pleasure of my column. I trust I have filled a gap that nobody else’s column could.

But even the world’s biggest gasometer will finally leak out its last reek of foul-smelling methane, so here we are.

Have I mentioned that tennis is a wonderful sport? It goes down as another one that I am too fat to play but not too self-important to let you have the benefit of my opinions on.

Over the years I have become famous for writing about football, of course, and I was in Paris once, offering my say in selecting the team of the 20th Century – just for the Record that team was: Lev Yashin, Carlos Alberto, Franz Beckenbauer, Bobby Moore, Santos; Johan Cruyff, Di Stefano, Michel Platini; Garrincha, Pele and Diego Maradona. My own picks for goalkeeper (Peter McCloy – such a marvellously tall man), right back (Sondy Jordine – such highly polished brougues), right half (John Greig – such a firm handshake) and centre forward (Derek Johnstone – nobody could demolish trifle with a fork like big DJ9) were ignored. More fool the panel, who did little but show up their own bigoted agendas with the inclusion of so many continental also-rans.

I have also been in the company of so many of the greats of world sport, characters such as Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver, Ilie Nastase, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe (did I mention tennis is a wonderful sport?), Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and the 49ers’ Jerry Rice. Nearly all of them asked the same questions of me: “Who’s the creepy fat bloke at the end of the bar and why does he keep staring at me?”

Thanks to their own bigoted agendas these giants of world sport never got to hear my opinions on how they could up their game to the next level, unlike the numerous security men who have escorted me away over the years.

Have I mentioned that tennis is such a wonderful sport? Doing so certainly fills up a short paragraph or two.

But even the loudest trumpet eventually begins to sound like a wet fart, so here we are.

I could never say that recycling David Murray’s wisdom in a manner that was accessible to plebeian readers of sleazy down-market tabloids was anything other than easy money, but this last year has seen Scottish football unable to deal in a civilised manner with the Rangers crisis.

We have seen demands for fairness, openness and integrity in Scottish football, and that is just not on. Do these people not understand how things work around here? Thanks to their own bigoted agendas they will never… er… Tennis, now there’s a good game.

And darts – now there’s a real sport. Bobby George, Jocky Wilson, Phil Taylor… when I was picking the world’s greatest darts team…

(That’s enough Jabba – send in Jangle Jackson on your way out – Ed)

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