Wim's Tims-The best thing to hit Scottish Football in 10 years.

Thanks to the Celtic Network and James in particular for giving me the opportunity to plug my book Wim’s Tims-The best thing to hit Scottish Football in 10 years.
If Love Street 86 was our JFK moment, Celtic Park 98 was our VE Day. The period before we won the league, as in the last nine years, was when I grew up with Celtic. With no kids and a succession of failed relationships then, well not for me like, it was the women who failed, I’m kidding, Celtic consumed almost everything I did. I stayed in on Friday nights so to have money for the games, I borrowed a lot, I took gifts with no shame and often went without just to see Celtic.
I was unemployed from 1992-95, a few off the books jobs aside, and yet never missed a game in that time. In fact when Rangers were going through their own, now tainted, nine in a row, I never missed a Celtic game. When you think about it, I must have been off my head but then you know that by now. A Giro doesn’t go very far at any time, my first, June 1992, was £69 a fortnight. You may look at that in astonishment but previous to that I was used to a tenner a week pocket money and it didn’t come every week.
Often friends who are the same age share memories like graduating together, first holiday together or when they bought their first car each. Well I was just saying to my mate Hosey, “do you remember that week we got out first giros each?” Funny thing is, him being slightly older(five weeks) he should have got his first but he hadn’t put a full stop at the end of a sentence or something on the form so they wrote him a letter demanding more info when he expected to see the Giro. Mine came that day and so I subbed him a tenner and there was no problem, pub it was. I distinctly remember us going into our local, The Gunner, and folk being happy we had now, officially, joined the ranks of the unemployed. One guy in particular, Waldo, gave us same sage advice “See these cunts whae try tae stretch their Giro out? Fuck thum, I jist like tae blaw it aw in one day”.
Well I became one of those who did try to stretch it out but was still never enough. As the years went on, and Rangers kept winning, I think I became obsessed with seeing Celtic win the league again, there was no way I could bail out. These were hard times to be Tim, not only were Rangers spending like an Irish Politician, but Celtic were lumbering from one shambles to another. Names like Wayne Biggins still send shivers down my spine. Crowds were plummeting, the atmosphere was nasty and something had to give soon.
Defiance after a few drinks could only get us so far, we needed change. The first seeds were sewn for me in July 1991 when I attended a rally at the SECC in Glasgow to try to stop away tickets going to season ticket holders first instead of the supporters clubs. Celtic only had 7000 season ticket holders then and at that time I knew three of them, Gordon Duff and Keith Cunningham who sat in the main stand and me in The Celtic End. I got my first season ticket in 1990, a 16th birthday present and have had at least one ever since. Even now in 2011 I still have two in the Main Stand at Celtic Park, which have been passed to my eldest son James to use given my current location. I suppose you may well have picked up on the point that I was a season ticket holder who was trying to stop a season ticket holder perk and that I may be a bit of an idiot, well I am, but the reason wasn’t to be a “man of the people” either, quite simply my supporters bus always provided tickets for me except once, Dens Park October 1989, when for reasons I have no idea about to this day, I didn’t get one and it sparked one of the biggest bus rammies ever seen with fists flying and folk having to be separated.
Those were the days. Regarding my season ticket, I actually ripped it up in April 1991 after we lost 4-2 in a cup semi replay to Motherwell in one of the worst Celtic performances I’ve ever seen. Not only that, I went home that night and ripped all my Celtic posters off the wall and vowed never to return, so enraged I was. Of course, I was back that Sunday for a game v St Mirren and had to pay to get in. Hey, I never claimed to be a rational man never mind boy.
The pressure of season 1997/98 was incredible, for one reason, the record achieved by the finest team that Scotland ever produced had to be preserved. Rangers did everything, and I mean everything, to get 10 in a row and failed at the final hurdle. Of course we now know that when The Bank of Scotland were trying to close down Celtic in 1994 for a debt of £9m, they were authorising an overdraft of £100m for Rangers. It’s for this reason and the fact that it was never paid back or reported for that matter, I think that Rangers league wins from 1989-1997 should have a giant asterix beside them like they do in America when something in sport was gained by cheating.
Rangers did not have the money they lavished on players and yet, with a media devouring succulent lamb, no questions were ever raised about where they were getting it. I can’t tell you the number of times we were in total despair by October and it seemed that nothing would ever change. Thankfully it did when Fergus McCann saved the club and the re-birth of Celtic began. As the years wore on though, my desperation to see us win the league was consuming my whole life. In March 1995 I started work as a trainee Scaffolder and wore something with Celtic on to the huge building site I worked on pretty much every day, my scaffolding mentor, Charlie Ainslie, is as Celtic mad as me and would also tear most people apart with his bare hands so no one messed and those did, never did again. With income rising, trips to pubs and clubs became more frequent and various women would enter my life but never more than for a few weeks as none could get that I had to be at the Celtic game no matter what and frankly I didn’t care that it bothered them.
A lot of people tell me now that I missed out on a lot of things because of following Celtic everywhere. Well, I’ve traveled the world, I lived the single life to the full and now I have two beautiful sons. What more could anyone want? To make sure they don’t beat nine in a row, that’s what.
Paul Larkin. Author
Book-Out Oct 29th – All profits from this book will go to the Phil O’Donnell Trust.


You can follow Paul on Twitter @paullarkin74
Paul also has two web sites both of which are TCN partners. The Front of the bus (blog) and Love st 86 both worth a visit

Comments

  1. We need another wim to come in now.
    That brings the memories flooding back…..
    Harald the legend 🙂

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