A Wee Fellow and His Size Three Yellow

Originally written for The Red Final Issue 138

The Hampden Museum or Scottish Football Museum as it is it is also known is a great time filler and well worth a visit. Despite being owned by a bunch of clueless arseholes, it is a treasure trove and has some excellent pieces of memorabilia there is no doubting that. The last time I was there I remember being in awe of the beautiful piece of history that is the original Scottish Cup. It is probably my favourite thing there as I am a sucker for an old trophy, and you don’t get older than that. There is also the “is that away to fall off” press box from the old Hampden Main Stand, the oldest football cap still in existence from the first International in 1872 is also found there, but it is not all about physical pieces though. I love reading about times gone by in general and seeing how times have changed in pictorial form but when its fitba related I am truly in my element so if you are like me it’s a great time spent.  There is a lot more to the museum itself, the tour of the stadium is very good, measuring how hard you can hit a fitba is always a laugh and the shop is good if you are a fitba book aficionado like myself. Also found as part of the day out is the Hall of Fame which is thankfully wife beating, sexual deviant Paul Gascoigne free. In here you will find ex Dons from Willie Miller to Eddie Turnbull to Steve Archibald and now 2019 inductee King Joey being celebrated. Once Harper gets his mug on the wall the Dons will have sixteen ex-employees in with an incredible nine ex managers in there (not all in for their prowess as Dons managers mind you). That is a staggering 39.130434782609% of all men who have hung their hat on the peg in the manager’s office of Pittodrie. A coconut for who can guess the nine. As much as I think the game in our country is corrupt and a waste of time at the upper ends due to dimwits in charge, I can’t help but like the museum in their house. I have been trying to get a nosey around with Wee Man but have not got around to it yet. No doubt this would tie in with a visit to a random game nearby. With Pollok being ticked off already, Vale of Clyde at Fullarton Park or Rutherglen Glencairn at New South Croft Park are possibilities. 

Speaking of the Wee Man and random games, one thing I think is missing from the collection of memorabilia in Mount Florida is something in his possession. Its four years old, yellow and cost eight quid. But more importantly I believe it is the most travelled ball in Scottish fitba. Ol’ Yellow as its been affectionately christened is a size three Mitre Impel. It was bought for my son when he was rummaging about in the garden at one year old. It is by far the most used thing I have ever bought him in his short but awesome life so far. I say most travelled, by this I mean on fitba duty. So far, this ball has been to thirty one of the forty grounds Wee Man has been set foot in. They are inseparable. I think part of the reason he likes lesser games more than the upper levels of Scottish fitba is because of the fact he can take his ball in. The smaller crowds help as do the visits to nearby historical sites and points of interests pre game. But having a kick about behind the goal is part of the fitba experience for him, along with a bag of salt and vinegar and a Capri Sun. 

The history of this bag of wind had not really donned on me until we found ourselves down at Hurlford United v Pollok (19/10) I was speaking to a local Ford fan while waiting in the queue for a coffee. Wee Man was just playing with the ball close by when he bounced it off his toe end, leading to Ol’ Yellow gracing the Blair Park pitch. Clearly away to get upset that he might lose his ball (while respectfully adhering to my rule of “stay away from the pitch”) the local I was speaking to rushed to junior’s aid and instantly ran out the queue to retrieve the ball this keeping a happy wee laddie. After thanking him I uttered something along the lines of “that things done too much mileage, I canna lose it now”. He asked how far I thought it had travelled to which I replied, “about two thousand miles”. Due to my geekiness, a mental note was taken and, on my arrival back home I did the maths. Quite easy to do as I have a photo of us at every ground we have been too. Then I can remember where I had a kick about. This leading to astonishment of how far the size three had in fact ventured. Since Hurlford we have stopped in at Sunderland (Ol’ Yellow didn’t make this one as it wouldn’t get in), St Cuthbert Wanderers, Spartans and Linlithgow Rose this resulting in the mileage growing from the four thousand eight hundred and seventy miles google maps had told me after Blair Park to five thousand eight hundred and sixty-nine miles. One mile short of adding one thousand miles in a week. A trip from the ‘shire to Kirkcudbright and back will certainly go a long way to assisting with that. Since its first visit to the live football stage of Colony Park v Stonehaven in the North Region Premiership it has made its way to fourteen counties, one of which being its only foreign sojourn. This was when it found its self in Northumberland at Blyth Spartans v Stranraer for a pre-season friendly. Many a jovial Geordie were happy enough to have a knock around in the terrace at Croft Park in the summer sun that day much to the delight of junior. As I have said it has found its self all over the place, from Albion Rovers to Huntly, Beith to Peterhead, Kelty Hearts to Dundee Violet and in doing so it has travelled the guts of six thousand miles. Six thousand miles when you do the maths is quite mad. It is the equivalent of twenty journeys there and back to watch Clyde at Broadwood, ten outings to Middlesbroughs Riverside, five treks to Anderlecht in Brussels, a round trip to watch Genclerbirligi in Ankara and If we want to get totally ridiculous it’s a one-way voyage to watch Orlando Pirates in Johannesburg. In terms of Pittodrie, one hundred and sixty -three games would have to be attended from my Meldrum roost to clock up the mileage. It has travelled more than a lot of people have travelled to watch football in their life and maybe more than some people have travelled in general. It has accumulated more mileage than Kilmarnock did in Europe this season. It has completed the Tour de France three times (without the blood bags too). It has travelled the length of the Trans-Siberian Railway. It has made it five thousand miles more than the Proclaimers were willing to walk. It has completed Knockhill’s circuit four thousand eight hundred times. It has also out done the Banks o’ Dees ball that sailed itself to the Island of Vanna in Norway via the Dee and the North Sea by around three thousand two hundred miles. The adventures will not stop though with trips to Arthurlie, Glenafton Athletic and Cumnock imminent there will be at least another one thousand one hundred miles nailed before you have devoured the contents of your advent calendar. (That’s another thirty trips to Pittodrie by the way).

Am I approaching this from the wrong angle and should look at it as I potentially have the most randomly travelled five-year-old fitba loving loon in the country? There is no way I would want to give him up to sit at Hampden in the collection, but I could be on to something there too. One thing is for sure though, when we do finally visit the museum at Hampden, I will be getting Wee Man and Ol’ Yellow on the pitch whether allowed or not to smash one home Neal Cooper style which will be a fitting tribute to both ball and boy.

You may think I am looking into this too much, but I think I am possibly on the money regarding the most travelled ball in the country. At the same time unfortunately, I think I may also be subconsciously looking at the ball as a representation of where I am in my life just now, spending my time travelling to fitba around the country and further afield instead of watching the Dons. I haven’t set foot in Pittodrie since we drew one each with the phoenix arseholes in the Scottish Cup on the 3rd of March this year and my season ticket is gone.  I expected the season ticket would be on the go until I bid the world adieu. As it turns out I am now up to nine months and thirty-nine non Pittodrie games attended into my self-imposed Dons banishment, I have managed to surprise myself going this long without heading to the old girl. Do I miss it? In all honesty I do not. This also comes as a revelation as going to Pittodrie has been happening for around 85% of my years on the planet. Despite the low points out numbering the high points by a seriously depressing ratio. It has obviously been about the football, but it has also been about the local pride of supporting the team. It has been about family. From the days of my Dad (armed with Extra Strong Mints), my brother and I sitting in the Merkland as season ticket holders which then turned into my brother and me in the South Stand. Wee man was introduced last season and he loved seeing a game as well as meeting his hero Angus the Bull. Things change though. Numerous reasons have brought this self-imposed exile on. From not enjoying last season with it feeling like a chore attending to continually laying down to celtic. There is also the lack of focus on the pitch and more on the what is going on seven miles away from Pittodrie. There is also a feeling we plateaued and are now looking like a team on the slide which is going unnoticed to the people in power. Basically, there is apathy and a general malaise inside me regarding the Dons. I have also started to find watching games as a neutral very appealing. There was however also another huge factor, that is Wee Man says he likes “little games” better. Who am I to argue with him? The lad has spoken, and the little Mitre will most likely to surpass the ten thousand miles mark soon enough. It will continue to follow Wee Man and me through one of the biggest changes in my life. The life with a lack of Aberdeen FC. But and it’s an immensely important but, it has also followed us through one of the happiest and most gratifying periods of my life (and hopefully the Wee Man feels the same). Exploring our fantastic country that is Scotland with my boy at my side almost every weekend. Meeting new people, seeing the sights, watching random fitba without a care in the world and of course having a kick about. Will this just be a trial separation from Section Y? The longer it has gone on the more I am not so sure its short term, as over the last nine months I have had a ball. No pun intended

*Since writing this the ball has managed to add Largs Thistle, Arbroath Victoria, Cumnock and a short trip to Banks O’ Dee to its mileage (Arthurlie and Glenafton were weathered off). This meaning a further nine hundred and seventy-four miles have been travelled taking the grand total to six thousand eight hundred and forty-three. That is around one hundred and ninety Pittodries, ten visits to Brann in Bergen, five trips to Eintracht Frankfurt or a solitary round trip to Philadelphia Union. But the ball has also travelled from its home the distance to the venue of the first World Cup final, Estadio Centanario in Montevideo

Just over three thousand miles until retirement.

Hurlford, which triggered the realisation of the balls mileage

Ol’ Yellows World Tour

Colony Park- Colony Park JFC

Crombie Park – Culter JFC

Ian Mair Park – Dyce JFC

Glenesk Park – Dundee Violet JFC

Victoria Park – Buckie Thistle FC

Carmuirs Park – Camelon JFC

The Canniepairt – Tayport FC

Central Park – Whitburn JFC

Cliftonhill – Albion Rovers FC

Harlaw Park – Inverurie Loco Works FC

Thomson Park – Lochee United JFC

Glenesk Park – Forfar West End JFC

Downfield Park – Downfield JFC

Davie Park – Blairgowrie JFC

Hannah Park – Shotts Bon Accord FC

Foxhall Park – Coupar Angus JFC

Westfield Park – Dunipace FC

Croft Park – Blyth Spartans FC

Balmoor – Peterhead FC

Bellsdale Park – Beith JFC

Simpson Park – Islavale JFC

New Central Park – Kelty Hearts FC

Creamery Park – Bathgate Thistle JFC

Macduff Sports Centre – Deveronside JFC

Mosset Park – Forres Mechanics FC

Christie Park – Huntly FC

Blair Park – Hurlford United FC

St Marys Park – St Cuthbert Wanderers

Prestonfield – Linlithgow Rose

Since Publishing of Article

Barrfields – Largs Thistle JFC

Ogilvy Park – Arbroath Victoria JFC

Spain Park – Banks o’ Dee FC

Townhead Park – Cumnock JFC

Published by pacman1903

Once a football fan. Now a football nerd

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