Friday 14 March 2008

On beating the Jerries

I support Kilmarnock Football Club. I know, it's a tough job but someone's got to do it, and I fully expect that Killie will win the Champions' League in the near future...

But why Killie? Well it's not just for the pies. In fact it's several decades since I went to Rugby Park. For a short while we lived near the ground and my late father took me to see a few games when I was about 10 years old. If I recall correctly I saw us thrashing Stenhousemuir, although I had no idea where that was until quite recently. Thus these strange loyalties start.

I subsequently saw the team against either Chelsea(!) or Fulham in some pre-season friendly in London and then saw Killie beat Hibs at Easter Road. Such is my active experience as a Killie fan.

I always support any Scottish team against non-Scottish opponents. Southern readers please note: I also support English teams against non-UK opposition. Just like a lot of folk up here. And so it was that I was pleased to read about the Rangers game against Bremen last night:

RANGERS last night secured a place in the quarter-finals of the Uefa Cup as they somehow emerged triumphant from the one-sided second leg of a last 16 tie which will be remembered for the starkly contrasting contributions of two goalkeepers.

Just as Bremen's Tim Wiese's errors at Ibrox last week helped Rangers bring a 2-0 lead with them to the Weserstadion, it was the defiant brilliance of Allan McGregor who ensured Walter Smith's extraordinarily dogged team survived 93 minutes of relentless Bremen pressure.

Good stuff, but strangely this brings us back to Kilmarnock. Or rather Ayrshire. After our short stay in Kilmarnock the family moved to Prestwick. I was now interested in aeroplanes and not football. One day I was searching around in our loft and discovered a large piece of cloth. It was about thirty feet long and turned out to be a flag. The flag was mainly red, with a white circle in the centre inside which was a peculiar black zigzag logo. I asked my father what it was. He told me that it was a Nazi flag and that he had liberated it from the roof of Bremen Town Hall in 1945.

We still like to beat the Germans but it's better that conditions now allow for us to do it through football.

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