If you have a sofa - hide behind it now, because here comes
season 93-94. The year of bucket seats in the Jungle, Lou Macari
and, of course, Wayne 'Bertie' Biggins. And if those three haven't
got you reaching for the pills then read on...
to 1994. If you are a Celtic fan... bad luck - it's going to be
a rough ride.
Following on from our complete collapse at the hands of the huns
we went for - and got - the double when we managed to lose yet
another Glasgow derby, this time at Firhill. George Shaw scored
to give the Jags a 1:0 win. Incredibly this defeat only left us
6 points off the top! (although it was two points for a win back
stop Motherwell, and another defeat. Look, if you think it's getting
repetitive reading that phrase in this particular section of the
magazine just remember what it was like living through it! Same
old script- start well enough, lose a stupid goal, score an even
sillier one before losing the winner because half the team are
complaining to the ref about a decision.
next game, against Aberdeen at Celtic Park, was even too much
for the Gods to take. A thick fog descended, obscuring most of
the pitch, thereby providing some much needed relief for the crowd.
Visibility was so bad that most of the Aberdeen fans in attendance
didn't even know they had a goal disallowed for offside. This
farce was mercifully abandoned after 30 minutes. It was Celtic's
best result of the month.
we had a chance to replay the Aberdeen game Macari splashed some
cash and swept into the transfer market. The banner headlines
of the evening papers read 'Celtic sign Man U Cup hero', and everyone
thought - 'Oh hell, not that daft full back.' But it was. Lee
Martin, incredibly, is the man who won Alex Ferguson his first
trophy as manager at Old Trafford. But few ever rated him. He's
the Joe Fillipi of Man U. Celtic paid around £350,000 for him.
Where did we get that kind of money? Who knows, but the obvious
conclusion was that somebody at the Bank of Scotland had one hell
of a sense of humour. Actually Man Utd. wanted half a million
and we took them to a tribunal. Alex Ferguson must have been nearly
crying with laughter as he left the place.
replayed Aberdeen game was quite entertaining, but we still didn't
win. Paul Byrne scored with a header, a lead which we gamely held
on to for all of 30 seconds. Better yet we soon fell behind before
the Maestro crashed one in to win us our first point of '94. Hurrah!
next game saw the debut of goalkeeper Carl Muggleton, a £150,000
signing from Leicester City. He was already an England U-21 international,
and (genuinely) considered a great prospect (no, I'm not making
this up). He took his bow against Dundee United at Celtic Park
and won us a point thanks to a fine save in the last minute to
keep the score at 0:0.
we got a break from the humdrum of the league as it was time to
bathe in the romance of the cup. Oh the excitement that only a
trip to Fir Park can generate. Eh? Didn't we just play them? So
much for romance.
our own inimitable style we were removed from the cup by a Tommy
Coyne goal. Of course Coyne had been the last player to score
for Celtic in the Scottish Cup; his strike put the mighty Clyde
to the sword, before Falkirk ejected us from last year's competition.
10 minutes from the end at Fir Park Coyne nipped in front of Carl
Muggleton and scored.
only bright spot of an otherwise doom-laden weekend was the news
that Robert Fleck had ruled out ever playing for Celtic. There
is a God; it was just that he had chosen us to be Job for a while.
real escapism, and a jolly good laugh, you only had to follow
the court case featuring Terry Cassidy vs. Celtic FC. Our former
CEO was suing Celtic for damages having been sacked. You must
remember Terry, our erstwhile Chief Executive with the manners
of a Rottweiler and all the charm of a zookeper's welly? He was
claiming £143,000 damages for breach of contract after he was
dismissed with a year or so left on his contract. The Celtic board
decided to defend itself, counter-claiming that Cassidy was guilty
of grave industrial misconduct. And if you think that's rich coming
from the Celtic board of the time then stick around. There's better
who do you call upon to defend the honour of the club when the
going gets tough and you know you're in for the verbal equivalent
of ten rounds with Chris Eubank? None other than our very own
diffident public school milksop Chris White. He spent the whole
of the first day of the trial sanctimoniously reciting a litany
of Cassidy's misdemeanours. The directors, it was revealed in
court, were none too happy when Terry burst into a cosy soiree
they were attending with their wives at Hampden as guests of the
SFA. Our Chief Exec hadn't been told about this particular social
event but decided to go anyway, proceeding to demand a seat for
himself and partner. When they asked him to make himself scarce
he called White a 'bastard' and called the other, 'A bunch of
women'. As if this wasn't bad enough, according to White Cassidy
had been insolent to the directors, wasted club money and had
given jobs within the club to members of his family, whereas Chris
had only committed two of these sins. He was never insolent to
anyone on the board.
you're thinking that this all seems a bit ridiculous in view of
the past performance of the directors themselves then you can
imagine that Cassidy's brief, Ian Bonomy QC, must have been approaching
the prospect of cross-examining Chris with all the relish of Derek
Johnstone at a pie eating contest. Under interrogation White was
forced to conceded that rather than a club run by a hard-nosed
bunch of corporate high flyers, 'Wives played a leading role in
As his cross examination wore on White was warned by the judge
about being evasive and eventually had to admit that he, 'May
have misled the court.' It was a truly remarkable case, and a
true indication of how strapped for cash the club was. I mean
for the sake of a few thousand quid to shut Cassidy up or risk
all your dirty washing hung out in public. For a club like Celtic
it shouldn't even be a choice.
the end of the first week of the case, which had featured other
star witnesses such as the editor of the Celtic View and the Secretary
of the Supporters Association, Bonomy had made it look as if the
Walfrid was a cross between a Carry-On film and a Soviet Gulag.
Chris must have been wishing he was back in the directors box
being pelted with Mars Bars.
the football front Macari stepped in to the transfer market again,
this time with dramatic consequences. One time Aberdeen player
Willie Falconer had been playing in England for the past five
years. He hadn't been a star, but he'd done well enough with Watford
and Middlesborough. Macari paid £350,000 for him. At the press
conference to introduce him the boss did the new bhoy a power
of good by saying that basically Willie wasn't much cop, but we
needed a bigger squad and anyone will do. That's the way Lou,
tell it like it is.
the event Macari needn't have been so pessimistic. While Falconer
would never be anyone's favourite player he did his best for us,
and he brought down the old board. All by himself. The bank refused
to pay his transfer fee, and that signalled the end.