Scotland, bonny Scotland. Och aye. We’ve got past Glasgow and Celtic now, and now on to the other parts of Scotland. I didn’t leave enough spots for places like Stirling, Arbroath, Stenhousemuir, Forfar Athletic, Queen of the South, or other places I remember from lower division Scottish football tables. Speaking of which, I used to collect Panini football stickers, and after all the English clubs were out of the way you;d get the Scottish clubs, and they would be half-sized, two players per sticker, and you had some names etched into my memory, Murdo McLeod, Maurice Malpas, and they didn’t all have M names. Remember Campbell Money? Well that’s still an M name I suppose. Tosh McKinlay, Willie Miller, there was a guy called Fraser Wishart, and a Crawford Baptie. Enough of this, let’s see some Scotland.
First stop is St.Andrews, which is famous for two things – Golf, and William and Kate. This is where the sport of Golf was born, here in St.Andrews, when famously they were playing a game of football when one lad decided to pick up the ball, place it on a tee, and hit it into the goal using a metal club, and that’s how Golf was discovered. Now of course there are all sorts of types of Golf, you have regular Golf, Mini-Golf, Crazy-Golf, Golf League, Golf Union, Australian-Rules-Golf, Volkswagen Golf, and the Golf War. I’m not allowed to watch Golf in our house because apparently I make too many silly jokes about it, which surely isn’t true. So I’ll move on from the Golf to the other thing St.Andrews is known for, Wills and Kates. They went to university here, and met here, and the rest is History of Art. Obviously I am talking about the Heir of Windsor and Duchess of Middleton and not the American reality TV couple Will and Kate Plus Eight, though they may also have met here. I wonder what happened to them? I don’t really. I stopped watching them when Sister Wives came out. I wonder what happened to them? No I don’t. I wonder what happened to Wills and Kates? St.Andrews University – the oldest in Scotland – has many famed alumni though, you’ve got Edward Jenner (no relation to the modern Jenners), John Pringle (nothing to do with the crisps), John Knox (unrelated to the TV show Opportunity Knox). Now, St.Andrews does look like a nice place, though I bet that North Sea blows in a chill wind through your bagpipes. It’s a lovely looking town, few too many golf shops, but I drew this charming little bookstore. One more thing – St.Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. You’ve heard of St.Patrick for Ireland, you know St.George for England, you may be familiar with St.David for Wales, well St.Andrew is the saint for Scotland and its his cross on the national flag, the Saltire. We Britons learn the four Saints as kids, along with the other four national symbols, the Rose, the Shamrock, the Thistle and the Daffodil. Or the Leek, I forget now.
Let’s move on. Dundee is not famous for crocodiles and comparing cutlery. To me, Dundee is famous for two things: the Beano, and Dundee United. And Dundee FC, and the Dandy. Ok that’s four things but you can lump the Beano and the Dandy together, and Dundee FC and Dundee United are two football clubs on the same street, literally a couple of minutes walk from each other. Dundee is getting very far north now, it feels very alien to me. I like Dundee United though, they were my favourite Scottish team in the 80s, though I liked Celtic for Irish cultural reasons. Dundee United had some great runs though, winning the league and later getting to the UEFA Cup Final, losing out to IFK Gothenburg, I remember watching that on TV and being so disappointed they didn’t win, but really loving both teams’ kits. For me though, it’s all about the Beano. (And the Dandy, fine). The Beano was a kids comic that was massive when I was little. My older brother was a huge Beano fan, and one of my earliest memories of us sharing a room is messing up his comics, though we used to read the Beano together and always got our own copies of the Beano Annual at Christmas. (He is ten years older than me, but I’d still get him the Beano Annual years later). I loved all the characters, the Bash Street Kids, Roger the Dodger, Minnie the Minx, but most of all Dennis the Menace and his dog Gnasher. I was a member of the Dennis the Menace Fan Club, I got the little wallet with the two badges. (I just checked – you can still get them!) The Beano and the Dandy are published here in Dundee by DC Thomson (whoah, I just made the connection between ‘Dandy’ and ‘Dundee’) The Dandy was alright, I liked it at Christmas but it as a comic it was always the one I would only get if the Beano was sold out. Desperate Dan with his massive chin and those cow pies was never as relatable as Dennis and Gnasher. I remember the Beezer comic, sometimes I’d get that at Christmas too and I liked it mostly for the Numskulls, but I never got Topper, Topper was rubbish. Now what I decided to draw for Dundee was a big tall ship, the RRS Discovery, Robert Falcon Scott of the Antarctic’s ship built right here in Dundee and now moored next to the V&A Dundee, an impressive modern building down beside the river Tay. I would like to see Dundee, home of the Beano, and it was apparently dubbed “Coolest Little City in Britain” in 2015, but the world’s a different place from 2015 so that tile might belong to Wigan or somewhere now for all I know.
And last stop on this trip is Aberdeen, the granite city. Aberdeen were the other one of those teams that in the 80s broke up the dominance of the Old Firm. We’ve had enough Scottish football for one post though. So, Aberdeen, it’s called the granite city. Presumably lots of granite there. I liked drawing this street, with the extreme angle perspective caused by scrolling Street View too far. I’m going to bet that building is made of granite. Ok all I really know about Aberdeen is the football team was food in the 1980s when Alex Ferguson was their manager, they had red Umbro shirts with JVC on them (Adidas shirts earlier on when they won the European Cup-Winners Cup while Gordon Strachan played for them) and had a player called Jim Bett in the Football 88 album. Sorry, I realize you probably expect some history of the city but even if I visited there, even if I went there in real life and went out speaking to locals over a pint and a chip supper, I’d still only think about the 1980s Aberdeen football team, the ‘Granites’. Apparently Lord Byron was raised in Aberdeen, old ‘Granite’ Byron as he was known.
We’ve only got one more spread until we are finally all done, and thankfully very few 1980s Scottish football references coming up in the next places: Loch Ness, InverNess, and John O’Groats Ness. So expect lots of references to the 80s cartoon The Family Ness. And of course, greatest Scottish show of all time, Super Gran (not actually filmed in Scotland). “Is there nothin’ that she cannae do?“