November 2001

For the first time in years, it looks like Scottish football is producing a good crop of young players. But neanderthal journalism is alive and well at 'The Herald.'


The Kids Are All Right

At last! After years of frustration it looks like there might just be a new generation of talent emerging in the Scottish game. In recent weeks we have seen an upsurge in young Scottish talent commanding some fine reviews. At Pittodrie, Phil McGuire and Kevin McNaughton have been prominent in Aberdeen's surge up the table. Over at Rugby Park, Kris Boyd and Paul Di Giacomo have broken into the Killie first team where they join Jamie Fowler and Peter Canero. Kiegan Parker is an outstanding prospect for St Johnstone. Even at Ibrox - not usually noted for bringing players through the ranks - Stephen Hughes and Maurice Ross made excellent contributions during the earlier injury crisis at Rangers.

So, two cheers for the youngsters. Why only two? Well, remember what has happened to previous teenagers hailed as Scottish football saviours. Mark Burchill and Kenny Miller to name but two. It seems we put too much pressure on some of the young players and also, sadly, that some of them start believing the hype.

So let's get things into a proper perspective. By all means welcome the development of our young players. But remember the determination of Alex Ferguson never to repeat the 'burnout' of kids at Old Trafford that happened at Pittodrie. Remember too, we have a long way to go before we can ever again produce a Denis Law, a player capable of playing international football at 18. Or, for that matter, a Patrick Kluivert who scored the winning goal in the European Cup Final at the same age.

Yes, the kids are all right. And that's it. Not brilliant. Not world-beaters. But they are all right. And for that, let us be grateful.

(Broad) Foot and Mouth

Over the years the Herald has been a repository of the best in sports journalism. Even today the Glasgow-based newspaper can be relied upon to afford the likes of Graham Spiers and Ewing Grahame plenty of space to offer the reader something different from the usual tabloid fare of transfer speculation and professions of undying love for Rangers/Celtic from the latest big-name signing who has managed to locate Scotland on the map.

Which is why it is a bit of surprise that this esteemed organ is also the home for the neanderthal jottings of one Darryl Broadfoot. This journo first came to our attention back in August writing about the Kilmarnock v Glenavon UEFA Cup tie at Rugby Park. In his match report, Broadfoot waxed lyrical about the friendly, good-natured Northern Irish supporters and how they kept on singing even in defeat.

There were 7,500 people in the ground and Broadfoot was apparently the only one not to have noticed that the fun-loving fans from across the sea had a repertoire reminiscent of Scottish football at its worst. 'The Sash,' 'Derry's Walls,' 'The Billy Boys' etc. Close your eyes and it could have been Ibrox. Somehow all this managed to escape Broadfoot's ears. All he heard from the away end were the strains of the ubiquitous 'Hey Baby.'

Ah well, maybe this was a one-off. Not so, we fear. Lamenting the poor quality of the Livingston v Dundee league match at Almondvale, Broadfoot writes that "female followers among the 6112 crowd must have had a longing glance towards the McArthur Glen retail park adjacent to the stadium."

Welcome to Darryl Broadfoot's world of football. A place where men can be men. Free to wear their inherited sashes, and revel in ancient prejudices while the women do the shopping.

How are we ever going to be taken seriously in world football in the 21st century when this sort of insulting and patronising drivel is allowed to pass itself off as "reporting" in the so-called 'quality' press?

Darryl, why not give us all a break from your pre-1960s fantasy world. Why don't YOU go shopping on a Saturday and do us all a favour.



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