Tuesday, 11 January 2011

God bless Lesley Riddoch

Cricket lover
Lesley Riddoch -
give her a knighthood
Fantasy Bob apologises for the lack of jokes in this posting.  He also apologises to readers outside Scotland for having to bore them with these very Scottish concerns.

FB finds himself in the strange position of praising the Scotsman newspaper columnist Lesley Riddoch to the rafters.  In her article yesterday the feisty columnist takes issue with the overwhelming tendency in Scotland to define sport as football and vice versa.   Our so called national broadcaster is among the most guilty of this tendency - as in Sportscene - a programme which never in FB's lifetime has contained anything other than film of pisspoor Scottish football matches.  In olden days this was quaintly amusing, now as the grammatical coherence of the commentators has declined in step with the quality of Scottish football, it is frighteningly embarrassing. 

Ms Riddoch starts her piece with a mild concern that the UK news media's reporting of the Ashes success may have been a bit over the top, but then comments:
I'm ready to watch that final ball in Sydney over and over again if it puts clear blue water between myself and Scotland's footballing chauvinists who believe no other sport should command any attention. 
YES!!!!  She then considers a piece on Good Morning Scotland last week by well known intellectual powerhouse Chick Young which, by her report, attempted to belittle the thought that anyone in Scotland might be interested in the Ashes or cricket.   FB is glad that he gave up listening to GMS at about the time he started shaving, for if the piece is half what Ms Riddoch reports, the radio set might well have been dispatched through the window.   According to Young,  'non-traditional sports' are robbing football of its talent and resources eg a cricket pitch is being built in Glasgow's Bellahouston Park which encroaches on once sacred football pitches.  And so on, and so on.

Ms Riddoch skilfully condemns this small minded attitude and puts it in its place pointing out that  'cricket is played by 30,000 kids and adults in Scotland................the vast majority involved in cricket today are active players not passive spectators, almost the reverse of Scottish football.'  She notes the sublime waste of young athletic talent within football dominated as it is by the greedy short-termism of the bigger clubs.  Oh, and the cricket pitch is being built on a pitch and put course.........

Finally she concludes:
Scotland contains many different social worlds.  The dominance of football denies that reality.
Fantasy Bob invites his readers to write to the Queen recommending that Ms Riddoch is appropriately recognised in the next honours round.   God Bless Her.

But despite her heroics, he does not advise anyone to hold their breath waiting for a diversity of sport on Sportscene.

FB also notes that the trend in the Barmy Army to wrap themselves with the flag of St George plays into the hands of these philistines.  At one time the Union Jack would have been the flag of choice.  Until such times as Scotland, and Ireland, gain Test status that should remain the case.


  1. FB,

    the original discussion that provoked Lesley's excellent column is here:


    starts just before 2hrs 45.

    not sure Mike Stanger put up a good defence-he certainly didn't combat the notion that cricket is
    a sedentary game (perhaps the only cricket match Chick Young has watched is the Youtube video of Carlton 4's vs HX 3's?...)

  2. On a similar theme, the final three paragraphs from this article from last week's Evening news don't make happy reading:


  3. I did hear this article - or at least it was on when I was in the room. I could not really bring myself to give my full attention to an altercation between two buffoons neither of whom had anything sensible to say (I doubt if either of them ever have), and neither of whom adressed the question that was supposed to be the issue. The other buffoon was father of Stroppy, no doubt wheeled out because of his BBC connection.

    Personally, although she may have been on the side of the angels on this occasion, I have always found Riddoch shrill and intolerant of any views other than her own. There is a whiff of hypocrisy in her taking to task Young for his intolerance.

    Of course, with some exception for what used to be broadsheets (althought their cricket coverage is nothing to what it once was), the Scottish media's treatment of so-called minority sports is disgraceful and the BBC is almost the worst offender. They do, however, provide some, albeit inadequate, balance in John Beattie's excellent Saturday morning radio programme.

    We should not be fooled, however, in seeing the City of Glasgow Council as some sort of hero in all of this. Welcome as the new grass square (more of a rectangle - there is only six strips) is, this development has to set alongside the Council's treatment of their former cricket facilities in such places as Victoria, Springburn, Richmond and Stanalane Parks. They have abandoned all the grass pitches. True, they have provided artificial pitches at some, but not all, places; but these are only available for about six weeks a season. See R S Young's (as far as I know no relation of Chick's) piece featured on the CS website on the loss of cricket facilities in the west of Scotland. Depressing though it is it is not complete - I can think of, indeed have played at, places he does not mention.

    Apart from that, unless the Council are going to do some sort of deal with the users on pitch preparation and maintenance, the whole thing will be a waste of money. Pitch preparation requires far more labour than councils are willng to commit. (Magnus tells me that there is more than ten hours work in the preparation and repair of a single pitch used for a couple of games).

  4. Many thanks - the forces of darkness are all around. Summer football? FB suggests we should have Christmas in June too.

    And CJE, FB is sure that Chick Young could only be impressed by the athleticism displayed in the Youtube clip you mention. Granted it was displayed mostly in stationary positions, but it was athleticism none the less.

  5. Iain - many thanks - many valid points here. FB has a post in preparation on RS Young's work.

  6. The radio 'debate' didn't exactly make riveting listening. Chick Young is a well practised wind-up merchant. Unfortunately, although Mike S's heart was undoubtedly in the right place, he just came across as the type of bloke who typifies Chick's prejudices.

    I think Fantasy Bob should invite Mr Young along to the Carlton primary school team net practice next season. Get Chick padded up and give him half an hour in the nets facing Angus, Ruairidh and Calum ... that should give him a rather more enlightened view of cricket :-)

  7. Groupie - thanks - a good suggestion. FB is sure Young would also enjoy a facing a few from the ever sedentary Habs and/or Evans.

  8. Perhaps Bob's Groupie would have been less defensive of the Titwood Twaddle Merchant if he had heard his gratuitous swipe at the facilities at Grange Loan during his (pisspoor) commentary on the ICC Cup final.

  9. I thought it was Flannigan who mentioned our 'nursery' changing rooms?

  10. Don't know what Flannigan said; but the Chief CS Correspondent certainly had a swipe at the size of the GL dressing rooms. I am not aware of his mentioning the nursery. Taken in isolation, it would be fair comment but it was quite out of place in the context.