The Fitba #3 - The Caledonian Cup Final
by Nathan Frederick Garden
The great day had finally come; the memories of the Weedgie Mudbath and Misbehaving Bumble Bee setbacks well and truly drowned with rum, surely every God-fearing man who calls himself a Scotsman had his skull firmly planted in a vice pointing towards the TV for the single greatest sporting event of the afternoon. And why not? The game was on normal TV anyway.
Yes indeed, The Caledonian Cup Final of 2013 had certainly been clogging the pipeline for longer than was appropriate, but boy o boy it certainly turned out to be a sporting exhibition of such drama, pure foot-balling inventiveness and inter-stellar quality that it has since attracted a host of applications from continental clubs to join and compete in our evidently superior Cup. Indeed, the Cup’s offices have been swamped with innumerable, bleating, almost pitiful, requests from feeble European big-shots: Bayern Munich, Schalke 04, Benfica, Real Zaragossa, Napoli, Roma, Wolfsburg, FC Twente and Barça FC are only a few of those who have been squealing in desperation for a sit-down with Cup bosses in the hope of moving from their own domestic tournaments to ours. However, when quizzed about the possible immigration of continental elites, a Cup representative coolly replied, “Nae fuckin’ danger.”
But to return to our beloved final, the clash between Current League Champions Glamis Deils and, hoping to make history by becoming the seventh team to win the Caledonian Cup Final on their first appearance, Beinn Bhreac of Jura... The stadium already brimming over with two rowdy fan bases, racist anthems, dropped scarves and plastic cups, many of the Imperial Doric League’s most legendary participants, both players and managers, past and present, attended the match. This included the festive, rather deafening company of the complete players and staff of Rùm FC, who, just for the afternoon, managed to tear themselves away from their spectacular, multi-city pub crawl celebrating the news that they have made it to the International Super-Duper Cup Semi-final. Also in attendance was the legendary former Ringaskiddy and Glamis Deils gaffer Tom Graces. Fondly reminiscing the June afternoon in 1956 when he led Glamis to their third Cup victory, Graces mused, “Aye, that was a good game. A damn good game,” he told us, “The weather was fuckin’ murder, likes, but what can you do?” Wiping a nostalgic tear from his eye, he waddled off to the pie stand to get stuck in, and kindly got a round in for himself and the board of directors.
Anticipation was high, but the omens of the Misbehaving Bumble Bee were still looming on the spirit of the players. However, minds were set to thwart any further such misadventures with a spectacle that captured the hearts of the fans, and hopefully distract from the smell of the meat factory down the road. Glamis right-back Ed Barnes captured the sentiment in the dressing room: “It’s like the ref said after the second attempt, the one with the huge bee, It’s a beautiful game, and he was right. It is a beautiful game: it’s about teamwork, and the spirit of it all, and it’s about the fans; not being chased by a bee.” No one could have agreed more than Cup officials who had taken the relaxed precautionary measures of gassing every living bee in the region and uprooting every flower which could even be construed to produce pollen.
As it transpired, the Caledonian Cup Final was a moment unprecedented in history: a sporting monument, a testimony to the potential of The Beautiful Game; surely the zenith which competitive sport can reach. It was a game which had every last viewer transfixed as if by magnetism, with the fans in the ground seemingly suspended on the precipice of orgasm until the last second.
The proceedings began in the eleventh minute when one of the Glamis fans ran onto the pitch, took possession of the ball, and scored a goal so good the referee experienced a lapse of consciousness, so convinced was his mind that he was dreaming that it shut down. Despite its invalidity, when he recovered consciousness the referee allowed the goal onto the scoreboard anyway because of its undeniable quality. Remarkably, neither Beinn players nor fans protested the decision, each and every one admitting “it was pretty bloody good, by Christ. Fair’s fair: he worked hard for that goal, so you’ve got to let him have it.”
Some of the most singularly ineffective defending that has perhaps ever been played led to a disastrous Glamis own goal in the nineteenth minute, during the build-up of which there was not a single Beinn man in the Glamis half. However, at the risk of contradicting previous allusions to the cosmic quality of the game, the next goal from Glamis more than eclipsed the hiccup. The substantial blast of a goal was the product of a labyrinthine four minute build-up: a salvo of impressive dribbling and an immaculate short-passing regime which chipped away at the Beinn defence for longer than their resilience could stand, before their defence finally capitulated, spreading like a hooker’s legs, and in it went.
The war of attrition continued until Beinn levelled again, and then went ahead with a sterling penalty kick. During halftime, the go ahead was given to finish the game as the officials conferred with the health and safety lads and were reassured that no bees would be turning up to ruin everyone’s afternoon.
Glamis made it 3-3 within six minutes of the second half, and everyone spent a good ten minutes waiting for the flares to be kicked off the pitch.
The match ended with Glamis Deils both League and Cup Champions for a fourth time, history eluding Beinn Bhreac by a smidgeon. The 3-3 tie was holding until the 81st minute when Patrick Connelly finally got his moment against Beinn when he struck a 37 yard volley, which dipped the bar by inches, in the process kicking the ball so hard he did a back-flip. “Corblimey!” said the ref. While hardly a born commentator, he captured the crowd’s reaction to the splendid little capsule of inimitable trickery.
Glamis Deils 4 - 3 Beinn Bhreac Jura
And now, in the interest of journalistic and editorial comprehensiveness, we must now turn our ailing attention to...
The Nicht Oot
This being the prestigious, world-renowned, princely, majestic and peerless Caledonian Cup Final, the indisputable über-Cup, there was a night out last night which caused noise, financial destitution, malfunction of civilian temperament, and public distress equivalent to that of the sinking of the Titanic. The battle on the pitch over, Glamis and Beinn Bhreac soon had new priorities and, after a few quick ones and some childish towel-slapping in the changing rooms, found themselves talk of the town in the closest possible pub; the first of many others. (Glamis and Beinn captains wished to add that officials were invited out of courtesy only. The referee himself, far too hammered to mediate the five hours of coarse drinking games which followed, was placed in a taxi and taken to the Old Man of Hoy.)
Our multiple reports so far have varied, but the general consensus among pub landlords in the Edinburgh area is that both Rose Street and the Royal Mile have been drank dry; a more specific report makes the entirely believable claim that there were "enough empty bottles [after closing time] to fill the Marianas Trench.” Indeed, the results of such cataclysmic disrespect to their own immune systems were hardly invisible on the players.
Almost all players and staff of both teams eventually seemed so incomprehensibly inebriated that one could scarcely believe any of them had ever spoken a word of English in their entire lives. Another factor which marked the night, possibly stemming from this impotence of speech, was that many of the locals were kept up until “five in the bloody morning” by what has been described as the “worst, most incoherent and disorganised unpaid group singing performance in the history of the hemisphere.” [For figures on smashed windows, silly string and traffic cones placed in humorous but inappropriate places, please stroll down Prince’s Street, preferably with a camera with a wide lens.] Glamis gaffer Calum Ruden defended the display, however, telling us outside the police car, “Spfffffuuuuh weeh. Spluuuuuh... uuuuhg. Bluh- [hiccups] blubuuuugh... [wobbles, falls down]” However, signs were obvious that all was not ship-shape in either his liver or his brain, or indeed those of any his players, who strutted their stuff well into the small hours before finally being talked down from the roof and herded into a small fleet of police vans.
Such antics, according to many Daily Mail readers and squeamish middle-clash yonks, are unacceptable, a disgrace to the role models they should be for young players, and, furthermore, epitomise the lack of discipline and dignity within the Cup and League clubs and their management. What with last year’s Cup winners Grampian Superior still not returned from their summer ‘working retreat’ to Columbia for ‘medicinal research’, and the legion other examples of clubs returning from holidays a matter of hours before their opening games, alarm bells are ringing with fans, committee members and the usual troupe of bored, middle-class, tea-drinking, Guardian-reading, Tory-voting swine who should not be watching football anyway that the widespread culture and even general fitness of the clubs is in jeopardy.
Caledonia Cup big-wig, Basil Simmons, met us several expensive hours after the final and was asked to comment on this disreputable (but hardly impoverished) drinking culture of the competition. Clearly concerned himself with the situation, he reassured us, “Now that is definitely a part of the culture of the Cup and, indeed of the IDL itself, which myself and others will be looking to change and hopefully rectify this season.” After he’d climbed back up the stairs and picked up all the glass, Simmons continued, “This silly over-indulgence of drink and unnecessary hooliganism may not be out of hand right now but it’s conspicuous enough, and pretty soon fans will become disillusioned with their clubs if hangovers continue to affect the teams’ performances. So we’re going to have to crack down on it. Yes, that’s what we’ll do.” Simmons concluded with a plastic bureaucratic smile and a plump, fizzy burp before staggering back over to the champagne table of the executive lounge.
Since the Cup Final was more important than the latest league matches, you’ll just have to wait until next time to catch up on all the info. Too bad.