Maybe Charles Green isn’t totally daft after all – Ecojon on Greek Friendlies

I never thought I’d ever see myself writing that about the slippery snake-oil salesman, who has jogged my memory of the original down at the Barra’s in the early 50′s, who came from the Orient and had a name like Ali or Ahmed or maybe Salim. I actually think it was Salim but of course in the  custom of the time every lascar seaman got the same name.

It wasn’t intentionally racist I don’t think but more a ‘Hey Jimmy’ universal term but then racism can often have deep and hidden roots and those who intentionally propagate it know the subconscious levers to pull to make the weak gravitate into an orbit of hate.

Salim was a real entrepreneur – a wee thin guy almost dwarfed by all the hustle and bustle going on around him and of course no competition for the Barkers who were only feet away. But he was there week after week come rain, hail or shine wi’ his bloody snake oil :)  I wonder if anyone knows how he got on as after I drifted away from the Barras I never saw him again. I haven’t seen or thought of that total stranger for over 50 years and yet the reference used by Leggo about snake oil released a memory enzyme – ain’t the mind a wonderful and wondrous thing.

I kid you not but I avoided Salim like the plague I think because I was frightened of ‘snake oil’ even if I didn’t know what it was for and could never understand why so many women bought it. When I was much older and saw Oil of Ulay (now Olay I believe – although like Viagra I have no need of it Honest!) being sold ‘for aunts in Australia’ it slowly dawned that although a helluva lot more expensive than KY Jelly it was less embarrassing to buy :)  Anyone who still hasn’t got it yet pls ask your wife – no maybe that’s not such a good idea  :)

No doubt Charlie uses snake oil to lubricate the ever-turning wheels of the investment industry although it used to only come in tiny wee green bottles with a cork bung and I think Charlie would need 50-gallon drums to keep SevcoGers in motion.

So why do I think he isn’t all daft – well his idea for a friendly with Olympiakos is a belter. I know a lot of Bears think, like his trip to Fifa/Uefa, it’s a porky pie but hey, gie the man a break it really is exhausting living oot a suitcase and flitting from safe hoose to safe hoose.

OK I know there’s nothing about a friendly with Rangers showing on the well-organised Olympiakos website where the season ticket link actually takes you somewhere :) OK I know the website lists the pre-season friendlies and there’s no mention of SevcoGers. You could argue that Charlie is getting organised for a trip next summer but Ah’m no sure even Charlie believes that one.

Could this be the first Continental team to play against the Sevco owned Rangers FC?

But let’s be optimistic and for the moment look at the stats: Olympiakos, founded in 1925, are currently top of  the Greek Superleague and been in their country’s top league for 54 seasons and are one of only four Greek teams never relegated from the 1st Division.  Their 39 League titles, 25 Greek Cups and 4 Greek Super Cups won are truly impressive from an 87 year history. It has 2.5 million fans in Greece and was ninth-top in the world for paid-up members in 2006 of 83,000.

OK enough of the stats let’s get to the emotion: Their Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium is named after a national hero from their 1820 War of Independence and started off life as a velodrome in 1895. It was demolished in 2003 and the present stadium built in its place and regarded as one of the most modern in Europe situated in Piraeus, the port of Athens.

Olympiakos’ home ground – one of the most modern in Europe – often mistaken for Cliftonhill

Like Ibrox, shipbuilding and maritime connections are important although the current Greek economic recession has taken a heavy toll just like it has in Ibrox and Govan in earlier years. Traditionally club support is seen as representing the traditional working class of the port.

And just like the Old Firm there is a traditional ‘enemy’ in Athens-based Panathinaikos with their matches dubbed: ‘The derby of the eternal enemies’. Funny how the classical touch helps mask the violence and hatred that sometimes breaks out including the death of a Panathinaikos fan in 2007 at, of all things, a women’s volleyball match between the two clubs. Panathinaikos support is drawn from Athenian higher-class society. Anyone who has ever attended their derby leaves deafened and drained with all the noise and emotion apparently – just what any real ‘derby’ provides no matter where in the world it takes place.

But maybe the deepest and most enduring link between Rangers and Olympiakos is the tragedy that has befallen both clubs. We all know what happened at Ibrox and the terrible death toll but perhaps are not familiar with the tragedy of the old Olympiakos stadium where 21 young people died on 8th of February 1981. Ages ranged from 14 to 40 and such was the emotion that 5000 fans joined the bulldozers to demolish Gate 7.

It is the worst tragedy to befall Greek sport and came at the end of a league derby match with AEK Athens which was won 6-0 by Olympiakos. At the final whistle thousands of fans rushed down stair 7 to get to the front of the stadium and celebrate with the players as they left. But the doors were only just ajar and the turnstiles still down which created a potential death-trap with only one person at a time able to get through.

The inevitable happened and someone slipped and fell and there is no need to further describe the scene that followed with not only tragic deaths but many injured left behind with the horrific scenes seared into their memory. It’s hard to contemplate that a game of football could be part of such carnage and hurt.

That’s why I think Green’s suggestion of a friendly is a good one – maybe he doesn’t even know about the Ibrox connection, but that matters not. It could become an annual event swapping on alternate years between Scotland and Greece and why not create a mini-tournament by including Celtic and Panathinaikos to form: ‘The International Derby of Eternal Friends’. I think all profits should be shared equally between the four teams with the proviso that it is spent in youth development or possibly split between the Scottish and Greek Associations for the same purpose.

It’s worth remembering that Saint Andrew is not only the patron saint of Scotland but also of Greece and that the Saltire flag is recognised in both countries as well so I take that as an omen that bodes well for the enterprise.

Saint Andrew – Patron of both Scotland and Greece

However, Rangers will need to be back on the road a bit but it could take 2/3 years to get it organised anyway – this isn’t something to be used to grab a quick few bucks. This is a noble endeavour not just to honour the memory of fans gone but to create an environment where Greek and Scottish youngsters can become world class football stars and who knows what friendships can also be built along the way through the beautiful game.

Posted by Ecojon

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42 Comments

Filed under Charles Green, Football, Guest Posts, Rangers

42 responses to “Maybe Charles Green isn’t totally daft after all – Ecojon on Greek Friendlies

  1. Richboy

    Awesome post ecojon, football needs more people like you in the top administrative posts rather than the current bunch of muppets who can’t see past the easy but ill earned dollars offered for the continuation of a seriously flawed model.

    Imagine if football associations used their imaginations to develop a product that related to the true feelings of fans and actually had postive foundations as its base strategy.

    Sorry just woke up and realised I was dreaming the impossible.

    • ecojon

      @richboy

      Ah dreaming the impossible is just the start of the process – then with a group of like-minded people you share the dream and each can work away at achieving a little bit of it and importantly to keep spreading the vision.

      I assure you, the impossible can be achieved with goodwill and co-operation with no snake-oil required to grease the wheels.

      • Richboy

        Great Scot man, I believe you are a reincarnation of the great William Wallace (not the Celtic Striker although he was also awesome). I have unsheathed my sword and am marching on Hampden as I type.

    • Ernesider

      “The necessity of every one paying in his own labor for what he consumes, affords the only legitimate and effectual check to excessive luxury, which has so often ruined individuals, states and empires; and which has now brought almost universal bankruptcy upon us.”

      Josiah Warren (1798 – April 14, 1874)

      Plus ça change?

  2. Mick

    Great post ecojon fantastic history lesson that would be an amazing tournament

  3. mick

    ecojon my wee wifeys east med. and when we went about glasgow together the first thing she noticed was the greek writing on the pillars at the jamician bridge the grey 1s that sit there self inbetween the jamacian bridge and the rail bridge she joked glasgow must be built on top of a ancient greek city lol
    also the virgin Mary after haveing jesus lived in turkey “Ephesus”also a had a friend jimmy similiar to your own in brixton in london and when he went to glasgow he used to bring us all mothers pride loafs back it was the 1 thing he missed the most ,if we are having volitile darbys we must include galatasary and fernbache the last match ended in ariot it makes the glasgow darbies look like hand bags lol

    • ecojon

      @mick – I thought you would have missed the pies more :)

      And another memory sparked: This one of good music and happy times in Brixton/ Herne Hill before the riots.

      Tell your wife that Glasgow certainly has its catacombs and and can look like Hades some Friday/Saturday nights. But the Virgin Mary ref sparked me off. My mind works in mysterious ways its memory to kickstart – getting more like a minor miracle each passing year.

      So here goes, hope I’ve got the names right: ‘There was Mary Seaton, and Mary Beaton and Mary Carmichael and Me.’ (Come on, without an internet search – who was the 4th Mary?)

      Turning to Greece: There was the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene and Mary Cloppas – the latter two stopped on Zakynthos at Port Vromi in 34AD (can’t remember the reason now and NO I wasn’t there to welcome them). But they left behind footprints on the rock and a local village was renamed Maries in their honour.

      Gotta find a 4th Greek Mary to match Scotland’s four :)

      • Cassandra

        The Queens four Marys were,as a matter of record,Mary Fleming,Mary Livingston,Mary Beaton and Mary Seaton,all dying of natural causes.Confusion arises because another Marie (Hamilton) is reputed to have been executed for having born an illegitimate child,father one James Stewart.While a tasty yarn at the time,history has no record of this event or any violent end befalling Marie.

      • ecojon

        @Cassandra

        Well one thing that proves is the memory is defo failing – I’ll use that to miss my round in the pub :)

        And you’re doing an SFA/SPL by changing the rules and letting a ‘Marie’ in so that means I can use ‘Maria’ if that’s the Greek equivalent :)

  4. mick

    So were not the only country with drama related to the matches ferna felt cheated imagine it was on a scale of the way the spl had been with the financial doping lol

  5. ecojon

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.C._Farense

    This tale gets curioser and curioser in terms of linkage. Olympiakos are playing a friendly with SC Farense on Tuesday. The Porto side, like Rangers, have not had to seek trouble.

    Despite being the most successful Algarve side they were ejected from the League in season 2005/2006. Unable to pay professional players they tried to fulfil League fixtures with junior players but didn’t fulfill 3 games which, under League rules, meant disqualification.

    The club re-formed at the lowest level, Algarve League Division Twowith promotion to Algarve Division One in 2006/2007 and in 2007/2008 were promoted again to the Portuguese Third Division.

    Promoted again In season 2009/2010 to Portuguese Second Division for 2010-11 season but a 2-1 home defeat on April 30, 2011 saw them relegated. But Farense fought back to Second Division at their first attempt.

    Maybe Green is in Faro learning about the Farense blueplan :) or maybe he thinks Olympiakos is a soft-touch for helping give clubs a boost.

    Who cares, Farense seem like worth a place in our Tourney as they have such a similar history to what Rangers will have if they ever sign the agreement and play football. Of course they have had to share a club which might not be acceptable to the Ibrox Faithful.

    But the stadium is a 30,000 seater UEFA’s 4-star rating job so would be great to organise tourney dates and fit in a wee golfing holiday on the Algarve – but in the interests of harmony no medals will be played or displayed.

  6. mick

    panathinaikos since a was we and my mate showed me there sign with the clover ave always had a liken to them

    panathos the basketball team maybe this is related to the globetrotting roumours lol

  7. TheBlackKnight TBK

    I’m sure friendlies still require membership of an association and insurances?

    • ecojon

      @ TheBlackKnight TBK

      Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm That creates a problem – OK back to the drawing board and the blueprint @

  8. mick

    if the eastern tournament takes of my wifes brothers will be waiting on them lol they better behave and repect the culture and put there rubbish in the bin or it will be the biggest shock of there lifes they are well hot with all that fine chillie based food and sunshine they dont take prisoners lol they speak from the heart and are more passionate than the itialians

  9. mick

    should the spl have a basketball team ????yes that would be amazing bring over boston celtic and panathiaikos what a great day

    • ecojon

      @Mick

      god mick you’re turning into a capitalist – you’ve already goat ra football pie franchise you can’t hiv the basketball yin as well.

      You know what they say about capitalists – they are always hungry and keep wanting to devour more pies :) not really surprising as they are right ‘pies’ themselves.

  10. mick

    all the east med. countrys have basket ball teams that match the soccer names a find that amazing .the celtic bowling club or dundee utd snooker club that would be a great way to bring sport together and broaden our sport knowlage

  11. ecojon

    One of the things I’ve always felt is that we have to adopt a more continental approach in having sporting clubs playing more than just football.

    It makes sense in terms of facility usage spreading running costs across different revenue streams and also increases revenue and profit. More importantly it generates a strong family atmosphere and in these times where so many young people are struggling it provides a focus for providing some stability in otherwise ucertain lives and futures, role models and a dream of escaping poverty that can actually become a reality.

    • mick

      we only have football and rubgy although with andy murray the tennis court is back on the scene but the athmosphere in the basketball tourny is electric this is the final barca. and pao

      scotland only sent a few members to the olympics a think sporting clubs is a got way forward for scottish sport in general

  12. Ernesider

    “Who decided the punishments had to be tougher? Regan? Doncaster? Petrie himself? Or was it someone else?

    Frankly, it shouldn’t matter because it’s time Green stood up for his club and told Regan, Doncaster and Petrie where to stick further sanctions.”
    (Jim Traynor)

    The habit of bluster and bullying is deeply ingrained.

    RANGERS newco manager Ally McCoist has claimed he will “never accept any talk of stripping the club of titles” and that “everyone at the club shares this view”.

    “McCoist’s confused stance reflects the fallacies that have been regularly repeated during this saga. Rangers have not been heavily punished over their financial meltdown but suffered heavy consequences. The new club want to acquire the SFA membership of the old club and their history.

    They must therefore accept the sanctions imposed on them for the malfeasance of the Craig Whyte regime and the outcome arising from the SPL’s investigation into the improper registration of Rangers players, through their use of the Employee Benefit Trust scheme from 2001-2011.”
    (Andrew Smith)

    Simply, clearly and intelligently written.

    So Jim. Please shut your mouth and give your etc. Engage a few brain cells and stop pandering to lowest level of Rangers’s support.

  13. mick

    jim traynor stirs up hatred hes a embarssment to the scottish media he feed the sevco fans lies for years he is well responsible in a small way for the down fall of there club its shocking he has not been sacked by the record it took him two month to mention the trophy stripping and even them he said 5 titles its not its 9 alex thommo broke that story 2 month ago and he dident mention it at the time,the west coast lamb and wine sippers are as much to blame as murry and whyte ,they turned ablind eye for freebies thats not journalisim

  14. mick

    wee chicks bullied by him its sad hes a bully “jabba loves murray true love never dies”

  15. mick

    jabbas in denial

  16. mick

    a joke about jim

    the good thing about mass media is once you say it its there forever

  17. mick

    suculant lamb oh yes please lol

  18. mick

    the start of the unravelling of the biased media ,bravo bravo to phil

  19. ADM

    @ecojon – just catching up, awesome post. A bonus to read about football for a change… think your tournament is a truly great idea although I fear – given the fixture schedule – it might end up going the same way as the bright idea I read the other day of bringing back the Glasgow Cup as a senior competition. (To be clear, think your idea is a great deal better than that particular money-grubbing fantasy…)

  20. Marching on Together

    My experience of Piraeus is that it is the centre of the greek shipping industry, which for many decades was the world shipping industry. My own encounter with Piraeus shipping magnates involved me ascertaining how these Greek shipowners used a myriad of devices involving financiers, banks, charges, etc etc to ensure that no ship owned was either registered to them personally or was not loaded down with masses of secured debt. All to ensure that any attempt to arrest or seize any ship of theirs in a foreign port for payment of sums owed, was doomed to failure, as prior ranking securities or charges would always outrank any other creditor.

    My guess is that Green was far more likely to be taking advice on how to do this effectively, than anything to with football, if he was indeed in Piraeus.

    • ecojon

      @Marching on Together

      Interestingly the chairman of Olympiakos has an extensive background in the Greek Merchant Marine and ship ownership.

  21. Pensionerbhoy

    My admiration, Ecojon. Eternal blessings come from the good thoughts of a single mind.

    H H

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