Battle of the Black Socks

To the best of my knowledge there are only two Scots who follow, follow the England cricket team; me and some guy from the East. In all honesty we want them to win and next week sees the start of the Ashes when “we” face Australia.

To attune my body clock to down under timescales I have been in Dracula mode by sleeping all day and haunting the house by night. The hypocritical neighbours aren’t too happy about the loud rock music I play in the early hours. Double standards here as I make no fuss about the noise they make all day. Nevertheless I have turned down the volume because the other night they were at my door with pitchforks and torches braying for my ashes.

Before the Ashes another Battle of Britain looms. On November 24th at Ibrox Stadium the most successful football team in the world, Glasgow Rangers, take on the cream of England, Manchester United in the Champions league. Tickets for the three home European games were £105; Bursapor from Turkey and Valencia from Spain are the other two teams in the group. My sons and a few friends robbed a bank found some money and six of us will be in the Broomloan Road Stand cheering on the blues.

Traditionally, Rangers wear red and black socks. Only in certain European and occasional away domestic fixtures do the colours change driving the Conservatives amongst us crazy. These distinctive socks, the legend goes, are attributed to a great Scottish institution: Govan Shipbuilders. They are tailored on the colours of the funnels of the ships produced in bygone days. The South side shipyard will not be forgotten as homage is paid weekly by the greatest Scottish institution: Glasgow Rangers.

(A short history of socks from medieval times to ones not out the wrapper yet)

In a nice tie-in, a short drive from the stadium brings you to Govan High School. The uniform of this modern comprehensive is red and black and always has been. It is also the school where Sir Alex Ferguson, the abrasive United manager and former Rangers player was educated. Man U also wear black socks, though I can offer no explanation for their origins. The coincidence of the colours does raise a few questions. Was it the case that Ferguson was attracted to Manchester because of the socks? Did he pine for his lost schooldays and previous Rangers incarnation? Are socks the meaning to the answer of life? Posers, posers.

Convention dictates that the away team change their strips to avoid clashing. This means that the Gers will run out on Wednesday with their customary kit. Rangers are universally associated with Royal blue, though I have always loved the addition of black on the socks. A familiar tune played on match days is Tina Turner’s Simply the Best, the unique socks makes us also….different from all the rest.

One of my favourite Rangers tunes with a flag tribute of Davie Cooper’s famous quote. “I played for the team I loved.”

Postscript 25/11/10-

Just in case anyone reads this in a hundred years time and to point out I’m not a bad loser, the final score was 1-0 to Man United.

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16 Comments on “Battle of the Black Socks”

  1. I don't know much about socks, JW, but surly the finest football team are Norwich City? Or have I made some kind of mistake.

    Did I ever mention that my aunt Ina was born in Govan?

  2. Expat Says:

    Oh, I am so not falling into this offside trap, except….

    Ladbrokes has Man U at 1/5 to win

    Man U has only lost 1 of the last 26 home games

    Red, black and blue…bloody and bruised. Which is what Rangers will be after Wednesday.

    Come on the Reds. Glory, glory days!!!

    That said, you're a brave man, JW. I salute you.

  3. What's this? No mention of a famous Scottish victory over South Africa yesterday?

  4. JW10 Says:

    This place is full of canaries.

    For the non-football follow, followers, Norwich City’s nickname is the Canaries. No Jon, you’ve never told me about your Aunt Ina. Quid pro quo, time. I have an Aunt Liz who was born in ….Partick. Bet you were expecting me to say Buckingham Palace.

    The upcoming clash of the Titans gave me an opportunity to fulfil my lifetime ambition and write a socks blog. Knowing you were a red, Expat, I could well be setting myself up for an almighty fall. However, as the match is at Ibrox and I’ll be leading the choir anything can happen. Not sure if you’ll be able to see the game in the States, it is on all the ITV networks in Britain.

    Everywhere I look I see canaries.

    You know my thoughts on rugby, CI, and this game continues to puzzle me. At the end of the day it’s just wrestling for a funny shaped ball isn’t it? 🙂

  5. This is not the only place that is filling up with Canaries! Take a look at this blog in MyT and see the comments!!!

  6. Expat Says:

    Well, I might be eating my hat. It all comes down to not which is the better team, but which is the better team on the day.

    Have a rip-roaring time at the match! I shall be looking for you in the crowd. You'll be the one with a canary perched on your shoulder.

  7. Anyone for Scrabble? like the colours though:

    “Red Hair and Black Leather – my favourite colour scheme…”

    from Richard Thompson's Vincent Black Lightening 1952 – spectacular!

    (if he appeals to anyone else)

    Have a FAB time at the Foot, JW!

  8. JW10 Says:

    Thanks again to all for their comments and for finding the time to visit. It is appreciated.

    HO, HO, HO, CI. You’ve found a long lost relation, lucky you. World domination by Canaries is imminent.

    No matter the result, we’ll still be friends, Expat. I can be easily spotted; I’m the one with the blue scarf.

    RT sure knew his colour schemes. Thanks for the link, Dolores, some fine acoustic guitar playing. Makes me want to pick my old six stringer up again.

    Somehow I have conspired to have the next seven days off work and will attempt to watch most of the first Ashes Test during the early hours of the morning. I will try and get some sleep at Ibrox tonight if the crowd keeps the noise down. 😉

  9. Hells Teeth JW – you're spending a precious week off Watching Cricket? That's even more agonising than footie!

    (can anyone give me a hoist out of this armchair, please)?

  10. A seven-day “boy's night out”? Where do we meet? We need to be told, JW!

  11. Expat Says:

    Oh,JW! It came down to a penalty in the 86th minute. Two great teams well matched, but a heartbreaker for you nevertheless.

    I didn't see the game because I was working, but checked in with the live commentary of the Daily Telegraph. Just what was that Rangers' ditty aimed at Rooney that they were talking about?

    (I am a big fan of Rooney's skill, but no fan of the way he conducts his personal life. If there was some not-so-gentle disparagement, he deserved it.)

  12. JW10 Says:

    Dolores, all creature comforts are taken take care of for this precious week. The Daily Telegraph is handy and as it’s a cricket week, McEwan’s Export has been replaced by John Smith’s Bitter. Probably when I rise from the armchair that will rise with me.

    CI, you and all your Canary chums are most welcome. Ours is the house with the light on all night. Just fly right in.

    Expat, I thought we deserved a draw though it was definitely a penalty. Before he scored, Rooney missed a few half-chances that made the Rangers fans sing. “You only score in a brothel.” Funnier and much ruder chants were shouted out by individual fans though as this is a family website they can’t be published.

  13. Forget football.
    I think you now have a wicket sense of humour, JW.

  14. JW, I've just spotted the final score of 1-0 in the postscript you've added to your blog.

    Shouldn't the one by which the winner won come last?

  15. JW10 Says:

    Mornin’ CI,

    You just can’t leave sock blogs alone can you? I can understand your reasoning for the score to be 0-1 as Man United were the away team. However, as I did not mention Rangers in the postscript sentence I think it makes more sense to say 1-0. If, for example someone asked me post-match what was the score, I would answer 1-0 to Man U and not 0-1. There are, I suppose, two ways of looking at this and thanks for bringing a different slant to the equation.

    We must be due a sock blog from you soon. I love sock blogs. 🙂

  16. I See No Socks! Yet I must sally forth into yon snowy vale in Wellies packed with more than popsox…

    I'm sure George's will fold-to-fit, and one can cut quite a dash in stripey…

    Was mid-Wales Really minus 17C last night?

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