Posted tagged ‘Ashes’

Battle of the Black Socks

November 20, 2010

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.