Farewell Old Friend

In the week before Christmas I finally said goodbye to my old shitheap Volkswagen Polo, but having been so busy since it’s only now I get the chance to look back on our time together. Here goes.

There's the old girl
There’s the old girl

I got it off some guy from dundonald through gumtree for 300 quid after having been to see a few others (one of which was a registered write off, which still baffles me as to how it got insured) and it seemed a decent deal, it was only supposed to last 6 months or so before we got something else when I got a new better job. Things didn’t really work out like that though.

So, after nearly three years my old faithful companion failed it’s mot quite spectacularly and was resigned to the scrap heap.

Was shiteing myself up there
Was shiteing myself up there

Now, it reads like this mot was carried out the week before and the destruction was quick dignified process, it wasn’t, it lay in my drive, sorned for four months since that failure and replaced with a newer, bigger Peugeot as my main mode of transport mainly due to a mixture of laziness and bad luck. During that period it got used as an aid for me painting the outside of the house. One for throwing the dust sheets in so didn’t have to keep them in the house and also I rolled it in against the foot of the big ladder so I could go up and do the apex safe in the knowledge the ladders wouldn’t or couldn’t slide.

It was a v reg with no power steering, electric windows or CD player. Everyone you told about the lack of power steering said the same thing about having arms like Popeye. Popeye is one of those references that everyone uses when it comes to getting muscles, like Freddie Mercury is when you grow a tache, even though you would think by now they are maybe outdated. I didn’t get arms like Popeye, to be honest you hardly notice the lack of power steering and just get on with it. I mean you park about four spaces away from other cars in supermarket car parks in the hope that no one parks beside you and you don’t have to manouver too much when getting out and you try not to reverse park at anytime. But it’s fine, its all about adjusting.

The lack of electric windows wasn’t really an issue either, sometimes I wished I could open the passenger window while I drove but mostly I worry about stuff getting sucked out if they are open like on a plane so it actually worked out well. The radio being a tape player was interesting as we had got a house which we hadn’t moved into and in amongst the shite that was left by the previous owner was a New Kids on the Block tape which got a fair few airings in the polo before a CD player got fitted.

Other improvements I made were to stick my KFC personalised registration on it and also I debadged it. Or what I would consider debadging. I didn’t do that for any other reason than so folk didn’t know I drove a shitey 999cc motor or know the actual age of it through the dated font of the writing of 1.0l and polo that was on the boot.

When we got it I stayed down in Prestwick so it regularly made the journey back and forth to Killie. One of the first times I drove it up the bypass (keeping at 50) I thought I had broke it as it the rev counter was way up over seven thousand. I cursed the bastard that sold the heap of shite to me only to realise that instead of fifth gear I had put it in third.

More regularly it went the Dundonald way to my work at Moorfield. I always saw the same guy standing for his bus at 7.21 in Gatehead and wondered what he did for a living? Where was he going? When we moved up to Killie I didn’t use that road anymore and I never saw him again. I don’t really think about that much anymore, apart from when I just typed it out here, probably wasn’t worth mentioning.

It got me to a few comedy gigs, one in paisley where I drove up a one way street and another in Irvine where on the way back I passed the police who had comes off a bit of the road due to a deer being hit by a car or van and killed. It was genuinely strewn all over the road. Bits of leg and intestines all strewn all over the road. I was a bit worried as I approached as I assumed the police were doing spot checks and my motor in my mind was in ill health. But that was unfounded. Poor deer mind you.

Took it to Biggar for a wedding once, gunning the shitheap at 70plus for miles on a motorway was a bit different from scooting it to and from my work which is five minutes from my house. During the reception I nipped out to sit in the driver’s seat and listen to the last five minutes of the Barcelona v Manchester United final at Wembley through a fair amount of white noise. I mentioned the radio earlier but forgot to mention that mw didn’t work particularly well. In fact it didn’t work full stop if the engine was on but you could hear some when engine was off but it was through heavy static. So I found out about Barca’s win that way.

You might think I should just have used my phone to follow it through Twitter or even some sort of tv app but Biggar is pretty much north Korea when it comes to phone coverage so that couldn’t happen.

The old Polo even helped me up a few rungs of the manhood ladder when I changed the tyre. A tyre which burst on the way to my grans but I didn’t notice until the way back when

Look at that, I fixed that.
Look at that, I fixed that.

I could hear a grinding noise and couldn’t get it up to 50mph on the bypass back home. I assumed the engine was on it’s way out and frantically tried to get it hone without it blowing up. Once in the drive I jumped out and noticed it was down on one side and realised my mistake. The sparks must have been flying out the back as it grinded away on the wheel.

Luckily it never caused any problems, one of the advantages of not having a nice alloy wheel I suppose and the next day I put on the new tyre and reflected in my manly achievement.

wpid-IMAG1299.jpgFinally, I never had oor Cody in the car until the day before it’s road tax expired and I sorned it for good. So I took him a drive to Morrisons. Was good, wish I had done it sooner. He enjoyed it too, wee bit different from his usual mode of transport.

wpid-IMAG1323.jpgSo that’s about that, sadly I never even seen it go. Was out driving around Kilmaurs trying to get my kid to go to sleep and came back and it was gone. What’s worse is that it was put on one of those carrier things and my wife says it went on the front overhanging bit.

Which is probably a load of shite now I think about it cos there is no way they had one of those vehicles in my wee cul-de-sac. I should probably find out exactly what happened but then again, do I really care? Best to draw a line under it here and now. Ta ta old pal.

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Space Time Continuum

The butterfly effect is a plot device commonly used in Hollywood to drive the narrative of some of its biggest films. Its when characters travel back in time and change a moment in the past and it subsequently has a knock on effect on the future. Marty McFly rectifies a butterfly effect by having to engineer his parents getting together (after having arsed up their original moment) as that particular effect would have resulted in him ceasing, in the reality he left in 1985, to exist in Back to the Future. Similar stuff probably happens in the Ashton Kutcher and Richard Gere film actually called Butterfly Effect too, but I haven’t seen it.

This all seems a bit long winded and ultimately shite start to an article about football. Sorry for that. What I am trying to get at, by setting up that premise, is the what if of going back in time in football and changing an event which could in turn upset events that have happened since. Like……..

What if Alex Totten had actually signed Paul Scholes for Killie. Not everyone reading may be aware of this urban myth/absolute fact but its my understanding that back in the mid 90s when Totten went down to watch Colin McKee and subsequently spot Neil Whitworth and sign both in a double switch from Manchester United he actually had his eye caught by a wee ginger guy at Man United’s training ground. “who is the wee ginger fella, wouldn’t mind him” is how the story goes (in my head) of Totten’s conversation with Alex Ferguson while they watch the first team train and discuss the transfer of McKee and Whitworth. “he is yours for a million” Fergie replies. Totten declines because Killie don’t have a million to sign on a player and finalises the half millionish deal for the other two and heads back up the road, two Man United starlets in his back pocket from the “cant win anything with kids” era and the expected plaudits of the Killie fans and media at such a coup. You must have heard that story, it was from a bygone time where Scottish teams actually went down to the Premiership and paid money for some young reserve players rather than taking a wee lend of them for shop window purchases before they head back down to get booted about Walsall’s ground in another move to get them ready for the “greatest league in the world”

However, there isn’t a great deal any fan could have done about this really, no flap of the butterfly’s wings to generate this fork in history, not unless at one of the fan rallies when Bobby Fleeting was describing a brave new future a fan with incredible foresight piped up with the pertinent point that a eighteen thousand seat stadium probably would be a bit big all things considered, maybe just over ten would suffice. Now as a sound bite its not exactly awe inspiring but nonetheless those words stuck in the mind of Mr Fleeting and when it came to the stadium roughly about half a million pounds was saved and put past for players.  Then on that fated day in Manchester when SAF (or AF as he was known then) offered up Oldham’s most famous fan, Alex Totten would say “yes thanks, a million quid is doable” and Killie would have a new number 18.

Eventually 18, most likely an 8 or 10 in the old 1 to 11 system we had then.

97
Scholes (cheek injury swelled his head to 1 and a half times normal) celebrates with his Killie team mates after beating Falkirk 1 nil

So history is changed forever and in the books it read that Paul Scholes signed for Killie and not McKee and Whitworth. Whitworth wouldn’t have scored that 30 yarder at Tanadice and McKee wouldn’t have been utter utter mince in the semi final v Dundee United and subsequently replaced with Gary Holt in the replay. An outcome Scholes wouldn’t have had any effect on due to him being out injured (a broken cheekbone from training, a common Killie training ground injury back then) and missed out on the final which went the exact same way incidentally although Holt played both semis. So Scholes or Scholesy as we would have known him as, by now he would probably be coaching a lower league English club or starring in a Scottish independent film in a non speaking role or driving a taxi or something, I don’t know. At this point you might be thinking that the move ended in a bit of a disaster for him given how his life could have (actually did) turn out.

But he did get a shot at the Champions league, as in 98/99 he came into his own after Christmas when everything seemed to fall apart and his part in the midfield trio of Durrant, Holt and himself took the first SPL title away from Glasgow since Dundee United done so when Jim Mclean managed it with Hamish MacAlpine and a squad of six players or whatever the ridiculous stat is. What a Euro campaign that was, qualifiers then group stages.  100 years of Rugby Park celebrated in the Champions league, Wooft. But that’s a story for another day. Then in 2004 he celebrated his testimonial year with a sell out v Oldham.

Another lovely by product of the move was that in the Scotland England playoff he wasn’t there to score a double at Hampden and as such Scotland went through to the finals of the back of Don Hutchison’s Wembley header. We never got out the group stages though, some things never change.

This never happened. Well it did and it didn’t, read on…

You might be wondering what happened to the other people involved in this transfer back in 94. Well, Man United’s history didn’t change too much, without his goal in the 99 Champions League quarter final the still went through to the semi and then the final in which he missed due to suspension.  In 2005 Quinton Fortune took the second penalty of the FA Cup final and scored meaning the spot kicks went to sudden death but Wes Brown hit one into orbit and the trophy was Arsenals like normal. Also without Scholes in the midfield Juan Veron was a stand out for Man United with Roy Keane and Argentina won the world cup off the back it. I won 50 quid from the sweep I had the Argies in that year on the back of a great tourney from the man the United fans called Little Witch so it was good news all round. England managers also caught a break as they didn’t have to go into every tournament begging Scholes to come out of retirement and as such leaving their actual midfielders feeling undervalued. They still won nothing though which is nice.

Finally, Colin McKee and Neil Whitworth stayed in England and had reasonable careers, I think, I mean I don’t really know because they never appeared on my radar having never actually signed for Killie. Funny how that happens.

So there we have it, one mere flap of the butterfly’s wings back then results pretty much the same for everyone except we get a league win, the Champions League tune played in front of a packed 12000 capacity Rugby Park a trip to the Euros for Scotland. Well everyone bar Scholes himself who didn’t have the career he could have had, but hey, cant keep everyone happy.

Now what would need to happen to make sure that Killie never signed Andy Smith?