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Malawi Bandas

I watched the end of the League Cup final today and noticed that the person giving out the medals was Joyce Banda, the President of Malawi, according to the Wiki article in the link the most powerful woman in Africa and 71st in the world.

Her surname made me wonder if she was in any way related to Hastings Kamuzu Banda, first President of Malawi and leader of its colonial predecessor, Nyasaland.

It turns out though that she is a Banda by marriage. Her husband Richard is a prominent judge who doesn’t seem to be related to the former President. Perhaps Banda is a common name in Malawi.

Under Hastings Kamuzu Banda Malawi became a one party state and he was made President for Life in 1971. In 1993 a referendum ended the dictatorship and he lost subsequent elections.

Due to his control of Malawi during his Presidency he was considered in some quarters a tyrant, and irreverently referred to as One Man Banda.

F C Cludgie?

No game today.

So I might as well (re*)post the following.

When I was a Chemistry student at Glasgow University, way back when, the student Chemical Society was known as The Alchemists’ Club. Among its many functions was providing the team for an annual University Challenge with Strathclyde Chemistry students. (The year I was in the team we creamed them. Another of our team members loved quizzes so much he went on to the full University team and later appeared on Mastermind. Hello, Tam.)

However the most popular of the Alchemists’ Club’s endeavours was running a football league for students. The participants were allowed to choose their team names. With typical undergraduate, or indeed post-graduate, humour a fair few tended towards the rude but there were also word plays on the names of well known European teams of the time.

To get it out of the way first, there was the fairly obvious Arselona. A team of students whose studies straddled various disciplines called themselves Inter Course. Unless my memory serves me incorrectly there was also a bunch called Surreal Madrid. Another good one was Us Pissed Dossers, in homage to the Hungarians of Ujpest Dosza. But my personal favourite was No Time Toulouse. (I’ve always been partial to a pun; especially one that straddles two languages.)

No doubt inspiration for these creations was derived from the wonderful chutzpah of the works team of a firm of Glasgow bread bakers who adopted the magnificent moniker of A C Milanda. They even took up the red and black striped shirts of the more famous Italian team which has a similar name.

I can only imagine what such jokesters would have made of CFR Cluj.

Milanda bread is long gone. but it seems there is still an A C Milanda.

*Edited to add:- Old age must be creeping up on me. I’d forgotten I’d posted the bulk of this already. I’ve only just seen it again on looking for something else. Serves me right for composing posts elsewhere and not scrubbing them from that file immediately. That earlier post has now been deleted.

Even Less Well Known Names Of Scottish Football Teams.

From Scottish Junior* Football, West Region:-

Arthurlie (Barrhead.)
The Glasgow based teams Petershill (Springburn) Pollok (Newlands) Vale Of Clyde (Tollcross) Ashfield (Possilpark) Glasgow Perthshire (Possilpark) Benburb (Govan) St. Anthony’€™s (Cardonald) and St Roch’€™s (Provanmill) -€“ two more Saints!
Glenafton Athletic (New Cumnock.)
Dunipace (Denny.)
Thorniewood United (Uddingston.)
Vale Of Leven (Alexandria. Not the one in Egypt; the one two miles from Dumbarton. Though mail has been known to travel via the Near East and be stamped “Try Scotland”€ before reaching there.)
Royal Albert (Larkhall -€“ see first post.)
Ardeer Thistle (Stevenston.)
Craigmark Burntonians (Dalmellington.)
Kello Rovers (Kirkconnel.)

Other good names here are Kilbirnie Ladeside, Auchinleck Talbot and the quite splendid appellation Kirkintilloch Rob Roy – whose pavilion has Art Deco features!

Central Region:-
Arniston Rangers (Gorebridge.)
Kinnoull, and Jeanfield Swifts (both Perth.)
Downfield, East Craigie and Lochee Harp (all Dundee.)

North Region:-
Banks O’ Dee, East End, Lewis United, Sunnybank, Glentanar, Hillhead (all Aberdeen.)
Buchanhaven Hearts (Peterhead.)
Culter (Peterculter.)
Hall Russell, and Hermes (both Bridge Of Don.)
Bishopmill United (Elgin.)
Deveronside (Banff.)
Islavale (Keith.)
Parkvale (Portlethen.)

Montrose Roselea, Crossgates Primrose (whose ground is Humbug Park!) and Dundonald Bluebell are cracking names and there is a Lochgelly Albert.

Dundonald Bluebell were, I believe, the first team for which Jim Baxter, a legend in Scottish football in the 1960s and 70s, played.

Again http://nonleaguescotland.co.uk/index.htm has pictures of the plush or quaint grounds these clubs play on.

*The winners of the top Junior leagues have in the past few seasons gained entry to the Scottish Cup. Junior, in the Scottish Football sense, does not mean for young players. It is merely a different administrative grade.

Yet More Less Than Informative Names Of Scottish Football Teams

From the East of Scotland League:-
Civil Service Strollers, Craigroyston*, Lothian Thistle*, Spartans and Tynecastle* are all based in Edinburgh, as are the two University teams of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt*.
Whitehill Welfare (Rosewell, Midlothian) – named after a colliery.
Preston Athletic (Prestonpans.)
Gala Fairydean (Galashiels.)
Vale Of Leithen (Innerleithen.)

Hawick Royal Albert I mentioned in the first of these posts. They have now been involved in a suspect betting allegation!

The South of Scotland League:-
Abbey Vale* (New Abbey.)
Crichton* (Dumfries.)
Fleet Star* (Gatehouse Of Fleet.)
Heston Rovers* (Glencaple.)
Mid-Annandale* (Lockerbie.)
Nithsdale Wanderers* (Sanquhar.)
Threave Rovers (Castle Douglas.)
Lastly, St Cuthbert Wanderers (Kirkcudbright) – another Saint! – are named after Cuthbert of Lindisfarne.

Once again http://nonleaguescotland.co.uk/index.htm has pictures of the exotic grounds these clubs play on.

Not all East Of Scotland and South Of Scotland League clubs satisfy the conditions to play in the Scottish Cup. Teams I have marked with a * (along with others whose names are geographic) can only qualify by winning their respective top Divisions. Three amateur teams not in either of these two league systems but who do compete in the Cup are Girvan, Glasgow University and Burntisland Shipyard.

The three most recent entrants to the Highland League (Strathspey Thistle, Formartine Utd and Turriff Utd) did not compete in this season’s Scottish Cup tournament and may be subject to the same restriction*.

More Names

As far as misleading names are concerned the worst offender in British football (in the link to geography sense and in all other respects too) comes from outwith Scotland.

It was/is the Welsh League side, Total Network Solutions, an amalgamation of teams from Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain in Wales and Oswestry in England. Since the sponsorship that gave them that name has lapsed, they have now morphed into The New Saints – much better, but still uninformative.

The Welsh League made up for this lapse by having the best named club in the UK.

Big Rab mentioned in a comment the now defunct Glenbuck Cherrypickers who might have got this accolade. The famous Liverpool manager Bill Shankly (and his brother Bob – who has a stand named for him at Dundee’s Dens Park ground) once played for them.
Ultimately, though, I must say take a bow, the once Newi, but now Elements, Cefn Druids. See wiki article.

More Peculiarly Named Scottish Football Teams

Further to my post on the weirdnesses of nomenclature within Scottish football my friend Neil pointed out in the comments that playing in the less well known leagues in Scotland there are also not a few non geographically specific names of football teams.

These examples are from the Highland League.

Non-geographical:-
Cove Rangers (Cove Bay, Aberdeen)
Formartine United (Pitmedden)

Vaguely appropriate:-
Deveronvale (the team is located in Banff, on the river Deveron)
Strathspey Thistle (Grantown-On-Spey)

Note, here, that the geographically informative but still strangely named Inverurie Locos, are unfortunately not called this because they (or their fans) are mad, but as a shortening of locomotive works.

However, in this league the belter of a name is undoubtedly Clachnacuddin (meaning the stone of the tub – a landmark in Inverness apparently.)

Remarkably (since I have not seen Dumbarton play north of Brechin/Montrose) I have actually attended a game at their ground, Grant Street Park. I was in Inverness one summer and caught a pre-season encounter with East Fife.

The Guardian newspaper a few years later reported the result of a friendly game between a Scottish League team and Clach (as they are known) but printed their name as Inverness Clerk McCudden.

See here for pictures of the respective home grounds of the above, and other, clubs.

A Stroll Through The Eccentric Names Of Scottish Football Teams.

Last week I watched a TV programme fronted by Jonathan Meades which was an annotated travelogue through post-industrial Scotland. Meades’€™s starting point was the almost poetic litany of the names of Scottish football clubs as heard in the results on Saturday afternoons.

Unlike those from England, very few of whom have names that are geographically indeterminate, at least at first glance* (the exceptions are Arsenal, Aston Villa, Everton, Queen’s Park Rangers, Port Vale, Tranmere Rovers; at a pinch Crystal Palace) and most of which are relatively prosaic (Swindon Town, Derby County, Bristol City) – only Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday, Plymouth Argyle and Crewe Alexandra have any rhetorical flourish €“- a disturbingly large number of Scottish teams’€™ names give no clue to their geographical location.

*I know Arsenal were once Woolwich Arsenal and that Everton is a district of Liverpool – as Tranmere is of Birkenhead – but Port Vale (the club plays in Burslem) isn’€™t on maps any more – if it ever was – and the Crystal Palace is long gone: which just leaves QPR and Villa – which may well be a Birmingham geographical locator of which I am ignorant.

The list of obscurely named Scottish clubs is much longer.

I have already, of course, mentioned Kirkcaldy’€™s finest, Raith Rovers (dancing in the streets of Raith.) There are two Saints – of Mirren and Johnstone (and until World War 2 there was a third; of Bernard’€™s) – a Clyde, a Hibernian, two Queens, Queen’€™s Park and Queen Of The South – famously the only football team mentioned in the Bible – an Albion Rovers and two Easts, of Fife and Stirlingshire, which could be located anywhere in their respective counties. In the case of East Stirlingshire their peregrinations actually took them as far west as Clydebank for a season before returning to their Firs Park home in Falkirk, which they have now had to leave; renting space at Stenhousemuir’s ground nearby.

In this context Rangers and Celtic do not count as their full names include the prefix Glasgow. Similarly it is Greenock Morton. While Midlothian as a county no longer exists, Heart Of Midlothian – the actual heart of the county is in the centre of Edinburgh, not off Gorgie Road; and there is a mosaic over the spot which is supposed to confer luck if you spit into it (Edinburgh is not quite the douce place you might take it for) – are named for a Walter Scott novel, apparently via a local dance hall. Likewise the County of Ross is no more; in any case the eponymous club plays out of Dingwall. Was there ever a county of Stockport by the way? Yes, and no. A county borough apparently.

There is a Raith estate in Kirkcaldy – and a former Raith cinema – so the name makes some sense; but it’€™s not on any maps of Scotland. Clyde are somewhat disappointingly so called because they first played by the banks of that river, though they now rent a ground in Cumbernauld from the local council.

The Paisley club St Mirren are named after the local Saint, Mirin; St Johnstone from Saint John’s town (of Perth,) and the now long defunct St Bernard’s after a local well by the Water of Leith.

East Fife are located in Methil in – err – east Fife. Like (Glasgow) Celtic, Hibernian FC’s name reflects the Irish roots of its founders but otherwise has no relevance to Edinburgh, or Leith if you must, where they are domiciled.

Albion Rovers play home games in Coatbridge and were formed from a merger between teams called, rather prosaically, Albion and Rovers.

Queen’s Park is obvious but its city isn’€™t. (Compare Queen’€™s Park Rangers.) There was, too, once a King’s Park club, but that was in Stirling. Queen Of The South is an epithet given to the town of Dumfries by the poet David Dunbar. The club which took the name amalgamated in 1919 from other teams in the area including 5th Kircudbrightshire Rifle Volunteers and 5th King’s Own Scottish Borderers. In this regard the former Third Lanark team (based in Glasgow, not Lanark) were also geographically obscure, and were again derived from a military source, the Third Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers.

Historical teams in this vein are Northern, whose ground was in Springburn in Glasgow, and Thistle who also played in Glasgow at Braehead. This last is not to be confused with Partick Thistle whose ground is actually in the Maryhill district of Glasgow and not in Partick itself. Other former Scottish League clubs Solway Star, Nithsdale Wanderers and Mid-Annandale (originally Vale Of Dryfe!) had, though, some geographical pointer in their names, albeit to a wide area.

The daddy of all such non-geographically named teams is Royal Albert, for two and a half years in the 1920s members of the Scottish League. Based in Larkhall, they now play junior football. The name comes from a ship their founder also owned. They apparently bear a relationship to the Hawick team, Hawick Royal Albert, who were founded by a man from Larkhall.

I hope all is clear now.

Scottish Names? Different Culture.

The good lady and I were watching something or other on the TV the other week and there was a character on who was supposed to be Scottish but was named Adrian. We both looked at each other and said, “Nuh. No chance.”

This reminded of the Eastenders character called Trevor. (You know the one, the wife beater who gave Little Mo such a hard time before she turned round and biffed him with an iron.) Quite apart from the stereotyping involved here – not all Scots are violent, wife beating psychopathic bastards after all – I have never, ever met a Scotsman called Trevor. I doubt that one exists. Imagine the time such a poor sod would have had at school with a given name like that.

Another example of the scriptwriters’ (and editors’) of Eastenders lack of understanding of Scotland came when Janine murdered Barry while up in Scotland for New Year. She brought his ashes back to “the Square” in an urn, having apparently managed to get him declared dead, and then cremated, sometime between Hogmanay and Jan 3rd. This was highly suspicious: but of course no-one in Eastenders noticed anything amiss.

Anyone who knows Scotland also knows such a feat is impossible. Such services shut down over that period. Jan 2 is a public holiday in Scotland, after all. I know from personal experience that funerals/burials/cremations etc cannot be arranged quickly at that time of year. Two years in a row I missed my first day back at work after the year end break due to attending funerals of people who had died between Christmas and New Year. The ceremonies didn’t – couldn’t – take place until the 6th or 7th at the earliest, mainly due to the backlog which builds up. Janine would have had to kill Barry before Christmas.

Just another small example of the lack of awareness the biggest part of the United Kingdom has for the customs of the smaller. (Don’t get me started on so called Bank Holidays; nor on complaints about Halloween being an import from America.)

Greensleeves

Why was one of my history teachers at school known as “Greensleeves?”
Nothing to do with Henry VIII (of England) who is said to have written the song of that name but may just have nicked the credit and royalties from whoever did write it.

No.

My teacher, I kid you not, wiped his nose – not once, mind, but regularly – by moving his arm across it from his elbow down to his cuff. What else are young lads going to call someone who does that?

The Oxymoron Where I Live

Reading €œThe Fanatic€ recently caused me to reflect on the following question. How much Scottish history was I exposed to at school?

Answer?
Apart from the brochs at Skara Brae in Shetland, which were suitably far off in time as to be uncontentious, absolutely none. Rien. Nada. Zilch.

This is notwithstanding what Ronnie Ancona said on the TV programme, QI, about her experiences in a Scottish school which were apparently somewhat different from mine.

Instead of Scottish history I was taught European history from the Partitions of Poland* onwards through the Peninsular Campaign of the Napoleonic Wars, the Congress of Vienna etc and – nearer home – the Chartists, the Reform Acts, Disraeli and Gladstone; all good and worthwhile (shared) British history certainly, but a bit, distanced, shall we say.

This meant that all that Wars Of Independence/Bannockburn/Flodden/Civil Wars/Covenanting/Darien Disaster/Act of Union/Jacobite Rebellions stuff had to be picked up by osmosis from the surrounding culture, or by myself. There was really a kind of black hole where historical knowledge should have been.

I tried to fill in some of the gaps in my early twenties, sugaring the pill by reading the historical novels of Nigel Tranter (I know, I know, but he spun a good yarn while he was at it.)

I always put the original omission down to the fact that Scottishness was in some way considered second class or else had to be kept down by the establishment (it had not been long before this that pupils in Scotland were physically punished for speaking Scots or using Scots words after all.) That it was feared in some way.

But perhaps it was that I had “€œpassed”€ my qualie (≡ “qualifying” exam; eleven plus) and so went to a Senior Secondary (≡ Grammar School) which was converted to a comprehensive in my last year there, and we were still somehow being trained for Empire – despite the winds of change.

Or maybe it was just the cultural cringe writ small.

Whatever; it didn’€™t work.

Growing up in a Scotland where the vast majority of broadcast media output was geared to the English audience it was just about impossible to be unaware of England and Englishness. But it was not impossible to feel somehow disregarded as a result of this.

Remember there were only 3 UK radio stations till ca 1967 when it became 4 – though there was also a BBC Scottish service (but I don’€™t think it was called Radio Scotland at that time.) The pirate stations were never UK-wide. TV had just the 3 channels – only 2 up until about 1962! – which had the occasional “€œregional”€ opt-outs.

My sense of Scottishness was only reinforced when visiting cousins on England’s south coast and also, after University, by working for two years in Hertford. My home then was in Essex and involved a long commute – by bus; those were different times.

I discovered then that the vast majority of English people knew nothing of Scotland – and cared less.

I came to the conclusion that for most of my life I had lived in an oxymoron – in a state called the United Kingdom that was neither united nor a kingdom.

It’€™s actually two kingdoms, England and Scotland; a principality, Wales; and a province, Northern Ireland. And that does not include those anomalies, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, which recognise the monarch as head of state but are not part of the United Kingdom proper as they don’€™t elect MPs to Westminster. A citizen (sorry, subject of the crown) could be forgiven for being confused.

Maybe that original omission to teach me Scottish history was simply the result of a curriculum choice by the History Dept at the school and pupils elsewhere did receive a grounding in Scottish History as Ronnie Ancona claimed she did; but it still seems bizarre even after all these years.

Was anyone else’€™s experience like this? Or was theirs more like Ronnie Ancona’s?

*My teacher – nicknamed Greensleeves (that may be another post) – wrote this on the board as the Partions of Poland. To much bewilderment at first, quickly followed by derision.

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