My uncle Billy was a handsome *un…and a thouroughly good guy, he was a proud bluenose and loved his ‘Gers.

My father died at the young age of 47 in the stand at Celtic Park in ’76 during a Huns game. Jock Stein and 8 or 9 of the Lions attended the funeral in Ardrossan. Billy came up from England, he had travelled up with only the train fare to his name, borrowed a fiver from me, the 20yr old “man of the family now” (and probably a few others) “to buy Big Jock a pint”, that was Billy.

I moved to Englandshire coincidentally 20 miles from him. Hogmany was special again but his extensive collection of “bluenose records were never played in my company, no matter how drunk he was, a gentleman.

He introduced me to golf and I would sneak out to travel the 20 miles to Telford to have a round or two and the inevitable session at the 19th once or twice a week.

He was a lovable rogue, the women called him the black sheep of the family but being in his company was the best.

In the days before mobile phones my wife on noticing me missing would be on the phone to the golf club asking if I was there, he took the phone off the barman and said in a thick accent ” he has been keednapped by bandits from Mehico. you must breeng a ransom by car and take him away at closing time”.

In the mid 90s I found myself helping to nurse him through his last few months with Pancreatal cancer. When wheeling him through town in his wheelchair I had to avoid shop windows so he wouldn’t see his now withered reflection.

In his last days he perked up a little and he wanted a trip so I put a bed in my dining room for him to sleep over.

I’ll never forget as long as I live his reaction when the double butler doors were opened to reveal a room decked in green and white, a Celtic duvet and pillows, Celtic scarf and tammy on the bed posts, a tricolour on the wall bed and Lisbon Lions book to read on the bedside.

“You’ll no get me in that room! I’ll die fighting in the chair” but there was a smile on his face. I stripped the room and settled him down but left the Lisbon book.

I was at his bedside when he died a few weeks later, towards the end, with what little strength he had, he winked at me.

A week or so later I found the Lisbon book hidden in the folds of the curtains, how he found the strength to hide it there I’ll never know.

My uncle Billy was a handsome hun…and a thouroughly good guy, he was a proud bluenose.

Written on CQN by Floating’ (thanks again for permission to use on CQN Magazine).

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