The 1980s were his


The 1980s were his.  He arrived in Spain for the 1982 World Cup with his reputation as the game’s hottest talent already established.  Argentina’s tournament ended after three defeats and two wins, a disappointing return for reigning champions, Diego Maradona was a let down for many, but on the ball, he was different to every other player at the tournament.  Diego was a talent.

This before the era of mass television coverage of leagues around the world.  Whereas now, we evaluate the game’s greats based on their domestic and Champions League performances, then, assessments were made at World Cups.

Diego spent two years with Barcelona after that tournament, where he endured brutality never seen since, consequentially, he could do nothing to put Barca at the top of the league.  His longest stay at any club, seven years, was at Napoli, where he led them to their only two Serie A titles, only double and only European trophy.

He will forever be the King of Naples; a hero who lifted a poor city above their prosperous rivals, but it was there he interacted with organised crime and drugs, the latter had a profound impact on the rest of his life.

As kids say, “Messi is the GOAT”, his stats are difficult to doubt, but what Maradona did at the 1986 World Cup has never been matched.  He inspired a team and a nation to the trophy, scoring what is regarded as the greatest goal of all time in the quarter final, a goal almost as good in the semi and an assist for the winner in the final.  We loved him, almost everyone did.

At the 1990 World Cup in Italy, he called on his Naples public to support him in the semi-final against their mostly northern-Italian counterparts.  The Neapolitans supported Italy, much to his annoyance, but the hosts were eliminated on penalties.  Diego, carrying an injury, with several years of living the lowlife/highlife, was in another World Cup Final.

There the fairy-tale ends.  The final was a turgid affair, settled by a late West German penalty.  Worse was to come at USA ‘94, when he was sent home after two games for failing a doping test.  Excuses flowed, for the first time I was disappointed in our hero.  It was an accident caused by his trainer, then it wasn’t an accident, Fifa granted him an exception to take the drug, which they reneged on.  It did not matter to the world that he put his hand up in 1986, but he should done the same in 1994 and accepted responsibility, instead of blaming those less powerful than him.

He did not spread the gospel of the game to new countries, like Pele, nor did his impact on the sport match Cruyff’s, but there was simply no greater entertainer in the world than Diego Maradona.

Best news of the week: “Jullien and Elhamed are in contention to start”, says Neil Lennon.  These are the games we should use to get players fit, let’s hope we see Chris back where he belongs tonight.  I would give Elhamed a run out too, Frimpong is overdue some R&R.

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  1. For what it’s worth… Bain (has saved two pens something barkas would only dream of doing for us…. Not that I think Bain is any great shakes……. Elhamed… Julien Ajer.. Laxalt


    Christie.. Brown.. Mcgregor… Moi..


    …… Ntcham…. Eddie

  2. prestonpans bhoys on

    BIG WAVY on 26TH NOVEMBER 2020 2:00 PM



    Lenny is like WGS. Stubborn and a bit of ‘ you’ll not tell me how to pick a side’



    You I expect Broony in and young Frimpong at RB. One up front with any choice of midfielder beside him.




  3. Cutting home last night under the bridge that links Gorbals Street wae Hospital Street, the site workers were leaving the rebuild of the Citizens theatre and heading home. Looking like its nearing completion I exchanged a few unimportant words with a couple of the ‘more mature’ lads.



    They finished with the oft heard phrase used on building renovations across the land….”We know where aw the bodies are buried now”.



    I forced a wee laugh….they didn’t!



    Back in the seventies (not sure when it shut) there was a pub there called “The Clelland”.



    As the UVF faction in Bridgeton got mair an’ mair beelin, they decided to dro off a bomb or two in what they deemed republican pubs. They believed they were going to Derry Trainors but left their package in the Clelland (Blame the schools)!



    Five people got injured.



    Nine including their top man “Big Bill” Campbell were arrested, found guilty and jailed.



    Although the incident seen the total collapse of ‘organised’ UVF support in Bridgeton, rumours abounded that there were another six perpetrators unaccounted for! It seemed that they had disappeared of the face of the earth and no trace had been found for the last 41 years.



    I sarcastically asked the workmen if that was the old unsubstantiated rumour to which they were alluding with their ‘bodies buried’ statement!



    They clammed up and as all but one of them crossed the road, the straggler whispered to me….”Be here tomorrow about 12.30ish…..bring your camera”.



    Well no way was I missing that…so today just about 2 hours ago I strolled again under the bridge, passed the murals of Benny Lynch and Allan J Pinkerton, and there beyond my wildest expectations emerged from the dust and stour shrouded building site…….






    Hail Hail




  4. Have to say bugs me seeing many quote Ntcham in the team



    Have you watched him recently ?


    Completely given up, no great effort or willingness to fight for the cause



    He can GTF for me



    I want players who want to be part of Celtic

  5. matt, your a torment so you are, i went past there couple of weeks ago, the new houses and the redevelopment are quite nice, I like what they are doing.

  6. Matt Stewart ! 1:45pm and 2@23pm



    2:23pm made me smile; 1:45pm made me laugh.


    A pleasant change from my response to the posts from the experts.


    In fairness, I only read a small part then scroll by so maybe their openings are not reflective of the whole post…..but I don`t think that will be the case :-)

  7. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Big Wavy @ 1:45pm



    100% agree with you.



    Messi is a legend but failure with Argentina (not just not winning but a general failure to shine?) will form a small part of his legacy.



    As for Pele, I often compare Argentina 86 with Brazil 66.



    Both were ordinary teams with a single superstar. Diego got it done. Pele didn’t.



    To be clear, Pele (IMHO) is a legend and the undoubted star of brilliant Brazil teams of 1958, 1962 and 1970.

  8. 12/5 Sparta; 21/20 Celtic.



    I hope I am not encouraging anyone to bet ut why are Celtic such strong favourites?


    Incidentally, they were favourites as soon as the betting opened so the odds cannot be explained away by saying that lots of money must have been put on Celtic resulting in the current 21/20 odds.

  9. I assume we are not up against their youth team again tonight? So, in theory, they will be a fair bit better than the team who humiliated us so easily.



    Lenny, Brown and Calmac have an opportunity to put their words into action tonight. Show some unity, passion, hunger, drive . . . Fingers crossed we are not on here this evening fuming at the same old, same old.



    1-4 at home to the pot 4 team was one of the worst scores in our European history. The fact they were without a swathe of first team players might make it the worst, certainly in my memory.



    Can we turn the corner?

  10. I think the 86 world cup was the last great, festival of football edition



    Up to then we had not seen a lot of the great players on TV and some of the teams as well



    even a lot of the coaches had only sketchy knowledge of the opposition and their tactics



    A bit like cars, teams all look the same to an extent now



    Most boring team in 86 was Scotland unfortunately!



    1990 is by a mile the worst footballing tournament (IMO) but is fondly remembered if your team were boring but beat expectations e.g. Ireland QF, England SF, Argentina F



    I struggle to remember much from 1994 onwards. Maybe you only love the ones when you were young


    82 is still my favourite

  11. Bhoy From The Boyne on

    Thoughts on January transfer window?



    I want to see another RB to compete with Elhamed as 1st choice. This would allow more flexibility in systems too. Assuming results pick up and NL is still our manager, I expect he will also look to bring in another midfielder for more combat in the midfield. Think of Kayal, Brown, Wanayama, Ledley etc back 1st time around.



    Here is hoping this team goes on a run like that 2011/12 team. Somebody reminded me yesterday that team won 18 or their next 19 games following 3-3 Killie & Hibs draws that season.

  12. Neil


    If you always do what you always did you’ll always get what you always got.



    Time for a few changes

  13. B toB @ 2:56pm.



    I have grown the impression over the years that the Greatest Player Ever opinion is governed very much by whoever the world Superstar was in our impressionable youth.


    When I was very young, we were TOLD that Mount Everest was the highest mountain in the World and Stanley Matthews was the best player in the World. They were put to us as facts !



    Puskas was the next GPE then came my own favourite ,Pele. After that, we had Cruyff,Maradonna,Messi/Ronaldo.


    We also had players like De Stefano ,Eusebio and Beckenbauer and probably others I have forgotten.


    My overall point is that the Greatest Player of All Time is a matter of opinion and that opinion is greatly influenced by one`s age.

  14. lets all do the huddle on

    you would think one of the small benefits of us being in our current predicament would be that you would get a good price on us to win in games like tonight’s



    but Bet365 have us at evens and Sparta at 23-10



    how can they come up with those prices?

  15. Bhoy From The Boyne



    On RBs. Ralston is still at the club. He compared poorly against Lustig but possibly has a chance vs Frimpong for a game.


    hasn’t been near a squad or out on loan but is only 22. He neds to be punted or given a last chance



    i don’t believe you need a combative centre mid. most ‘real’ tackles are a yellow card these days. You need energy, positional sense and work in tandem with the other 1 or 2 you play with



    McGregor fits in well with Scotland in this role with McGinn and Jack. He is ‘covering’ a lot of the time at Celtic



    All the top teams in Europe has ball players with a good brain and engine in centre mid and are well drilled.


    I think the days of being able to block, tackle , short pass but can’t cross , run or shoot are gone. Same with the guys who can only do the reverse.



    2 years ago i wanted Christie in the middle but further back and McGregor further forward. I haven’t changed my view . Christie needs to learn to pass and McGregor to tackle and you have 2 brilliant players



    Can’t wait for the game now. Just gave a tutorial online there which went well and i got good feedback on a process doc i wrote. All good things come in 3s!!



    Hail Hail

  16. Bhoy from the Boyne



    “Cal Mac & Duffy running into each other against AC Milan. These aren’t traits of player laziness….they are symptoms of lack of shape & organisation or ‘tactical culture’ to play on NL’s words. That’s ultimately on NL for me. ”



    It has to be more than an assertion to convince me that two players running into each other was down to managerial shape (or lack of it). In millions of games, all over the world, there are retreating midfielders running back towards their own goal to help out their defence. The vast majority of them manage to avoid taking each other out of the game, even at under-11 level or in the Women’s Game. Callum can see what is ahead of him – Duffy and an opposition player. Callum can see where the space is. It is an action he has performed thousands of times in his long career, and the same is true of Duffy.



    Yet Neil lennon made them bump into each other???



    That’s a reach and a half in logic.




    And as for 45 minutes of tactical astuteness in the Lille game?



    Where and who did that come from?



    Where did it go to if it was not evident at any other time in our season?



    How do you acquire temporary tactical astuteness? Is it like Covid and you only get it if you are in the vicinity of a foreign coach or an Irishman whose brother sings Country and Western?




    Or was the bump a careless accident by tired players.



    And is your perception of the presence of tactics in one half f one game not another example of confirmation bias and basing the evidence on the result achieved?



    I know what William of Occam would say

  17. I went to the 1982 World Cup, aged 16. Stayed in Torremolinos as part of an AT Mays package trip in a nice 4 star hotel. First trip away without the parents. What an adventure.


    Jonny Rep was staying in the hotel with some other Dutch colleagues, as well as John Bond and Kevin Bond (manager and player at Norwich at the time) and Sean McMenemy (son of Lawrie). Alex Ferguson would drop by to meet friends of his. We’d all play 5s in the late afternoon. I remember the Bonds shouting themselves hoarse for Scotland against Brazil. And looking on in wonder as we roared on whoever was playing against England.



    The highlight was standing behind the goal in Seville against Brazil when we took the lead. What a feeling! Losing 4-1, oh well.


    Beating New Zealand 5-2 was expected. Drawing with Russia 2-2 cost us progression and we had the team to win. Usual Scottish team selection issues cost us.



    But, all in all, one of the greatest and most memorable holidays of my life.

  18. SFTB


    ` even at under-11 level or in the Women’s Game.`



    I`m off before the trouble starts !!


    Cheerio for now.



    PS I am reasonably (and genuinely) confident of a victory tonight.




    Anybody who calls Messi a “failure” with Argentina clearly doesn’t watch much of Argentina (save for the World Cup games).



    Aside from being their all-time top scorer, look at the stats from when Messi plays to when he doesn’t. If anything, Argentina are over-reliant on him. They have played in three major finals with a distinctly average side and he has single-handedly dragged them there. They looked like missing out of the last World Cup after Messi was banned and they dropped vital points only for Messi to come back in the last game and score a hat-trick against Bolivia.



    And let’s not forget the team element. Watch the 1986 final when Maradona plays a brilliant through-ball to Burrachaga who goes on to score the winner against West Germany. Maradona becomes a World Champion and his status is secured.



    Then watch the 2014 final when Messi plays a great ball to Higuain (also against Germany) who fluffs his lines (Higuain also missed penalties in the Copa Final against Chile). Put Higuain in the 86 team and Burrrachaga in this team and would things be different? We could’ve been looking at Messi and Argentina winning three consecutive tournaments and being called “dominant”. All ifs and buts, I know but fine margins.



    Now, I’m not saying Messi is as good as Maradona and personally, Maradona for me is the greatest ever.



    However, I do take issue with people who call Messi a “failure” with Argentina when the same label isn’t thrown at Puskas, Cruyff, Best, Di Stefano, Weah…etc who equally won nothing at international level.

  20. prestonpans bhoys on

    DENIABHOY on 26TH NOVEMBER 2020 3:33 PM



    I was at the back of that stand, mainly Spaniards since I bought the tickets from local supermarket. We were not popular since they didn’t distinguish us from English. They had supported the spanish speaking nation during the Falklands war😱




    I suppose the argument is that it means more to win a World Cup by inspiring a largely average side as opposed to playing in a team that would’ve won it without you – which Brazil pretty much did in 1962.

  22. I’m pretty sad about Maradona dying. He was my favourite player of all time. Strong and brave with brilliant technique. I saw him once – Milan vs Napoli in 1990. He was fat then, a few months before Italia 90. Milan spanked them 3-0 but he still did the best bit of skill I’ve ever seen.



    His popularity I think was down to his genius, his bravery and in a lot of places because he was seen as a man of the people. Coming out of dire poverty to become a world icon happens but he was always very vocal about the plight of the poor. He fought against injustice and was a friend of Castro and Chavez. RIP Diego.

  23. Bhoy From The Boyne on

    SFTB @ 3:29pm



    Haha, we will agree to disagree.


    I have been lurking as long as you have been posting and I enjoy your posts. So I think I know where this is going ;-)



    Here is hoping for a win tonight and 11 players not chasing the ball like schoolboys :-0

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