Arjen Robben, eh? What does he look like? He's 35 years old and he looks like a wuss. Footballers these days seem to be made out of candy-floss, rose petals and spiders' webs. In the olden days, footballers, proper footballers, would turn out for their clubs in short-sleeved open-necked shirts from August through to May, starting in hot summer, right through the heart of a wet freezing winter and in to next year's spring. Probably the same shirt all season.
"Like A Rolling Stone" has to be the best rock song of all time. Fact.
It's not just me who asserts this. Rolling Stone magazine, who knew a good name when they saw one, agreed. With their usual humility and lack of bombast, they published a 2004 edition entitled, "Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest songs of all time." OK, "definitive" and "of all time" are maybe a little over the top. It clearly wasn't 'definitive', as they subsequently published an updated version in 2010. And 'of all time' works so long as you accept time to have begun in the 1940s. But the main thing is, they agreed with me, both in 2004 and 2010: Bob Dylan's song was rated
And then 48 years after the song's release, a new way of looking at the song emerged.
Well we're specialising in the landlocked countries for opponents at the moment. We've moved from the world's largest landlocked country, Kazakhstan at over 1,000,000 square miles, to the third smallest landlocked (and fifth smallest overall) country in the world, San Marino at 24 square miles. And to pursue the landlocked issue further, San Marino is an enclave, the third smallest, - landlocked and totally enclosed by only one country, in this case Italy. The total population of San Marino is only 33,500 - slightly bigger than Dumfries. So that's set the geopolitical background to today's match.
For the first time ever, tomorrow afternoon (21st March) Scotland will be competing against Kazakhstan in a
football match. This is not the first time that a Scottish
club has played Kazakh opposition. There have been 8 previous meetings and they are very evenly and
symmetrically divided with 3 wins, 2 draws and 3 losses. But we're talking here about national sides, and the
Scots will be pitting their 5.5 million population against the 18.3 million Kazakhs. And it's not just people
numbers where Kazakhstan outweighs Scotland.