On the banks of the Molindinar
I had intended to write an article on the club I hold dear today but events in Glasgow totally changed the mind-set of all of us who call the dear green place home. I had arranged to pick up my daughter and her wee one at the City Chambers at 1.30 this afternoon and as I drove around the Square I saw them walking past the Millennium Hotel and crossing at the lights. They got into the car and as usual the wee yin asked for the ‘Frozen’ CD to be played and we drove off to her singing ‘Let it go.’ Shoppers scurried here and there and the lights twinkled as Christmas music drifted across from the ice rink. All was normal in the fine City of Glasgow, at least for a few moments more….
I don’t pretend to understand why these awful things happen. Far greater minds than mine have struggled to explain the meaning of suffering and death throughout human history. Such events are and always will be a part of life. What is important is that we take the necessary steps to make such events rarer and try to lead our lives in the right manner. We have also seen the spirit of Glasgow again today. This gritty, ballsy city rallies around when its children are hurting. We saw when football fans like ourselves were lost in the awful events at Ibrox Park in 1971. We saw it after the Stockline factory explosion, the Cheapside Street fire, the Clutha Bar accident and other such events. We saw it when our cousins in Liverpool needed a shoulder following the Hillsborough disaster. Glaswegians are a mixture of Lowlanders, Highlanders, Irish and in the last century a hundred other nationalities. They are of all faiths and none, all have helped weave the tartan of this city and each strand has its place in the pattern. They may squabble and argue over football, politics and a hundred other things but they know when things of the magnitude of today’s events occur that they are all Glaswegians, all ‘Jock Thomson’s Bairns.’
On a linked note, I was reading only this morning about the great Inter Milan and Italy striker Sandro Mazzola. His father Valentino was the star striker with the all-conquering Torino team of the 1940s. This side was known as ‘Il Grande Torino’ (The Great Torino) and was on the cusp of winning the Italian League title for a record fifth consecutive season. In May 1949 as they flew home from a friendly in Portugal, the plane crashed killing everyone on board. One of the greatest Italian sides ever was wiped out in a moment. All of Italy was stunned and when Torino could only field their youth team in the final four league matches of the season, their opponents (Genoa, Palermo, Sampdoria and Fiorentina) in a mark of respect and solidarity fielded their youth teams too. Torino won the title.
Sandro Mazzola was just a boy when he lost his dad but like his old man he knew where the net was and wore the number ten shirt as a player. We remember him best for his penalty goal in Lisbon in 1967 but three years previous to that he led Inter to victory over Real Madrid and scored two goals in the European Cup Final. Real Legend Ferenc Puskas gave him his shirt saying to him, ‘I played against your father and he would be proud of you.’ Such sportsmanship and common humanity is touching. Sandro Mazzola like the some of the citizens of Glasgow today suffered a great loss but went on bravely into the future and achieved much.
We can’t begin to imagine the pain some are going through in our city tonight but we can show in our words and actions that we care. John Paul the second, no stranger to pain himself in his later years, said once…’Do not despair for we are an Easter people.’ His faith in this life being a precursor to the life to come was solid and for some that belief sustains them in dark times. For those who are not believers there is comfort in the fact that the common humanity which binds us all together has been demonstrated again by the good people of Glasgow. This old city has been through much since St Mungo built his small church on the banks of the Molindinar burn. Much has changed in the hundreds of years since then but the capacity of Glaswegians to help others has not.
Rest in peace those lost today. God bless those in pain tonight.