Hooping It Up!
Jim Still Inspired By Iconic Home-City Venues
Almost six months have passed since we beat the drum on here for Debbie and Jim McCalliog and expressed the fervent hope that some of our readers might be able to support them as the holiday trade began to get back on its feet.
Now, we are delighted to report that we have spent a memorable few days at their bed and breakfast establishment in Ayrshire – and were preceded by a couple of weeks by two exiled Wolves supporters.
Football has been at the heart of our stay, of course, with a Europa League visit to Celtic’s Europa League win on Tuesday and one to Rangers’ victory by the same score against Brondby tonight – momentous enough occasions to prompt us to already arrange a revisit later in the season.
We didn’t go without good company or glimpses of big names at Celtic Park either. Our hosts are regulars there and pointed out Parkhead heroes Danny McGrain and Bobby Gould’s son, Jonathan, outside the magnificent stadium before kick-off.
“I was a Clyde fan as a boy because that was the nearest club to where we lived in the Gorbals,” Jim said. “My parents certainly wouldn’t let me near an Old Firm derby!
“I am neutral but Debbie is from a family of Celtic supporters and takes me along now. Because I didn’t sign for any Scottish clubs, I missed out on playing at a lot of the grounds up here but did play at Celtic when I was 12 in a schools fixture.
“It’s not a bad place to watch your football and I still love being linked to the game and talking about it to ex-players and supporters from all clubs.
“I have just had the pleasant task of sending a copy of my autobiography to each of those individuals who kindly provided a recollection about me at the back of the book.
“So we had a call from one of the Lisbon Lions, Bobby Lennox, yesterday and we went off tonight to surprise one of my PE teachers from school, who is in his 80s and has a meet-up with some pals once a week.”
Tuesday afternoon’s game inspired more Molineux memories, with Ferencvaros in opposition. McCalliog was captain when Wolves narrowly beat the Hungarians over a highly entertaining UEFA Cup semi-final in 1972.
He and his wife had a tough time over lockdown, with tourist business grinding to a halt and the sources of help that laid-off workers in other sectors were able to tap into proving frustratingly out of their reach.
They are now cheerfully back in the familiar routine at their Langside B & B in Fenwick, though, and loving the whirr of engagements that have come with the publication of Wembley Wins, Wembley Woes.
We have been contacted by more than half a dozen Wolves fans asking us to obtain signed copies for them during this trip and trust the author will be well into the reprint when we return in the spring.