And while the rest of the world was watching the latest round of games at Euro 2012 the date of June 14, 2012 was added to my memory bank. Harry Redknapp was sacked by Spurs and Rangers Football Club was liquidated. I knew it was going to be a special day when I got up and my voice mail, text messaging, and email inbox were inundated with friends and football acquaintances asking me how I felt. How did I feel? Is that a rhetorical question?
I don’t like Harry Redknapp, never have, but I endured him being the manager of my beloved Tottenham Hotspur. Yes, he has had a successful spell in charge of the club and I will be reluctantly appreciative of the fact that a Spurs team managed by him produced some excellent football. Still, I am not unhappy that he has gone. I am elated. Sure there is a chance that the new manager takes us backwards, but as long as he represents Tottenham with class and dignity and understands the ethos of the club, the reputation for playing attractive football, and acts with the humbleness of Bill Nicholson, I will gladly back him.
For 140 years Celtic and Rangers have shared a rivalry that came to be known as the Old Firm. Any Celtic fan of my generation grew up with the backdrop of the sectarianism that surrounded the rivalry. As the Souness and Smith eras unfolded the sense of dread of Rangers doing 10-in-a-row grew with each title they won. Celtic were run with a biscuit tin mentality and the Rangers board, players, fans, and a compliant media reveled in the clubs malaise especially in 1994 when Celtic nearly went bankrupt.
Sir Dave Murray, he of the knighthood soon to be rescinded once sarcastically said that “for every five pounds Celtic spend, we will spend ten.” It was such a sentiment that endeared Murray and Rangers to a success starved Celtic support. With the grace of God, the combined efforts of Fergus McCann, Henrik Larsson, Wim Jansen, and Martin O'Neill Celtic put Rangers in their place and made a mockery of Murray's arrogant statement.
So now the date of June 14, 2012 has been added to all the other celebratory moments in my lifetime. Harry departing Spurs was always on the cards be it this year or sometime in the immediate future, but the realist Celtic fan in me never thought the day would come when Ranges ceased to exist. There is something wrong when death can bring so much joy, but such is the power that football rivalry holds over supporters that the schadenfreude is easy to understand.
So on the day that Fernando Torres scored two against the worst team at the Euros and Andrea Pirlo scored the first direct free kick in the tournament, please forgive me for ignoring those seminal moments to celebrate the departure of Harry Redknapp and the decease of Rangers Football Club.
What a day!