The very notion that I could even attempt an adequate adumbration of the last twelve months strikes me as risible.
However, it has become something of a self-imposed tradition here.
As ever when I look back over the past year it is an entirely subjective admixture of the personal, the political, the sporting and the global.
So, this is a review of my 2016.
I do not claim that will be anything other than that.
Therefore, dear reader with those caveats in place and accepted I’ll proceed.
The main work of this site, following on from the predicted death of Rangers in 2012, has been to chart the chaos of Sevco.
Although many on Planet Fitba had reason to snigger at their sitcom type antics the story I published here at the start of this month was not the stuff of comedy.
The state of Ibrox stadium should be a matter of public concern and I believe that I have served the Public Interest.
It is now up to others to proceed with this story, although I will return to it as and when I can.
Of course, that stumbling simulacrum at Ibrox continues to benefit from high-Level puff piece coverage from the stenographers.
Consequently, my work apropos matters Ibrox is not over.
Until the mainstream media start to indulge in journalism regarding Sevco then there will be a need for me to do what I do.
However, I’m mindful that it takes me away from what I think I do best and what certainly engages me.
At the start of 2016, I was up to my neck in a rebellious project.
The great folk at Sweet for Addicts had the first act and I was up against a deadline to give them the second part of my play.
‘Rebellion’ was a love letter to my 1916 lineage.
The play itself was sold out for all the six nights a month before the curtain was raised at the Shed in Glasgow.
It was fitting that it was part of the Saint Patrick’s festival in my native city.
The Dear Green Place still abnormalizes itself apropos matters Irish.
It remains the only major city in the world with an Irish community and yet has no Patrick’s day parade.
It is also the only city to receive large numbers of refugees from An Gorta Mór yet has not marked that fact with an appropriate memorial.
At some point the Irish community will get its respect in Glasgow.
Our day will come.
Until then this Irish Glaswegian reserves the right to point out these uncomfortable facts.
As I do so I’m increasingly convinced that herself and I did the right thing in 1996 when we took the brood to Donegal.
In April I was back home in Ireland and spent much of it in Dublin.
I attended both the official and the non-official commemorations of Easter Week.
During that time, I saw a brilliant piece of local theatre in Ringsend where the local community put on a piece about the battle of Mount Street Bridge.
In the front row were the relatives of the Volunteers who valiantly fought Crown Forces in that engagement of Easter Week.
This was true community theatre and it crackled with authenticity.
The following month the Big Fella and myself were in the front row in the Mall in Westport.
We were there to honour the “Westport 31”.
These were the men who were arrested in the aftermath of the Rising and sent to Frongoch internment camp in Wales.
That former Whiskey distillery had been turned into a POW camp housing German prisoners.
The Kaiser’s lads were then moved out and my lot were moved in.
Among the 31 was a 23-year-old carpenter called Michael Derrig, my Grandmother’s brother.
During my An Phoblacht years, my pen name was ‘Mick Derrig’.
My grandmother used to say that I reminded her of him, in terms of personality and mannerisms.
Therefore, it seemed appropriate to use his name when pseudonyms were de rigueur at that Republican publication.
According to documents released by the British the local Crown Forces alleged that Volunteer Michael Derrig was under arms on Easter Monday awaiting the order to engage the enemy.
He learned well in Wales and when he returned home the next time there would be no uniforms and no parading.
It would be deadly guerrilla warfare and the Brits had no answer to the IRA in the boreens of West Mayo.
The words “Derrig” and “Frongoch” featured in my play as I dramatized what it was like in that university of revolution.
On the day, itself in Westport Uachtarán na hÉireann knocked it out of the park.
The Big Fella is seriously difficult to impress, but he stated to his dad afterward that he was happy to have voted for the Galway man to be his head of state.
Yes, dear reader, I know this voting for your head of state must seem very foreign to you if you’re reading this in Ukania, but we Irish rather like it that way.
Before I headed to Mayo in May I had to seize the moment wherever I was on the 30th of April.
Mayo Day is where the Green and Red are worn wherever we are.
I happened to be on top of a lovely wee mountain in Sligo, so I made sure I was dressed for the occasion.
Yes, yes, we thought 2016 was our year.
I was in the Lower Cusack on September 18th when we gave Dublin two own goals of a start.
The last-minute equaliser from the boot of Cillian O’Connor was mighty, but the replay was another heartbreak.
A single point…
It’s been a long road since 1951, but we’re Mayo and we go again.
In 2017 we’ll believe once more.
April 2016 saw Sevco have their finest hour in their four-year existence when they defeated Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final on penalties.
However, in their celebrations, the Blue Room chaps Hibbsed it.
It is fair to say that they rather over did the dignity and Dermot Desmond is not a man to take humiliation lying down.
It was the end of the heated driveway for the untitled director of football experiment at Celtic and the new manager Brandan Rodgers is in full charge of all team matters.
The same could not be said of the likable Norwegian who just couldn’t cope with the pressure of the job or being constantly undermined by the man in the sharp suit.
If Celtic supporters feel happy that Brendan Rodgers is their manager, then the events in the aftermath of that Scottish Cup semi-final are key to that recruitment.
The turnaround in the performance of players who under-performed for Ronny Deila is remarkable.
In the final, itself two Celtic loan signings proved crucial for Hibernian.
Anthony Stokes destroyed the Sevco defence and the set piece delivery of Liam Henderson undid the best laid plans of the Admirable Warburton.
The aftermath of the final was shameful and those events are now the subject of live proceedings.
The financial gap between the champions of Scotland and the four-year-old institution at Ibrox is massive.
Perhaps a Tina Turner tribute act will rework an old Ibrox faithful:
‘Simply the second best’.
It is all they can hope for while General Ashley remains enraged and Dermot Desmond is engaged.
Pissing off TWO billionaires was not the smartest move by the new regime at Sevco.
The Engine Room Subsidiary might have the occasional day when they defeat their larger neighbours, but in the marathon of the league, they have no chance.
However, that is not acceptable to a fan base that is soothed on dreams of triumphalism.
The new regime keep the Sevco show on the road by selling futures in cultural supremacism.
It is a tacky marketing strategy that will eventually run out of road.
In the absence of success on the field Poppy Porn won’t be enough for The People.
to keep the Sevco show on the road.
Ultimately it is the fans who are bankrolling the current Ibrox operation.f course, this would happen a lot quicker if the local media did their job instead of being stenographers for high-Level pish.
If the supporters lose heart and stay away then the chaps in the Blue Room have no cash reserves to fall back on.
Of course, this would happen a lot quicker if the local media did their job instead of being stenographers for high-Level pish.
In September order was restored in the universe and Celtic thrashed Sevco 5-1.
Evening the lightning quick Philippe Senderos could not prevent the deluge.
In the aftermath of the defeat, The People responded within the accepted mores of their sub-kulchurr.
Even Monsieur Barton could not stop Les Celtic that day.
The hilarious departure of the French-speaking midfielder had all of Planet Fitba sniggering at the amateurs in the Blue Room.
On the 22nd of June, I went to sleep in my father’s town believing that the people of Britain would get their sensible on and remain in the European Union.
I woke up to find out that they had got all ethnic and stuff when I was asleep.
In the six months since that vote it would appear that racists in England feel that that they have been written a permission slip to abuse and victimise anyone who doesn’t look like them.
It brought back the memories of what I was told by my mother about the signs my father saw when he landed there in the 1950s:
“no blacks, no dogs, no Irish”.
Now it appears that the new victims are Polish people and anyone who is visibly of the Islamic faith.
I have a neighbour in Donegal, originally from Poland and he told me his brother was set upon in London in the week after the vote.
His apparent crime against his host country was that he was speaking Polish on his mobile in a public place.
His assailants let him know that he should pack his bags and go home.
My neighbour told me that his brother had made London his home for many years, working several jobs and contributing to society.
I told him that his sibling would be very welcome here, we’re kinda short of people.
Do to certain historical events we’ve lost lots of people over the centuries.
There have been reported incidents of women in Hijabs being abused in public by these latter-day crusader types.
Shameful on so many levels.
In the days before Brexit, the vote Jo Cox MP was murdered by Thomas Mair.
Her killer was a fascist from central casting and originally from Kilmarnock.
I had hoped that her tragic death would give people in Britain a pause to consider the xenophobic rhetoric of the Leave campaign.
Now the British government now must deliver ‘Brexit’, whatever the fuck that really means.
On my island, it has brought the possibility of a hard border back onto the table.
One of the hilarious unintended consequences of the UK heading for the Brexit door in Europe was the rush in Norn Iron for Irish Passports.
The Irish state has had to hire hundreds more staff to process an unprecedented number of applications from the Six Counties.
The hilarity comes from the fact that, most of these wannabe Irish citizens are called Daphne and Mervyn.
For the avoidance of doubt, they’re very welcome.
Céad mile fáilte…
When Daphne and Mervyn travel to the continent of Europe in the years after Brexit they will present a document that says that they are, like your humble correspondent, ‘Éireannach’, Irish.
However, if any Taig is within earshot no doubt Pádraig or Siobhán will be put right that these fine folks visiting the continent are still ‘Bratash’ from the ‘Pravince’.
In not so many years the demographic tipping point will be reached in the part of this country still owned by Britain.
Then the mood music in the Six Counties will be changed, changed utterly.
Equality is toxic to the Loyalist sub-culture.
Only Jamie Bryson and Willie Frazer can save The People now.
Once the tribal numbers are there in black and white in the census data of 2021 then the heat will be turned up on the constitutional issue once more.
Of course, the Ulsturr Scatch do rather identify with Fair Caledonia, but an independent Scotland they see as an existential threat to their sense of themselves.
It is interesting to see how Nicola Sturgeon has become a hate figure among Loyalists in the Six Counties.
It is beyond any discussion that they see the Holyrood administration one of the bad guys in their worldview.
I find it deliciously ironic that these descendants of the ‘Tartan Gangs’ now fear Perfidious Alba.
In 2016 a fire was lit under the First Minister Arlene Foster.
What is interesting about the Renewable Heating Initiative (RHI) scandal was that it was entirely of her own doing.
That story still has legs and two experienced Stormont watchers told me just last week that they don’t expect Ms Foster to survive this.
On the other side of that enforced coalition Martin McGuinness has serious health issues and it is expected that he will step down before long.
He will be a tough act to follow.
My own preference for Deputy First Minister would be Conor Murphy from South Armagh.
I’ve met the man, stayed in his house and I can attest that he’s made of the right stuff.
At the start of November, I had a perfectly enjoyable sojourn in Lisbon for a week wearing the NUJ jersey at the Web Summit.
My base of operations was a delightful little apartment in Bairro Alto, my favourite part of that city.
I first wandered those narrow cobbeld streest in 1974 on a school trip, ach mar a deirtear sin e scéal eile.
Like the Brexit vote I retired for the night thinking that the pollsters couldn’t be wrong and that Hillary Rodham Clinton would be the 45th President of the United States of America.
When I awoke, I found out that instead the cool black dude would be succeeded by an orange man.
Donald Trump was backed by the Klan, so it kind of fits.
Even Stateside you will know them by their noise.
His successful election campaign had a Famine Song/ We Are The People vibe to it and he got out the local Sevco vote.
I just hope that his campaign rhetoric was just so much BS and that he leaves the task of governing to calm professionals.
The alternative is unthinkable.
The big winner in the November election was Vladimir Putin.
He now appears to have a free hand in Syria now to carve out what he has wanted for years, his own Israel.
This year the poor suffering people of Aleppo huddled among the ruins of the new Guernica.
The week after I returned from the Portuguese capital this site passed an important milestone when it won the ‘Best International’ category at the Football Blogging Awards.
The site was voted as the fans’ choice, so that was especially affirming.
To all of ye who voted míle buíochas!
As the year was ending, just like twelve months ago, I was immersed in another major writing project.
My debut novel “The Squad “will be published next summer by Frontline Noir.
The draft manuscript is almost ready to hand over to the editor.
The project started on a train journey from Dublin to Cork a decade ago.
I was traveling to the Rebel county to see a fine man about my first book.
He is now a Sinn Féin TD and Deputy Pat Buckley will one of the first names on the invite list for the book launch.
I hope ‘The Squad’ grabs you when you get your hands on it.
As the year ends the most important thing of my 2016 is that the brood continues to grow and thrive. Number One Daughter is now a 21-year-old and Baby Doctor is seeing out her last couple of months as a teenager.
I remarked recently to the Bean a Tí that in reality we never had teenagers to contend with.
Our three seemed to have been for sensible implants at some point of the proceedings.
If it’s inherited, then they got that from their mother.
I can claim no credit for that whatsoever.
The Big Fella is planning his next move and we may lose him to East Asia.
Japan and South Korea seem to be on his itinerary.
My millennials are global citizens in a way that I can’t grasp.
However, Baby Doctor has already stated an aspiration to be a GP down the country with her brood playing Gah for the local parish.
She has so much of Julia Derrig, my Mayo grandmother, in her.
This DNA stuff is rather impressive I must say.
I’m seeing in the New Year in my father’s town, another little tradition I’ve invented over the past few years.
As a belated Christmas, present I was given this handmade thing of beauty.
Connolly’s words, written in the late 19th century, are as relevant today as they are prescient.
In the year that we remembered his leadership and sacrifice a century ago people in Dublin queue in line for a foodbank.
Meanwhile, some good people took over an empty building, owned by NAMA, and they turned it over to the homeless.
Rough sleeping is now at unprecedented levels in the Irish capital.
A fact that should shame us all.
In many ways, 2016 was an awful year on our small fragile planet.
We can only hope that good sense prevails among the those in positions of power and that they act with good authority.
If they don’t then events on this island a century ago should serve to remind us that real change comes from the bottom, not from the top.
History is made when ordinary people seize a historical moment.
The story of human progress is about the re-structuring of fundamental relationships within society and not, as Marx observed, “high-sounding dramas of princes and states”.
Well, that was my 2016, although I’m sure I will have forgotten something important along the way.
Anyway, thanks for being along for the ride.
This site had 9.17m page views during this year and since I moved to a new hosting company in the summer of 2011 this site has had 37m overall.
It was heartening to see that the stats for October and November were both over 1m for each month.
So not too shabby at all.
This just underlines to me that this site is an accidental success that continues to serve a need.
I try to shine a light on the parts of Planet Fitba that the stenographers are told to avoid.
Until they indulge in journalism I will continue this work with your support and assistance.
I certainly couldn’t do it without you.
Dear reader, I hope that 2017 will be good to you and yours.
Slán go fóill.