Alan Pattullo: Altogether now - ‘Follow follow we will follow Club 12’
BY MIDDAY yesterday, they had a Twitter account, an official club badge and some natty pink ‘third kits’. Now all that is needed is a manager and some players and then Club 12 will be sorted. Ready, certainly for a tricky-looking away encounter at Club Killie’s Rugby Park, in what promises to be an entertaining edition of Surprise Surprise, Scottish football-style.
Draw back the tunnel screens, and it’s ... Rangers. No, it’s The Rangers. No, hang on, it’s a deeper, darker shade of blue. It’s Dundee! Help, maybe that’s the new Dunfermline away strip. Or perhaps Club 12 might be willed into existence, becoming a nomadic side of out-of-contract drifters and outcasts gathered together each match day by Jimmy Calderwood, attracted back to football by the thought of a re-introduced winter break.
Club 12 have already being linked to players. Chic Charnley was yesterday said to be considering an offer to come out of retirement, wielding a Samurai sword. Robbie Keane was described as having had his head turned by mention of “Club 12”, the team he had supported all his life. And there is already a club motto: “Football by numbers”.
You couldn’t make it up. No, you could. And the Scottish Premier League did, conjuring up the name Club 12 from the air and inserting them in the fixture list for 2012-13. There was little by way of explanation. Visitors to the SPL’s own website were met by the sight of a league table, where Club 12 are already handily placed in third position.
They will host St Mirren on the second weekend of the season. Where? Area 51, someone suggested on Twitter.
The most recent addition to Scottish football’s landscape since Annan Athletic joined the happy gang, Club 12 quickly built up a presence yesterday. By the end of the day, they had more than 900 Twitter followers. Annan themselves would be glad of such ferociously loyal support. Inevitably, Club 12 have attracted the haters too. “F*cking scumbags”, wrote one visitor to their Twitter site. Rivalries have already been born. It fair warms the heart. Not everyone has taken an instant dislike to these interlopers, however.
The pop-up club’s existence quickly caught the eye of the great and the good. Danny Baker, the Radio 5 live DJ, was attracted by the cryptic-looking fixture list, publishing a link to it on his own Twitter feed. Popular terrace songs were being hastily re-written: “Bring on the Hearts, the Hibs, the Cluuuuub 12”.
Many noted that the newly-formed club have been handed a plum fixture against Celtic on Boxing Day – when an Old Firm derby is due to be staged. Conspiracy!
If Dundee do take the place of Rangers, there will need to be some cross-street negotiations with their neighbours, who are due to play at home on the same day as ‘Club 12’ on numerous occasions. What a mess.
“All fixtures and kick-off times are subject to change,” ran the usual disclaimer, though the SPL might have thought to include an additional caveat – “and teams”. For the time being, Club 12 will have to do, though, as time draws on, and issues are fudged further, who would bet against Club 12 taking the field in Kilmarnock, roared on by their legions of Twitter followers? Come on you Dozens!
So what exactly is Club 12? Judging by a quick trawl through the internet, it is an alcohol recovery centre in San Antonio, Texas, and a rather exotic looking club night in Florida, where Tuesday nights are “amateur nights” and “the ladies drink free all night long”. Confusingly, Club 12 are also a football team in Paraguay’s Segunda Division.
“I don’t think we’ve ever played a team from Paraguay before,” one Kilmarnock supporter informed me yesterday. Club 12 de Octubre (to give them their Sunday name) were formed in 1914, on 14 August strangely enough, and play in blue and white stripes. This means they will need to don their away strip if required to relocate to balmy Ayrshire on 4 August for the big kick off. Away trips to Itaugua in deepest South America certainly place a journey to Dingwall in perspective.
Of course, everything is due to become a bit clearer on 4 July, when the SPL chairmen and chief executives finally sit down to vote on Rangers’ future, the hand of history resting on their shoulder. Club 12’s short history will likely be expunged, unless they decide to come back as a newco, and make life really difficult.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
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Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
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Wind direction: North west