Love Street: The birth of the Johannesburg CSC

I was living in South Africa at the time and this was the catalyst for me starting the Johannesburg CSC.

Waking up on the Saturday morning, I remember my late father coming into my room, his excitement about how we were going to win the league that day, somehow helping to soothe my hangover.

I remember agreeing with him how as to how capable we were of getting the goals we required, but no way Hearts would drop points after the 32 game run they’d been on. Anyway I was playing football that day and told my Dad I’d be home to have a beer with him, in time to hear the full time scores come in on the BBC World Service.

I finished football, had a quick shower and me and my fellow Tim Pat Scullion, drove like Lewis Hamilton to get home in time.

When I got home my dad was bouncing as we’d got the 4 goals we needed, I’d had no clue what the score was, in those days in Africa, no mobile phones or World Service on a car radio.

It’s staggering nowadays to think that there was absolutely no way of knowing the score.

In those days the World Service reception was hit and miss, but at that time of the afternoon in Johannesburg a thunderstorm was almost a daily occurrence making it even more difficult to follow anything at all.

There was the commentary from an English match on as was the norm and at the time. I was lying on the carpet with my ear pressed up against the radio, when I heard the anchorman say, “There’s been drama in Scotland, lets go to Dens Park”, or words to that effect.

The next words I heard were “It’s a corner to Dundee”, well that meant only one thing, however the signal went but we started to celebrate not knowing whether Dundee had scored or not.

We calmed down a bit and I remember Pat saying “What if it was cleared and Hearts went up the park and scored?”

At this point my Dad cracked up shouting at us youngsters for having no faith.

The radio signal by this time was virtually non existent, but then as clear as anything we could here the commentator saying it was 2-0 to Dundee!

My dad hit the roof literally, with his beer mug, he jumped up and put the mug right through the plaster ceiling and ripped his hamstring in the process ha ha, we were in stitches and tears of joy.

We hit the local boozer that Saturday night dressed in our Hoops, without my Dad as he was laid up on the couch.

We met another few Tims and sang the night away finishing off the act the boozer had hired for the night and came up with the idea of starting the Joburg CSC.

Our inaugural meeting was in October of 86, when we got a video of the Dinamo Kiev 1-1 draw at CP sent out. We booked a room at a local Holiday Inn and took our video machine into the room.

There was meant to be 10 of us, but news of the event grew and we ended up with 23 in the room that night. We had a bath full of beers packed with ice from the corridor.

As we could see the numbers growing my Dad decided to go down to reception and spot Tims as they were coming in and give them the room number before we got rumbled.

The icing was on the cake was when a big Dubliner mate of mine Niall Traynor arrived after getting a lift in a minibus, he had been at a Togo party the night before and had gone as JC.

He hadn’t bothered to get changed and arrived in Toga, crown of thorns, crucifix over one arm, case of beer in the other, singing the Furitza song Ha ha ha ha, that was the birth of the Johannesburg CSC.

Allan McGroarty


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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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