WHO ARE YA? Miles McClagan, accidental blogger and Tweeter (@TheSkyStrikers)

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1) Who are ya?

Miles McClagan, accidental blogger and Tweeter. living in Tasmania via Ayrshire. Obviously Miles McClagan being a pseudonym since my real hidden name is the same as a famous-ish author. I adopted Miles as a name because he was a typical Scottish tale of sporting hopelessness, a tennis player who was one round away from playing Andre Agassi at Wimbledon one year only to get whipped by a Uruguayan or summat. He’s now a millionaire tennis coach to the stars, so he won that one…

2) Who do you support?

Amid a myriad of obsessions (Liverpool, Parma, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Melbourne Victory, Barcelona etc.) the super soaraway Saints of St Mirren are my one true love.

3) What was your first game?

Aside from an ill advised day as a mascot, my first game as a paying punter was a pre season friendly against Aston Villa at Love St – not an Aston Villa XI as would now come, but proper Aston Villa. David Platt was sub. We scored after 15 seconds through Paul Chalmers and won 1-0 – it was sadly not an omen of things to come to beat a former European Champion at my first game. 7 days later a lumpen, physical, time wasting Dundee United came to Love St and beat us with a scruffy John Clark goal, which was far more typical of my time living in Scotland.

4) What do you do for a job?

Uni student at the moment doing business management, after a short stint working in sports betting, leaving after a heartbreaking tale of a punter who wanted to know why we didn’t offer odds on the WWE…

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

I was tragically awful at football but I did have my moments. I once robbed and blind turned Rangers 93 Cup Final goalscorer Neil Murray in a park kickabout (he returned the favour by winning the ball back through what can only be described as “kicking the shit out of me”).

I also hold the record for the fastest hatrick in North West Coast of Tasmania Six a Side history. Under 10s section. Take that Natone. I also was a founder member of the St Mirren Australian supporters club in the mid 90s, which fizzled out, but did get me a VIP trip with boardroom access to watch a 2-1 home defeat to Cowdenbeath…

6) How did you get into it?

The fanclub thing was thanks to a guy in the much missed “British Soccer Weekly” back in the days when you had to write letters with stamps and wait for replies. I don’t know why it fizzled out. Probably bad timing because we were horrendous in the mid 90s. One year Tony Fitzpatrick said “we’re winning wer ain wee league” of 5th to 7th. We didn’t get a trophy for it though…

As far as the blog goes, that was a pure accident – I literally had a plastic bucket of football programmes sitting gathering dust in a spare room and for some reason found one out on the floor with a terrifying picture of 70s Willie Pettigrew posing with the match mascot at Motherwell. On the opposite page was Joe Wark giving a lassie her prize for winning the quiz – an ABBA greatest hits album. It genuinely made me laugh for some reason.

So I tweeted it out and got some feedback, so it kind of grew from there. Once I found the lost art of football programmes featuring family snaps and “burds”, I had something of a hook. Also have to give a shout out to that Retrospective Punishment Youtube clip of old VHS footage, which kind of inspired me to look at what I had on the bookshelf and bucket.

7) What do you get out of it?

Oh lots. It’s just fun. It’s been hilarious to see some of the old fashions and images. Obviously you can get bogged down just holding up a programme and saying “Cor wasn’t the past funny!” but I think one thing I do like is genuinely bringing some old stuff back and showing it. Things like Tony Curries testimonial against Dennis Watermans XI, the immortal Paul Breitner, Tricia the singing Aberdeen telegram, the Tampa Bay cheerleaders “The Rowdies Wowdies”, and of course The Sky Strikers are things I have genuine affection for. Giving things a moment in the sun and interacting about it and hopefully giving people a laugh are things I love doing. It’s a passion. I didn’t know before I started about things like ‘The Lost World of Football’ and I’ve been able to swap images with people on Twitter (and your good self), which has been excellent fun.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

Easy question – I tweeted out a picture that I thought was genius of an ad in a Southampton programme of a retro photocopier ad that got no feedback so I was a bit miffed. Then I realised I was doing things for the wrong reasons. If you sit and count clicks and hits and followers it’s the wrong reason to do things. I think from that moment on I’ve just things for my own enjoyment and not counted the responses. The best advice is to do things because you enjoy them.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

In a purely football sense I wish Liverpools mid 90s team had won a major trophy. When St Mirren were mince and their results were just a sentence at the end of a World Service report, I genuinely loved that Liverpool team and kind of adopted them as my main team. I wish they’d put the pint glasses and fashion books down and won something. In a personal sense, I guess I wish I’d written a lot more or found a hook a bit earlier. Oh and that I was better at football! Oh and that Cameroon held onto that 2-1 lead against England at Italia 90…

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

God hundreds – immortal St Mirren fan “Tosh”, Robbie Fowler, Maradona (being Scottish it’s mandatory), Victor, Skuhravy, Alessandro Melli, Brolin, Dahlin, Ekeke, Paul Kinnaird, Torben Piechnik, Tricia, Karen Flynn, “Foul Mouthed Fergie” the Hamilton fan – god what a hard question..but my true football hero is Paul Breitner. The man is a genius…

Many thanks ‘Miles’, much appreciated and more power to you.

@TheSkyStrikers

“Collating as many old football images as I can from a random bucket of programmes…”

Read the blog at theskystrikers.wordpress.com

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