Seventeen years on from an in-famous Christmas night-out in Newcastle, Bobby Petta has thrown some fresh light on events.
Famously, or infamously, it led to a Daily Record headline of ‘THUGS AND THIEVES’ that accelerated the decline in circulation of the Glasgow based newspaper. Today the Record sells just over 100,000 copies per day with their influence falling by the month.
During what is now known as the Seville Season the Celtic first team squad travelled down to Newcastle for a Christmas night out. On the case was the Daily Record who sent a photographer as they looked for some tasty pictures to entertain their readers.
What happened during the course of the trip has never quite been established but Johan Mjallby, Neil Lennon, Joos Valgaeren and Petta spent time in a prison cell. At their next home match Celtic displayed the Record front page on the screens at Celtic Park.
As the fall out became apparent the Record tried everything to win back the Celtic supporters that deserted them, it never had any effect with their Battle Bus in Seville the target for fan resentment.
1 hour, 10 minutes, 20 seconds
We were on a Christmas night out, things happen…we were in this club, Buffalo Joe’s. It is what it is – it’s not a strip joint, it’s just a bar.
The police come in. Rab Douglas comes over and says to me, ‘Bobby, the police want to have a chat with you about what happened’.
I said, ‘Okay we can have a chat’ – I was gullible. Yeah, we’ll have a wee chat. I was enjoying myself. Whatever happened, it was nothing. The photographer walks past and I was like, ‘There he is’.
Then he comes back and points at me and is like, ‘That’s him!’ They’re like, ‘Do you want to come to the station for a wee chat?’ I’m like, ‘Aye but how long is it going to take because I want to come back to this party?’
That’s what I said! How did I not know I was going to be held until the f***ing morning? ‘Thugs and thieves’ was the article. It was me, Joos Valgaeren, Johan Mjallby and Neil Lennon. It sounds like you’re going to tell a joke – a Dutchman, a Belgian, a Swede and a Northern Irishman.