Where in Scotland Does Grounds Keeper Willie Come From?

Grounds Keeper Willie

Grounds Keeper Willie

Mostly drunk and angry with mad red hair this Caledonian oath appears an unlikely candidate to be credited with any civic reception.

But no, two of Scotland’s biggest cities, Glasgow and Aberdeen are engaged in a bizarre tug-of-war over the provenance of this belligerent Scottish janitor, who has tormented Bart Simpson for nearly 20 years.

In last week’s  Scotland on Sunday it was revealed that the City Council has claimed the legendary wizard Merlin as having come from Glasgow.  Now the authority has added the fictional caretaker Groundskeeper Willie to its list of Famous Glaswegians.

Now a Groundskeeper Willie appears in the hall of fame alongside such names  as Billy Connolly, Donald Dewar and Lulu.

Evidence of Willie coming from Glasgow appears to stem from an 1997 episode where the Willie finds himself falling for English nanny Shary Bobbins.

After his amorous advances are turned down, Willie laments: “Suddenly the ugliest man in Glasgow wasn’t good enough for her.”

However, the claim is strongly disputed in Aberdeen.

Dave McDermid, Aberdeen Football Club spokesman insisted it was obvious where Willie originated when the handyman nailed his colours to the Reds’ mast, rather than Celtic or Rangers.

Saying: “Anyone who has watched The Simpsons in any detail over the years will know that Groundskeeper Willie is very much a fan of the Dandy Dons and always will be.”

“As much as it may disappoint people in Glasgow we are in no doubt that Willie is a proud Aberdonian.”

The city’s case is strengthened by the 2003 episode ‘Scuse Me When I Miss The Sky’ when Willie is shown awakening from a football-based dream bellowing: “Go Aberdeen!”

In a later episode of The Simpsons ‘ The Dad Who Knew Too Little’ Willie admits that in his youth he was frequently mistaken for the “Aberdeen Strangler”.

However,  both cities may end up disappointed as the episode ‘Lard of the Dance’ showed Willie claiming to be from “North Kilt Town”.

Matt Groening states that Willie was originally meant to be Swedish, but then thought he would be much funnier as a Scot.  Groening says he based much of Willie’s character on Angus Crock, a ferocious kilt-wearing chef from the 80’s Canadian cult series SCTV.

Update: A recent episode of the Simpsons has finally put this debate to bed. In it Willie reveals to Bart that he was from Kirkwall in Orkney, the product of a union between and ‘uppie and a doozie’ two rivals in the famous ‘ba’ game. Well were glad that’s settled.

About Amanda Moffet

I run www.scotclans.com with Rodger Moffet. Live in Edinburgh and love travelling around Scotland gathering stories.

View all posts by Amanda Moffet →

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