Category Archives: News

The 1948 Great Britain Olympic Football Team.

Very recently, the Scottish Football Museum has paid tribute to Queen’s Park Football Club on their 150th anniversary with a Queen’s Park exhibition. There are multiple items within this gallery which the public often ask about with curiosity and enthusiasm, however, one football top in particular has led to people inquiring, “what is the story behind the 1948 GB Olympics Football jersey worn by an Angus Carmichael?”

Angus Carmichael was a Queen’s Park left back who was selected to be part of the Great Britain football squad competing at the 1948 Olympic Games; playing once in the Bronze medal match against Denmark.

In late July 1948 (69 years ago), the Olympic Games returned after a 12 year absence because of World War II. The games were unofficially referred to as “the Austerity Games” because of the economic status after the awful years of conflict. Germany and Japan were refused permission to participate; the USSR was invited but chose not to send any athletes.

This would be the second time the Olympic Games were hosted in the city of London. All football players were to be amateurs, in accordance with the Olympic spirit, which meant that some countries could not send their full international team- though this did not stop countries at times requesting to field their national teams. By this time, it was recognised that Britain’s amateur players were not of the same quality as they had been in earlier years, due to the rise of the professional game, so newly appointed Team GB coach, Matt Busby, searched far and wide for the best amateurs in the land.

 

Above: Alan Carmichael’s Team GB jersey.

Nineteen players in total were selected to play in the GB team- five of them being Queen’s Park  players. Andy Aitken, John Boyd, Angus Carmichael, James McColl and Ronnie Simpson. David Letham of Queen’s Park did not make the final squad, although, Letham was on the stand-by list should any player pull out of the squad. Indeed, the youngest selected was Ronnie Simpson at 17 years, 289 days while the oldest was Welsh club Troedyrhiw’s Gwyn Manning at 32 years, 343 days. What is interesting is that years later, in 1967, Simpson would go on to be Scotland’s oldest debutant at 35 yeas old when Scotland faced England at Wembley.

Left: The Badge on each player’s blazer.

The GB Olympic football team has competed in many Olympic Games but 1948 was to be their most successful tournament. Wembley Stadium hosted Great Britain’s final two matches, though they also played at Craven Cottage and Highbury. In the first round, the men beat the Netherlands 4-3 after extra-time; goals from Dougie McBain, John Hardisty, Dennis Kelleher and Harry McIlvenny were enough to progress. After that it was France who stood waiting in the quarter-finals. In a cagey affair, a second goal of the tournament from Hardisty was enough to overcome Les Bleus for the UK men to reach the semi-finals.

In an entertaining semi-final match against Yugoslavia, Great Britain would fall just a bit short of quality going toe to toe with the Eastern Europeans. Stjepan Bobek put Yugoslavia 1-0 up before Frank Donovan leveled the score. Four minutes after the score became 1-1, Yugoslavia were then in front again; this time through Franjo Wolfl. Any hopes of a comeback were made much more unlikely as Rajko Mitic scored his country’s third goal in the 48 minute.

Having lost the semi-final to Yugoslavia, Britain faced Denmark in the bronze medal match- in front of almost 50,000 at Wembley. If the British public thought the Yugoslavia game was a great watch for the viewer then they were to be in for a treat watching this tie. Andy Aitken got Team GB off to the perfect start grabbing a goal after just five minutes, until Denmark equalised through Karl Aage Præs on the 12th minute; followed with John Hansen turning the tie on its head slotting home four minutes later. Hardisty brought it back to 2-2 after the half hour mark (his third goal of the Olympic Games), though Denmark would go into the half time dressing room 3-2 up after Jørgen Leschly Sørensen scored his country’s third goal. A fantastic first half of football in which the second half would mirror slightly. Just after the restart Præs got the better of the GB defence again, firing past Simpson on the 49th minute. The crowd was tense but regained hope when Bill Amor of Reading converted a penalty. 4-3 to Denmark with just under half an hour to go. Then the killer blow for team GB, Hansen second goal all but confirming which country would be finishing third in the football tournament. Team GB finished forth overall as Denmark achieved the bronze medal- holding on to win the match 5-3 at Wembley.

Despite the end result for team GB, the players did the British Isles proud and the Queen’s Park men did not look out of place on the Olympic stage. Because of the commitment shown to the amateur status- and a consistent good standard of football- Queen’s players such as Thomas Stewart, John Devine and David Holt would in the future be called up for Team GB in the Olympic Games of 1952 and 1960. These players participation at the Olympic Games is just another fine example of the always impressive history of the oldest association club in Scottish football. It is therefore no surprise when hearing stories such as the 1948 Olympic football team, visitors, who gaze upon the Queen’s Park exhibition viewing items of the club’s history, are lost in amazement and end up spending hours absorbing the knowledge and past of the men in black and white hoops.

Above: A Squad photo of the team in London.

 

Team Great Britain Squad:

Kevin McAlinden (Belfast Celtic)

Ronnie Simpson (Queen’s Park)

Angus Carmichael (Queen’s Park)

Gwyn Manning (Troedyrhiw)

James McColl (Queen’s Park)

Charles Neale (Walton & Hersham)

Eric Fright (Bromley)

Eric Lee (Chester City)

Douglas McBain (Queen of the South)

Andy Aitken (Queen’s Park)

Bill Amor (Reading)

John Boyd (Queen’s Park)

Frank Donovan (Pembroke Borough)

Bob Hardisty (Darlington)

Thomas Hopper (Bromley)

Dennis Kelleher (Barnet)

Peter Kippax (Burnley)

Harold McIlvenny (Bradford Park Avenue)

Jack Rawlings (Enfield)

Head Coach: Matt Busby

Women’s Football in Scotland.

Tonight, Anna Signeul’s team prepare for their opening match against England at the 2017 Women’s European Championships in Holland. This will be the women squad’s first ever game in a major tournament. To many there is excitement, others nerves, but overall, particularly in Scotland, this recent success in the women’s game has been a long time coming.

Many might not be aware of this but the start of women’s football, of what we know today, began in Scotland.

The first known women’s match to be played under football association rules would be at Easter Road in Edinburgh in May 1881. A team representing Scotland beat one from England 3-0 with Lily St Clare- the first ever recorded female goalscorer- netting the opener. In one report following the game, the Glasgow Herald described the Scottish team as looking “smart in blue jerseys, white knickerbockers, red belts and high heeled boots”. Another game followed a few days later, this time in Glasgow, however the match would be abandoned due to fans entering the pitch and fighting amongst themselves and the authorities.

Left: Lily St Clare.

During the First World War, as men fought on the front line, women playing football was attracting large attention from fans. The year 1918 saw an unofficial Scotland v England match hosted at Celtic Park; attracting a crowd of 8,000 people. Shortly when conflict finished, women were expected to return to work rather than play football. Their dreams of playing the game professionally the same as men were to be short-lived for in the mid 1920’s, despite commitment from clubs, the SFA would not allow member clubs to advocate or entertain women’s football.

By the 1970’s Scottish society was changing. The women’s liberation movement advocated equal rights in the work place while the contraceptive pill revolutionised private morality. Equality was also demanded in football; the World Cup in 1966 was a great sour to the development of women’s football throughout Britain. Following two unofficial women’s World Cups in 1970 and 1971, UEFA recognised a need to structure the development of women’s football. Over 30 European football associations supported this decision though Scotland alone did not. In 1974, the British government announced plans to introduce the Sex Discrimination Act. It was during this year that the SFA agreed to give token recognition to the Scottish Women’s Football Association- which had already been formed in 1972.

Scotland’s first Secretary was Elsie Cook; the strip washer, organiser, and friend of the Museum. Cook’s eyes light up every time she shares the tale of organising the first official women’s international match. Players were selected over 3 months of trials. The final team included players from Cambuslang Hooverettes, Motherwell AEI, Lees Ladies, Westhorn Utd and Dundee Strikers; under the guidance of former Kilmarnock and St Mirren player, Rab Stewart, Scotland Women’s first ever manager.

The team travelled about in a milk van which smelled awful, surrounded in milk creates, arriving to training “with their stomachs turning!” With very little backing and money and just one week before the match, the jerseys were bought by Elsie from a jumble sale in Stewarton- who also sewed on the Scotland badge to each jersey- while the shorts and socks were loaned by Rangers Football Club.

The Scotland women’s team, captained by Margaret McAuley Rae, played their first official international match against a well organised England team at Ravenscraig Park in Greenock 1972. It was November, bitterly cold and a half the game took place in a snowstorm. Scotland forged ahead with a 2 goal lead but eventually lost to England 3-2.

Left: the Scotland line up from 1972 against England.

Part of that team were two monumental figures in the Scottish women’s game; Rose Reilly and Edna Neillis. Several top Scottish players could not resist the lure of Italian football. In Italy, women’s football was semi professional with gates averaging 6000. The speed and the skill of Scottish Football Hall of Fame inductee Reilly and counterpart Neillis took the Italians by storm. They both played for AC Milan in a vital match against League leaders Roma, Neillis would score a hat-trick in front of a crowd of 20,000. Reilly would go on to play for nine Italian clubs over 20 years, winning eight Scudetti and four Italian Cups. She won the golden boot in 1978, scoring 43 goals for Catania, and in 1981, hitting 45 for Lecce.

Towards the end of the 1990’s support for the women’s game increased. In September 1998 the Scottish FA took charge of the Women’s international side and ten development centres were established across Scotland to cater for girls from the age of ten. With a significant number of clubs and players, a new generation of star players started to emerge, such as Julie Fleeting, Gemma Fay, Leanne Ross and many others.

This year has celebrated the incredible highs of Scottish football that took place fifty years ago, though the celebrations should not stop there. A Scotland Women’s team have qualified for a major competition for the first time in their history; reaching the 2017 Euro Championships in Holland. It is important for all involved in the sport not to underestimate the determination, hard work, passion and success from days around 1881 to today’s National Women’s team heroes. Indeed, what is uniquely fitting is- after facing each other nearly 45 years ago in the first ever official international match – Scotland play England in their first ever finals match.

Signeul, the backroom staff and the players will forever share the legendary status with St Clare, Cook, Reilly, Neillis, Fleeting. Not only do they leave behind a legacy resulting in future generations to develop appetite and passion to participate in the women’s game; they set a bright, positive platform for women’s football in Scotland. It is no wonder the  work from the governing bodies, individuals and upcoming talent across the country leaves the Scottish football fan excited for the future.

The Scotland team from the 1970’s.              

The Scotland Women’s team achieving qualification for a major tournament for the first time in their history.

Scottish FA Women’s International Roll of Honour

The Scottish FA Women’s International Roll of Honour is a new permanent exhibit within the Scottish Football Museum which will pay tribute to members of the Scottish Women’s National Team who have gained 100 caps. There are currently 12 players who have achieved this remarkable feat within the women’s game in Scotland and they are listed below:

Gemma Fay

Joanne Love

Pauline Hamill

Megan Sneddon

Julie Fleeting

Rhonda Jones

Leanne Ross

Suzanne Grant

Kim Little

Ifeoma Dieke

Jennifer Beattie

Jane Ross

Each player has been honoured with a display panel highlighting their debut and 100th appearances. A special “100th cap” for each player, presented from UEFA, will also be displayed within a cabinet beside the panels.

Scotland Women’s National Team head coach Anna Signeul, opening of a new Scottish FA Women’s International Roll of Honour display.

 

Gemma Fay, Ifeoma Dieke and Julie Fleeting with their special caps.

Scottish Football Museum & Hampden Stadium Tour EARNS 2017 TRIPADVISOR CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE

The Scottish Football Museum & Hampden Stadium Tour has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence. Now in its seventh year, the achievement celebrates hospitality businesses that have earned great traveller reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year. Certificate of Excellence recipients include restaurants, accommodations and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a quality customer experience.

“TripAdvisor is excited to announce the recipients of the 2017 Certificate of Excellence, which celebrates hospitality businesses that have consistently received strong praise and ratings from travellers”, said Heather Leisman, Vice President of Industry Marketing, TripAdvisor. “This recognition allows us to publicly honour businesses that are actively engaging with customers and using feedback to help travellers identify and confidently book the perfect trip.”

The Certificate of Excellence accounts for the quality, quantity and recency of reviews submitted by travellers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

 

There’s Only One Sandy McBain

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of former colleague and dear friend, Sandy McBain.
Sandy worked at the Museum since our opening in 2001 up till his retirement in 2013.
His charm, sense of humour, warm heart, and incredible knowledge of Scottish football, made working alongside him an absolute pleasure.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.

The Tale of Third Lanark AC.

This year marks remarkable anniversaries in the history of Scottish football. The 1966/67 season is one looked by some as possibly the best ever of the Scottish game; where fans were witnessing a golden generation playing at a very high standard domestically, across Europe and with the Scotland national team.

Yet, in the middle of all the feel good factor across the country, 1967 is also home to one of Scottish football’s sorry stories. The fall of football club Third Lanark AC.  Few people have heard the name of Third Lanark and their sad demise which could have been avoided. Third Lanark were founded on 12 December 1872 at a meeting of the Third Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers in the Regimental Orderly Room in Howard Street, Glasgow. The soldiers, inspired by the first ever international football match which had taken place two weeks previously, decided to form their own team. Several of the Scotland team in that match, made up solely of Queen’s Park players, had been part of the regiment: including Billy Dickson, Billy  and Joseph Taylor. Thirds played their home games at Cathkin Park (the second Hampden Park) in the south-side of Glasgow. The club was also a founding member of the Scottish Football League, in 1890 and would change their name to ‘Third Lanark AC in 1903, when official links with the military were severed.

Third Lanark had many success in the later 19th century to the early 20th century. They won the Scottish League Championship in 1904, reached the Scottish Cup final five times (winning two of them), and conquered in the Glasgow Cup four times as well. One of Third’s cup final triumphs comes with it a unique tale dubbed ‘the snow final’. They had reached the Scottish Cup final in 1889 where they faced Celtic at the second Hampden site . As the teams arrived at the ground and started to train, snow started to fall on the turf. With ankle-high snow covering the pitch, both team representatives decided they would just play a friendly match and arrange the final for another date. However, referee Charles Campbell arrived and overruled this request; stating the fans had already arrived expecting to see a cup final. The match proceeded and Thirds won the cup final 3-0. Yet moments after the full-time whistle, despite agreeing to play the initial final, Celtic complained to the Scottish FA and demanded a replay due to the poor weather conditions. After a few days of talks, a cup final replay was confirmed- to the disgust of Thirds’ players. Eventually the players decided to play the re-match against Celtic and went on to win the second final 2-1. Nothing was going to in the way of Thirds lifting the Scottish Cup that year.

The nickname the ‘Hi Hi’ is meant to originate from the roars of the crowd from one match where the defender cleared the ball high in the air, resulting in the crowd to shout “Hi Hi Hi”. The chant was also used as a battle cry to encourage the team to victory during the club’s matches, helping to create an intimidating atmosphere for the opposition.

Third Lanark playing at their home ground Cathkin Park.

In 1961, Thirds secured third place in Scotland’s top division behind Rangers and Kilmarnock; scoring 100 goals in the process, resulting a place in Europe for the first time in the club’s history.

Many famous players featured for the Hi Hi, Jimmy Mason, Jockey Robertson and Ally McLeod to name a few. As well as good players, Thirds have been managed by well recognised Scottish football figures such as Bob Shankly, George Young, Bobby Evans and Bobby Shearer. Shankly speaks of his time at Third Lanark sharing ‘I enjoyed my spell with the Thirds more than any other club I have been with. I was sad to move to Dundee when asked to do so, as at that time Thirds were one of the best teams in the league and were very popular with the crowds, both home and away’.

The December 1962 Shareholder’s meeting would see the appointment of Mr Bill Hiddleston as Chairman; a crook with selfish intentions. Third’s manager at the time was former Rangers player, George Young, who stated that if Hiddleston were to be elected onto the board then he would resign. Once the vote was cast to appoint Hiddleston, Young picked up his coat and left the meeting, never to manage the Hi Hi again.

This would be the beginning of the end for Third Lanark. The following summer would see 34 players released and in the next 5 years, it would seem that anyone could get a game for Thirds. Bobby Evans and Bobby Shearer held managerial tenures to help stable the club but they were powerless. The club would be relegated in the 1964/65 season, kicking off the 65/66 season in the Second division. Crowds were falling drastically at Cathkin. The European club competitions drew people’s attention signalling the end of the Glasgow Cup as a lucrative money spinner, the writing was on the wall for Thirds. Players were not being paid, Hiddleston would use gate money in order to quieten player’s wage demands. Players were even forced to travel on their own to the away matches. It appeared his intentions were to run the club down to the ground and build property on the site. Sadly Third Lanark would play (what would be unknown to their supporters)their last game; against Dumbarton on 28th April in 1967, losing 5-1 at Bogend.

The following weeks brought a Board of Trade investigation, revealing constant player squabbles and bitter internal wrangles for power. All of this would take its toll and eventually a liquidator was appointed. It was shortly after that in the summer where the club would be wound up. This was to be the first club since the Second World War to have been liquidated, a scenario very unusual to which very few, particularly the Third Lanark board, knew how to handle a troubled financial situation such as this.

The timing of the club’s death is very unfortunate. At the time all eyes were elsewhere than the Second division. Kilmarnock were in the semi finals of the Inter Cities Fairs Cup. Rangers were in the European Cup Winner’s Cup final. Celtic winning every domestic trophy; completing the set by becoming the first British club to win the European Cup. The international team which included the likes of Jim Baxter, Denis Law and Billy Bremner, conquering the World Champions England at Wembley Stadium. Thirds were no more than a footnote to that story. Perhaps if there was not as much attention diverted to the other parties at the time then there could have been other people brought to light to help save the club.

One man who kept alive the name of Third Lanark was our friend and former employee, Bob Laird. Bob was the unofficial Third Lanark historian who would host photo and memorabilia  exhibitions, spreading the tale of the mighty Hi Hi. Sharing stories of times at Cathkin, famous matches and players who had the pleasure to wear the red jersey. When television shows and press media needed information on Thirds, Bob was the man they all turned towards, impressing every single one them with his humour, intellect and kind  personality.

Third Lanark jerseys and memorabilia on display in our Museum.

Whilst it is fair to reminisce Scottish football’s dance with world class success fifty years ago, it is also important to remember the great history of one of the Scottish Football League’s founding fathers. A truly respected Glasgow club no strangers to silverware or good players. A club who’s aura can still be felt when walking around the current Cathkin Park sight. A club that- similar to our dear friend Bob- are sadly missed in the Scottish game.

This article is dedicated to our old colleague and dear friend Bob Laird.  

 

One Packed Afternoon at Hampden

Hampden Park is arguably the most historical pitch in world football.

Since the site of Hampden Park was attained by Queen’s Park in 1903, major football matches and events have taken place in Mount Florida. There had been years of large crowds in the south side of Glasgow but never one any bigger anywhere in Europe or indeed the world at that time, than the 149,415 who paid to watch an Auld Enemy British Chamlionship clash.

Because of previous hazards that entailed in the 1933 and 1935 Scotland v England games at Hampden Park, the Scottish FA  had decided this match against England was to be an all ticket event; making it the first ever ticketing international ever organised in Scotland.

Previously the record Hampden attendance had been set in 1933 when 136,250 spectators crammed in to see Scotland beat England 2-1. The ground had changed since then however, this included a new north stand which would accommodate 4,500 people. This meant that the official crowd limit for the National stadium had been increased to 150,000.

There was much to be excited about despite heavy rain falling all morning. Many of the supporters took the advice of the authorities to get to the ground early but this did not help with the inevitable late surge who arrived just before the kick-off. With the large crowd there was still enough room to move about down the front, though many liked to be standing up at the back. 46 people fainted and the figure would have been much higher is the weather was warmer.

The Hampden Roar was a major factor by this time. Englishmen like Raich Carter of Sunderland would admit to being intimidated and alarmed whenever Hampden roared.

It had been ten years since England last won at Hampden, though the quality shown by the men in white in the first half, despite being a massive home support present, created a nervous feeling around the Hampden bowl. Right from the first whistle the English defenders were targeting Scotland’s quick and small players; Jimmy Delaney being the number one target. Tommy Walker and Bob McPhail were also victims of nasty tackles.

Stanley Matthews of Stoke City was making life difficult for the Scots on the right wing while Scotland had a goal chalked off for mysterious reasons. It was shortly after that England were 1-0 ahead. Freddie Steele who picked up a pass found himself free as the Scotland defence switched off- shooting low pass Jerry Dawson. 1-0 the score at Half time.

Scotland now shooting in the King’s Park end in the second half managed to level the game. The goal came after fine work from Alex Massie of Aston Villa who passed the ball to his ex Hearts team mate Tommy Walker, who in turn beat a man and slipped the ball to Frank O’Donnell finishing well. The play, the momentum and the roar from the crowd then on in drove Scotland towards a famous win.

England’s defenders were tiring which was mainly down to the great Bob McPhail, pointing, gesticulating, demanding the ball; inspiring his team-mates around him. They were also finding Walker hard to deal with. Tough tackles flying in left right and centre, one in fact led to Scotland to score from one of the resulted free-kicks. McPhail latching onto a poor clearance from Alf Young, unleashing a tidal wave of joy on the terracing behind.

If the Scotland support thought that goal was good then things were to get a whole lot better. It seemed that after the goal the Scottish players believed the old maxim that the best form of defense is attack. In the two minutes that remained England were giving away more fouls due to the intense pressure being orchestrated by Scotland. McPhail’s second once again came from a free-kick. Delaney proved to be key for his early jump took the keeper and defender with him, allowing the ball to fly over him to the head of McPhail.

Jimmy Delaney’s Scotland jersey from the 1937 match against England based in our Museum store. Continue reading

The Unofficial World Champions of 1967

Fifty years ago, football was back on the agenda more than ever in Scotland. Not that it had ever really disappeared for the love affair of a Scotsman with his national game is an eternal phenomenon, but people were becoming more and more animated, and they approached this England game at Wembley with more than the usual excitement.

What was the reason behind this? The suffering of the Scots from listening of England’s World Cup triumph on home soil. The constant thought that Scotland did not make the 1966 World Cup but if present could have done well. The feeling that some English clubs caused the failure to qualify by not releasing their Scottish players for international duty. Although the real reason behind the lack of qualification was because Scotland did not performing well enough in the qualifiers. What could not be denied however was that the Scottish talent could have lit up the 1966 Word Cup tournament, and now, a year later, was the perfect opportunity to show what might have been.

This was to be the first match in charge for Bobby Brown, a respected gentleman in the Scottish game, who would be inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame in 2015. For Brown there were three players that would be vital for this tie; Billy Bremner, Denis Law and Jim Baxter. If all three together were on their day, then very few in the world at that time could stop them. Though to put such great individuality in a balanced side would not be easy. This game against the World Champions was to be a big test for Brown.

A surprise call up was the unknown Jim McCalliog of Sheffield Wednesday brought to the fold for the first time. Another was the decision by Brown to give goalkeeping duty to 35 year old, Ronnie Simpson. Though Brown was adamant that his old Queen’s Park team-mate would not let him down on the big occasion. Sections in the Scottish media however disagreed.

Indeed, England were feeling the pressure before British Championship match; some aspects of the press were claiming their World Cup success was down to playing all their games at Wembley rather than elsewhere and that their Scottish opponents had players in the side excelling with their teams in European competition. English teams were nowhere to be seen in European competition at that time. Though this team were not the World Champions for no reason and had been unbeaten since lifting the great trophy last summer. Gordon Banks, Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore were all world class players in their own right. Already this had the making to be a fantastic match in London.

The Scotland team allowed the media and photographers to hang around the hotel lobby, giving the old confident cliches expected before such a match. Scottish self destruction was barred for this occasion. There was no night out in London before this game- not at least until after. There was one vicious plot by Baxter and Law to wind up England’s Alan Ball by mimicking his high pitched voice and call him the ‘Clitheroe Kid’, a character in a radio programme of the time played by 4 foot 3 inch comedian Jimmy Clitheroe.

As usual, half of the stadium was occupied by the travelling support . Scotland would set up in a 4-4-2 formation compared to England’s 4-3-3 positive tactics. Despite this indication, it would be Scotland playing in a more positive manner. Just on the half hour mark, Scotland went in front. Willie Wallace tried a shot that was blocked with the ball coming to Denis Law who hit it past Banks, raising his arm in his charismatic manner as the tartan exploded around Wembley. 1-0 at half time but a match not live on television. Supporters all over the UK were gathered round radios crediting the Scottish commitment but were expecting a potential English backlash in the second half.

As much as Scotland were still on top in the second forty five, it was still a tense affair for those cheering on the men in navy blue. Yet it did not stop Baxter’s attempt to aggravate the England players and supporters for ‘Slim Jim’ decided that one way to hit the English nerve, he would perform keepie uppies on the left side as well as slowing down the pace of play to calm his team-mates; an act that would be legendary and is still idolised to this present day. Though it wasn’t the juggling of the ball that was remarkable, which only lasted a couple of seconds, it was that somebody was slowing the pace and looking for the best pass in a match where, on the whole, hearts were ruling heads. Baxter however was in full control.  Many tackles committed by both sides during the game  would have had players sent off in today’s world, but cries and shouts were simply waved on by German referee Gerd Schulenburg.

No further goals came until the last ten minutes. Bobby Lennox made the score 2-0, becoming the first Celtic player to score at Wembley. Then Jack Charlton pulled one back for England. England’s back yard was now in raptures as Scotland scored again through debutant Jim McCalliog. The Dark Blues seemed home and dry at 3-1 with time running out but Scotland never do things the easy way, and a moment’s slackness saw Geoff Hurst ghosting in unmarked making it 3-2.

After a couple of minutes of soaking up last minute pressure from the hosts, the referee blew the final whistle and the Scottish fans took over. Dancing and jubilation from the supporters hit home to the players that they had become the first nations to defeat the 1966 World Champions. Yet, despite the result, the Scotland players were angry at Baxter because his quest to belittle England was stopping them to score more goals. Few, such as Law, had wanted to score as much as they could as revenge for the humiliating 9-3 defeat at Wembley in 1961 and the fact they had won the World Cup the previous year.

Besides the frustrations of lack of goals, Scotland played a fantastic game- in a year when the Scottish game was having one if it’s greatest ever seasons. Another huge lift for the country to feed off of  thanks to its national game. Another tale added to the history books. Another game which will forever warm the Scotland supporter’s heart.

Three cheers for the men of Wembley 1967!

 

Eaddie McCreadie and Tommy Gemmell’s Scotland jerseys from the 1967 Wembley match on display in our Museum.

 

England Team 1. Banks (Leicester City) 2. Cohen (Fulham) 3. Wilson (Everton) 4. Stiles (Manchester United) 5. J. Charlton (Leeds United) 6. Moore (West Ham United) 7. Ball (Everton) 8. Greaves (Tottenham Hotspur) 9. B. Charlton (Manchester United) 10. Hurst (West Ham United) 11. Peters (West Ham United)

Scotland Team 1. Simpson (Celtic)2. Gemmell (Celtic) 3. McCreadie (Chelsea)
4. Greig (Rangers) 5. McKinnon (Rangers) 6. Baxter (Sunderland)
7. Wallace (Celtic) 8. Bremner (Leeds United)9. McCalliog (Sheffield Wednesday)
10. Law (Manchester United) 11. Lennox (Celtic)

Ferenc Puskás- Nobody’s Fool

It is a calm Sunday in the Scottish Football Museum with the usual concentrated, fascinated silence from visitors- taking in the wonderful heritage and items that surrounds them- is felt in the air. A man and his little girl are intrigued by a plaque that has caught their eye. She asks her father who is the man the plaque is commemorating, only for him to respond enthusiastically “That is Ferenc Puskás. One of the greatest players to ever play the game.”

Ferenc Puskás was born on in what people believe to be on 2nd April 1927. However, in György Szöllősi’s excellent book, ‘Puskás’, reveals the Hungarian was actually born on April Fools Day but did not want this information to be known; destroying all data of his birth date, except that which existed in his passport and was seen by his wife. Puskás or Ocsi-meaning younger brother- as he was called by his family, from a very  young age,was playing barefooted in the streets of Hungary with his friends using a ragball. It became clear young Ocsi had incredible footballing skill, which at times would get him out of trouble with his mother. His friends taking the wrap when his mother could not find him anywhere near the house; pleading for Puskás to stay out because he was the best footballer.

Puskás started his career at Kispest AC who would have their name changed to ‘Budapest Honved’ by the Hungarian Ministry of Defense in 1949- becoming the Hungarian Army Team. Players were given army rank positions with Puskás becoming a major, leading to  his famous nickname ‘the galloping major’. He would make over 341 appearances and score 352 goals, which would contribute to lifting the Hungarian League title five times with the club.

It would not take long for Puskás to be called up to the Hungarian national side, making his debut in 1945 which would be the beginning of a golden era for Hungary. Dubbed the ‘Mighty Magyars’ the Hungarians would go unbeaten in 32 consecutive matches, leading them to win the Gold medal at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki; beating Yugoslavia 2-0 in the final.

Though it was in 1953 when Hungary traveled to Wembley stadium to face England. Puskás and his Hungarian teammates would send shock-waves throughout the globe as England were humiliated on home soil. The Hungarians would defeat England 6-3 in front of a stunned home support, the first time England conceded six goals on home soil since Scotland defeated them 6-1 at Kennington Oval in 1881.  It was in this match where Puskás scored a goal of such technique and venom. Ocsi facing a lunging challenge by England captain Bill Wright drew the ball back and dispatched it immediately into the net with his left foot.  Sir Alex Ferguson shares his amazement of the demolishing of England at Wembley in the Puskás book  saying “no one expected what we were about to witness; a new way of playing football. It was nothing short short of breathtaking.” The performance from the Magyars changed forever how football was played. They dealt a fatal blow to the supremacy of the English game at its very root.

The plaque in honour of Ferenc Puskás

A year later this magnificent team led by Puskás would dazzle the world stage at the 1954 World Cup. Victories against South Korea, West Germany, Brazil, Uruguay would see the Magyars reach the final. Puskás would not play in all the matches due to a hairline fracture of the ankle after a tackle by Werner Liebrich against West Germany, and did not return until the final where they would face West Germany again. Puskás played the match despite his injury and scored the first goal after six minutes. However, the Germans turned the game around and beat the Magyars, 3-2, grabbing a late winner with six minutes before the end.

Months later in a chilly December afternoon, the Mighty Magyars arrived in Glasgow for their friendly match against Scotland. Because the match was on television and in black and white, Scotland for the first time in their history wore white sleeves to avoid less confusion for the viewer. 120,000 fans stood on the slopes at Hampden Park, meaning many people must have took the day off work/school because the game on a Wednesday afternoon. The match finished 4-2 to the Hungarians but Scotland would not disgrace themselves, before the match no one gave them a chance whatsoever but the Scotland support left Mount Florida satisfied with a spirited performance against the Magyars. After the game whilst speaking in a post match interview Puskás shared his admiration for the Scotland supporters passion revealing ” We of Hungary will have to realise that the fighting spirits is still one of the greatest assets in football.” He even took time to state his love for Hampden Park declaring “It is the most magnificent stadium I have ever seen, the life and essence of football.”

The Hungary uprising in 1956 resulted in Puskás and other people to take their families out of the country. A challenging time for all involved. Ocsi and his family settled in Western Europe and he refused to return to Hungary where he would later be exiled. FIFA implemented a two year ban on teams not to sign any Hungarians. Though despite being out of football for nearly three years and putting on weight, this did not stop teams pursuing his signature. Real Madrid decided to take the chance on the 31 year old and he would not let them down.

Puskás started his second career in football with Los Blancos and was possibly better in this period compared to his early years. He lost 18 kilograms, became fitter and was more experienced and more ambitious than ever. Puskás was ready to amaze the world again. His time at Madrid would see him win ten honours with the Spanish club- including  five Spanish League titles and three European Cups. His best Cup win would be in the 1960 European Cup Final held at Hampden. Puskás return to Hampden Park is regarded as the greatest football match in the history of the sport, playing his greatest ever game scoring four of the goal as Real Madrid beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3. The brilliance of the all white Madrid glowed in the south side of Glasgow. Once again Puskás’ influence, with this wonderful team, would change the way football was played forever. Puskás also holds a piece of unwanted history as being the only player to score a hat-trick in  European Cup final and still be on the losing side when Real Madrid lost to Benfica 5-3 in 1962. 

 

 Puskás scoring in the 1960 European Cup final at Hampden.

 

 

After a wonderful career as a player, Puskás went into management which took him all over the world. His spell as Panathinaikos boss would see his side in 1971, despite losing 2-0 to Ajax, becoming the only Greek club to reach a European final to date. However, with the notable exception of his spell at Panathinaikos, he failed to transfer his success as a player to his coaching career.

After the iron curtain came down he returned to Hungary in 1991 where his legend, suppressed for generations by the regime, was restored before he died in 2006.

Today the legend of Puskás is most visible once a year at the FIFA Player of the Year awards where the accolade for Goal of the Year bears his name. After a couple of years of discussions, The Puskás came into place in October 2009, with Cristiano Ronaldo being the first winner for his strike against Porto for Manchester United.

Though his name is present annually at the football awards, the Museum’s plaque and footage of the 1960 European Cup final is visible everyday- to ensure that visitors are able to learn about how young Ocsi grew up to be of one of the most influential figures in Hungarian history and one greatest of all time in the beautiful game. The Galloping Major: Ferenc Puskás.

 

The Wembley Wizards of 1928

As the footballing world already knows, Scotland v England was the very first international football fixture back in 1872 at the West of Scotland Cricket Ground.

Since then it has been a mouth-watering fixture for both sets of supporters.

Scotland throughout the twentieth century have had great success in the Auld Enemy’s back yard. The first one which springs to supporters minds is 1967 when Jim Baxter, Denis Law and co beat the then world champions 3-2. The team of 67 are often referred to as the ‘Wembley Wizards’, yet these men were not the first to be referred as the Wembley Wizards, that title was handed to another famous eleven back in 1928.

Eighty nine years ago, the Scotland national side were on international duty in the British Home Championship. At this point in history, Scotland were settled into their now home Hampden Park- as were England at Wembley Stadium. Though Scotland had suffered a couple of set backs early in the year. One was a defeat to Ireland at Firhill where Jock Hamilton of Blackburn Rovers conceded an early goal during the game. It was only Ireland’s second ever win on Scottish soil. Another aspect which had dented moral in the Scotland camp was the Scottish League suffering from a heavy 6-2 defeat from the English League at Ibrox. The clash with England for many was nearing at the worst possible time.

Back then it was a selected Committee that picked the Scotland team, before the appointment of Andy Beattie in 1954. There was huge speculation the Committee were very concerned about a possible heavy defeat; so majority of the players picked were Anglo Scots with only three that actually played in Scotland. A few players who featured in the Ireland match did not get called up for the Wembley clash; figures such as Jimmy McGrory and Davie Meiklejohn were left out completely causing anger amongst the club supporters. Though the committee picked a strong batch of Anglo Scots on fine form such as Alex Jackson of Huddersfield Town and Hughie Gallacher of Newcastle United.

One of the Scottish based  players was Rangers’ tricky winger Alan Morton. Who would play arguably his best ever game for Scotland in this clash against the Auld Enemy.

The general mood before the game was filled with such pessimism, Scotland had lost the previous year to England at Hampden- their first win on Scottish soil since 1904. The team were billeted in the Regent Palace hotel, popular with the Scotland fans, and they stayed in the lounge chatting with supporters till 10pm, when the President of the SFA, Robert Campbell, suggested that team captain, Jimmy McMullan take the players upstairs for a pep talk. The talk was short and to the point: “The President wants us to discuss football but you all know what’s expected of you tomorrow. All I’ve got to say is, go to your bed, put your head on your pillow and pray for rain.”

The Scottish players meet the Duke of York before the match.

The game was watched by as strong 80,868 crowd and the players’ prayers must have been heard for rain was falling from the heavens. Though this did not dampen the oldest international football fixture in the world. Expectations and battle-cries continued as normal, leading Scotland keeper, Jack Harkness, to feel faint causing him to lean against a post until he recovered his composure. The game itself was being played at incredible tempo. Normally a game such as this being similar to a cup final has both teams taking time to find their rhythm. England however hit the post in the opening minutes of the first half but play swung to the other side where a fast low cross from Alan Morton found Alex Jackson’s head putting Scotland 1-0 up.

Despite McMullan’s wish for rain, England-as well as Scotland- were at times producing some fantastic football. Harkness was probably the busier keeper in the first half. It is an old cliche to say ‘the best time to score is right before half time’, as it offers a sucker punch to the opposition’s half-time analysis and discussion- and Scotland did just that when Alex James played a nice one-two with Jackson before firing a low hard shot outside of the box. 2-0 to the men in navy blue.

That seemed to generate more confidence into the players. England seemed deflated and knew Scotland’s nippy forwards were adapting very well to the poor weather conditions. The third goal was just the same as the first; Morton crossed into the box for Jackson to head home. A minute later Scotland scored again when good refereeing allowed advantage to be played when Gallacher was fouled outside the area, only for the ball to land at James’ feet to smash past the keeper.

Jackson then saw himself claim the match ball, completing a hat-trick when Morton found him in the box who only had to tap it in an empty net. The Scotland support were having a ball in the stands and were just about ready to even cheer Bob Kelly’s consolation strike on the final whistle. 5-1 the full-time score

 Jimmy Gibson’s Scotland jersey from the match on display in our Museum.

The secret to this success was all down to the attacking players. Captain McMullan took time out of the celebrations to share in a post match interview, “I want to emphasise that all our forwards are inherently clever,” he said. “But I wish to say that the English tactics were wrong. The Saxon wing-halves paid more attention to the wingers than the inside forwards – therefore the latter were given a lot of space. It is a common thing in England to let wing halves, and not fullbacks, mark the wingers. It doesn’t pay and I don’t know why they pursue it.”

From then on in the legend of the Wembley Wizards was born, although, sadly, that 11 would never play together again. In fact, that rain-swept day in 1928 was to be Tiny Bradshaw’s only cap, despite a sterling performance marking the great Dixie Dean out of the game. This win at Wembley was to be well remembered for the next meetings south of the border would end in heavy defeats. Morton realised this incredible score-line may never be repeated again, leading him to request to all of his teammates to sign a stadium plan of Wembley (which a while ago was on display in the Museum)  knowing that one day it would be a very valuable piece of memorabilia.

Baxter, Law, McAlliog et al may be the entertainers of Wembley in 1967 making the world Champions England look very ordinary in their own backyard. However, they were never the original Wembley Wizards. The Wembley Wizards of 1928 will always be remembered helping Scotland’s to one of our greatest ever results. A match where fast flowing football and skill from the first whistle was not only too much for England but completely bewildered the men in white. 

 

 The match ball from the game played at Wembley on display in our Museum.