The REAL Jubilee
In early June there will be celebrations all over
the land. Church bells will ring. Street parties will be held. There
will be dancing, singing, cheering and merriment as has never been
seen for many years. All in honour of the Jubilee.
Yes, June 4th 2002 marks the 25th anniversary of one of Scotlands
most famous Wembley triumphs. The one that sparked off the immortal
England One Scotland Two
Took your turf
And your goalposts too.
Na na na na. Na na na. Na na
If you were to believe all the stories told about
that day then there must have been over a quarter of a million Scots
at Wembley. And they all returned with about three truckloads of
turf and a couple of vans worth of timber each. However, unlike
the Sixties, if you can remember it you were definitely there. And
in this time of despair in Scottish football, it is no bad thing
for a football history site such as this to recall a golden moment
in our past. A good wallow in nostalgia for those who can recall
it and a history lesson for those too young to remember or were
as yet unborn.
There was another jubilee in June that year too. But
the thousands of Scots supporters who thronged central London were
oblivious to that. In fact, many of them were oblivious full
stop. I was the sole representative of the Scottish colony at
Teesside Polytechnic. Being but poor students we couldnt
really afford to watch a lot of football but, as the Student Union
Deputy President, I was on a monthly salary that year and thus less
poor than most. So I took the sleeper to Kings Cross. I wasnt
that flush that I could actually afford a bed the passenger
carriage was fine by me.
Arriving shortly after dawn, I walked up to Euston where
the bulk of the support was arriving and, amazingly among the thousands
present, I bumped into a couple of guys from my own village. Wembley
did that. It wasnt the first time and it wouldnt be
the last that Id meet up with people Id been to school
with and hadnt seen for years.
We made our way to the traditional gathering at Trafalgar Square
where we were met by a mass of banners. Some simply said where
the fans were from. Some were emblazoned by history Remember
Bannockburn Others were more up to date. One boldly proclaimed:
Tam Forsyth is cooler than the Fonz. Ah, Happy
Sadly, tragedy was to strike in the square. A supporter attempted
to dive into the fountain from 15ft. Unbeknown to him; the depth
of the water in the fountains in Trafalgar Square is only around
18 inches. He plunged to his death. This didnt become widespread
news until long after the game.
There was the rickety tube ride. One punter hung out of the back
window, all that could be seen was a tartan tammy, a shock of red
hair and a disturbing stream of sick when a voice suddenly exclaimed:
Thats Shuggie fae Shettleston. Ahd ken that boak
There was the usual black market for tickets. A few of the older
guys (I mean those aged about 25 or so) helpfully explained
to us youngsters how we could obtain tickets at face value
or less! Jist get a crowd roon aboot the touts and luk
ugly (the second piece of advice wasnt terribly difficult
to follow) the Polis urny gaun tae gie ony hauners tae the touts.
That, or wait until a minute past kick-off. Tickets
which are rare as moon dust at 2.55 dont have even a nominal
value in the lavatorial cleanliness department once the match is
over so touts will be happy to take what they can get while they
can still get something.
And so to Wembley. The manager, Ally McLeod, had only been
appointed a month previously and he sent out this team for what
was just his third match in charge: Rough, McGrain, Donachie,
Forsyth, McQueen, Rioch (capt.), Masson, Dalglish, Jordan, Hartford,
Johnston. During the course of the match Archie Gemmill came
on for Don Masson and Lou Macari replaced Joe Jordan.
The English line-up looked strong: Clemence, Neal, Mills, Greenhoff,
Watson, Hughes (capt.), T Francis, Channon, Pearson, Talbot, Kennedy.
In addition, Trevor Cherry and Denis Tueart came on
Scotland looked confident from the start. As they had every right
to be. In their previous 14 internationals stretching back two years
they had lost just once and that was to reigning European
Champions Czechoslovakia in Prague. The only real surprise
was that it took until two minutes from the break before Gordon
McQueens header powered Scotland in front.
The second half was much the same and when Kenny Dalglish finished
off a five-man move with a goal on the hour mark, the game was effectively
over. With around five minutes to go, this particular supporter
left the ground in order to beat the rush and catch the 6pm train.
As a result I missed Mick Channons consolation penalty
for England. I had been telling people on the train home (whether
they were interested or not) that we had won 2-0 and was in
Doncaster before I saw a sports paper saying England had scored.
Consequently I missed the pitch invasion. But I resolutely refuse
to condemn it. It was portrayed at the time as being serious thuggery
by the tartan hordes. It was nothing of the sort. It was exuberance,
pleasure, delight, call it what you will. But it was good-natured,
humorous and hurt nobody. It was a joyous celebration of Scotlands
first win at Wembley since 1967.
It stands in stark contrast to the organised violence that disfigured
the game then and still does today.Those who condemned the fans
must have never known the feeling of sheer exhilaration that comes
with a victory so sweet. They have never taken part in such celebrations
because it is alien to their nature. They have no footballing
soul and I feel sorry for them.
I also missed Willie Johnstons sending-off.
But it is there in the record books. And it was never an unusual
occurrence for the water in Johnstons shower to be heated
up long before anyone elses.
I arrived back in Middlesbrough at around 10pm that night.
A large marquee had been erected on the college green a consequence
of the loosening of the licensing laws in aid of the other jubilee.
There, dancing around the saltire, were Vince from Glasgow
and Dave from Dumfries. Jock from Perth
was sitting, resplendent in kilt, with a fixed grin on his face,
saying nothing, his mouth opening only for a fresh intake of whisky.
Tam, from Dunfermline lay slumped in a corner, grasping
his wine bottle close to this chest.
Not the prettiest sight in the world, Ill agree. But to a
man, they rose and hailed me back as some kind of conquering hero.
I was feted and treated as if I had scored the winner myself. All
because I had been there. After such a welcome I didnt have
the heart to tell them I hadnt been on the pitch. In their
drunkenness, none of them were capable of working out that it wasnt
physically possible to have been on that pitch and made the 6pm
train to Darlington.
So instead, I made my excuses and sloped off outside for a few minutes.
I returned with bunches of grass, freshly plucked from the college
green and pressed them into my compatriots hands. To this
day (and unless they see this article, to their dying day) they
believe they were given Wembley turf. 25 years on, it is a good
time to confess.
There would be other Wembleys, other victories there too. But none
of them ever tasted as sweet as that one. None of them could
ever match that sweet glorious scent of victory that was the true
memory of the summer of 77.
Its never pleasant when a club faces a financial
crisis. Livelihoods are at risk and supporters go through torment
wondering if their heroes can survive. But we cant help
admitting to a touch of schadenfreude over the situation
at Bradford City.
The Yorkshire clubs chairman, Geoffrey Richmond,
won our 2001 Prat of the Year award for his interfering
in the Scottish game and hes at it again. His club have
been put in administration. Players Union boss Gordon Taylor
thinks it might be a way of reneging on contracts and he may be
right. But while we feel for the Bantams fans, we cant
help but think that Richmond is getting his just desserts. After
all, this is a man who doesnt think twice about the consequences
for Scottish football every time he opens his mouth about inviting
the Old Firm into the Nationwide.
As for the reasons for his clubs debts, Richmond blames
ITV Digital and Benito Carbone. What he means by
this is that his club spent the ITV cash before it was in their
bank account never the cleverest of moves by anybody. And
Carbones record was well known before he was signed up at
Valley Parade. Six different clubs (0ne of them
twice) in seven seasons in Italy suggests he
wasnt one for sticking around when the going got tough.
And no one leaves Inter Milan for Sheffield Wednesday
because theyve always wanted to play at the home of cutlery!
Aston Villa picked him up for a song but couldnt
even wait a year before moving him on to Bradford where he is
on a reputed £40,000 per week. Bradford have hawked
him around Derby and Middlesbrough on loan and were
hoping for a big fat fee from the Teesside club for the Italians
services. Unsurprisingly, Carbone couldnt agree terms with
Boro whose big spending days are over.
So, if Richardson wants to blame anybody for the mess his club
is in, may we suggest he contacts whoever sanctioned the spending
of money that wasnt there on a player costing £40,000
per week plus NI, car, house, flights etc.
And if you want to know where to find this fool, Geoffrey,
try looking in the nearest mirror.
It appears that the Bradford Baw-heids
inflated sense of his clubs importance isnt
shared by the club management. The Bantams have fixed up
a two-game tour of Scotland in July but neither Ibrox
nor Parkhead is on the agenda. Instead, City will take
on Ayr United and Raith Rovers. Now thats probably
their right level.