Skip to main content


Showing posts from February, 2022

1967: Russian Reality Check at Hampden

With all that's going on in the world right now these recent days have had a bit of a Back to the Future vibe about them as Russia has dominated the headlines. Scotland took on the old Soviet Union for the first time in an international football match 50 years after the Russian Revolution. Official programme for Scotland v USSR in 1967 @AlexHTheMAX  looks back at a fixture that intrigued the Scottish public at the time as the Tartan Army were still basking in, arguably, their side's best win of the decade. The decade that gave us The Beatles, James Bond on film, Coronation Street on tv and, more seriously, the escalation of the Cold War. Scotland declared themselves unofficial World Champions on April 15th 1967 when they became the first nation to beat England following the Three Lions 1966 World Cup triumph. The fact that the 2-3 victory came at Wembley Stadium in a Home Internationals fixture, which also doubled as a European Championship (1968) Qualifier, only added to the d

Ardiles and Villa: Footballing émigrés | @RichEvansWriter

Military events in the South Atlantic – even at a distance of 8000 miles – had a profound impact on a celebrated pair of international footballers in the 1980s.  @RichEvansWriter  takes up the story: Ossie Ardiles & Ricardo Villa at Tottenham Hotspur When one thinks of footballers and war, images of khaki-clad figures of yesteryear tend to spring to mind – the kind of ‘moustached archaic faces’ that Philip Larkin details in his poem MCMXIV. However, footballers do not have to be participants to be affected by conflict. Indeed, as with any civilians, they may well be unwitting victims with no stake in political events beyond their control.  In certain instances, football risks turning into an extension of the battleground – where players, subject to barbarous words and threats, become targets of abuse. Such was the case in 1982 with Ricardo Villa and Ossie Ardiles – then both of Tottenham Hotspur – whose fates (at least in the short term) were determined by events unfolding on the o

The 1970s: Sponsorship Brewing | @AlexHTheMAX

Nobody thinks twice these days when a traditional UK domestic cup competition is connected to a major sponsor but 50 and a bit years ago if a brand wanted an association with a football cup in Britain involving major players in our game they had to start their own tournament.  @AlexHTheMAX  the weird world of brewery sponsored pre season football and an oil giant trying to endear itself to the beautiful game. It's 1971 and a year after the inaugural Watney Cup , which ran from 1970 until 1973 as a pre-season tournament in England, it was Scotland's version getting underway in the form of the Drybrough Cup (1971-4 and then a brief return 1979 and 1980). Both these tournaments were established after the football leagues on either side of the border dipped their toes in the choppy waters of the previously frowned upon uncharted sea of tournament advertising. It was definitely something of a taboo before the era of football commercialism really broke through in the 1980s. The Watn

Frank Burton: Footballer and War Hero | @RichEvansWriter

Footballers who also fought at war is always an intriguing topic, one  @RichEvansWriter  is passionate about. Take a look at the career of Frank Burton, a man who has an incredibly interesting story: In the early part of the 20th century, the world was a great deal larger. Not in a literal sense, of course, but when it came to the way people perceived distance, it would almost certainly have felt this way. Crossing the Atlantic took a minimum of 5 days; sailing to Australia would take somewhere in the region of 5 weeks, and the idea of holidaying in foreign sunshine as part of a package deal was a good fifty years hence - even by the most optimistic of estimates.  That travel was such a drawn-out process had two key effects: firstly, only the very rich tended to undertake it recreationally, and secondly, being abroad was an experience entirely removed from everyday living.  As an example, in 'As I walked out one Midsummer Morning', writer Laurie Lee recalls his younger self jou

Sing-a-long Scotland: World Cup Beats

The World Cup anthem containing a national team trying to look like pop stars can be cringeworthy or just a bit of pre tournament fun, depending on your point of view, but will Scotland enjoy another hit on the road to Qatar 2022?  @AlexHTheMAX  counts down his Top 5 most memorable Tartan Army/Scotland squad efforts. 1. World Cup 1982: B.A. Robertson 40 years ago Scotland were getting ready to show up at their third World Cup in a row, with the finals being held in Spain. They were accompanied by an official anthem written by one of Scotland's biggest, and maybe most under rated, musical exports. B.A. Robertson (the B. A. standing for Brian Alexander) had UK Top 40 hits between 1979 and 1981 with the first, ''Bang Bang'', reaching number 2 in August 1979. Robertson was tasked with writing a song for the Scotland team's appearance in Spain, where they would face New Zealand, Brazil and the USSR in the opening group stage. The singer-songwriter did not disappoint