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Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Sectarianism at Dens?

What's that? I hear you cry. The "S word" in a Scottish football context means the Old Firm to your average Dundee fan. The very idea that Dundee fans can be tarred with the same brush is met with bemusement and even hurt from the blue half of the city. Even Dundee United fans express mild amusement at any assertion that their bitter footballing rivals are sectarian.
There's no smoke without fire, right? In the dim and distant past Dundee executed a protestant only policy to surely merit such a reputation? Well no. The club has been open to all and heavily supported in catholic areas of the city. Dundee were set up, much like other clubs, to keep (in this case) protestants from mixing with catholics and others? Again, no. The club was created through the merger of East End and Our Boys in 1893 for the sole purpose of league membership. The fans. The fans are to blame, singing of bygone religious wars and glorifying in barbaric acts of terrorism. No. No Dundee song is sectarian. So these accusers are out to cause malice? Well, there's the rub.
In the age of the internet, there is now an outlet for fans of many teams, separated by great distances and who do not normally come in contact that often to express their views and read the views of others. This is also a time where the Scottish Government has sectarianism high on the agenda. Significantly though, the Government seeks to tackle sectarianism in football by focusing, in part, on the minutiae of behaviours and words expressed in songs sung by fans and discussing at great length what is to be deemed sectarian and what is not.
So when a Dundee fan refers to "the Derry", he is simply referring to the South Enclosure - the cowshed at Dens in much need of flattening. When he refers to himself as a "Derry Boy" he is using a popular adjective used in the local parlance to describe his footballing loyalty. Simple? Well not quite. In some parts of Scotland, it is baffling to some why a football fan with no sectarian agenda would wish to use such terms.
This is best highlighted in the famous thread on the Pie and Bovril website. Believe it or not, this is the second such thread to appear on that site. The first thread was locked by the moderators where it then sank to the bottom of the list of threads and was subsequently purged when the site underwent a major face lift. It seems that, when you sift through the usual trolls and wind up merchants, that there are genuine concerns by fans of other clubs as to why the fans hang on to this Derry word. I used to be of the opinion that, as I'm not a bigot and the club I follow is not sectarian, then there shouldn't be a problem with the D-word. Upon many heated debates on the aforementioned site, I've come to the conclusion that perhaps the issue does need to be discussed and the wisdom of continuing to use the D-word challenged.
The reason for this, before I'm lynched, is that the continued use of the word exposes the fans and the club to people with obvious agendas and ill intentions. If you look at the thread on P & B, you can see the usual suspects labeling Dundee fans as bigots, usually met with unhelpful rebuttals such as "sectarianism is the West Coast's problem!" The overly critical and judgemental overtones of the accusers only serves to form a siege mentality amongst the Dundee fans, who will invariably start using the Derry word more proudly and loudly, safe in the knowledge that they are not using the word to promote their ideals, but in effect, to get it up right up 'em. The P & B thread has the opposite effect from it's supposed aims.
Which brings me to the point of this post. While I wholeheartedly welcome intelligent query regarding the use of the Derry word, I reject the intentions of the author of an article in the 6th edition of the 12th Man.
I feel the article falls into the trap highlighted above- there are too many preconceived assumptions made and very little intelligent query. There is an over eagerness to prove the existence of sectarianism at Dens and very little actual thought on why the Derry word is still used. However, this isn't surprising, given the author. It doesn't take a huge leap of the imagination to work out that the author is the poster known as Hebridean on P & B. Given that the article is practically a word for word copy of his blogsite it really offers nothing new, other than the opportunity for "Hebs" to promote his egotistical musings to a wider audience. Hebs has constantly been challenged to report the club and fans to UEFA, the SFL, the SFA, in fact anyone with any real power to do something about Dundee's "rampant sectarianism". He, conveniently, skirts the issue of actually doing so, however. Whether it is relevant that his avatar on P & B is of Bonnie Prince Charlie is debatable; as is the interesting personal mail I received from a fellow Clyde fan of his that stated he is regularly warned by moderators on a well known Clyde FC internet forum for his constant posting of religious viewpoints. The latter was partly confirmed by Hebs himself but played down. [see comments]
The article actually starts out as a promising attempt to question the origins of the word Derry in relation to Dundee FC. Hebs' research, much like the Daily Record - all internet based; points to a fleeting, unsavoury period in the 70's when Dundee fans latched on to the union flag. Hebs rejects the other possible reasons for the reference to the South Enclosure as the Derry:

"The number of excuses, and I’ve not listed them all, do no favours for the possibility of there being a non-sectarian explanation, and their pitiful naivete deals it the hammer blow."

I'd counter that by saying the reasons for the pitiful naivete is more to do with just that- naivete to the probable sectarian overtones once prevalent amongst some of the support. It's frustrating that Hebs doesn't explore why there are so many explanations to the origins of the word Derry. It's also frustrating that we are not given a time period the unofficial renaming of the South Enclosure took place. Could it be that the name "Dens Road End" was just too delicious for those pseudo bigots of the 70's not to exploit? No seriously, I'd like to know. Okay, it's unlikely, but would it harm the author to investigate farther?
The author, quite rightly, points out that the argument that sectarianism doesn't exist in Dundee is invalid. I feel that the refusal to separate sectarianism within the city and within individuals from sectarianism as displayed in the club you chose to support is another failure of the author.

"It may be retreating into the mists of time, but it’s not rocket science to work out why the
Brigton Derry Boys, Gorgie Derry Boys and Dundee Derry Boys have Celtic, Hibernian and the one-time Dundee Hibernian as their respective arch rivals is it?"

Is it? As he is keen to stress on P & B, Dundee United has done a lot to get away from any possible connotations the reasons for their formation may create. Dundee Hibernian has never, at any point, been an "arch rival" of Dundee. The two clubs have never met in a competitive fixture and at the time of the "Wee Hibs'" run (1909-1923) there were many Dundee teams on the go. Indeed, one of the reasons for Dundee Hibs' demise was the inability to attract the Irish immigrant fans it sought. It is no coincidence that at this time, Dundee FC drew a large proportion of its fans from Lochee- at the time a largely Irish community now part of the city. It seems the author has got his time lines all wrong. Unlike Rangers and maybe Hearts, there was no reactionary stance taken by Dundee due to the formation of Dundee Hibs.
Given what we know about the author's reluctance to report Dundee to the proper authorities it seems bizarre that he'd make this statement:

"Rangers and Celtic have had to be dragged for much of the way by legislation and the threat of sanctions. Dundee, sadly, may need the same “incentive”."

At this point in the article the author becomes contrary and states that he believes there to be "predominantly" no sectarian intentions by the continued use of the word Derry (although the cynic in me thinks that may be a form of legal protection). This revelation seems strange after the assertion there may need to be some sort of authoritative intervention to stop the sectarian sentiment spewed forth by the Dens collective. The accusation that Dundee FC has done little to combat the problem seems odd. The official name of "the Derry" is the South Enclosure and as mentioned, not one Dundee song is sectarian. It begs the question of what the author expects the club to do.

"a club statement accepting its origins and dissuading the support from its continuance."

What was the origin again Hebs? Ah yes, that was never determined. The belief the board of Dundee FC is more enlightened than the lifelong fans who support the club and the assumption that the club is holding on to dark secrets like some secret society conspiring to conceal the ultimate truth is just laughable. The latter part of the author's recommendation holds some water though- should the club distance itself or put pressure on fans to drop the D-word?
It's the startling inconsistencies within the article that frustrates. Here was a great opportunity to graduate from the childish school of thoughts on display in the P & B thread, and have a meaningful discussion on the subject- but that was wasted and instead we just have more of the same. Post no. 5 of the P & B thread is as far as you need to read in that case. Like the P & B thread, the article will achieve the exact opposite of its supposed aims given the poorly researched and condescending voice it adopts. Would the 12th Man have allowed such an article on Celtic or Rangers? It brings to mind a quote from a moderator on P & B:

"All this comes down to is a few smug, self centred individuals thinking they can change the world by, er, taking something on that no-one else gives a fish's tit about.

If these people set about eradicating sectarianism from the areas where there ARE problems, then I'd have much more respect for their actions.

As it is, it's a campaign built on cowardice"

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Dundee Through the Years - Season 1893-94

A new feature, nicked once again from the excellent Dundee programmes of the late 80s. Season 1893-94 was obviously the first for Dundee FC, after the merger between Dundee Our Boys and Dundee East End allowed the newly formed club entry to the Scottish League. The Scottish League was inaugurated in season 1890-91 with Rangers, Celtic, Dumbarton, Hearts and St. Mirren being the founding members still active today. Clyde FC would join in 1891-92, making Dundee the 7th oldest league club in Scotland jointly with Hibernian, Motherwell, Morton and Partick Thistle, who all started life in Division Two which was itself inaugurated in 1893-94.

Dundee were allowed entry to the top league ahead of Hibs et al largely thanks to geography as all the other league clubs were all located in the power bases of Glasgow, Dumbarton, Paisley & surrounding area and Edinburgh. This accident of geography would also work in our favour when the dreaded "re-election" time came at the season end each year.

This season's home games would be played out at West Craigie Park, a former home of Dundee Our Boys, as Dundee were not given the excellent Carolina Port to play at as hoped. Dundee still managed to average 4,300 at the ground for our first season. The first game was a 3-3 draw in Dundee versus Rangers. It never got any easier as the second game was against Celtic in Glasgow, with the current league champions running out 4-1 winners. Dundee would eventually finish 8th in the league, winning 6 and drawing 3 of their 18 games. It was certainly a respectable finish for a brand new club against Scotland's elite. The Scottish Cup would bring no joy as Dundee would fall at the first hurdle losing 4-2 to Strathmore. Dundee did find success in winning the Forfarshire Cup final, in front of 10,000. Jimmy Dundas would end up as top scorer with 12 goals but it would be three others who would receive the international recognition- Francis Barrett, William Longair and Alexander Keiller. All in all, it can be considered a decent first season for the Dees.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Dundee V Aberdeen, 13th August 1988

Dundee face Aberdeen tomorrow in a friendly match; it will be the first home game the fans have had the chance to cast a critical eye over the new arrivals at Dens. With that in mind, I've decided to feature the programme from the 1988-89 season's opener against, wait for it, Aberdeen. Topical or what?

A healthy 12,222 turned out to see Gordon Chisolm score in a 1-1 draw. It was the first competitive match for new manager Dave Smith.

"Angus Cook and his belief and desire to see Dundee transformed into a top of the table club was the clinching factor"

"Success with Dundee"
continues Smith "will require three things! Hard work...patience and charity from the fans...a belief we CAN succeed!" Stirring stuff.

He signs off by saying "Let's give Aberdeen a real Dundee welcome!"

Aberdeen had just replaced Jim Leighton with £300,000 Theo Snelders, a player originally earmarked by Manchester United, but eventually recommended to Aberdeen by Alex Ferguson. Alex Smith, we are told, was sacked less than a year after winning the Scottish Cup with St. Mirren but "a man of Alex's ability was not going to be out of the game long" and so he finds himself as co-manager along side Jocky Scott.

We are given season ticket prices over the page- a centre stand ticket- £100- a saving of £32 on pay at the gate. Family tickets- 1 parent and 1 child £95, 2 parents and 1 child £155, 1 parent and 2 children £130, 1 parent and 3 children £165. On the same page the match day programme price has risen to 70p due to the "increasing costs and greater use of colour".

Farther into the programme we are given a few action shots of our 2-0 victory over Newcastle in the Dunclare Dispensers trophy. The quiz once again asks a question about Gordon Strachan- this time which French club was after his signature the previous week? A certain David Young reports from down south. David reckons Liverpool should retain their league crown but Everton should also do well after pinching Tony Cottee for a new British record transfer fee of almost £2.5 million. David assures us that the hooligan problem down south is blown out of proportion and visiting Nottingham Forest (his local team) is as safe as a visit to "Dens or Tannadice" and an away visit to Chelsea "is no worse than following the Dees to Ibrox or Parkhead". That was before going to visit Wembley for the Auld Enemy match, however. "To be frank it was frightening to be a Scot in London that day. Chelsea and West Ham thugs roamed the tourist areas looking for small groups of Scots and several times we were lucky to avoid being attacked". David signs of by saying "I hope Jocky Scott gets a better welcome from the Dundee public today than is usually given to ex-Dundee players and managers". Not being at the game myself David, I couldn't answer that.

Oh, and it was RC Lens after wee Gordon!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Dundee v Eintracht Frankfurt, April 22nd 1985

It seems appropriate, after last night's 2-0 defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach, to feature the programme from the friendly game versus Eintracht Frankfurt. The game was played in front of 4,000 at Dens in 1985 and finished 1-1.

Archie Knox states in his pre-game analysis that "Everyone connected with the club knows that we are desperate to be involved in European competition and Eintracht will give us a taste of what to expect". Indeed, Eintracht were no strangers to European competition having won the UEFA Cup 5 years previously and, of course, were involved in the legendary European Cup final of 1960, losing 7-3 to Real Madrid at Hampden. Incidentally, on the same page there is an appeal for volunteers to "help with ground improvements during the summer".

The next page shows the results so far that season, and it's probably best to skim over the derby results, except for one; a 4-3 win at Tannadice. It's also interesting to note that the league games versus the Old Firm didn't automatically attract bigger crowds when played in Glasgow as opposed to when played in Dundee. Farther into the programme there is the obligatory quiz which is very much German themed. Question 19 asks which German club does Mark McGhee play for and question 20 asks which former Dundee player was subject to an on-off transfer to a German team? Respectively, the answers are SV Hamburg and Gordon Strachan. Anyone who remembers which German club wanted the wee ginger one, leave the details in the comments!

The Dens Park bard, it seems, was not just on call for competitive games but for friendlies too:

"The greatest game I can recall
Was Cologne's visit here

A night of great excitment-

Dundee's joy and Cologne's fear

Cologne were firmest favourites

To win the Europe Cup,

But Dundee beat them eight to one

And messed their chances up"

The opposite page relives the dramatic European Cup final, played in front of 127,000, in 1960. "And many critics had nothing but sympathy for the Germans who would have surely been good enough on another day to win the cup against less exceptional opponents."

The last pages advertise player sponsorship prices- boots: £45; socks: £15; jersey: £30; shorts: £15; training kit: £45: total- £150. There is also a full page advert for the Dundee FC shop in the Keiller Centre which, shock horror, sold Dundee United leg warmers!

Dundee have played a few German sides in friendlies, mostly in the 80's it seems, but very few of note. We did play Borussia Dortmund in 1984, drawing 1-1. Also that year, we drew 0-0 with Bayer Leverkusen. Those matches took place during our unbeaten tour of West Germany and Switzerland. The following year we undertook another tour, once again meeting up with Eintracht, this time losing 2-0.

I'll leave you with a reminder of that 1960 European Cup final, which Madrid fluked. It's worth noting, that while Frankfurt were well beaten 7-3, they eviscerated a decent Rangers side 12-4 on aggregate in the semi-final; 6-1 in Germany and 6-3 at Ibrox.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Derby Hattrick Heroes

Once in a generation, we are fortunate enough as Dundee fans to witness that elusive achievement that catapults a player almost to legend status and ensures his name will forever echo through the ages...

...well not quite, but it is nice to see a Dundee player stick 3 past the enemy. It doesn't often happen, so if you've witnessed the feat then consider yourself lucky. If you've witnessed it twice, then consider yourself blessed, if you've witnessed more, then chances are you're an auld fogie.

Andy Campbell was the first Dundee player, indeed, the first player to score a hattrick in the derby. Back in 1926-7, Campbell, already a prolific scorer, notched 4 goals in a 5-0 league victory over the relatively newly renamed Dundee United. Twenty thousand turned out at Dens to witness the one man show. It can be assumed that considerably less turned out to see another Dundee player score 4 goals against United in the Forfarshire Cup that same season. A player by the name of Ramage (thanks Norrie and "They Wore the Dark Blue" for that info) repeated Campbell's feat in a 7-2 win for the Dees.

It was to be 30 years before another Dundee player would score a derby hattrick in a major competition. Jimmy Chalmers, watched by a certain Johnny Scobie and 20,000 others, ran United ragged in a 7-3 win in the League Cup quarter final. United, it seems, don't always win the big derbies. We had the luxury of allowing them a 2-1 second leg win.

As featured recently, Keith Wright became the next player on that very short list of players in the 4-3 game in 1989. It was the first Dark Blue derby hattrick in 33 years and first league derby hattrick in 63 years.

Then of course we have Juan, two, three. A mere 11 years later Juan Sara, a player that splits opinion amongst the Dundee support like no other, would become our first overseas player to join the list. Only 9,838 would turn out for this one, and Sara left it late, scoring his last two goals in the last ten minutes. I'll leave you with a short, but sweet, reminder of the last player to enjoy a threesome.

Monday, 20 July 2009

They Wore the Dark Blue for Club and Country - Francis Barrett

Yes, I've "borrowed" yet another feature from the programmes of the 80's-90's, and I suppose the best place to start is at the beginning- 31st March 1894 to be precise. That's when Dundee FC, not even a year old, supplied their first player- Francis Barrett- to the national team. He wasn't to be the city's first internationalist, however, that honour belongs to Dundee Strathmore's William Alexander Dickson who scored 4 goals against Ireland in a 10-2 win in 1888; worthy of an article in his own right.

Francis Barrett, a goalkeeper, was born in Dundee in 1872. He started his career at Dundee Harp before joining Dundee during the 1893-94 season. Barrett won his two caps while at the Dark Blues with his first coming in 1894 against Ireland in the British International Championship in Belfast. He was to be joined by two of his Dundee team mates, William Longair and Alexander Keillor, in the line up for that game.

The game itself was played in front of 6,000 fans at the Solitude in Belfast and Barrett would concede a second half goal, but Scotland would win the game 2-1 thanks to 2 first half goals. He would be dropped for the England game in April of that year but nevertheless, he played his part in Scotland's victorious Home International campaign that season.

His second cap was against Wales in 1895 at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham in front of 4,000. Again he was joined by two Dundee team mates in the game, this time it was Alexander Keillor and William Sawyers. In this game the Scots recovered from a 2-1 deficit at half time to draw the game 2-2. Once again he'd play only the one game in the competition as Scotland only manage to finish joint second.

Barrett's solid performances for Dundee would earn him a move to Newton Heath in 1896, now called Manchester United, of course. Barrett played for New Brighton Tower, Arbroath, Manchester City before ending his playing days with Aberdeen, joining them upon their formation in 1903.

Barrett, it is said, died in 1907 aged just 35.

Barrett's Internationals:
Ireland 1-2 Scotland, 6,000, Belfast 31 March 1894
Wales 2-2 Scotland, 4,000, Wrexham 23 March 1895

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Player Spotlight - Alan Campbell

I've decided to borrow a feature from the Dundee programmes of the late 80's - early 90's and the first player to be put under the spotlight is Alan Campbell. Not a completely random choice, as Alan Campbell was the player featured in the Dundee v United programme reviewed in my last entry.

"In Alan Campbell, Dundee have recruited a man with vast knowledge of European football, but as he readily admits his knowledge of the Scottish game is scratchy.
`My first impressions are that it is incredibly fast. Considerably faster than I have been used to and the standard is high' said Alan."

Alan started off at St. Joseph's Boys before moving to Shamrock Rovers. At Shamrock he became Ireland's top scorer twice and played in the UEFA Cup. He would've played in the European Cup also, but had left to go to Racing Santander in the Spanish top flight. He would spend two years there, becoming the club's top scorer for one of those seasons. Campbell would pick up 3 caps for Ireland while in Spain. Santander would get relegated the year he moved to newly promoted Logrones. He would decide to leave Logrones due to the three foreigner rule meaning he would have to sit out a number of games - something he didn't fancy. Campbell would refuse a move to Celtic to go to Belgium and once again he would become his club's top scorer.

It was at that point he moved to Dundee:

".....`I am now looking forward to knocking in the goals for Dundee' said Alan, and he continued, `I hope to catch the eye of Jack Charlton, because having experienced involvement at that level, you get a taste for it and I'd love to return to that stage and in football you never know what lies around the corner.'"

Alan would play 15 times for Dundee scoring twice. He would later move to Forfar. Gordon Wallace heard about Alan while in Ireland for a Dundee United v Bohemians UEFA Cup tie and it's obvious that with Campbell's proven goalscoring abilities and pedigree, Dundee never saw the best of him.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Dundee v Dundee United, 19th August 1989

"There's nothing I like better than putting one past the boys from down the road" - Keith Wright

Here we have a match programme from a classic derby game that was played at Dens in front of 13,616. This was the first home league game of the 1989-90 campaign and it didn't start off well for the Dees, going down 2-0 within the first 24 minutes. However, Keith Wright had other ideas and scored a brace to level the scores by half time.
After the break United went 3-2 up only for super Keith to immediately grab an equaliser. There was only going to be one winner from that point and Joe McBride scored the winner 17 minutes from time. Yours truly was sent hurtling down the Provie in the celebrations (I was only a lightweight 9 year old lad at the time!). A truly great introduction to the Dundee Derby!

So, to the programme itself and Angus Cook's "Chairman's Message & Comments" is about how both Dundee teams have strengthened during the summer and the fact that the game will mark the 90th anniversary of the opening of the ground. Gordon Wallace tells us that it is important to get off to a good start in the league, especially after losing the opening league game 1-2 at East End Park. Action pictures provided below!

Farther into the programme there is a "News+Views" article which is a collection of short news snippets; one of which expands upon Dens' 90th birthday in explaining that in the first game- a 2-2 draw with St. Bernard - a player by the name of Fred McDiarmid scored the first goal at the new ground; "...which seems appropriate on a day when St. Johnstone are opening their own ground- McDiarmid Park!"

There's also a 14 year old Manchester United fan from Eccles appealing for pen pals who support his favourite Scottish team- Dundee FC.

In "Billy Kirkwood Reporting" we learn that Graham Harvey scored 4 goals in a 5-0 win over Dunfermline in the Premier Reserve League. Unfortunately, that sort of scoreline wouldn't be transposed to the first team that season.

In an excellent ongoing feature "They Wore the Dark Blue For Club and Country" we read about Robert Connor being the last Dundee player to be capped in a Mexico '86 warm up game against Holland. Bought in 1984 by Archie Knox, Alex Ferguson paid £350,000 to take him to Pittodrie where he won 2 further caps.
The other player to be featured is the mercucial Charlie Cooke. A then record fee between two Scottish clubs of £44,000 saw Cooke move from Aberdeen to Dundee. He appeared for Scotland v Wales at Hampden in a 4-1 win and also a 3-0 reverse in Naples against Italy to seal our fate in the qualifiers for the '66 World Cup. He moved to Chelsea in a £72,500 deal. The Dark Blues made £28,500 in less than two years on the original "CC" but still saw fit to sell off our championship winning side bit by bit...

I'll leave you, for now, with the mandatory squad photo for the 89-90 campaign. Click to enlarge.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Dundee v Celtic, League Cup Final, 1967

It seems natural to follow the semi-final of the League Cup with the final programme. As you can probably see, Celtic won the game 5-3 in what was, at that point, the joint highest scoring final, along with Celtic's 7-1 thrashing of Rangers 10 years earlier. There were 66,660 at the game to witness the goal feast.

As we read the first few pages, we can see the format is the same as the Saints semi-final programme with pen pics and then the probable line ups. Again it seems 2-3-5 is all the rage! Although, Dundee would actually use a 4-2-4. There's no mention of Jocky this time in the potential line ups.

Towards the end of the programme there is an article headed: "Vital Matches Loom Ahead".

"Celtic and Dundee have vital commitments outwith the domestic scene facing them...Celtic in the glamorous second leg of their World Club Championship with Racing, of the Argentine, in Buenos Aires next Wednesday, and Dundee against Royal F.C. of Liege in their Fairs Cities' Cup tie at Dens Park, also on Wednesday. Dundee are due to play their second leg in Belgium on November 14.
All Scotland will turn eyes with hope towards both finalists convinced they can bring further honour to the game here by once again superimposing their skill on the foreign thrust"

As it turns out, Dundee won their tie 7-2 on aggregate but Celtic were beaten (quite literally) in the second leg of the Worlds Club Cup. They would also lose the replay in Montevideo.

I'll leave you with the account of the 1910 Scottish Cup final between Dundee and Clyde found on the inside back page.

"...Dundee never give up, and they will take you back to their legendary Scottish Cup final with Clyde in 1909-10 for proof of this, if such be needed...
Six minutes to go. Five minutes to go. Clyde leading 2-0. Congratulations all round. Then a roar. What? Dundee had scored-well not exactly; Clyde had scored against themselves. George Robertson, left-half in making a clearance, banged the ball against team-mate Jimmy Blair and it rebounded into the net before George M'Turk could make shape at retrieving the disaster.
For disaster it was. Glimpsing a forlorn chance of saving the tie. Dundee forwards and half-backs staged one heroic attack. George Langlands had the great and glorious honour of registering an equalising goal almost as the final whistle sounded."

The rest, as they say, is history.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Dundee v St. Johnstone 1967 (part 2)

Staying with the Dundee-Saints semi final, we move on to the final pages from inside the programme which include the photo of Hampden. The caption below the photo reads:

"Here is the venue both Dundee and St. Johnstone are fighting to reach tonight- the majestic Hampden Park. And we are sure many Dens Park and Muirton supporters watching this evening's semi-final at Tannadice will have kept Saturday, October 28 clear-hoping, of course, that Glasgow and Hampden will see them."

The opposite page is a series of articles headed by the line: "How the Game (Financially) has Changed". The opening paragraph states:

"In these days, when colossal transfer fees are all the go, it is strange to think that there could be a hullabaloo about players being paid a trifling sum for giving good and faithful service to a club"

We learn that in the 1880s, those for and against professionalism were bitter enemies and that players would often find pound notes concealed in their boots as way of payment. We also read of the hardships clubs faced before the League came into existence; weighed down by "impossible financial burdens". We are told that despite the League's assistance in sharing out Pools income, some clubs will still struggle and "it would seem this will always be so".

The back page tells us the story of the League Cup and I will leave you with a rather colourful excerpt regarding that season's semi-finalists:

"Of this season's semi-finalists, Celtic (four times) and Dundee (twice) know the thrill of triumph in the final, but Morton have been twice in the final only to taste the bitters of defeat as their opponents sipped the champagne. St. johnstone, on the other hand, have still to reach the exalted berth, but they have no thought of failure on this occasion."

Dundee v St. Johnstone 1967

The first feature I've decided to go with is a local affair. On the right is the front cover of the programme from the 1967 League Cup semi-final between Dundee and St. Johnstone held at Tannadice. Dundee won the game 3-1 in front of 18,000. The cover design seems to be the standard design for this stage of that competition at the time.

The first couple of pages give us the mandatory "pen pics" of the players of both sides. One pen pic stands out for Dundee - John Scott (Jocky to you and me). Jocky's profile reads:

"JOHN SCOTT-inside left. 5ft. 8ins., 10st. 8lbs. Was with Chelsea when signed two years ago as an inside right. Never ceases striving to bring a power and penetration to the attack, and is there ready to drop back and lend a hand in defence when needed."

The same double page spread shows us the run of the two teams in getting to the semis (Saints/Dundee scores first)-

Sectional ties- Hearts 3-2 (H), 2-1 (A); Falkirk 2-1 (A), 0-0 (H); Stirling Albion 2-1 (H), 0-1 (A)
Quarter final- Queen's Park 3-1 (H), 5-0 (A)

Sectional ties- Hibs 0-0 (H), 4-2 (A), Clyde 1-0 (H), 2-1 (A), Motherwell 2-1 (H), 5-2 (A)
Quarter final- East Fife 1-0 (H), 4-0 (A)

Moving on to the middle page spread and we have the probable line ups with both teams looking to opt for a 2-3-5 formation. We also have the roll of honour in the League Cup to date which shows the winners as:
Rangers: 6 times
Hearts: 4 times
Celtic: 4 times
East Fife: 3 times
Dundee: 2 times
Aberdeen: 1 time
Motherwell: 1 time

Notable mentions to Partick, who reached 3 finals between 1953 and 1958, and Killie, who reached 3 finals between 1952 and 1962, but lost them all.

A final note of interest in the middle pages is that prices for the stand for the final were announced as 25/-, 20/-, 15/- and 10/-. Can an old timer tell me if this was good value or not in the comments?!