Legend Of Our Time - Davie Cooper
Ppppppppfffffffffff............so where does one start exactly?????????????
I've got to admit to being one of the doubters when I heard on the radio that Rangers 'veteran' Davie Cooper was moving to Fir Park. "Not another washed-out Mould Firm has-been signing by McLean. Surely a youngster like Stevie Bryce (!?!?) would be more worthy of a go?" etc. Of course fifty grand was a fair few bob for us back in the heady summer of '89 (and probably still is today the way things are going), so would we actually get value for money?
What happened during Coop's four-and-a-half years in the Claret and Amber then? Um, well there were the performances for a provincial club that saw him go from supposedly seeing out his career to forcing himself back into the Scotland set-up, winning not only his last two caps but also a place in the travelling party for Italia '90 only for injury to force him out. He suceeded not only in, as Tommy McLean confirmed, 'lifting the club to another level' but also bringing out the best in young players like Tommy Boyd, Rab McKinnon and Phil O'Donnell who all have Davie to thank for furthering their careers. Praise is also due from the fans for him being the architect in helping these guys become saleable assets, thus bringing in much needed dosh for a couple of our new stands and a healthy bank balance to boot. Anything else?
Oh yeah, winning that Cup back in '91 as well. The disguised pass to Kirkie at Pittodrie, laying it on a plate for Cusack early doors versus Falkirk, the only penalty I could actually watch at Cappielow, and for his tireless industry rather than outrageous skill in the Final itself. One of the best moments that day was the hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck ovation the great man received as he was subbed off late in proceedings, as well as the morning after when you could sense the delight he got in actually taking part in a victory parade round the town, a once in a lifetime experience in his career despite all his success.
Value for money? Davie Cooper was arguably one of THE most important players in Motherwell's history as the stand named after him lays testament to. I believe that without him a good number of 'Well fans would be a lot less critical of today's team as he helped lift us from perennial strugglers to an entertaining team comfortable in the top division, and the fans expectations were lifted as a result (maybe too highly?). Craig Brown may well have missed out on getting the local lad signed up for us while he was making his mark at Clydebank all those years ago, but as we approach the sixth anniversary of his untimely death we are both fortunate and proud enough to be able to look back and say that we saw a true legend play for our team.
by Christopher Hutton
Visit the GLF archive. Hundreds of articles.