GLF 60: Eddie ponders the'Well and the Kirin Cup
The summer of 2006 is almost upon us,and football fans in all four corners of the globe will have their eyes fixed firmly on the most prestigious trophy in the calendar…….. The Kirin Cup.Now before you scoff,Motherwell has a proud record in this tournament with no fewer than five caps in two matches.Brian Martin started in the 1-2 reverse against Ecuador,with Paul Lambert coming on as a sub.In the second game against the hosts,Japan,Rob McKinnon joined Martin and Lambert in the starting line-up,with wait for it……..Stevie Woods as an unused sub goalie !!!Of course, that was eleven years ago and unfortunately “ caps ” and “ Fir Park ” don't often appear in the same sentence nowadays.
By now maybe the Scotland squad will have been announced and half-a-dozen Fir Parkers will be in,but sadly I won' be holding my breath.Although there are some candidates,the best we can hope for is maybe two.Step forward Martyn Corrigan and Stevie Hammell as the two most likely to be selected,sadly for Motherwell they might've indicated by then that they're heading to pastures new.Brian Kerr has been involved in the “B” team recently,but I don't think he's impressed enough to be taken half way around the world. Maybe an outside bet to be picked could be Graeme Smith,or am I letting those Claret and Amber specs get the better of me yet again !?!
Regardless of what happens in Japan, the World Cup apparently is taking place in Germany and yet again we're on the outside looking in.My argument is that we can at least enjoy the tournament without the heartache that invariably visits us Scotland fans.Being of a certain vintage,I'm delighted to say that I've no recollection whatsoever of 1966,Sir Alf,Bobby Moore and Nobby dancing ( or 1967 and Lisbon for that matter, thank the lord ) so 1970 Mexico was the first World Cup that grabbed my young attention.I'd been going to Fir Park for two full seasons by then, s o of course I knew my football !!I remember such exotic sides such as Israel and El Salvador playing the same sport as I'd seen from Albion Rovers and Montrose.In the summer of 1970 I was smitten long before I saw Brazil,with Pele and Jairzinhio.I still remember with fondness watching England ( the holders ) race to a 2-0 lead over West Germany in the Quarter Final,take off Bobby Charlton to rest him for the Semi,and watch the Germans come back with three “ wonderful ” goals.Sheer bliss,even for an eight year old.Of course Brazil played a brand of football that I've probably never truly witnessed again,although The Dossers have got close on several occaisions !!
1974 brought the first Scotland appearance in my lifetime, and you'll all know the sob story.But my highlights were watching the Zaire player racing out of the defensive wall as Brazil were preparing to take a free kick as soon as the ref had blown his whistle for the kick to be taken,and booting the ball high into the stands with the Brazilians looking on in disbelief.And watching the Haiti bench celebrating when they had taken the lead in a group match against Italy.
1978 brought Allys Tartan Army,and 35,000 fans at Hampden paying ten bob a go to wave goodbye to the Scotland team on a Wednesday night,which was shown live on STV.Surreal or what.I recall the Daily Record telling us that Tefilio Cubillas and Hector Chumpitaz ( Peruvian superstars !! ) were in fact pensioners,as they'd exclusively found their birth certificates.And you thought todays press were bad ?Espana‘82 saw the Davie Narey toepoke,the coming together of Alan Hansen and Willer Miller,Socrates the 40 fags a day Brazilian and Paolo Rossi.Spain also saw the first appearance of the finest footballer I ever had the privilege to see,Diego Armando Maradona, a true footballing legend.
Of course 1986 was “ his ” tournament.Forget the hand of god and all the English propaganda.Argentina,and in particular Maradona were breathtaking.I'm convinced Terry Butcher's knees were never the same again after Maradonas' second goal against England,and I'm equally convinced that Terry was one of a queue of defenders who tried to kick the wee man black and blue all through that summer without any success.Italia '90 saw Scotland lose to Costa Rica and beat Sweden within four days.
Me being robbed of watching a Motherwell player play on the greatest stage of all ( in the flesh ) with Davie Cooper's ankle injury.Gazza bawling his eyes oot,and England being robbed of the World Cup, again.How funny is it watching England lose big games on Penalty Shoot-outs ?1994 in the good old U S of A was total bollocks.The only high point was watching Motherwell striker Tommy Coyne giving the Italians the run-around in a 1-0 win.France '98 was quite interesting for me as I dislocated my shoulder in the Stade de France during the opener with Brazil, celebrating Scotland getting a penalty,and having to spend the night in an St Denis hospital surrounded by very very drunk Scotsman.
Last time out was a strange World Cup because of the time difference.But I do recall working night shift in London and heading to the Boozer at eight in the morning for a Breakfast,beer and the England / Brazil game.Half a dozen Scots surrounded by a hundred of that lot.When Ronaldinhio scored we knew God really was a Scotsman.The best time I've ever had watching a big screen.
This summer will bring it's own memories and we will all have our favourites to win the silverware.Personally,I'm going for Scotland , with our James as captain,to lift the Kirin Cup and Argentina to take the consolation of the tournament in Germany.
Enjoy your holidays.
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