I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the international football scene and expressed a wish to see a British team in the Olympics, this was based on several factors, such as possible success and a wider audience. Above all I said it was time to reappraise the whole business of international football.
Events at Hampden on Wednesday evening did nothing to change my mind, excuses have been trotted out by people who should know better, such as ‘a cold November night’ ‘too near Christmas’ what piffle! any game against Argentina would have filled the stadium 20 years ago. Just before that era Celtic became the first British team to win the European Cup and lost in the final of the same trophy as well as reaching I think 3 semi finals, Rangers won the Cup Winners Cup and always featured in European tournaments, not long after that the game became swamped with money and Scottish teams have since struggled to keep up, that is not about to change and it’s impact can be seen in International Football, quite simply the world has left us behind.
I’ve seen Scotland play many times and seen some great players but, unfortunately they were not in the same team, it would have been great to see Mackay, McStay, Bremner and Baxter in the same midfield with Law and McGrory as twin strikers, add McGrain, Ure, Buchan and Jardine and you could put almost anyone in goal. The larger countries have so many players that they can get several outstanding players into the same team, I can no longer be bothered to go to a Scotland game, in fact if they are on TV and a better international is also on I will watch that and switch on occasionally to check the score. When Scots. fans don’t turn out to watch the team play Argentina it spells big trouble, without an amalgamation it will only get worse and eventually it will become a waste of time, just consider the number of players who don’t bother with it now, how many call offs etc. the game’s up I’m afraid.
The match was painful to watch and predictable, Argentina scored a superb goal early and spent the rest of the game passing rings round the Scottish players while carefully avoiding the frustrated flying boots of Hutton, Brown and Broadfoot, I think they clearly enjoyed winning the game and would have seen the avoidance of serious injury to their players as a bonus, the look of incredulity on the faces of some of the Argentina players at some of the tackling said it all.
Maradonna’s contempt for Terry Butcher was deserved and completely destructive, his demeanour and likeable nature were a joy to watch and contrasted sharply with Butcher’s childish pique, after all these years Butcher should have shown more sense, he has no class I’m afraid, did he not stop to think about the misdemeanours that he committed on the football field in his long career as one of the most uncompromising ‘hard man’ defenders.
He might also have thought about the greatness of the man he refused to shake hands with, those who like me were lucky enough to see him at 18 years of age on his debut against Scotland knew we were in the presence of greatness, even at that age you could see he was special. A man who sustained more abuse on the football field than Terry Butcher could ever understand and, BTW along with Charlton, Pele and Puskas etc, one of the greatest players ever, a true legend with not a bad line in ‘put downs’ judging by his crack about England’s World Cup win. Butcher was probably right to stay away from him; he would have taken another drubbing, this time verbally.
And finally I have to say that the great Diego Armando Maradonna was wrong, IMO the English goal was valid.