In issue 2 of the Scotland Epistles, Bullshit & Thistles magazine I wrote an article called ‘ The Curse Of Berti Vogts’; the premise was that the bizarre amount of players that were given their debut cap by Berti and how their career ended prematurely or has been hampered by injury. If you think of John Kennedy, Lee Wilkie, Michael Stewart, Peter Canero as proof of the former and how even established Scotland players like Darren Fletcher, Gary Caldwell, James McFadden and Craig Gordon have had to overcome long term injuries. However, for the record with Steven Caldwell announcing his retirement this month I would like to clarify that Steven was not capped initially by Berti but by Craig Brown in April, 2001. So this one is not added to Berti’s cursed list.
Mind you if you have a look at the list of players making their debut that night at the Zawisza Stadium in Bydgosccz, it would seem that some sort of curse was involved that night too. Along with Steven making their one and only appearance in a Scotland shirt were John O’Neill of Hibs, Dunfermline’s Barry Nicholson, Charlie Miller, then of Dundee United and Andy McLaren of Kilmarnock; all of them who have had their hard times in some ways in their football career. The game was a classic of a goal each and numerous substitutions, which of course probably meant that an initial guarded first half was followed by a disrupted second half with the paying punters (20,000) wondering why they turned up in the first place. I think if people are paying money to see these internationals there has to be a limit on the subs; as all too often the game descends into farce. Incidentally, Scott Booth of Twente Enschede scored the Scotland goal.
As for Steven, he would win 12 caps under 5 managers with Craig Levein being the last, which says a lot about the state of Scotland management in last decade or so. Steven would have some highs with the 3 nil away win in Slovenia being the top of the list but whether it was enough to wipe out the memory of 4 nil defeats to both Wales and Norway I’m not too sure.
If you want to read more on the Curse of Berti Vogts issue 2 of the Epistles is still available on eBay. As for issue 3, hopefully it will be going to the printers on July 27th and will ab available shortly after.
First posted on Facebook July 20th, 2015