On December 24th it will be 30 years to the day that Erich Schaedler took his life in the Cardrona Forest in the Scottish Borders. Erich was a part of the famous Turnbull Tornadoes Hibs team of the 1970’s. He was a very strong and very fast full back who gained only one full Scottish Cap.
Erich was capped by Willie Ormond a few months before the 1974 World Cup in a friendly against host nation West Germany. This was particularly poignant for Erich as his father was a German P.O.W. who elected to remain in Scotland after the war. Scotland lost 2-1 with the Germans grabbing two goals in quick succession with a Paul Breitner penalty in 33 minutes, followed by a Jurgen Grabowski goal two minutes later. Kenny Dalglish netted in the 77th minute to pull one back.
Willie Ormond must have seen something in his display that night as he chose him in his final 22 players for the World Cup but with Danny McGrain and Sandy Jardine at their peak as a partnership there was never any real chance of him getting a game except for injury to those two, which never happened. After the World Cup McGrain and Jardine continued their dominance for the full back positions for the next year or so and Erich dropped out of the picture altogether.
I have to admit that at the time of his death I was unaware that it had occurred but in the excellent book ‘Shades: the Short Life and Tragic Death of Erich Schaedler’ by Colin Leslie; it does mention about how little media attention was given to the story at the time and how the subject of suicide was taboo and not talked about.
Throughout the book his ex-team mates talk very affectionately of Erich but also their sense of loss is still quite raw for them; unable to come to terms with the likeable, energetic Erich with the man who was in despair enough to take his own life. It becomes even more sad and poignant when his ex-Dundee teammate Ian Redford struggles to understand it; when Ian himself would take his own life in 2014.
I have titled this piece Erich Schaedler Remembered but I feel too inadequate to do justice to the title therefore I am asking, mainly the Hibs fans out there to take a moment and write a short piece be it a sentence, a paragraph or whatever on Erich and their memories and let us all remember him.