Happy Birthday to Bobby Moncur, who will be 71 on January 19th. Bobby is most famous for being captain of Newcastle United in the late 60’s, early 70’s. In over 300 games for Newcastle Bobby only ever scored 8 goals but three of them were in the two legged final of the Inter-City Fairs Cup, which was the Europa Cup in old money before it was the U.E.F.A. Cup.
Bobby played for Scotland 16 times and captained his country 7 times.
His first cap came against Netherlands in a friendly in May 1968 in Amsterdam, along with four other players making their debuts; Doug Fraser and Bobby Hope of West Brom, George ‘Dandy’ MacLean of Dundee in his only Scotland game and Jimmy Smith of Aberdeen who would team up with Moncur at Newcastle the following season. The game ended in a nil nil draw.
It would be over a year later when Bobby gained his second cap coming in for a friendly against the Republic of Ireland at Dalymount Park, Dublin where Scotland drew one each with Colin Stein scoring for the Scots.
Bobby again had to wait until April ’70 for his next cap, in the first game of that years’ Home Internationals against Northern Ireland in Belfast where Scotland won with a goal from debutant John O’Hare; this was followed by non-score draw with Wales at Hampden. Although Scotland fielded a relatively inexperienced team against England that year with the likes of Moncur and players with only three caps and mostly all in the previous two games such as Derby’s John O’Hare, Coventry’s Willie Carr, Killie’s Billy Dickson, David Hay of Celtic and Hearts’ Jim Cruickshank in goal; they proved the equal to an English side with the likes of Banks, Stiles, Moore, Hurst and Ball in a rather dull nil each game. Of course, this game is famous for a stonewall of a penalty that was not given for Brian Labone upending Colin Stein in the box.
Scotland finished 1970 with a win against Denmark at Hampden in a European Qualifier with O’Hare again scoring the only goal. In the four games in 1970 Scotland never conceded a goal with Bobby in defence. Bobby was also given the Captaincy at this point with Billy Bremner out of the team but this was still a surprise as previous stand in captain John Greig was still in the team.
If 1970 was a reasonable year for a changing team; 1971 was a nadir for Scotland of this era. Scotland played 10 games, winning 2, drawing 1 and losing 7. The two wins would be with Tommy Docherty in charge and without Moncur also.
Of course, if it’s Belgium in Liege and European Championships of course it’s going to be a bad start as the Scots went down three nil in the mud of Stade Sclessin in February, then on to Lisbon to be beaten by Portugal 2-0 in April.
A nil nil draw at Ninian Park with Wales was the only relief that May as the Scots lost one nil to a John Greig own goal at Hampden against Northern Ireland, followed by a 3-1 defeat to England at Wembley. Moncur retained his captaincy even after Bremner was picked to play in this game as he did for his twelfth cap and further humiliation being beaten 1-0 by the Danish in Copenhagen.
Moncur did not play in Scotland’s seventh defeat that year and indeed, last game in charge for Bobby Brown; a friendly in Moscow where the Scots lost to the USSR by a solitary goal.
However, by April 1972, Tommy Docherty brought Bobby back into the fold for a 2-0 win over Peru at Hampden and kept him for the Home International Series where the Scots beat Northern Ireland 2-0 with two very late goals from Denis Law in the 86th minute and Peter Lorimer in the 89th. I wonder how many people left early. That would be Denis’ last ever goal for Scotland in his 44th International. Next up was a one nil victory at home against Wales with Lorimer providing the goal. A narrow one nil defeat to England at Hampden would prove to be Bobby’s last Scotland game.
That summer Docherty would go to Brazil with a squad for Independence Cup without Moncur. I honestly don’t know if Moncur declined the invite or was not picked but either way the pairing of Martin Buchan of Man. Utd. and Sheffield United’s Eddie Colquhoun was Docherty’s first choice for his remaining time in charge.
Of course, Bobby went on to play for Newcastle for a few seasons more before moving first to Sunderland and finishing up at Carlisle, where he became Manager before a time in charge at Hearts among others.
So here’s to Bobby, who must have commanded a great deal of respect when you can be picked ahead of John Greig and Billy Bremner and captained his country seven times.
All the best Bobby.