First posted on Facebook, 6th June, 2016
Apparently there is to be a referendum on 23 June with regard to whether or not we want to leave the EU. I thought Scotland had already left Europe having voted with our feet and not managed a single shot on target away to Georgia in September last year. No I won’t let it go……
Anyway, talking of propaganda exercises let’s go back to Wednesday 3rd January 1973 when to commemorate the entry of the U.K., Ireland and Denmark into what was then referred to as the European Economic Community there was played at Wembley Stadium a representative match between ‘The Three’ and ‘The Six’ – managed by Sir Alf Ramsey and Helmut Schoen respectively. ‘The Three’ were the aforementioned newcomers to the E.E.C. whilst ‘The Six’ were the original members- West Germany , Belgium , Netherlands , Luxembourg , France and Italy .
The match programme which was headed ‘Common Market Football Match’ mistakenly refers to the U.K. as Great Britain which is ironic given that the squad included Northern Ireland ’s Pat Rice and Alan Hunter. The squad listed also included Bobby Moore and Bobby Charlton from England plus Johnny Giles and Steve Heighway of the Republic of Ireland . The opposition squad was pretty impressive too – Dino Zoff and Luigi Riva [ Italy ]; Paul Van Himst [ Belgium ]; Ruud Krol [ Netherlands ]; and Beckenbauer, Vogts and Netzer [ West Germany ].
Page two of the programme contains a message from the then Prime Minister, Edward Heath together with an overly large head and shoulders portrait of the man –although it looks suspiciously like Mike Yarwood [Google him if you must].The message is then repeated in French, German and Italian. Even the programme of music had a European flavour to it with the selections including ‘Ballet Parisienne’, ‘Copenhagen’ plus a medley from [ahem] ‘Cabaret!’
Goals from Denmark’s Henning Jensen and Colin Stein of Coventry City and Scotland gave The Three a 2-0 victory in front of a crowd of 36,500. The other Scot to play that evening was Peter Lorimer of Leeds United whose clubmate Billy Bremner was also listed in the programme but didn’t appear.
On 5th June 1975 Harold Wilson’s UK Government presided over our first in/out EU Referendum. The result was 67% voted to remain and 33% to leave. In Scotland the result was closer – 58% to 42%. Four days earlier the Scotland football team did their best to remain within Europe [or at least the Euro Championships] with a creditable 1-1 draw away to Romania with Gordon McQueen grabbing the equaliser one minute from time. Alas a home defeat to Spain six months previous would ultimately prevent us from reaching the last eight.
Leaving politics to the side, I’m a big fan of representative matches, so in 2023 when the SFA celebrates its 150th anniversary I’m looking forward to Scotland taking on a ‘Rest of the World’ select. Hopefully by then, we will be someone again. As ever [with most of this nonsense] remember that you read it here first….