My Favourite Game…

Date: 8th July 2016


The SFSA, now one year old, and like any healthy infant, growing at a prodigious rate, has invited me to open contributions from sympathisers under the heading of ”My Favourite Game.”

Unlike Gary Lineker’s MOTD, we hope that women will play a full and equal part in a collection which we hope to publish.

Perhaps I should say a little about my background and the qualities, including biases that I carry in my baggage. You will gain an idea of my vintage when I report that I first fell in love with football in the early 1950’s when I played my first competitive game as a schoolboy goalkeeper. Since then I have played in goal and the outfield at most levels of the game including the professional though the latter career ended, (this must be a record of some kind) when my first game as a pro was interrupted after ten minutes by a double leg fracture. I never played seriously again.

Having also observed the game for some six decades I write from a broad experience that includes football as mass spectacle.

In selecting my favourite game I have looked for the qualities that, in my view, make football both the world’s greatest team game and most exciting mass spectacle; together the beautiful game and the people’s game. I looked for the spontaneity and improvisation that thrilled the millions. I looked for individual brilliance embedded in team performance for the greatest players, George Best aside, always put the interest of the team first. One for all and all for one.

With Jock Stein’s famous aphorism in mind that the best place to defend was in your opponent’s penalty area I looked for attack, attack and more attack. I looked for goals.

Lastly I looked for the moral dimension put into words by Albert Camus, anti-fascist, philosopher, novelist and footballer: above all. The players must observe the rules of the game and respect the referee as custodian of the rules because the rules were so designed as to ensure that justice was done and that the best team won as in the good society.

For me there could be only one candidate that fitted the bill for my choice of favourite game with not an also-ran in sight. You, the fan, will have your own choice, and we look forward to hearing from you.

The game took place in 1960 on a sun-blessed evening in Glasgow and a crowd of 127,000 turned out for the final of the European Cup in dispute between Real Madrid from Spain and Eintracht Frankfurt from Germany.

Expectations ran high not least because the Spanish side fielded the legendary Hungarian Ferenc Puskas, perhaps the cleanest and truest-ever striker of a ball, and the equally legendary Argentinian Alfredo Di Stefano. Expectations were exceeded as a banquet of football at its finest was served up. And justice was done as the best team won.

With best wishes for fans and the SFSA.


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