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 Balkan brilliance
Topic Originator: sammer  
Date:   Mon 7 Jan 18:23

Dragoslav Sekularac, who died yesterday, was one of these talented ball artists that the area once called Yugoslavia seems to throw up regularly. Sekularac was a big name in the 1960s and has since been followed by extravagantly skilled playmakers such as Stoijkovic, Prosineski, Boban and Modric. These are the type of players worth the entrance money alone and I do not think any of the successful European football countries over the years could claim as many outstanding players of this particular type.

Such players do, admittedly, sometimes come with a health warning that some international coaches would consider ruled them out of selection. Prosinseski, who enjoyed a good drink and a fag, spoke decent English but when at Portsmouth he was asked to track back, he would play the daft laddie and say, ‘I no understand.’
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 Re: Balkan brilliance
Topic Originator: mach1  
Date:   Mon 7 Jan 18:43

Must say I'd never heard of this one.

Having looked him up on the web, he had quite a career, spoke three languages fluently and even had the old Yugoslav communist regime trying to prevent him from moving to Juventus at 21.

Don't think much was known of him beyond Red Star Belgrade. In 1962 he served an 18 month suspension after assaulting a referee in a league match in 1962.

Later he moved to South America.

Quite a character all round.
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 Re: Balkan brilliance
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Mon 7 Jan 18:47

I don't think I ever saw Sekularac play but I recall reading a pen portrait of him in a football book when I was a kid. Miraculously, I've just relocated it - World Football Handbook compiled by Brian Glanville published in 1964.

Apparently he had an explosive temper which earned him two 18-month suspensions from the Yugoslav FA. He was a star of the 1962 World Cup. I love this quote -

'He beats a man with infinite nonchalance, as though it is a tiresome necessity'.

Thanks for the memory, sammer.
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 Re: Balkan brilliance
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Tue 8 Jan 12:33

As a postscript to my post about Dragoslav Sekularac, he was included in a list of 100 current stars of world football compiled by Brian Glanville in 1964. Amazingly, 8 Scottish players were included in the list (I'd say there was a bias towards British players in the list). Would anyone like to hazard a guess at the 8 Scots included? Remember they were playing in 1964.

I'm out for the afternoon but will check any answers on my return.
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 Re: Balkan brilliance
Topic Originator: sammer  
Date:   Tue 8 Jan 13:10

Glanville would be judging Scots playing in England or for their country; he had no interest in the domestic Scottish game.

Eight does sound a bit too many, but I think there were at least four top European players available in 1964.

Denis Law
Jim Baxter
Dave Mackay
John White
Of these, only Law survived injury to still be playing at the end of 1964.

Alex Young
Alan Gilzean
Pat Crerand
Ian St.John
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 Re: Balkan brilliance
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Tue 8 Jan 15:25

The first four you mention are included in Glanville's list, sammer. Of the remaining four, two are in fact 'home Scots' and the other two are 'Anglos', although they had started their careers with Scottish clubs.
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 Re: Balkan brilliance
Topic Originator: sammer  
Date:   Tue 8 Jan 21:43

Home Scots: Willie Henderson and Alex Hamilton

Anglos: Ian Ure and Jimmy Gabriel

If this is accurate, it is a very poor list. Law and Baxter were as good as anyone in Europe in their relative positions in 1964. The rest are, at best, arguable.
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 Re: Balkan brilliance
Topic Originator: Stanza  
Date:   Tue 8 Jan 22:55

Might Billy Bremner, Billy McNeill or John Greig have been on the list?

If so, I think it confirms the bias towards home players "known" by the readers!

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 Re: Balkan brilliance
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Tue 8 Jan 23:29

Sammer/Stanza, Henderson and Ure are on the list; a goalie and another winger to go!
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 Re: Balkan brilliance
Topic Originator: mach1  
Date:   Tue 8 Jan 23:39

Bill Brown and Jimmy Johnstone.
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 Re: Balkan brilliance
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Tue 8 Jan 23:41

Brown is in but not JJ. It might have been too early for him.
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 Re: Balkan brilliance
Topic Originator: mach1  
Date:   Tue 8 Jan 23:44

Yes. He was playing but not at his best by 64.

Willie Hamilton, tragic short life and all?
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 Re: Balkan brilliance
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Tue 8 Jan 23:51

No, more obvious than him.
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 Re: Balkan brilliance
Topic Originator: sammer  
Date:   Tue 8 Jan 23:59

Must be the much under rated Davie Wilson, who has been overshadowed by fellow Rangers like Willie Johnston, Davie Cooper and Brian Laudrup. He was a blond haired Scot, like Ure and Law, and a very fine player indeed. But hardly ever in the top 100 players in Europe, never mind the World.

BTW, Bill Brown lost his place as Spurs' goalie in 1964 to Pat Jennings and never really recovered his career. Glanville was a fine writer, but he should have stuck to his specialist subject: Italian football.
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 Re: Balkan brilliance
Topic Originator: mach1  
Date:   Tue 8 Jan 23:59

Willie Johnson or Davy Wilson, or our very own wee Micky?
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 Re: Balkan brilliance
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Wed 9 Jan 09:38

Davie Wilson is the answer. The UK perspective on the world of football was probably a lot more insular than it is today, even for international football correspondents, although the sport wasn't as global then as it is today. When I have time later I'll post the full list of British footballers included.
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 Re: Balkan brilliance
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Wed 9 Jan 11:04

As promised here is the full list of British players included in Brian Glanville's '100 International Stars' compiled in 1964 :-

England (9) - J Armfield, G Banks, B Charlton, G Eastham, J Greaves, J Haynes, S Matthews, T Paine, R Wilson

Scotland (8) - J Baxter, B Brown, W Henderson, D Law, D Mackay, J White, D Wilson, I Ure

Wales (3) - J Charles, C Jones, R Vernon

N Ireland (1) - J McIlroy

So 21 of the 100 best players in the world in 1964 were British! Ironically, in his introduction Glanville acknowledges that British fans had been relatively uninformed about the expanding world of football and his book was an attempt to update them, especially with the World Cup coming to England in 1966. It's interesting that only 3 of his nominated English players ended up two years later as World Cup winners.
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