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 Celebrating Mediocrity
Topic Originator: sammer  
Date:   Sun 24 Nov 21:17

‘’ I don’t think this result is such a condemnation of DAFC as Scottish football in general…..It may be harsh, but there seems to be a bunch of mediocre ‘professionals’ peddling their wares in Scottish football. And that’s what we have, rank mediocrity.’’

In response to Gadgie59’s comment here is a list of the cup fixtures played almost 60 years ago when we played Stranraer at Stair Park on the way to Cup victory. It’s not a direct comparison since these were second round fixtures played in February but a couple of points stand out clearly: there was always a gap between the Old Firm and the rest; but the senior clubs then were all capable of disposing of semi- professional outfits. Apologies for poor alignment.

Scottish Cup Second Round - 11th February 1961
Attendance Receipts
Aberdeen 4 Deverondale 2 14,200 �1,620
Alloa Athletic 2 Dumbarton0 3,610 �360
Ayr United 0 Airdrieonians 0 6,500 �780
Brechin City 5 Duns 3 1,000 �100
Buckie Thistle 0 Raith Rovers2 5,319 �600
Celtic 6 Montrose 0 26,000 �3,100
Cowdenbeath 1 Motherwell 4 8,424 �920
Dundee 1 Rangers 5 32,000 �4,370
Dundee United 0 St Mirren 1 10,500 �1,163
East Fife 1 Partick Thistle 3 5,500 �600
Forfar Athletic 2 Morton 0 1,200 �105
Hibernian 15 Peebles 1 10,453 �1,159
Kilmarnock 1 Hearts 2 18,000 �1,900
Queen of South 0 Hamilton Acc 2 5,728 �626
Stranraer 1 Dunfermline 3 2,750 �280
Third Lanark 5 Arbroath 2 6,600 �665

By definition most teams are average, as the Pars were back then, so there is no disgrace in that. Being mediocre is different however, for that is the complacent acceptance of remaining average and not developing your game. Jock Stein inherited an average team but under him it did not remain average for long.
The Rangers team which hammered Dundee was on its way to a ECWC Final. By the end of the year Dundee had revenged their defeat by winning 5-1 at Ibrox en route to winning the Championship and subsequently reaching a European Cup semi final. No mediocrity there. Rangers beat the top English side of the day- Wolverhampton- and sold two of their reserve players- Billy Stevenson and Alex Scott to Liverpool and Everton respectively where they picked up both League and FA Cup medals, something unthinkable today.

The Peebles Rovers hammering seems an unlikely result today but 9 of these goals were scored by Joe Baker, a striker whose destructive instincts have not been seen in the Scottish game since. We are often being told that today’s part time players spend so much time in the gym and are so aware of things like conditioning and nutrition that they can match full time professionals. Whether that makes them fitter than men who used to work in coalmines and foundries is a moot point but the more likely explanation is that the standard of the senior player has now fallen so low that he is barely distinguishable from his part time counterpart. It is less a case of minor clubs getting better but of the senior clubs becoming poorer, to the point that Stevie Crawford can say Stair Park ‘is a difficult place to come.’

The reasons for this have often been beyond the reach of the SFA or its modern day administrators. The abolition of the maximum wage, the brand marketing of European football to a TV armchair audience has affected other countries as well. However the decision to allow home teams to retain full match day revenue could only result in the poorer clubs becoming poorer, pushing them closer to non-league standard. The bizarre four mini-league set-up designed to make games ‘meaningful’ ends up celebrating mediocrity as the 23th and 33rd best teams in Scotland celebrate winning a meaningless title. Clubs with populations half the size of Rosyth such as Cove Rangers and Annan do battle for these prizes, all in the name of teams ‘competing at their own level.’ It is democracy gone mad. As attendances have dropped so has the numbers of senior clubs increased.

The players are being better rewarded for this mediocrity: in 1961 Charlie Dickson and his team mates would have been picking up around the modern equivalent of £300 for their efforts. The spectators are expected to pay more, for a poorer product, since there are not so many of them. The 2,750 fans in 1961 paid an average £3.50 in today’s money. And if either team had managed a measly one shot on target I suspect the players would have been accosted by enraged supporters at the final whistle.

sammer
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 Re: Celebrating Mediocrity
Topic Originator: neils  
Date:   Mon 25 Nov 00:52

This is great, I was thinking the other day that the difference in pay would not be large in those days, that plus onerous contracts, meant less players moved.

In the 60s the standard of player was way beyond what we have now (in Scotland)

I also think de-industrialisation has a lot do do with it-the traditional communities don't seem to spit out players at all.

In the modern game- if we look at European countries that do well, the backbone seems to be 1st or 2nd generation immigrants- real hunger, here, we don't do this, depresses me a bit.
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 Re: Celebrating Mediocrity
Topic Originator: veteraneastender  
Date:   Tue 26 Nov 19:04

In 1966/67 Joe McBride’s “destructive instincts” would have eclipsed Joe Baker’s earlier efforts had he not been injured (at Easter Road ironically) in November of that season - he was the top scorer in Scotland and well on schedule to break every known scoring record.

He was still top league scorer at the end of the season despite not playing for 5 months.

He had nearly became a Pars player alongside Alex Ferguson - the dream team ticket, if only !!!



Post Edited (Tue 26 Nov 19:05)
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 Re: Celebrating Mediocrity
Topic Originator: parathletic  
Date:   Tue 26 Nov 19:39

With the introduction of the pyramid system the lower leagues should strengthen over the coming years.Some of the non-league clubs now have plans to get into the top 4 divisions and some are spending with a view to doing so.If you look at the extreme example of Berwick and Cove last year and how their trajectories have gone so far this year since their play-off.With the likes of Kelty,BSC Glasgow,East Kilbride, Bonnyrigg as well as Highland League teams like Brora waiting in the wings the lower league could have a different look in a few years. In the meantime it's highly likely we'll see more 'shocks' than before.
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 Re: Celebrating Mediocrity
Topic Originator: Buspasspar  
Date:   Tue 26 Nov 19:45

Can mind him playing for the Pars VEE scored a few goals as well 1970 or 71

But you will have to explain the connection with sir Alex back in 64 and Joe nearly playing for the Pars as that part of our history has escaped my auld brain ..... and before you get on yer high horse it is a genuine question



Post Edited (Tue 26 Nov 19:58)
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 Re: Celebrating Mediocrity
Topic Originator: Townsvillepar  
Date:   Tue 26 Nov 19:49

Excellent post Sammer. Lots of memories and food for thought. I also noticed when I was home in Dunfermline a few months ago, that I never saw kids kicking a ball in any of the parks. This is how we learnt to play, and maybe because the kids are over coached now that the natural skills are lost?
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 Re: Celebrating Mediocrity
Topic Originator: GG Riva  
Date:   Tue 26 Nov 20:51

Quote:

Buspasspar, Tue 26 Nov 19:45

Can mind him playing for the Pars VEE scored a few goals as well 1970 or 71

But you will have to explain the connection with sir Alex back in 64 and Joe nearly playing for the Pars as that part of our history has escaped my auld brain ..... and before you get on yer high horse it is a genuine question


VEE must be at Firhill cheering on his hometown team, so I'll oblige, Bus baby. 😉

In '64 or '65 the Pars put in a then record bid of £25,000 for Joe McBride, which Motherwell accepted. Celtic had a biscuit tin even then and mustered a bid of £23,500. McBride preferred to go to Parkhead and his club decided to accept Celtics offer out of consideration to their striker.

Our loss was definitely Celtic's gain. As VEE said, he was a very prolific goalscorer, his chocolate knees notwithstanding.



Not your average Sunday League player.
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 Re: Celebrating Mediocrity
Topic Originator: sammer  
Date:   Tue 26 Nov 21:35

Thanks for the feedback. Every comment gave me food for thought.

VEE. I rarely disagree with you and I was a great admirer of ‘Brando’ McBride, still the greatest player I have ever seen at taking a ball side on to goal and drilling it into the corner of the net. His goal for Hibs v Celtic around 1971 was as great a volley as the celebrated Van Basten effort, displaying astonishing technique. However McBride was playing for a great Celtic team and Baker, in his entire career, mostly played for teams outwith the title challengers. I would place Baker above Gilzean, McBride and Larsson partly on his terrific pace and ability to hit controlled shots on the run. These are the best I have seen in Scottish football as strikers.

TVP. It was an interview with Willie Callaghan that alerted me to the problem of empty playing fields. I notice it all the time now when I am back in UK. There are not enough boys playing kick about. As Neil pointed, out other countries are still doing this so the basic skill level is higher for coaches to work on in say Uruguay or Nigeria once boys get into their early teens.

Charging more for a poorer product will eventually see the professional Scottish game all but disintegrate, once the tribal alliances weaken through the generations. At the moment provincial clubs sound like churches when I was a boy: sending out missionaries and asking for donations to plug holes in the lead roof on the basis they are doing good for the community. They have lost belief in their own product.

Parathletic, The part time semi pro is very much the backbone of the Scottish game and I have no wish to make his life more difficult. But a serious professional league should aim for something a bit higher, not a levelling down of standards. If Kelty Hearts can beat Cowdenbeath (just a projection, but a likely one) then there is not much point in Cowdenbeath pretending they are a senior club. We have 5 million people and 42 clubs; it is a nonsense. One professional league of around 16 clubs would be more than enough, with a pyramid system below. In Scotland we often laugh at the Faragist last fart of colonialism and Brexit but our football model is much the same.
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 Re: Celebrating Mediocrity
Topic Originator: Buspasspar  
Date:   Wed 27 Nov 09:23

Quote :-
VEE must be at Firhill cheering on his hometown team, so I'll oblige, Bus baby. 😉


Thanks for that GG I cannot remember that tbh auld age methinks
Wow what a player ...... mind Fergie rattled in a few as well
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 Re: Celebrating Mediocrity
Topic Originator: Pars Kebab  
Date:   Wed 27 Nov 10:31

The pyramid system is a joke. We should be striving towards 2 top leagues and pushing the rest back in to regional football.
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 Re: Celebrating Mediocrity
Topic Originator: veteraneastender  
Date:   Wed 27 Nov 10:49

"However McBride was playing for a great Celtic team and Baker, in his entire career, mostly played for teams outwith the title challengers."

McBride played for an average Motherwell side - where he was top scorer for three successive years before joining Celtic.

When he signed for Hibs in 1968 he scored (v Rangers) on his debut, followed by a hat trick (in European competition) then four against Morton.

Hibs top scorer for his first two seasons there and he was apparently only released in 1971 because he refused to move home from Glasgow.

That suggests that he was quite capable of finding the back of the net away from Big Jock's Celtic.

Of course we'll never know what he might have achieved at EEP in his prime - or where his scoring exploits would have ended in his injury season.
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 Re: Celebrating Mediocrity
Topic Originator: GG Riva  
Date:   Wed 27 Nov 10:50

Quote:

Pars Kebab, Wed 27 Nov 10:31

The pyramid system is a joke. We should be striving towards 2 top leagues and pushing the rest back in to regional football.


How would pushing the smaller clubs into regional football help improve the standard of football among the clubs in the top league?

e.g. If Brechin or Stenhousemuir were in a regional league how would that affect Hearts or Aberdeen?



Not your average Sunday League player.
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 Re: Celebrating Mediocrity
Topic Originator: veteraneastender  
Date:   Wed 27 Nov 10:57

"and before you get on yer high horse it is a genuine question"

I've only ever been on a horse once - a mad Irish nag during a school residential outing to Gatehouse of Fleet. It developed a kamikaze ambition to plough into a static caravan with me as pilot !!!

I had no such death wish and managed to steer it clear at the last minute.

I wasnae at Firhill - watched "Golddigger" then distracted by a book on Midway 1942.

Otherwise I would have happily clarified the Joe McBride/Sir Fergie scenario which GG expanded on.
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 Re: Celebrating Mediocrity
Topic Originator: veteraneastender  
Date:   Wed 27 Nov 16:59

"The pyramid system is a joke. We should be striving towards 2 top leagues and pushing the rest back in to regional football."

How many clubs would you envisage in each of the two divisions - and which ones would you consider "pushing" out ?
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 Re: Celebrating Mediocrity
Topic Originator: Buspasspar  
Date:   Wed 27 Nov 19:15

Merci VEE hope the horse was not too traumatised :-)
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 Re: Celebrating Mediocrity
Topic Originator: veteraneastender  
Date:   Wed 27 Nov 19:25

Put me off equestrian activities for life !!!
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 Re: Celebrating Mediocrity
Topic Originator: Pars Kebab  
Date:   Wed 27 Nov 21:56

VEE- how about we start with Falkirk and work from there ?
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 Re: Celebrating Mediocrity
Topic Originator: veteraneastender  
Date:   Wed 27 Nov 22:41

Why would you want to remove one of our better supported clubs ?

Time to be rational - make a coherent case.



Post Edited (Wed 27 Nov 22:42)
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