I was out for a drink on Saturday & met a pal who had booked his bus seat for Wembley next August. A pre-season friendly which is in truth a warm up to the second phase in our attempt to qualify for Brazil 2014. With a bit of luck and hopefully skill we then will be in a good position for our Belgium / Macedonia double header!
The English Fitba Association have invited their oldest rivals in a re-enactment of the Home International games first played in 1872. The 0-0 draw was the first international in the world ever and the annual game against the Auld Enemy was to dominate our game for the next hundred odd years. There were off course high points both at Hampden and away. The Wembley Wizards in 1928 won 5-1 and set in motion our national obsession with, it should be noted that 2 years later England won 5-2.
Scotland had their hroes with Tommy Walker of Hearts with a great scoring record, Last Minutte Reilly and of course Baxter. The 1967 legendary performance in seeing us briefly assume the mantle of World Champions, lost soon after in a home defeat to Russia by the way. The 1963 2-1 victory was by all accounts a better performance coming 2 years after the 9-3 drubbing.
We also suffered 7-2 and although we had a good Wembley record we also had the Wembley Hoodoo with disastrous goalie mistakes. I myself suffered;
1969 4-1 Herriot
1975 5-1 Kennedy
1979 3-1. Woods
Were these and other setbacks enough to send us homeward to think again? The Wembley clubs and the massive Scottish crowds filling London as well as the stadium give a resounding no.
The 70's saw our invasion reach epidemic proportions and the Londoners must have been mightily confused to see Lion Rampant flags with the brazen message, or was it a threat,?
' Remember Bannockburn , 1314'.
I'm not sure they did and of course their reply may have been 'Remember 1966'
So we return in large numbers to watch a friendly & I am not concvinced it will be treated as seriously as we Scots will imagine. Team England will be fullof players who will not have a Scot in their dressing room to rub it in as surely Denis Law & Billy Bremner did in '67.
Wembley is now a magnicent stadium , light years away from our dismal Hampden rebuild. It will be a great sight to see our flags return & we may raise our game to add to past victories.
Stein was not forgiven easily for sacrificing the 1982 game, we lost 2-0 to save players for the World Cup. We went out in the first round.
The target is Brazil, nothing else counts & win lose or draw in London I want to be celebrating qualification on Tuesday 15th October next year with a victory over Croatia.
Now that matters.