I am reading this great book about Gary Imlach's father Stewart who played his football in the late 50's/early 60's.After his dad died in 2001 Gary realised how little he had known of the man. I don't suppose he is the only bereaved child who realises that too late, but he embarked on intensive research into his father's career, probably as a way of dealing with his grief. (Sorry, that was the social worker analysis coming out in me.)
Some bits leap out of the page at you. For example, in 1955 when Stewart Imlach was playing for Derby County the maximum wage for footballers was £15 a week. How would John Terry for whom £121,000 a week is an insult, cope with that? They got a £2.00 bonus for a win and £1.00 for a draw...the same rate as had been payable since 1920.
In 1958 Scotland were in the World Cup Finals in Sweden and Stewart played in the first game but injury kept him out the second two. There was n't a fourth match for Scotland for the usual reasons when it comes to Scotland's World Cup exploits (sorry dearest- couldn't resist that.)
The Scottish public were fully informed about Paraguay, their opponents in the second match, by the football writer for the Daily Record , Willie Gallagher who wrote under the by-line 'Waverley - The Name That Means Football'.
The following are genuine extracts from his reports made after visits to the Paraguay training camp:
"I expected some of their men to be coloured but they are all white, although bearing in mind what I saw in a reservation camp in British Columbia a few years back, I would say some of our opponents are of Indian ancestry....
They are unaccustomed to social life as we know it....
They are beef eaters and scorn fish. They have never heard of such a person as a vegetarian....
They use no knives and forks, employing their fingers and their adroitness, I am told, has to be seen to be believed. They can toss a handful of mashed carrot between their wide open lips with an accuracy of action that is almost mathematical in its precision....
There are many signs that they are ignorant of life outside their own country (unlike this worldly wise correspondent- ed), but with them, ignorance is bliss."
It was unfortunate that Waverley didn't see fit to discuss their prowess of the footballing pitch however because they went on to beat a totally unprepared Scotland 3-2.
A wonderful heartfelt book and thoroughly recommended reading - especially to you John Terry.
Colourbox – The Official Colourbox World Cup Theme (1986) - *Imposs-010*
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