Thirty seven years ago, Alex Ferguson’s team in pink had been marauding across Europe. No longer yet the scarlet of Manchester United, however the color of Aberdeen. Ferguson guided a team from the north east of Scotland to European glory, defeating Valid Madrid within the closing of the Cup Winners’ Cup. But while Britain’s most attention-grabbing supervisor used to be accountable of a team littered with internationals, it used to be native 20-One year-broken-down John Hewitt who would possibly well be the hero of Gothenburg. Here, he tells you his narrative…
Neale Cooper and I had obtained broken-all the trend down to standing on the aspect of the Pittodrie pitch. Two Aberdonian schoolboys – top possible company – frozen, ready within the abet of the Seashore Discontinue diagram to creep away after photos.
But most attention-grabbing a pair of years later, we found ourselves a long come from home and from our ball boy tasks, yet peaceable aspect-by-aspect. We had been lying in adjoining beds within the team hotel, buried somewhere within the Swedish woodland, dreaming about beating Valid Madrid in a European closing the subsequent day.
“Moral factor in,” he said.
‘Ferguson fined me for overtaking him’
I went all the trend down to Manchester United on trial for per week. On the 2nd day, Dave Sexton, who used to be the supervisor, took me into his workplace and said he wished to imprint me. I couldn’t give him an reply there and then. He flew abet up to Aberdeen with me the subsequent day and stayed in a hotel, where I met him with my of us. I called him and suggested him I used to be flattered by the chance, but my heart used to be diagram on Aberdeen.
It used to be ironic that after I did at last imprint for the Dons, Alex Ferguson had real been appointed supervisor. I used to be his very first signing. I had spoken to Dave on the Wednesday, and chief scout Bobby Calder and Alex regarded at my rental on the Thursday to envision out to sell Aberdeen to me. They did now not must – I used to be most attention-grabbing ever signing for Aberdeen.
Everybody had a comely from Sir Alex at some point. Even for the slightest issues – you had been within the therapy room without his permission, you obtained fined. He broken-all the trend down to like fining you for the relaxation he can also.
The classic used to be when we had been coaching within the chilly climate – we had been on the come abet from the gymnasium and the roads had been sure nonetheless it had been snowing. I had a automobile paunchy of avid gamers, He used to be in entrance of me in his Mercedes doing about 10mph. I used to be egged on to overhaul him, which I did. The fellows had been hanging out the window, waving, which infuriated him.
Within 30 seconds of getting abet, he burst into the dressing room, hurling abuse at me. The next week I saw I had a £20 comely in my wages and that used to be it.
Fearing no person, winding up the other halves & playing scrabble
Aberdeen won the Scottish First Division in 1980, and then the Scottish Cup in 1982, a victory over Rangers at Hampden which earned them entry into the European Cup Winners’ Cup. An 11-1 aggregate victory over Swiss aspect FC Sion used to be followed by a factual 1-0 utilize over Albania’s Dinamo Tirana. A 3-0 utilize over Lech Poznan diagram up a quarter-closing with Bayern Munich.
When we knocked out Bayern – I came on as a sub to ranking the winner – we had been the top possible team within the opponents. That is what Alex Ferguson said and I remark he used to be factual. They had been in general the German nationwide team. We beat Waterschei within the semi-closing to diagram up the closing with Valid Madrid. Of us sigh ‘oh the mighty Valid Madrid’ but that used to be the object about us, we below no cases feared anybody.
We knew Sir Alex had spoken to Jock Stein beforehand. He had performed his homework and made definite that no-one would possibly well be within the come of our preparations. He booked us into a hotel within the course of a woodland. It used to be peace and aloof. Even the other halves had been suggested to now not cell telephone us – they had been in a five-large title hotel within the centre of Gothenburg having a tall time.
First and critical an itinerary had gone spherical to them announcing they had been staying in dorms – making an attempt to wind them up. Willie Miller used to be the captain so the dossier used to be directed at his wife Claire, and he or she threw a small of a wobbly, but they’d a factual try at winding her and the relaxation of the girls up. In our hotel, we had been playing scrabble.
‘We had been in slumbering bags making an attempt to abet warmth’
The climate turned overnight. It used to be torrential rain. We had a lazy day, obtained up for breakfast and lunch, had a pair of hours of kip within the afternoon and obtained ready for the game. When we obtained into the dressing room, it’s possible you’ll perhaps also recognize the stress and nerves. We realised that we had been playing within the largest game of our lives.
I used to be a small dissatisfied to now not begin but I below no cases in fact plan I would, so I used to be real overjoyed I used to be on the bench and would possibly well confidently diagram on and sneak a diagram.
We walked on to the pitch together, had a small kick about and then went to the bench. We had been wrapped up in slumbering bags making an attempt to abet ourselves warmth. If you attach the ball down, it used to be floating on the water. You had been kicking it however the ball did now not mosey anyplace.
We started so well. It used to be elation on the bench when Eric Dusky scored after seven minutes. The diagram came from a corner routine that we had worked on in coaching. Alex McLeish came in uninteresting, Gordon Strachan pinged it to the threshold of the box, his header used to be on song but deflected down and Eric latched on to it. It eased any nerves.
‘Strive to rep on the head of one thing’
Valid obtained the penalty which obtained them abet into the game and knocked us abet. We peaceable pushed forward to rep the winning diagram nonetheless it below no cases took position within the 90 minutes. Then I obtained my opportunity.
Alex said to me ‘mosey obtainable, journey yourself and take a look at and rep on the head of one thing’.
When Brand McGhee had the ball on the fly, you had been below no cases definite if he used to be going to whip it in first time or beat the person, then double abet and rep it over again due to he in most cases had a behavior of doing that. I would possibly also recognize the goalkeeper and the diagram, so I made a beeline for it and hoped that Brand would whip it in.
All of a unexpected, he took a contact to his left and fix within the spoiled and as it came in, I would possibly also recognize the keeper rooted to his line and then at last diagram for the ball. I knew he wasn’t getting to it so I real needed to guarantee the ball made contact with my head, which it did.
I wasn’t definite what I used to be doing, I jumped up within the air to enjoy an even time, my palms had been covered in mud. Mountainous Dougie Rougvie wrestled me and I don’t remember much after that. Moral jubilation.
Valid obtained a free-kick within the last minute and I used to be within the wall. It flew past the threshold of us and I real glanced spherical to acknowledge it shave the threshold of the put up. I wasn’t definite whether Jim Leighton had it covered or now not. I knew then that the referee used to be going to blow for paunchy-time. We had been all running about the park hugging every other.
A meal before mattress & team chats
It used to be impartial low-key after the game due to it used to be peaceable pouring with rain. The other halves came abet with us, we had a meal with the administrators and some drinks, then it used to be off to mattress due to we had a 09: 30 flight the subsequent morning.
It below no cases in fact sunk in till the subsequent day. There had been folk stood on the roof of Aberdeen Airport, we had an open-top bus into metropolis with folk lining the streets. You would possibly well perhaps now not recognize Union Avenue, there must were 250,000 folk on it, a sea of pink and white.
The camaraderie within the dressing room used to be astounding, even to in on the present time and age we enjoy got a team chat with the Gothenburg boys – the banter is astounding. We enjoy a chat daily without fail. Mountainous Alex McLeish loves a small of banter.
For any native boy to even play for his club is a gigantic success but for myself and Neale to enjoy the success that we did within the 1980s below Sir Alex, even real winning a domestic trophy would were a tall success. But to utilize the Cup Winners’ Cup with Aberdeen and to utilize the Spacious Cup to boot, or now not it is the stuff needs are fabricated from.
No longer obnoxious for two ball boys.
John Hewitt used to be talking to BBC Scotland’s Jordan Elgott.