“Blue Monday?”

● Monday 3rd August 1970 Kick-Off 7.30pm

At the start of the 1960’s there had been two great Spurs and Rangers teams but towards the end of the decade they had not matched their earlier standards. Could both clubs get back to the very top? Certainly there was no need to be completely pessimistic. For Spurs fans, the determination and presence of Bill Nicholson and the fact that Spurs almost always won something when the year ended in a ‘one’ was cause for confidence. For Rangers supporters, it was the return to Ibrox of Willie Waddell a man whose career was defined by success. Both men would demand the highest standards for this Monday night joust.



Rangers chairman, John Lawrence was a huge admirer of Spurs. In 1969 when the teams met at Ibrox, Lawrence stated in the programme. “We are firm admirers of our opponents’ technique, pace and panache. Only with every one of our players in peak form can we hope to gain our revenge.” Equally so, the programme writer felt that Bill Nicholson would soon get Spurs back to winning ways. “The quietly spoken, dynamic Nicholson is now reshaping his side after a spell of ill-luck, and there is little doubt that he will succeed. He is a man of iron resolve and shut-teeth refusal to accept anything but success.”

Don Revie, was another who thought the future looked bright for Spurs. He told the Evening Standard, “I cannot understand what Spurs’ fans are beefing about. Their team is good enough to win the FA Cup or the League Cup. In fact I have a £1 bet with a friend that they will win a trophy this season.” The ‘Don’ was legendary in football circles for being as meticulous with money as he was with preparing one of his dossiers on the opposition.


As we saw at the end of the last Spurs Chapter, this season failed to meet the standards set out by their manager and supporters, as evidenced by a slump in League attendances down to an average of 34,407 from 42,393 the previous season.

Mediocre League performances and an early League Cup exit made the FA Cup, Spurs last remaining chance of silverware. Following a surprise FA Cup defeat at Crystal Palace in late January, Bill Nicholson lost patience and decided that major surgery was required right away. Consecutive Seasons without a trophy or qualification for a European spot was viewed by their manager as complete failure.

Chelsea won the FA Cup and most unpalatable for Spurs fans was Arsenal’s European Fairs Cup triumph. Meanwhile Spurs ended their league campaign stuck mid table in 11th spot.

Bill Nicholson had left no stone unturned in his quest for drastic improvement. In an interview on the eve of the match with Peter Blackman of the Evening Standard, he told Spurs fans, “It was a disappointing season. We tried numerous permutations, numerous new things. But when the season ended I felt we were back to square one and that is no good at all.”


August 1938 : The 16 year old makes a goal scoring debut versus Arsenal.
1939-45 : Works at Harland & Wolff as an electrician during wartime. Plays for Rangers wartime team. Matures into a great talent and comparisons are made with English legends Tom Finney and Stanley Matthews. Plays wartime International football for Scotland.
1946-7 : Makes Full international debut for Scotland. Wins Championship medal.
1948-9 : Stars in the historic Treble winning Rangers Team. The legendary ‘Iron Curtain’ defence hardly ever conceded goals whilst Waddell along with Willie Thornton and Torry Gillick couldn’t stop scoring them at the other end.
1949-53 : Collects a Championship Medal and a Scottish Cup Winners Medal.
1954 : Makes the last of his 17 full international appearances for Scotland.
1955-56 : Waddell’s final season. He was offered a free transfer and could have had a final payday elsewhere but did not want to end his career with anyone else. Finishing his career on a high as Rangers are crowned Champions.
1956 : Works as a columnist with the Glasgow Evening Citizen.

19th July 1957       Appointed manager of Kilmarnock.
1959-60 :        Championship Runners Up to Hearts.
                         Scottish Cup Runners Up to Rangers.
1960-61 :        Championship Runners Up to Rangers.
                          League Cup Runners Up to Rangers.
1961-62 :        Championship Runners Up to Dundee.
                          League Cup Runners Up to Hearts.
1963-64 :         Championship Runners Up to Rangers.
24th April 1965      On the last day of the season Kilmarnock travel to Hearts, 2 points behind their hosts and needing to beat them by 2 clear goals to seize the title on goal average.

Tactically he developed a pattern to suit the talent at his disposal and new players were to be signed on the basis of their ability to fit into it. The pattern at this time was based around a 4 man defence, a midfield of 2 energetic and creative players and 1 holding player, and 2 quick and skilful energetic wide players with Colin Stein at the apex of the attack.

Waddell was adept at identifying and analysing how well each player fitted into the pattern and highlighting areas for improvement. Fitness was a cornerstone for any team managed him and seemingly his number one priority upon taking over at Rangers.

Waddell’s style of motivation was based around ‘teamwork’ and togetherness. He was keen that players did things together and narrowed salary differentials in the first team to create a more united environment. Gone though, were the happy days of Davie White. Hair was to be kept short and players were to be immaculately turned out off the pitch. On the training pitch, there was to be no fooling around and feeble excuses for absence were no longer accepted. He suffered neither ‘fools’, the undisciplined nor the contrary.

“Sentiment will never be driven out of soccer, yet in the unrelenting demands of professionalism, changes are inevitable.” (Willie Waddell Rangers Wee Blue Book 1970-1971)

This was a euphemism for ‘a night of long knives’ as Waddell sought to clear the decks at the end of his first season as a starting point for a new era. Experienced campaigners: Jim Baxter, Dave Provan, Norrie Martin and Erik Sorensen were all released. Orjan Persson was made available for transfer. The writing had been on the wall when Waddell used the last part of the campaign to introduce new players.

Practically all that remained in the backroom from the Davie White era was the legendary Willie Thornton, Waddell’s former team mate was retained as assistant manager.

At this point Waddell had not made any major signings preferring to give youth its chance. His first task was to get his backroom staff correct and in retrospect, the recruitment of Jock Wallace (see 1967) as coach from Hearts in June 1970 was perhaps to be his most crucial signing. In addition to getting one of the best coaches it also made good sense to have a younger man in the backroom to relate to the players.

Until Wallace’s appointment, Waddell was out on the training ground with players, but it was not now something he felt best suited to. With fitness fanatic Jock Wallace putting the team through their paces and leading by example, Waddell could watch and apply his knowledge of the game instead of having to make sure players were carrying out orders.

Supplementing Wallace were former player Stan Anderson as assistant trainer and Tommy Craig as physiotherapist.


• RANGERS 1970

One of Waddell’s earliest missions had been to recruit a new young goalkeeper. Peter McCloy had been acquired in a swap for Bobby Watson and Brian Heron in Spring 1970. However, on Rangers pre-season tour he had experimented with another goalkeeper and Bobby Watson. This one aged 20 came from Glasgow and was considered an excellent prospect. In keeping with Waddell’s template was Alex MacDonald who had been signed by his predecessor from St Johnstone for £50,000. Small in stature but extremely versatile and like his new coach a fitness fanatic. He brought non stop energy and no little skill to the midfield. Rangers also fielded 18 year old Alfie Conn whose father was a former Scotland International with Hearts. He had already represented Scotland Schoolboy and Youth teams and his talent obvious, exactly the sort of youngster Waddell was looking to give a chance to.

I was particularly touched last year to receive a delightful email from a North London lady who stumbled across the book’s then website. Not only was she interested as a lifelong Spurs fan, what really got her attention was that she came across the website looking for information about her partner, one Bobby Watson who had kept goal for Rangers. Following an exchange of emails as chance would have it we were sat in the same part of the ground on the Saturday for the first day at the ‘Emirates’ Weekender at Arsenal (a 4 team tournament on the 1st & 2nd August 2009 comprising; Arsenal, Rangers, Paris Saint Germain & Athletico Madrid). Having earlier accosted the wrong couple (well the chap was quite tall and had biggish hands), it was a special pleasure to meet them both in person. Not only were they both the most fantastic of company, Bobby’s memories of this game were incredibly detailed but then again for Bobby this was to be no ordinary Monday.

“The money is there in football to be used in football. Our experience shows that is has been necessary to buy big, because our supporters wanted in that way. For years our aim has been to acquire one big name each season. The supporters have not really supported Youth football here. But this has got to change and our youngsters have got to have a chance. We have got to find our own players. Even so we cannot always produce players to fill every position and we have to buy to make up the gaps. When I started you could buy players fairly easily. If you saw a player you fancied, you had a good chance of buying him. But now it’s almost impossible. We have spent a lot recently on players and the ground. We have a big wage bill and heavy overheads but we will find the money for players.” (Standard Supplement interview with Peter Blackman 26 September 1970)

He revealed to the Blackman that his best acquisition was his first foray into the transfer market when he bought Dave Mackay.



At the end of the 1969-70 Season Spurs went on a holiday/club tour to Malta in May, after which the players then went their separate ways. Some of the older players stayed on in Malta with their families joining them. Two separate groups of younger players travelled abroad together. A group of 3 went out to Mallorca and a party of 5 including youngster Graeme Souness opted for Tunisia.

Two players spent the summertime doing DIY in their homes.

Cyril Knowles went home to Yorkshire to help run his fish and chip shop in Pudsey.

Alan Mullery and Martin Peters were of course part of the England squad that went to Mexico. Mullery played one of his finest games in the famous England v Brazil encounter. That awesome 1970 Brazil team in the Mexican heat was unbeatable

For young Glaswegian bank worker Bobby Watson, this was an exciting time. The 20 year old Rangers fan from a family of fanatical supporters had just signed for the club. Starring in goal for Ardrossan Winton Rovers in their excellent Scottish Junior Cup run he came to Rangers attention following a superb display in the Semi Finals. His sterling efforts in the tournament had played no small part in him being later crowned Scottish Junior Player of the Year. The mature young Rangers goalkeeper enjoyed some humorous banter with the presenter of the award, a certain Jock Stein.

The young man was a latecomer to goalkeeping having spent most of his youth playing as a right winger before filling in for an absentee goalkeeper and never looking back. Interestingly the young man’s favourite players were still all outfield players, namely Jim Baxter, Dennis Law and John Greig. During a Rangers trial game Bobby spent his time not anticipating the game but probably like the other 20 players on display marvelling at the brilliant skills of a now not so slim Jim.

When the Rangers club official visited the Watson household in July 1970 to invite Bobby to sign for Rangers, it was the probably the easiest signing he ever had to make as it was a dream come true for all the family and pens were poised long before the ring of a doorbell. It later transpired that Manchester United had also been tracking him, not that it would have made any difference as there was only one club above all else he wanted to join.

Bobby then booked time off for a holiday from his employers not to celebrate but because he was invited to join Rangers on their pre season tour of Germany.


He then made his Rangers debut against Hamburg replacing Gerry Neef at half time and must have impressed as he was then selected to start against Kaiserlauten. It also spoke volumes for Gerry Neef that he was the youngster’s roommate and that the pair not only enjoyed a great rapport and time together but the elder man gave his rival for the yellow jersey the up most encouragement. Then it was back to work at the bank for Bobby as his playing contract had yet to be made up to a full time professional one.


Rangers brought a 15 man party to London. Willie Waddell knew full well that it was going to be a demanding evening. Telling Ken Gallacher of the Daily Record, “I know how hard this game is going to be. But we have taken on these games because we knew they would be hard. We had it tough in West Germany and it will be tough in London tonight.”

More power to him. A tough pre-season gives the manager an idea of the players’ character and once the season starts, they will find it comparatively easier against the opposition.

Young Bobby Watson returned from weekend football action to his day job at the bank. Despite his success in Germany, Rangers wanted to try other goalkeeping options for their trip to Spurs and had already travelled south. Mid morning things became decidedly strange and he was urgently summoned to see the bank manager. The latter a rugby fanatic and no great aficionado of the round ball game had received an urgent message from Rangers, apparently their chosen goalkeeper had been taken ill and Bobby was needed. Despite the banker’s lack of interest in football, he was nevertheless honoured to loan his employee to as famous a Glasgow institution as The Rangers which just left one question, how was Bobby going to get to London?

At Lunchtime, eyebrows were raised by customers and staff alike as a Rolls Royce pulled up in front of the bank. The owner, Rangers director David Hope was on his way to the airport and he had the important task of collecting a goalkeeper on route. Bobby was under the impression that he had been brought down as cover and looked forward to enjoying a very different Monday from what he expected. He’d only ever seen Spurs and their host of star players on television so it was going to be a treat to see them play his beloved Rangers in the flesh. Beats the day job anyway.

Mid afternoon the pair touch down in London and are whisked off to join the Rangers party at their hotel base. It quickly dawns on the young man that he isn’t cover but will actually be playing. John Greig who a few months previously had been a distant hero to the young man is now talking to him about the evening’s game. Most importantly the goalkeeper is not to worry about knocking his skipper out of the way when coming out for crosses.


SPURS : 1 Pat Jennings 2 Ray Evans 3 Cyril Knowles 4 Alan Mullery 5 Mike England 6 Phil Beal, 7 Alan Gilzean 8 Steve Perryman 9 Martin Chivers 10 Martin Peters 11 Roger Morgan.

 Same as 1968. Long sleeved white shirts with a rounded neck and cockerel on ball motif to the left breast. Blue nylon shorts and white socks.

RANGERS : 1 Bobby Watson 2 Sandy Jardine 3 Billy Mathieson 4 John Greig 5 Ron McKinnon 6 Dave Smith 7 Willie Henderson 8 Alf Conn 9 Colin Stein 10 Alex MacDonald 11 Willie Johnston.
  Alas the groovy shirts of Summer 1969 had been dispensed with and replaced with long sleeved blue cotton shirts with a rounded neck and the initialled GRFC on the left breast of the shirt. White nylon shorts and red socks with a white top.

  Referee : Mr R Kirkpatrick (Leicester).
  Linesmen : Mr J Craigie (Kent) and Mr M Thorpe (Kent).


Bobby Watson is immediately forced into action making fine saves from Martin Chivers and then Alan Gilzean.

Never one to miss a trick, Bill Nicholson noted Rangers choice of young goalkeeper and has made instructions for his players to give him a full examination. Balls are delivered high into the penalty box for the powerful strike force of Chivers and Gilzean to either attack or flick on. Cyril Knowles in particular is proving adept at coming forward and feeding the 2 marksmen. There is nothing malicious in the challenges, the crosses are there to be attacked and though the challenges are full blooded there is nothing underhand.

The next day Rangers heard the news that they were paired with Bayern Munich in the 1st round of the Cup Winners’ Cup, a re-run of the 1967 final.


Jim Blair of the Evening Times considered Rangers display as indifferent.

He was very impressed with Steve Perryman. Describing him as, “One of the most mature 18 year olds I have seen playing in first class football.” The other Spurs players to catch his eye were Alan Mullery and Martin Chivers. His pick of the Rangers team were Watson, Mathieson and Stein.

Ken Gallacher writing in the Daily Record felt that the Rangers defence was not tight enough to deal with the Spurs threat. Like his fellow scribe at the Evening Times, the Rangers who impressed him most were Colin Stein and Bobby Watson. He said of the latter, “Showed authority, courage and competence whereas other players did not and made 6 excellent saves.” Mullery was his pick from Spurs.

For the young goalkeeper the day passed by like a dream and as the reports from Jim Blair and Ken Gallacher confirm he gave a very good account of himself in the very highest of company. Indeed as Bobby recalls, it was only after the match that he appreciated that he had shared a pitch with the likes of a World Cup winner in Martin Peters, a goalkeeping great in Pat Jennings and a smattering of international opponents.


Meeting Bobby Watson and his partner Teresa was my highlight of the Emirates Weekend. What impressed me most aside from Teresa’s courage in turning up on enemy territory! and the couple’s warmth, friendliness, great humour and patience was Bob’s enduring passion for Rangers. Despite putting in a 1st class display against Spurs, Willie Waddell eventually opted for and stuck with Peter McCloy, and though Bob stayed with the club until 1973 he was never able to displace the ‘Girvan Lighthouse.’ (And neither were a string of very fine goalkeepers for the best part of 15 years). Yet Bobby maintains the affection and passion for the club he supported as a boy and had only positive things to say about his time with Rangers. No regrets but the sense of being fortunate to have signed for his team and enjoyed being a part of it all came across to me. I was kindly invited to join them for a Rangers function later on in the evening, unfortunately the tickets had sold out but I thought it was lovely to hear about 2 people he met up with. Firstly, the daughter of his fellow custodian and roommate from Germany all those years ago, Melanie Neef. (An exceptional athlete, Melanie broke a number of Scottish records, won a European Cup Gold medal in the 400 metres in 1995 and was part of an historic World Cup winning British 4x400metres quartet in 1994). Secondly, he met up with his teammate from that Monday evening, (and a man who features for Rangers in each of the last 4 matches in this book) that terrific Ibrox stalwart and Scottish International left half, Dave Smith.

So perhaps what comes around goes around or maybe it’s why perhaps there’s not a team like the Glasgow Rangers. Almost 39 years to the day when Bobby and Dave played together for Rangers in London, the pair were back supporting Rangers in London.

Brian Clough switched Mackay into a sweeper/centre half at Derby. His former teammates were not particularly surprised that Derby were the runaway winners of Division 2 in 1969 and he was voted Player of the Year. (Shared jointly in a tied vote with Tony Book.)

Gifted Spurs youngster Graeme Souness had come to the attention of Goal magazine. Following his sending off in the FA Youth Cup Final against a Coventry City team that included a certain David Icke in goal. (Wonder if he came out in that purple tracksuit?)

The Opinion column wrote on 1st August 1970.
“Graeme Souness will not have his first competitive kick of the season until next month. He was sent off during Tottenham’s marathon FA Youth Cup Final with Coventry last season and has paid for the indiscretion with a 3 week suspension, a £10 fine and the loss of his winner’s plaque. We have supported, and will continue to support the FA in their campaign to stamp out violence and bad sportsmanship. And we do not think it a bad thing that young first time offenders should be hit hard by a suspension and a fine. But we wonder if they have gone too far this time. Graeme is just 17 and a fine prospect. Must a lad whose goal won that trophy for Spurs go through his soccer career with an empty space on his sideboard as a permanent reminder of one moment of foolishness in his Youth. The FA must administer their laws with firmness. But if they wish to retain the respect of their members they must have the courage to admit that they, too, can make a mistake.”


• RANGERS 1970-1971
Waddell’s revitalised Rangers won a long awaited piece of silverware with a League Cup Final triumph over Celtic in October 1970. Sixteen year old Derek Johnstone lived out the dream of so many schoolboys when he scored the winner. However the season was an irrelevance and turned into a grotesque nightmare.


Despite implemented recommendations following the tragic 2 deaths in September 1961, Gate 13, the Cairnlea Drive Stairway was still an unsafe place for fans departing a packed Ibrox. On almost the 6th anniversary of the 1961 tragedy, 11 fans were hospitalised following a crush on the same stairway on their way home. On 2nd January 1969, a further 24 fans were hospitalised, 2 seriously on this patently treacherous exit.

On 2nd January 1971, 66 Rangers fans perished on Gate 13.

Eye witness accounts relay the horrific sight of a 10 foot wall of humanity, all laid out the same way. Their heads and faces with their tongues lolling out, their shoes found some distance away slimy with urine and vomit.

Detective Superintendent Joe Beattie who had dealt with the most gruesome of murder investigations felt physically sick at the sight. Willie Waddell likened it to the grotesque images from Belsen Concentration Camp. Waddell’s leadership, humanity and dignity in the aftermath was immense. The Disaster brought an unquantifiable emotional and mental strain on the fans, management and players of Rangers.

This is not the place to explore the why’s and wherefores of the Disaster and apportion blame, rather perhaps a place to reflect.

Nevertheless there are at best, naïve people who still peddle the myth that it was fans rushing back into the ground after a late equalising goal that caused the crush with the inference that this was caused by the fans. They should read the findings of the enquiry set up in the aftermath. Though the Inquiry was unable to conclusively pinpoint the exact passage of events, they were forensically able to eliminate this version. The disaster occurred 10 minutes after the game finished and was almost certainly caused by someone losing their footing on that rotten death trap of a stairway.



David Anderson (aged 45), John Buchananan (32), Richard Barke (15)
David Duff (23), Peter Farries (26), John Gardiner (32)
Thomas Grant (16), Charles Livingston (30), Brian Hutchinson (16)
John Jeffrey (16), Andrew Lindsay (18), Thomas Melville (17)
Francis Dover (16), Robert Mulholland (16), Duncan McBrearty (17)
Donald McPherson (30), Thomas McRobbie (17), Robert Rae (25)
William Shaw (30) Walter Shields (15), George Smith (40)
William Somerhill (17), James Trainer (20), John Crawford (23)
George Findlay (21), John Neil (29) Nigel Pickup (9)
Walter Raeburn (36), James Sibbald (28), Robert Cairns (17)
Thomas Dickson (32), Ian Frew (21), James Grey (37)
Ian Hunter (14), James Mair (19), Robert Maxwell (15)
Alexander Orr (16), Matthew Reid (49), Charles Stirling (20)
Peter Wright (31), George Irwin (22), Peter Easton (13)
Martin Paton (14), Mason Phillips (14), Douglas Morrison (15)
Brian Todd (14), Hugh Addie (33), Robert Grant (21)
Alex McIntryre (29), George Wilson (15), Margaret Ferguson (18)
Robert McAdam (36), Richard McLeay (28), John McLeay (23).
Russel Malcolm (16), James McGovern (24), George Adams (43)
Robert Carrigan (13), Charles Dougan (31), Adam Henderson (42)
David McGhee (14), Thomas Morgan (14), James Rae (19)
John Semple (18), Thomas Stirling (16), Donald Sutherland (14).