Cruyff silenced in 82 after dismissive comment


When tickets went on sale for Saturday’s game against Kilmarnock the hope of many was that this would be the game 8-in-a-row would be tied up.  What could have been a party will instead be a day we gather to respect the memory of our greatest ever captain.

Many, especially the older generation, will just want to be at Celtic Park on Saturday, to sit among friends and recall times of joy and angst.

Memories of Vojvodina, Cruyff – three times, 10 men, standing nose-to-nose with a referee on the touchline.  Of the utter joy that was the Centenary Season, the glory and celebrations of a lifetime at the top of the game.  Other fields bestowed greater prizes on Billy, but Celtic Park was home.  I’m glad we will gather there this weekend.

I loved Cruyff, but he had an edge to him.  He twice got the better of Billy in the early 70s, those encounters leaving an aftertaste that lasted until the 1982 European Cup meeting between Celtic and Ajax, when Billy was manager and Johan back as a player at Ajax.  After a first leg draw at Celtic Park Johan made a dismissive comment that loosely translated as ‘getting the better of McNeill as a manager, as well as a player’.  The Dutchman was silenced in Amsterdam two weeks later.

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  1. Go tell the Spartim on

    Time to honour one of our own like only we (Celtic) can



    What a man, captain and player

  2. Ray Winstone's Big Disembodied Heid on

    Aut Caesar aut nihil.



    I know he was called Cesar after Romero but I always thought of him as Caesar in the sense of the ultimate leader and the first of his peers, a bit like the Germans calling Beckenbauer Kaiser.



    I was fortunate to see him play for the Hoops during the 60’s and 70’s and later as Manager of Celtic.



    Although he was not my favourite ever player, Jinky was, I cannot think of anyone who epitomised what Celtic means more than Billy McNeill; one of a kind and perhaps the last of his kind.



    His life was a gift to all of us who were privileged to witness it.



    Thank you Billy.



    Goodnight and God Bless.

  3. !!Bada Bing!! on



    Anybody know the gist of this youtube clip ? Someone posted it when we heard the news. I don’t speak Italian!



    South of Tunis is yer man,

  4. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    Talking to myself on the last thread, and not for the first time. Apologies for the repost.





    I hesitate to raise the unholy subject of modern football finance at such a time in our great clubs history. I am not religious, but the outpouring of thoughts, grief, anecdotes and personal testimonies that the Internet is currently awash with about our iconic Captain has lifted my mood, my spirit, to one bordering on an almost trance like state, and my connection to the Celtic Family, past and present, feels more tangible today, than it ever has (certainly more tangible than basket of asses FC winning the league Davie boy). I am currently viewing Celtic through some kind of ethereal lens. My Grandfather, who first saw Celtic in the 1920’s, my Gran, who knitted my first Celtic scarf, my father, uncles and even absent friends from my own era have all been dragged to the front of my consciousness. Memories of stories about games and players, stories about going to games, and games I have attended, are today available in “Neural High Definition”, rather than occupying the areas of my brain where the torch of recall cannot normally illuminate them properly any more. Billy’s death will have hit his family and close friends terribly, and my sympathies lie with them.



    A few days on from the sad news of his passing however, the things that make our club special, that sprinkling of magic, that romance, has been driven to the fore, and the driver has been Billy McNeill.



    At this time, thoughts of course turn to Billy’s defining moment as the head of the Celtic Family, holding the Big Cup aloft at the Stadio Naçional in 1967. In fact Lisbon has become the defining moment in the entire history of Celtic. I visited the stadium a few years ago, and if anyone with Celtic in their heart has never been, then I strongly urge you to add it to your bucket list. Little has changed in over fifty years in the stadium. It is so atmospheric, and brings the film footage that you will have watched to life. The Ghosts of Stein, Murdoch, Jinky, Big Gemmell and the others are definitely there, and now Billy McNeill will join them in the Portuguese sunshine.



    I have been about the houses a bit there, but finally to my point. The following is a plea to the powerbrokers at Celtic Park. I don’t think they feel the things we feel as a support, and to them, the bottom line is the most important thing.



    I have not tended to talk much about nine or ten in a row, I feel that each title has to be approached with full concentration on the job in hand,. However our club does stand on the starting line of a historic achievement, and with our financial situation as it is relative to other Scottish clubs, the board must give the manager and players (whoever they may be) every chance to gain ten titles in a row. Lisbon has been a significant anchor point on the voyage of our club’s history. With Billy’s passing, it seems somehow right that we look forward now, rather than back, and plot a new course to another significant anchor point, ten titles.



    If our board are only concerned with finance, then I ask them to consider this: what monetary value to the club would you place on the Lisbon triumph? Not just directly, in the form of merchandising, but in the Kudos, and in turn negotiating clout it gives us in any commercial deals. How many extra supporters have went through the turnstiles, in the 52 years that have passed since our European Cup victory, on the back of that victory? How significant has Lisbon been, in keeping the support buoyant (and spending) during leaner times?



    As the Lions pass, so does some of the fabric of our club. The Celtic Board must use OUR money to bring in the necessary personnel, players and coaches, to allow us to reach for the ten, against the forces that will be lined up against us over the next two years. We also face an existential threat from the nouveau riche of European Football, and we must strive to maintain some kind of foothold in Europe. Ajax’s run this year, has been good for our cause, but ourselves, the Lisbon Clubs, Feynoord and others like us, must try to emulate them, to stop the Money Laundering League Clubs from choking the clubs “below” them. Parsimony is not an option this summer.



    As Billy passes, and Lisbon fades away and falls further into the past, it is time for new heroes in our story, and hopefully Scott Brown can become an icon at another anchor point in our history, and to a whole new group of supporters. Ten in a row, and back in the mix in Europe?… it’s what Billy would have wanted for us.



    Hail Hail




  5. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Still no instruction from the SFA/SPFL,re a minutes silence/applause at ALL grounds this weekend…..

  6. Bada


    In some ways, I would rather they didn` t issue any instruction and that Clubs announced it themselves prior to their games.



  7. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Hot Smoked- has happened down through the years for certain figures,of a lesser standing in football than Billy McNeill. We had 3 separate minutes silence for Jim Baxter, due to clubs fixtures at the time, all impeccably observed. We actually had a banner at Hampden praising him.If it doesn’t happen it’s a scandal, still time to announce it of course…….but take a look at who is playing at home this weekend. HH

  8. Silver City 1888 on



    The Italian commentary is mainly factual,about playing for one senior club, being the first British captain to lift the European Cup, his other honours with Celtic, having a statue outside Celtic Park and a translation of the announcement of his passing.

  9. On a week’s holiday so was fortunate enough to be able to travel through to pay my respects to Cesar in Paradise.


    It was really a spiritual experience.


    Folk talking in whispers, others just bowing their heads in silence.


    Saturday will be really emotional.




  10. Bada



    “….but take a look at who is playing at home this weekend. ”



    I see what you mean. I do, though, think THEY would be respectful as it would give them a chance to show how nice they are now .


    Cheerio for now.




  11. spikeysauldman on

    When Billy had trouble opening the balls at the CL draw in Monaco, Cruyff helped him out

  12. Paul67 et al



    Don’t know what possessed to you to write such an article today Paul. To recall a possible slight, from the early 1980’s? One that the vast majority of Celtic supporters, myself included, were totally unaware of and could not care less about at this time. And why Johan Cruyff, another football giant and legend, a man with a fair claim to being one of the greatest footballers of all time, and who later revolutionised what is now recognised as one of football’s great clubs. Johan, of course is no longer with us, but he like Billy will live long in spirit.


    Suffice to say Johan reminds us of the level that we were up against in the early 1970’s. And the company we kept.

  13. ” LARSSONSE7EN on 25TH APRIL 2019 3:20 PM


    JJ & Bada


    Surely the only way to go is to have a minutes applause, as per the wishes of the McNeill family?”



    It certainly is but I believe Bada`s central point remains ie The Authorities should rubber stamp the request.



  14. Regarding our right back situation…



    Adam Matthews will be a free agent in the summer.

  15. Broonies big smile on

    The sky news link kind of touched on my thoughts about Billy. When he stood proudly lofting the cup above his head he wasn’t just thinking we’re making history, we have arrived, he was guesturing we are far from inferior, we are not sitting at the back of the bus from now on….



    It’s worth noting almost a decade after that historic event just 3 miles down the road from his birth place, Bairds in Motherwell still posted vacancies in their shop window ending with ‘Catholics need not apply’ – one of my earlier memories with my Mam who was looking for a job. Remember asking her what that meant.

  16. Celtic Mac


    I think Paul`s intention was to praise Billy`s resilience rather than to criticise the wondeful Cruyff. I agree it could have been more sympathetically worded but Paul is a decent human being and would not, I am sure, have intended anything malicious towards Johan Cruff.




  17. BROONIES BIG SMILE on 25TH APRIL 2019 3:43 PM



    Also believe Stepek advertised protestants need not apply. As for Anderson Maver (SP?)




  18. Did anyone hear Chic Young’s suggestion of 67 seconds applause instead of a minute? Apparently Celtic are going to go for it, never thought I’d say this “Well done Chic great idea” Any thoughts? H H Hebcelt

  19. Great Post hunderbirds.



    JJ & Bada



    Totally get that and agree with you both. The FTsfa should have declared that scenario as soon as the family gave their wish.



    Hail Hail ??

  20. Paul 67


    In 1982, 2nd leg in Amsterdam, Cryuff was substituted at the same time as George McCluskey came on for us. He told his team mates to carefully watch our striker sub. They didn’t pay enough attention.


    Maybe Johann did “have an edge” but he was some player, one of the all time greats.

  21. I was only 14 years old when we won the big cup, but I remember like it was yesterday, sitting in front of a little 14inch black and white television ,and the sheer shock and panic when we went 1nil down, then the euphoria at big tams goal, then the ecstasy when stevie chalmers scored the winner, then watching billy mcneil our captain go up and collect the cup ,billy mcneil you were a credit to our great club, ill miss you ceasar, may you rest in peace hail hail.

  22. Good evening, friends.


    Karamoko Dembele and Armstrong Oko-Flex both in the starting line up for this evening’s U18 Cup Final against Rangers v2.0. Kick off 7.05pm and live on BBC Scotland. Really looking forward to seeing our (hopeful) stars of tomorrow.

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