Congratulations to Dundee FC who return to the top flight of Scottish football for the first time in seven years. Back in the 60s Dundee were a top European team. They won the league in 1962 and in the preliminary round of the European Cup they trounced West German champions, Cologne, 8-1 at Dens. Cologne put a more respectable face on the aggregate result two weeks later, winning 4-0 in front of 40,000 fans.
Dundee went on to beat Portuguese champions Sporting Lisbon 4-2 on aggregate in the first round proper, this while Portuguese runners-up, Benfica, retained the European Cup only five months earlier. If the Cologne result was the most enduring in the collective memory, the 4-1 win over Sporting at Dens was one of the all-time great results in Scottish football history.
Anderlecht were next victims, losing 1-4 in front of 65,000 fans in Brussels before the fairy tale ended in the semi final against eventual winners, Milan, at a packed San Siro. A Wembley final against Benfica was Milan’s prize, a tie Dundee would surely have fancied.
The result against Cologne is historically the most impressive but this was not the case at the time. This was a period before the Bundesliga when West German teams participated in regional leagues, with the winners playing-off to enter the European Cup. Once German teams were able to join a financially prosperous league instead of being shackled by historical custom, they never looked back. Dundee, like all Scottish clubs, are disenfranchised from the history they could be creating by the poor value of their TV market.
It’s time for a change, not just for the sake of Celtic! If only the guys running the show knew the history and heritage of the team promoted today, or believed in the potential of Scottish clubs.