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Jock and Fergie, by Archie Macpherson

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Today we have a guest writer, Archie Macpherson, Scotland’s most celebrated broadcaster.  Archie started broadcasting for the BBC in the 1960s and was the authoritative voice of football commentaries, and comment, for decades thereafter.  He was co-commentator for our first European Cup win and remains a regular newspaper columnist and TV contributor.

I had a brief conversation with Archie last month when he categorically stated that Jock Stein was best manager Scotland has ever produced was.  Pleased, though I was, to hear this, in the light of accolades earned by Sir Alex Ferguson, I asked him if he could substantiate his claim.

These questions are enormously subjective but few have the breadth of perspective, not to mention the analytical capacity, to tackle this one properly.  This is the article he offered to write for us on the subject:

Jock and Fergie, by Archie Macpherson

If there had been no Jock Stein there would have been no Sir Alex Ferguson.  It may sound a contentious statement to make but even though it is tempting to play around with history according to your own beliefs and perceptions I would stand by that as a sound interpretation of the way the respective merits of these men can be set against each other.

It helps in this matter if you can lay aside the achievements of those men from the record books and instead consider their personalities and the context in which they plied their trade.

When Jock came to Celtic as manager in 9th March 1965, he fully understood from his past experience there as a player and coach that he would find a club desperate to achieve a commanding status in Scottish football.  The frustration they felt only reflected that which their massive support similarly endured around that period.  They were massive underachievers.

He also knew from his own background that his task would not simply be about selecting a team, then motivating them, but about radically overhauling the perception the public in general had about the club and which stemmed mainly from the constructs of the media.

It may be difficult for a current generation to fully comprehend this but Celtic then were simply perceived as bit players in a drama where the lead actor came from Govan and always took the curtain-calls.  Stein changed all that.  He took on the press-pack like he had been sent in from the city’s sanitation department to fumigate.

If you didn’t turn up on the dot for his press conferences then the door was slammed on your face no matter the size of your ego.  His television interviews, unlike the passive posture of that likeable man his predecessor Jimmy McGrory, were often truculent and challenging.  All of this concentrated the mind of those who wrote and spoke about Celtic.  They would think twice about saying anything that might offend the big man.  He was strengthening Celtic’s image and, as a by-product of that, securing the self-esteem within the playing staff which previously had been sadly lacking.

And where was Sir Alec at this time?  He was watching, observing.  I saw him sitting in the lounge of Malpensa Airport Milan in 1970, in the aftermath of the European Cup Final there, amidst thousands of Celtic supporters, which given his Rangers connections only indicated his deep interest in what Jock was doing.

Fergie to his credit was a learner.  When he went to Old Trafford it was not to a club about which there was lack of public respect.  It was initial lack of respect for himself which made him take up arms against his detractors.  To go to a Fergie press-conference was to see a recreation of Jock at the height of his powers.  And from being beside Jock in the dressing-room, and on the bench at Scotland games, he absorbed Jock’s handling of men which could range from wrath to wit.  The so-called ‘hairdryer’ treatment Fergie handed out only simulated what Jock could do to make the walls of a dressing-room bulge when it got up his hump.

Where they differed enormously as men was that Jock did not harbour grudges in quite the same way as Fergie.  Jock did have his difficulties with the BBC initially but never refused to deal with them.  Fergie barred them for over a decade, then got an award from the same people.  So I am suggesting that although you cannot compare the achievements made in entirely different footballing environments, Fergie served his apprenticeship in the Stein era by consequently adopting much of the big man’s methodology.  Jock was the ice-breaker.  Fergie was the follow up.

In that sense, as the one was indispensable to the success of the other, I rate Jock as the master of the two.

My thanks to Archie for his contribution.
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  1. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon, supporting WEE OSCAR..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    Do you think the LL will EVER realise that their sustained negativity on all things Celtic only makes everyone at our Club even stronger……..hahahahahahaha….silly LL

  2. Paul 67

     

    Magnificent stuff and thanks.

     

    Mr Stein and Archie MacPherson

     

    are two of my heroes from growing

     

    up as a young Cellic fan in the late

     

    60’s / 70’s. Brilliant.

     

    Hail Hail

  3. 67Heaven … I am Neil Lennon, supporting WEE OSCAR..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors

     

     

    10:30 on 10 January, 2014

     

    ______________________

     

    Hi my auld sparring partner.

     

    If ye don’t mind ?

     

    I think that the Celtic ‘bored’ ARE the only folk who could deal wi the corruption. imo

     

    And, I think that the ONLY way that this could happen is, IF the Celtic support could shake themselves loose from the apathy that has engulfed them, for a variety of reasons. imo

     

    Ye see, the trick is….for the Celtic support to hold a big smoking gun in the shape of a £ to the ‘boreds’ heids and give them the message that….until you(Celtic bored) deal with ALL the cheating AND corruption head-on, then, we(Celtic support), will not be giving you ANYMORE of these £ !!!

     

    Simples – HH

  4. Did a wee bit of work with Archie M recently. Found him to be a very likeable gent. And a v interesting read this morning.

     

     

    HH jamesgang

     

     

    WOOFTCSC!

  5. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon, supporting WEE OSCAR..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    Great article, Paul…..and Archie McPherson is so correct…….both were great managers, but Jock was a true leader / inspirer of men…

  6. Thanks to Archie for the article – for what its worth I totally agree with it.

     

     

    67heaven you are correct or more accurately you would be correct if celtic hadnt joined in with the victimisation of the celtic support.

  7. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon, supporting WEE OSCAR..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    kevjungle

     

     

    10:51 on 10 January, 2014

     

     

    They better no gie me the smokin gun…….in case I point it in your direction……hahahahahahaha…..aff ‘in’, to avoid meeting you ‘oot’

  8. Frivolity aside – from previous

     

     

    weeminger

     

    10:45 on

     

    10 January, 2014

     

    There’s a big difference between corruption and ‘corruption’.

     

     

    Let’s take this latest proposal. Whilst every man and his dog with vested interest knows it’s being proposed to ease the difficulties of one club, if examined by an independent party they would conclude that any club could use the proposals to their advantage.

     

     

    It would therefore be little tricky to prove that this was evidence of corruption.

  9. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon, supporting WEE OSCAR..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    neganon2

     

     

    10:55 on 10 January, 2014

     

     

    Are you saying the GB should have been allowed to continue the way they were..?

  10. 67Heaven … I am Neil Lennon, supporting WEE OSCAR..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors

     

     

    10:46 on 10 January, 2014

     

     

    Do you think the LL will EVER realise that their sustained negativity on all things Celtic only makes everyone at our Club even stronger……..hahahahahahaha….silly LL

     

    _________________________________________________________________________

     

    No looking for a fight or anythinh pal but, ye talk one pile of p#sh. imo

     

    The LL would die ‘over-night’ if the ‘bored’ grew a pair and banned them !!!

     

    IF, Celtic came out and made an announcement along those lines….THEN, the club would be united as one against them, instead of taking 30 pieces of silver from them to display all the rags on the advertisement hoardings. imo

     

    Incidentaly…what audience are the advertisement hoardings appealing to ?

     

    The Celtic fans inside CP ?

     

    The television audience ?

     

    Both ?

     

    I say grow a pair – banning Hugh Keevins isny the answer – thats the cheap way oot. imo

     

    HH

  11. weeminger

     

     

    10:57 on 10 January, 2014

     

    Frivolity aside – from previous

     

     

    weeminger

     

    10:45 on

     

    10 January, 2014

     

    There’s a big difference between corruption and ‘corruption’.

     

     

    Let’s take this latest proposal. Whilst every man and his dog with vested interest knows it’s being proposed to ease the difficulties of one club, if examined by an independent party they would conclude that any club could use the proposals to their advantage.

     

     

    It would therefore be little tricky to prove that this was evidence of corruption.

     

     

    **********************

     

     

    Good point, well made.

     

     

    Perhaps we could say that the proposal is to footballing integrity what gerrymandering was to democracy.

     

     

    And that’s from me, a self confessed relatively happy clapper!

     

     

    HH jamesgang

  12. Nice coup, Paul67 – and many thanks to Archie for a great article.

     

     

    Fergie would agree:

     

     

    “I am proud to say that I knew Jock Stein as a manager, as a colleague and as a friend… he was the greatest manager in British football… men like Jock will live forever in the memory.”

  13. Its braw to be back,hope everybody had as good a festive season as my good self….

     

    my wee brother said Archie had green freckles,but I wasnae so sure ….good article though …..even though its a bit of a no brainer :D Braw

  14. FFers discourse on the Dean Shiels conundrum:

     

     

    “in general it is getting ridiculous how many great players are signed, play for a while then seem to go off the boil and get a profitable payoff”

     

    ——

     

    “McCoist will blame cuts if he goes but it will really be due to his cost.”

     

    ——

     

    “I would have liked to keep him as well but after reading that he’s on 7,000 a week, get shot of him pronto.”

     

    ——

     

    ” send him to H[ibs] on loan for the remainder of the season.. even if they only pay 50% of the wage then we are saving at least £10k a month.”

  15. ‘Mea Culpa’

     

     

    Brill monicker. A name and phrase seldom seen on FF and their ilk me thinks!!! People for whom sorry/we’ll pay our taxes/we don’t dearer special treatment/etc seem to the hardest words!!!

     

     

    KTF mate

     

     

    HH jamesgang

  16. £800k for a 3rd rate manager. Inspired. Keep up the good work Broxie…. Or who ever is CEO this week!

     

     

    HH jamesgang

  17. Greetings from Egypt CQN’rs…….with shit to intermittent internet!

     

     

    So…we are to be investigated about subsidised lands deals from the council…?

     

     

    Subsidies from who exactly?………GDC actually charged us 35K to overhang the cemetery with the North Stand…..so who is doing us any favours? LMFAO

     

     

    This allegation could be seen in the context of the orcs going under yet again….Celtic being the ONLY European football emissary of Scotland…independent or otherwise…with the shock and horror of that (for some)……..

     

    Meanwhile the bigot dome slips further into decay and Sally is worried about 10-I-A-R? Said it 2 years ago….NFL is young enough to stay as long as Willie Maley and win the flag every year…….theres nothing for the orcs except delusion…:)

     

     

    1. Jock Stein must always be regards as the greatest…..because he was first. A bit like George Washington, Neil Armstrong……..second is nowhere.

     

    2. NFL finally getting the idea that Pukki should play off the shoulder of Balde?…..hehe…give me the job….I would do it for free :)

     

    2. Georgio is off?……..always liked him….right from his first goal goal and game against Kilmarnock….best wishes big guy.

     

     

    A great 2014 to everyone!

  18. You all know, that cheating is a football tradition to some peepul, and its been going on for a very long time.

     

    Id say probably for at least 100 years….think about that for a moment.

     

    I believe a stint in the archives would back me up.

     

    This is what we are up against, institutionalised cheating imo

     

    They expect to be allowed to cheat….its what they are all about

     

    Just check out all sevco games,…how many penalties and sendings off.

     

    And we also have son of shug on his way up….I dread to think of the honest mistakes yet to come……however, there is one way of forcing the issue, as KevJ has pointed out.

     

    Don’t pay to watch cheating.

     

    And as far as im concerned, Scottish Football is bent and shaped to suit imo

     

    HH

  19. 67heaven – what behaviour exactly. They were found not guilty of fireworks or breaking seats. Are you objecting to them protesting about the offensive behaviour at football act – despite the fact that it was portrayed as a non football related political protest? Or perhaps you are objecting to lateral movement and still believe the club’s lies about safety certificates for the stadium (despite denials by GCC)? Maybe you enjoy to see fellow supporters being kettled for daring to walk to the ground together? Or maybe you agree with the police who wanted to smash the marxist GB even though they are a legal group?

     

     

    Is that the behaviour you mean?

  20. Marrakesh Express on

    Real Madrid have won nine big cups, but the standout by far is their 1960 win against Eintracht at Hampden.

     

    Although it was Real’s 5th, its easily the most memorable due to the spellbinding display of modern football on show that night.

     

    The same applies to Jock Stein’s Lisbon Lions who took the game into the new era of total football (not Ajax) adopted with great effect to obliterate Cattenaccio.

     

    Johnstone and Auld were not in the class of Puskas and Di Stefano, but the team performance Lisbon was every bit as sensational as Real’s

     

    In my opinion Celtic are actually remembered more for that display rather than the statistic of being the first non Latin/ northern European/ British club to win the EC.

     

     

    Jock Stein..Genius

     

     

    HH

  21. I’m sure had Celtic gone into liquidation the authorities would have moved Heaven and Earth to help us live on, I’m sure Alex Salmond would have been calling us the fabric of the nation and that a Scotland without us was unthinkable…

     

     

    WalterMittyCSC

  22. Excellent piece.

     

     

    Unsurprised by Archie’s assessment. His book on Jock Stein is a great read. It shows a great deal of respect for Jock and of our club.

     

     

    I find it difficult to compare two managers from different eras but Fergie himself would probably say Jock was the master.

     

     

    There will never be another club to win Europes premier competition where every player was born within a 40 mile radius of the home ground. The fact that Jock’s team won the cup when it was latin teams that dominated the European map speaks volumes for his brilliance. He so deserved to do it more than once.

     

     

    When we were kings!

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