We have Tommy Gemmell on the blog from 13:00 this afternoon. He will introduce himself in the comments section and be available for a ‘chat’ and questions.
Pat Woods, one of Celtic’s finest historians, sent me this excerpt from his book, Celtic, Pride and Passion:
“Although there was no formal award at the time to mark his performance, Tommy Gemmell, memorably described by Geoffrey Green in The Times (London) as “A big blond cat set among the Italian pigeons ‘, was widely regarded as the man of the match of the 1967 European Cup Final.
The continental journalists were particularly effusive, amazed as they were by the stamina, energy, determination and shooting power he displayed as he continually surged forward into attack.
Jean Cornu of L’Equipe, the most prestigious sports paper of them all, described Tommy as ‘The executioner of Inter, the man who smashed their defensive screen’, while the correspondent of the Swiss newspaper Gazette de Lausanne singled him out as the symbol of his assertion that Celtic’s display had rehabilitated football’s image and its honour.
Noting the delight on Gemmell’s face after the final whistle as the full back, With Sandro Mazzola’s ‘swap’ shirt draped over his shoulders, celebrated on the pitch, the correspondent wrote: ‘His smile was the smile on the face of the whole of football, that of real attacking football in all that world, conquering passion and conviction which we have come to love so much’.”
Tommy was in every sense a modern footballer, capable of playing with either foot, he had the kind of engine players of the 60s just didn’t possess. This gave him range, which combined with speed and a legendary shooting ability made him one of the genuine world class footballers in Jock Stein’s armoury. At the very peak of European football, the only occasion when a collection of players from the one local area became champions of Europe, Tommy Gemmell made the stage his own.
Best wishes to Danny McGrain, another of Celtic’s legendary full backs, who is recovering from a minor heart attack. We don’t know how lucky we are to have Danny on the training ground and in the dressing room with the first team players.
Today, Tommy Gemmell releases his autobiography, ‘All the best’, a fresh work, written with his friend of 50 years, Alex Gordon, which examines his life and times, in particular during that unique period in the history of sport in this country, when Celtic cast an enormous shadow over European football. It is a fantastic read, full of inspirational recollections and anecdotes.
You can order a copy signed by the man himself below. Remember to tune in from 13:00 today with questions, comments and stories for Tommy – and if you ask him about his European Cup Final goal, remember to tell him if you’re referring to the Lisbon or Milan Final!
This is what blogs were made for. Fill your boots and wallow in some unabashed Celtic glory. The stage is yours once more, Tommy.[calameo code=0003901717b11f6e50af4 lang=en page=40 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]
Tommy Gemmell: All the Best: