There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who insist that football is just a game, and those who know better. Take the April 1967 clash between England and Scotland. Wounded by their biggest rivals winning the World Cup just nine months earlier, Bobby Brown's Scots travelled to Wembley on the mother of all missions. Win and they would take a huge step towards qualifying for the 1968 European Championship, end England’s formidable 19-game unbeaten streak, and, best of all, put Sir Alf Ramsey’s men firmly back in their box. Lose? Well, that was just unthinkable.
Meanwhile, off the pitch, the winds of change were billowing through Scotland. Nationalism, long confined to the margins of British politics, was starting to penetrate the mainstream, gaining both traction and influence. Was England’s World Cup victory a defining moment in the Scottish independence movement? Or did it consign Scotland to successive generations of myopic underachievement?
Michael McEwan, author of The Ghosts of Cathkin Park, returns to 1967 to explore a crucial ninety minutes in the rebirth of a nation.
Published September 2023
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