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Programme Archive Tasglann Phrògraman

Gothenburg ‘83

BBC ALBA – Thursday 9 May at 9.00pm

Gothenburg ‘83

BBC ALBA - Diardaoin 9 Cèitean aig 9.00f

Sir Alex Ferguson

BBC ALBA RELIVES ABERDEEN’S GOTHENBURG TRIUMPH 30 YEARS ON

A May evening in rain soaked Gothenburg – the conclusion to a stunning journey that saw a football club from the north east coast of Scotland, Aberdeen FC, conquer Europe against some of the mightiest clubs on the continent.

Now – thirty years on from that famous night – BBC ALBA retraces Aberdeen’s passage to the final in Gothenburg ’83, a documentary featuring exclusive interviews, entertaining anecdotes and archive footage of the stunning events that led up to that iconic 2-1 extra time win against Alfredo Di Stéfano’s Real Madrid.

The third Scottish club to taste European glory, the Dons were led to Gothenburg by Alex Ferguson, who took over as manager at Pittodrie following a stint with St Mirren. Ferguson immediately set the tone for the way forward, instilling discipline, generating hard work and developing a winning mentality.

As legendary Aberdeen captain Willie Miller remembers, Ferguson had a variety of tactics to motivate the Pittodrie dressing room. Miller said: “He was a very young manager as well so he was kind of abrasive in how he went about it. Sir Alex knew he had a bunch of players there that were honest and he could trust, but he had to get the best out of them and he used kind of different tactics to get the best out of different players and if a cup had to go flying, then it had to go flying. It certainly worked.”

It is a view that the legendary gaffer supports

Sir Alex Ferguson said: “My motivation at times was very aggressive. Sometimes I would be quite vocal about the opponents. I would think about every time we had a press conference, what I could say that elevated the team someway.”

Ferguson was ably assisted at Pittodrie by Archie Knox, who joined the Dons as assistant manager from the hotseat at Forfar Athletic. For Ferguson and Knox, their roles were not too dissimilar. Knox explained: “They used to make it out that it was ‘good cop – bad cop’. I think Alex was asked that on one occasion, ‘good cop, bad cop?’ He said: ‘No, two bad cops.’”

A young player in the squad at the time, Eric Black, remembers the character and style of the management team. Black said: “It seemed to be one tsunami would hit you and then a typhoon had come in straight after it. I must admit, there were a lot of times where I wouldn’t have put them up there as my favourite people on the planet, but looking back now, I can see the work and the time they put into us - and just how they developed us as young players.”

The Scottish Cup win in the summer of 1982 was pivotal for Aberdeen, signalling the start of a remarkable European journey. Their cup run began with an 11-1 aggregate thumping of Swiss side Sion and Ferguson soon received an insight into his own squad from the opposing camp – one that he took with a pinch of salt.

Sir Alex said: “The general manager of Sion was a former manager of Switzerland and at the reception, I was sitting beside him and he says ‘I think you are going to win this cup, you know. ’ I said: ‘Glad you think that.’ He said: ‘Well, the ingredients of your team are perfect for Europe - energy, youth, good players, determination. You’ve got a great chance.’ I said: ‘If we get to the final, I am going to invite you’ whilst thinking off the top of my head, ‘but we’ve got no chance of getting to the final!’”

Wins over Dinamo Tirana and Lech Poznan followed before Aberdeen faced the 1980 Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich in the quarter finals.

Following a 0-0 draw in Munich, the return leg at Pittodrie was a match later described as the greatest ever atmosphere at the stadium. Following an early goal for the away side, Aberdeen were struggling to force their way back into the match.

Sir Alex said: “You are up against it and we made changes. Stuart Kennedy still doesn’t accept that I was doing the right thing - he still gives me stick for taking him off. It’s unthinkable for Kennedy! The problem was, at that point, we had no defending midfield players and midfield was Strachan, Weir and McMaster. That was the midfield. They couldn’t tackle a fish supper, any of them, you know?”

In a determined show of spirit, Aberdeen regained parity and went onto win 3-2 and earn a semi- final tie against Waterschei. Winning comfortably in the semi-final, Aberdeen would face Alfredo Di Stéfano’s Real Madrid at the Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg. The manager studied the opposition closely and he was confident Aberdeen could get a result.

Sir Alex said: “After I went to see them play in Madrid, I phoned Dick Donald and I phoned Archie and I said to Dick Donald: ‘I think we’re a certainty.’ And Dick said: ‘For God’s sake, don’t tell anybody that.’”

A special guest travelled to the final with the squad - 1967 European Cup winning manager, Jock Stein – and his impact was crucial.

“He was very clever, Jock” said Sir Alex. “Jock gives me this bottle of whisky - Johnnie Walker, Blue Label. Jock said: ‘You give that to Stefano before the game.’ ‘Why?’ Jock said: ‘Just do it.’ So when I give it, the bottle of whisky, to di Stefano, he didn’t know what to say. Di Stefano went like that ‘Oh, gracias, gracias.’ It knocked him back, you see.”

In the pouring rain of Gothenburg, the Dons went on to record a famous 2-1 win after extra time. The game was not without its tense moments, with both Alex McLeish and substitute John Hewitt incurring the manager’s wrath at various stages.

Now, looking back three decades on, the moments of anger have produced legendary anecdotes and helped to contribute to a realisation of what was achieved that night.

Sir Alex said: “It was unbelievable. It made me as a manager, really. I mean I think my spell at Aberdeen, not just at being a manager - it also matured me.”

Gordon Strachan added: “I just took it for granted that we were a hard-working side and physically brilliant. But I didn’t realise how good we were.”

Willie Miller said: “You don’t get provincial clubs lifting the European trophy. It just doesn’t happen, unless you are Aberdeen.”

Alex McLeish adds: “It goes down as one of the greatest nights in the history of Scottish football.”

Gothenburg '83 is a one-off documentary including personal testimonies of distinguished Scottish footballing legends: the Aberdeen manager at the helm at the time of the European success, current Manchester United manager and one of the most respected figures in world football, Sir Alex Ferguson; the former Aberdeen midfielder and current Scotland national manager, Gordon Strachan, former captain and Aberdeen manager Willie Miller and former defender and Scottish national manager, Alex McLeish. We also hear from Archie Knox, Eric Black, John Hewitt, Doug Rougvie and Neil Simpson. As well as the players and coaching staff, we share the journey with the dedicated fans, including respected broadcaster Richard Gordon, who followed the Club throughout their European journey, and to Gothenburg in Sweden for the final. The film is presented by sport broadcaster and UEFA correspondent for Scotland, Alex O'Henley.

Gothenburg '83, produced by purpleTV for BBC ALBA, will be transmitted on Thursday 9 May at 9pm with a second chance to view on Saturday 11 May at 10pm.

SÙIL AIR AIS AIR GOTHENBURG ’83 AIR BBC ALBA

Fo stiùir a’ manaidseir òig, thàlantaich Ailig Fearghastan, rinn sgioba Obar Dheathain an gnothach air Sion, Dinamo Tirana, Lech Poznan, Bayern Munich agus Waterschei air an t-slighe gu cuairt dheireannach Cupa nan Cup Winners ann an Gothenburg air an 11mh dhen Chèitean 1983 far an tug iad buaidh air sgioba iomraiteach Real Madrid aig Alfredo di Stefano.

Tha an t-slighe iongantach aig an sgioba seo bho ear thuath na h-Alba a ghlac aire na Roinn Eòrpa, air innse ann am film sònraichte airson BBC ALBA, a’ cleachdadh agallamhan leis a’ mhanaidsear, na cluicheadairean agus luchd-taic, cuid de na stòiridhean èibhinn air an t-slighe a thuilleadh air dealbhan tasglainn air na thachair sna h-uairean ron gheama iongantach air an oidhche fhliuch sin san t-Suain.

Tha am film a’ cleachdadh fianais phearsanta bho chuid de churaidhean ball-coise na h-Alba: am manaidsear a bha os cionn Obar Dheathain an uair a ghlèidh iad an Cupa, manaidsear Manchester United agus fear de na pearsachan as cliùitiche ann an saoghal a’ bhuill-choise, Sir Ailig Fearghastan; seann chluicheadair Obar Dheathain agus manaidsear sgioba nàiseanta na h-Alba, Gordan Strachan; seann sgiobair is manaidsear Obar Dheathain, Willie Miller agus a charaid am meadhan na loidhne-dìon agus fear eile a bha os cionn Alba, Ailig MacIlliosa. Tha sinn cuideachd a’ cluinntinn bho Eairdsidh Knox, Eric Black, Iain Hewitt, Doug Rougvie agus Niall Simpson. A thuilleadh air na cluicheadairean agus an sgioba còidsidh, tha sinn a’ faighinn cuimhneachain an luchd-taic a lean an sgioba air feadh na Roinn-Eòrpa agus a rinn an slighe gu Gothenburg san t-Suain airson a’ chuairt dheireannaich.

‘S e prògram aithris a chaidh a riochdachadh le purpletv airson BBC ALBA a th’ ann an Gothenburg '83 (faic www.purpletv.tv).

Tha am film air aithris leis a’ chraoladair spòrs agus fear-naidheachd ball-coise UEFA an Alba, Ailig O'Henley.

Thèid Gothenburg '83 a chraoladh air BBC ALBA air Diardaoin 9 Cèitean aig 9f le cothrom eile am prògram fhaicinn a-rithist air Disathairne 11 Cèitean aig 10f.


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