The great Jock Stein played his part in changing the face of football. The legendary manager was famously quoted as saying, “football without the fans is nothing” how right he was! Here at 90 Minute Cynic, we want to reinforce the great mans words and give the games most important people, the fans, their say.
Today we speak to Richard Gordon. Richard is a renowned and highly respected broadcaster, the voice of football on BBC Sportsound and author of Glory in Gothenburg: The Night Aberdeen FC Turned the Footballing World on Its Head . Follow Richard on twitter @richardgordon48
What team do you support?
How often to you go to watch your team?
I see them in the flesh between 10-15 times a season generally, mainly through work, but go to any game I can on the odd occasions I’m not doing Sportsound.
What’s your first memory of “going to the football”?
My Dad had taken me along to a few matches at Pittodrie, but my first clear memory is the 1970 Scottish Cup semi-final at Muirton Park, Aberdeen beating Kilmarnock 1-0 thanks to a Derek McKay goal. The noise, the colour and the general atmosphere struck such a chord with me that day and I began attending regularly at the start of the following season.
What do you think of entrance prices at football?
Being in the fortunate position of not normally having to pay to attend matches, I’m not really the best person to answer this, but my general inclination is that prices are too high. I know clubs offer various incentive schemes, but I hear so many stories of families who would love to attend games more frequently but simply can’t afford to do so. A sensible pricing structure could make a big difference to average crowd figures across the season.
Do you buy club merchandise from official club outlets if not why not?
Yes I do, usually for Birthday and Christmas presents and I think Aberdeen offer a very good range.
Do you think your club could be doing more to “connect” with fans?
I think virtually every club could. I understand the difficulties of giving fans a proper say in the running of the club – there are so many diverse views out there – but the use of regular roadshows and fan surveys might help bridge the gap.
Are you in favour of reintroducing standing areas at stadiums?
Yes, as long as they are safe and well supervised.
Do you play at any level?
Not any more!
Do you or would you consider coaching at any level?
If you could implement one thing for the good of the game what would it be?
We all have so many ideas about how to tinker with football generally, with the league set-up, the finances or the laws of the game, but the one thing more than any other I would like to see is Scotland qualifying once more for a major Finals tournament. That would have such a positive effect on all of us.
Favourite moment following your team?
Watching them win the 1983 ECWC Final against Real Madrid in Gothenburg.
Favourite football moment not featuring your team?
So many, but high among them would be Raith Rovers’ European run in 1995; the rise of Highland football and the development of ICT and Ross County; attending and working at the 1998 World Cup Finals; and witnessing Zidane’s goal in the 2002 Champions League Final at Hampden.
If you could have been at any game in history what would it be and why?
The 1960 European Cup Final at Hampden when Real Madrid beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3. The grainy footage looks remarkable enough, but to have been in that stadium and experience such a magical football occasion must have been breathtaking.
The thing that annoys you most about football?
What makes your club so special?
Because they’re mine. It’s very difficult to quantify why your football team affects you in the way it does, and as I’ve grown older I’ve been able to handle the inevitable lows a little better, but it’s a complicated and beautiful relationship and I pity those who don’t get the chance to enjoy/endure it.