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Scottish Premiership 22/23 season start

Stand Free!

Rougvie recalls Bayern Triumph but fears for Aberdeen now


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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/scotland/article3360201.ece

 

Twenty-five years almost to the week since arguably Pittodrie’s greatest night, it is a pleasure to be reacquainted with Doug Rougvie. Once the great wild goose of Aberdeen’s defence, Rougvie played in the epic 1983 Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final against Bayern Munich, when Alex Ferguson’s men twice came from behind to beat the Bayern of Klaus Augenthaler and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge 3-2 on a memorable night.

 

Tomorrow, in that nice way in which football tends to forge perfect milestones, Aberdeen face Bayern Munich again in the last 32 of the Uefa Cup. It is a prospect, to be blunt, which turns Rougvie’s already fierce face into a grimace.

 

The defender was an unusual character in Ferguson’s great Aberdeen team of the 1980s: such a mimic and crowd-pleaser on the field, and yet, in his own way quite shy off it. Few can forget the sight of Rougvie on the pitch, with his strapping, seemingly rubbery legs scything down anyone who moved in front of him. He was a hero with Aberdeen but then something of an antihero later with Chelsea, with whom Big Doug contributed his fair share of minor calamities.

 

Does he hold out much hope for Jimmy Calderwood’s team tomorrow night? Like most of us, not really.

“I fear for the Dons this time, I really do,†Rougvie, now back in Aberdeen working in the engineering sector, says. “I pick my games to go to these days, but I was there on Sunday for the Celtic match and it was painful to see the way the team was pulled apart [in the 5-1 defeat].

 

“There’s a lot of unhappiness around the club these days and you could see it on Sunday with the way the fans made for the exits long before full-time. It’s like pulling teeth watching Aberdeen play these days. But I’ll be at Pittodrie on Thursday and I’ll be cheering them on.â€

 

Back in 1983 the menacing and ogreish Rougvie, snarling in his tight-fitting shorts, was assigned to mark Karl Del’Haye, a small, nippy winger who proceeded to torture him for much of the game. Rougvie stuck to his task as only he could – beaveringly – but he was eventually switched by Ferguson from left-back to right-back to bash Hans Pflügler, a big Bayern forward who had been wreaking havoc.

 

Amid it all, Aberdeen heroically clawed their way back, first from 1-0 down and then 2-1 down to win 3-2 on the night. They had drawn 0-0 two weeks earlier in Bavaria.

 

“That was the best match I ever played in at Pittodrie, for excitement, for atmosphere, for everything,†Rougvie says. “Don’t forget that, even though we knew we had a good team, we were still the underdogs... major underdogs. But Fergie told us that we would beat Bayern Munich and we believed him. The truth is that we had more adventurous players than them - guys like Gordon Strachan, Peter Weir, Mark McGhee and Eric Black. We had real match-winners in our team which, I’m sorry to say, Aberdeen lack today.â€

 

Rougvie’s testimony on the taut, driven figure of Ferguson has always been interesting. Intriguingly in football, the greatest managers were rarely loved by their players, and Ferguson at Aberdeen was no different: respected, yes, but not held in any great affection by his players. Ferguson was, though, obsessive in his approach.

 

The most famous moment of that 3-2 win at Pittodrie was the fabricated “mix-up†at the free kick between Strachan and John McMaster, where the two feigned to kick the ball at the same time. For a split-second the Pittodrie crowd actually groaned before Strachan quickly swivelled, as rehearsed on the training pitch, and despatched the ball to Alex McLeish, who headed home for 2-2.

 

Just like today, Aberdeen back then trained at Seaton Park, a public park which can often have stray dogs streaking across it, and back in ’83 Ferguson was highly suspicious in the build-up to the Bayern second-leg.

 

“He thought Bayern would have spies out watching us,†Rougvie recalls. “We were practising that free kick routine just days before the game but, even if an old man strolled past with his dog, Fergie would say, ‘Right lads, stop it, hold it there.’ He said, ‘They’ll have spies watching us, so be careful.’ Fergie was many things and he was certainly wary.â€

 

Aberdeen, of course, went on to lift the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1983, but just one year later the team would start to break up, with Rougvie, McGhee and Strachan commencing the exodus. They all, to various degrees, had fall-outs with their austere manager.

 

“I went to Chelsea in 1984, basically, to get myself a fair wage,†Rougvie says. “Some of us were being paid sweetie-wrappers at Pittodrie, because Fergie wanted to run things on a shoe-string. I gave up a lot to leave – Aberdeen were playing in the European Cup the following season and I knew I’d miss out. But I had to leave, and I’m sorry to say, my biggest reason for leaving was the club’s manager.â€

 

Rougvie will be back at Pittodrie tomorrow night, still bearing that fearsome look, which the current Dons could do with on the field.

 

- Bayern Munich will be without four of their stars for the first leg of their Uefa Cup tie with Aberdeen tomorrow. The German league leaders will be missing Franck RÃbery (hamstring), Daniel van Buyten (flu), and Mark van Bommel and Willy Sagnol (both knee). With Oliver Kahn, the captain, sitting out trip to Pittodrie, the reserve goalkeeper, Michael Rensing, is also a doubt with a back injury.

 

 

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He thought Bayern would have spies out watching us,? Rougvie recalls. ?We were practising that free kick routine just days before the game but, even if an old man strolled past with his dog, Fergie would say, ?Right lads, stop it, hold it there.? He said, ?They?ll have spies watching us, so be careful.? Fergie was many things and he was certainly wary.?

 

My mate overhead JC say the exact same thing to the team at 'training' last night at The Ministry.

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"Once the great wild goose of Aberdeen's defence"?????

 

What the hell kind of analogy is that?

 

Strachan, once the rabid, hang-gliding weasel of Aberdeen's midfield.

 

"Rougvie stuck to his task as only he could – beaveringly".

 

And Hewitt scored as only he could - walrusly.

 

 

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