Memories of 1971 Campbeltown football match

Robert Harvey is a volunteer and Glasgow area coordinator for Football Memories Scotland.
Robert Harvey is a volunteer and Glasgow area coordinator for Football Memories Scotland.

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Down Memory Lane

When someone at a Football Memories Scotland meeting mentioned playing a game in Campbeltown in the early 1970s, one of the Hampden Park-based group’s volunteers nearly fell off his chair.

‘I also played in that game,’ Robert Harvey said, ‘and I have never heard anyone talk about it in 50 years!’

He added: ‘After that meeting, I went home and found my invitation from the Scottish Amateur League for this game. It was played in Campbeltown on Saturday May 29 1971.’

Robert's invite from the Scottish Amateur League to the 1971 Campbeltown football match.
Robert’s invite from the Scottish Amateur League to the 1971 Campbeltown football match.

He added: ‘There were a few players in that Scottish Amateur select team who had good careers in football including Gordon Smith, who went on to play for Rangers and Manchester City, and Mike Brolly, who played for a number of teams in England including Chelsea.

‘After the game, all the players went to a disco dance in Campbeltown. It must have been a good night but I don’t remember much about it.

‘As most of the players came from the Glasgow area, many families in Campbeltown kindly agreed to give us bed and breakfast for the night.

‘It was a great experience to have played in Campbeltown, but I can’t remember many of the details of the game.

‘It would be great to hear from anyone in Campbeltown who played in this game or remembers it.’

Robert can be contacted by email at Glasgow@Footballmemoriesscotland.co.uk

Robert is Glasgow area coordinator for Football Memories Scotland, a partnership between the Scottish Football Museum and Alzheimer Scotland which, for the past decade, has enriched the lives of people with dementia.

It started in 2009 with one group in a care home in Larbert. Today there are about 240 groups across Scotland, mostly run by volunteers.

They are held in care homes, community settings, libraries, hospitals, and many senior football clubs across the country.

Robert says it is important to note football memories groups are not just beneficial for those living with dementia but also other forms of memory loss, loneliness, ‘winter blues’ or social isolation.

‘It helps bring much-needed social contact to some of the most vulnerable people in society,’ he said. ‘There is no cure for Alzheimers yet, and it is not a silver bullet, but it is a stimulus to provide some happiness and some quality, even if it’s only for a couple of hours.

‘Families and carers are encouraged to come along to the meetings. Many are pleasantly surprised by what they see and hear.

‘Scotland is a leader among nations in offering sports heritage programmes that enhance the lives of people with dementia.’

He explained that photos and memorabilia often triggered conversations that may not otherwise have been possible.

‘It often allows people to talk about their memories and experiences, and it is not all about football,’ he added.

The volunteers who host the meetings have access to about 7,000 photos from the Football Museum at Hampden.

Sessions can be tailored to suit individual needs or favourite teams.

Another tool available is the football memories box which often helps to unlock memories.

A typical box contains 14 standard items including an old football, an old pair of football boots, a replica vintage Scotland football shirt, a Lion Rampant flag, a Tartan Tammy hat, an old football rattle, carbolic soap, a jar of Bovril, a leather ball with lace and much more.

An example of the items included in a football memories box.
An example of the items included in a football memories box.

Anyone who would like more information about the Football Memories Scotland programme can contact Richard McBrearty at the Scottish Football Museum by emailing richard.mcbrearty@scottishfootballmuseum.org.uk

As well as being curator of the museum, Richard is director of the Football Memories Scotland project.

People can also follow Football Memories Scotland on Twitter at @FootballMemSco where they will see some wonderful nostalgic photographs.