Over a long period of time only some of the schoolboy or schoolgirl players fortunate enough to be selected to represent Scotland or England at international level were honoured to get the chance to play at the famous Wembley Stadium.
Both schools’ associations celebrated their centenary back in 2003 (Scotland) and 2004 (England) and on a number of occasions in their long history the annual fixture between the two ‘Auld Enemies’ often took place at Wembley Stadium.
The most famous match of all is probably the 1980 Victory Shield game. In front of a raucous 60 thousand crowd, that game, also televised live on a Saturday afternoon, saw Scotland manage a remarkable 5-4 win. England’s Paul Rideout, who went on to play for Everton and England u21, scored a hat trick but it wasn’t enough to beat a terrific Scotland team that featured Paul McStay, Ally Dick and John Robertson to name but a few.
Current SSFA International Team Secretary, Les Donaldson MBE was a fresh faced assistant to Bill Harrower from Aberdeen and together they masterminded a memorable victory.
Games between the two rivals continued to take place at Wembley with Scotland recording further wins and draws at the famous stadium.
When the stadium was re – constructed in the period between 2000 and 2007 fixtures were played at other venues but the SSFA were delighted to be invited back to the new Wembley Stadium in 2008. They were in fact the first international team from Scotland to play at the spectacular new stadium.
Treasurer Alex McMenemy secured first class travel to London by rail and accommodation at the Holiday Inn, Kensington Road.
MP Jim Sheridan arranged a visit for all the players and accompanying staff to the Houses of Parliament and to Downing Street. Prime Minister at the time Mr Gordon Brown wasn’t at home to meet the players but everyone enjoyed the photo shoot opportunity in front of the famous building.
The game which was played as a Centenary Shield fixture was also to contest the Bobby Moore Memorial Trophy.
The game was played in front of a 20 thousand crowd. England came out on top winning the game 2-0 with Chris Smalling featuring for the English side.
Scotland captained by Liam Corr ( McLaren HS) were coached by Davy Young, Billy Henderson and Dave Eccles.
The SSFA President at the time, Stewart Taylor spoke at the pre match banquet thanking the hosts for the honour of being the first Scotland team to play at the iconic venue then he took his seat of honour in the Royal Box.
Scotland never managed to find top form and any chance of a positive result was gone with a missed penalty kick.
Nevertheless the game will last long in the memory of all involved.
Who knows?? – maybe sometime in the future a team representing the Scottish School’s’ FA will get an opportunity to play at Wembley. Wouldn’t that be great.
‘We’ll be coming, we’ll be coming down the road’