I was recently watching some coverage of the Bundesliga on Sky when news of the relegation area mentioned that the once great Cologne were now in the danger zone
and the very mention of the name of that great club brought memories flooding back of a glorious night at Dens on 3 November 1971 - just over 21 years ago when Dundee's participation in Europe was expected by their fans, and a European night at Dens was very special indeed! Ask anyone who was at one!
COLOGNE - AGAIN
We look back to another article written back in 1992 from our very own Billy Campbell's Ghost - Enjoy!
Dundee had started season 1971/72 fairly brightly with the undoubted highlight being an epic encounter with United which brought a famous 6 - 4 victory for the Dees, with Alex Bryce being absolutely outstanding.
Dundee were in the UEFA Cup and had duly despatched Danish side Akademisk Copenhagen in the first round- this happened to all Danish clubs in these days, how different it is now!
The second round as fate would have it brought us together with our old adversaries Cologne who Dundee had an epic tussle with in 1962. I still have a sound recording of the 8-1 game which I dig out and play when I'm tired and emotional!
That defeat still rankled with the German side and their fans and there was even a survivor of the 1962 campaign in the Cologne squad, the unfortunate Hemmersbach who scored an o.g. in the Dens game.
This time around though he was a fringe player whose best days were past him.
In the first leg at the Radrennbahn Stadium Dundee had put up a great show only to lose narrowly by 2 - 1 with Alec Kinninmonth scoring a valuable away goal.
The scene was set then for a cracking return leg at Dens and around 15,000 Dark Blue fans were in that night to see if their favourites could overcome the narrow deficit.
I spoke to Dens favourite, John Duncan who has extra-special memories of that night. 'It's a game I'll never forget and not just because I scored a hat-trick. I remember nodding one in fairly early at the Provy Road end and putting us level on aggregate but the Germans scored one either side of the interval to lead 4-2 on aggregate and leave us with what seemed an impossible task of scoring three goals to go through.'
We piled on the pressure and time was running out fast. The breakthrough came with only 19 minutes to go when I chested down a cross from Jim Steele and drove one in from the edge of the box, followed by a prod in after a goalmouth scramble.
The winner came with only seconds left and Bobby Wilson rammed it home after a shot had been blocked on the line by a German hand! '
'It was frantic stuff and when the final whistle went pandemonium reigned as fans invaded the pitch - the Cologne side had stars such as Wolfgang Overath, Konopka, Flohe and the scorer of the equalising goal in the 1966 World Cup Final, Wolfgang Weber!'
John recalls, 'We had hammered exalted company indeed and some of the German lads were in tears understandably, including seasoned campaigner Overath'.
Oh, what a night, and as I, as a youngster watched the fourth goal going in at the T.C. Keay end, the uninhibited delight of the Dundee support knocked the specs clean off my face and it took a frantic few minutes feeling around in the dark before they were safely returned to my nose to join in the acclaim.
The teams that joyous night were:
Dundee: Donaldson, Wilson, Johnston, Steele, Stewart, Houston, Duncan, Kinninmonth, Wallace, J. Scott, Lambie.
Cologne: Welz, Kapellman, Konopka, Simmet, Biskup, Weber, Glowacz, Flohe, Scheerman, Overath, Rupp.
John Duncan had grown up in Barnes Avenue and being a Dundee fan had watched the 8 - 1 annihilation in 1962 and here he was involved in another stunning victory over the same team.
As John says, ' We had some great players at Dens Park in my times there - Steele, Philip, Wallace and of course Jocky. We were a great unit and that team was one of the best I have played in during my entire career.'
John also has fond memories of opponents both North and South of the border with Martin Buchan featuring both times with Aberdeen and Manchester United. He was a terrific player who always gave me a hard time as was Billy McNeill who I seemed to have very physical tussles with especially in Scottish Cup semis!
I also rated Roy MacFarland very highly and teamed up with him after I joined Derby from Spurs where I played with some of the best - guys like Jennings, Peters, Chivers, Perryman and "Nice one Cyril" Knowles.
John suffered from niggling injuries and eventually entered management producing good track records at both Scunthorpe and Chesterfield before landing the prestigious post as manager at Ipswich Town, who had had such luminaries as Alf Ramsey and Bobby Robson as previous bosses. Both went on to manage England and now that John is no longer in management he is keeping the England International connection going by doing scouting for current England boss Graham Taylor and is doing some media work for BskyB and local Suffolk radio.
He has not ruled out a return to management and is still keenly interested in the Scottish game especially Dundee as once a fan always a fan.
John is intending to be in Dundee for Christmas and will be taking in next week’s clash with Rangers at Dens.
I and all Dundee fans I'm sure will welcome John back as he is one of the Dundee greats and let' s hope the current team can put on a show next week for all of us and for John and make our Christmas a very, very happy one indeed!