Lakenheath Old Boys

We are all former students at Lakenheath High School and other public schools in East Anglia. We were in school in the 70s and 80s and drank deeply from the well of British culture of those decades - the pints, the telly, and of course the footie!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Johan Cruyff RIP

I posted on FB, but I'm repeating here too. My childhood was consumed with my idolization of Johan Cruyff so I'm particularly broken up to hear that he passed away today from cancer. My first memory of him was in the 1974 final against Germany. I'd collected the Panini stamps at the beach in Italy and had watched the matches that led into the final. I was sure that he would lead the Dutch to victory. I needed him to because of the Gunter Netzer inspired 1972 qualifier win over England which is the first match I watched that I can remember bitterly. And of course, the Germans beat Cruyff's Dutchmen that day too. I got my only chance to see him play live when Coach Hunter got the Host Nation Club members tickets for Barcelona's visit to Ipswich Town in 1977('78?). And during the match, standing at the front in the stands, the ball came out of play right in front of our group. Johan ambled over to take the throw and backed up as far as he could so he was right up against us. Before he could throw the ball back into play, I reached up and over the guy in front of me and touched him on the lower back. He looked around at me with undisguised contempt, like I was an insect he'd spotted on his shirt. He then threw the ball back into play and ambled away. Barcelona lost that match. He was sublime in the way he could slalom around the field stopping, starting, and making the tempo match his will. But what he taught me was this: Football can be a bastard. Today that lesson is pressed home again. RIP #9, #14, my hero.

3 Comments:

Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Nice tribute, Gooner. Thanks for posting it hear. Cruyff was a legend, for sure. I've always rated him as #3, only behind Pele and Maradona, among the greats who have played the game. He won just about everything, and should have won the World Cup for Holland in '74, as you said.

I was also at that game at Portman Road, in '78, I think. That means that I had a chance to see Maradona, Cruyff, and George Best (and Tony Currie!). Not a bad record. 68 is far too young for him to leave us, but I seem to remember that he smoked like a chimney throughout the his career and after. Football is a bastard - but the cigs will really do you in. RIP.

5:40 PM  
Blogger gooner71 said...

Lung cancer is what got him Bob.

3:31 PM  
Blogger United We Stand said...

Great story Steve

11:57 AM  

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