Saltcoats citizen, Lisbon Lion and 50-years married man Bobby Lennox was guest of honour at Ayr United’s Somerset Park recently..
“Lemon” and wife Kathryn went along to the ground’s Ally MacLeod suite thinking he was in for an afternoon of questions and answers with the people looked after by the United academy’s Walking Football Memories team .
A bigger than usual audience including from care homes around the area was gathered, though Bobby wondered why there seemed also to be so many empty seats.
He soon found out why when organisers Eric Belton and Gordon Ferrie ushered in some special guests to kick off the ex-Celtic and Scotland striker’s very own version of “This is Your (Football) Life.”
Taking part were ex-Celtic team-mate Tom Callaghan, former Ayr United favourite Neil Hood and Jim McCalliog, who scored the winner in Scotland’s famous 3-2 win over then World Cup holders England at Wembley in 1967 – Bobby also scored in that match, which was played a month before he became part of the Celtic side who made history as the first British club to win the European Cup, beating Inter Milan 2-1 in Lisbon.
Asked what the highlight of the year was, Bobby didn’t hesitate. “Marrying Kathryn!” he said.
Denis Law also scored in the Wembley win, and although he wasn’t at the MacLeod Suite event, some technical wizardry allowed the three goal-scorers to be “pictured” together.
Bobby managed to answer any questions put to him, showing at times that at 74 he’s looking slim and fit and has not lost any of his quick quips. He even managed a full house of answers to the group’s quiz, probably because the quiz was about............Bobby Lennox.
Kathryn was presented with a floral bouquet before sitting back to watch colour film of the couple’s wedding at Our Lady Star of the Sea in 1967, when Bobby swapped his no.11 kit for a top hat and tails.
As well as tributes from fellow ex-players and old school pals, Bobby also renewed acquaintance with Dean McMillan, main man behind the fund-raising drive to have a statue of Bobby erected in Saltcoats.
“Where it would go I don’t know – we’d leave that up to North Ayrshire Council,” Dean said. “But there just has to be a statue for someone who has done so much to make Saltcoats proud of him.”
By Graham Scott AUFA Football For Life member