“WE COULD HAVE HAD TEN” – THE WEMBLEY WIZARDS, 1928

ON THIS DAY:

31st March 1928. Some 87 years ago, Scotland played England in the British Home Championship at a packed Wembley Stadium (80, 868).

Scotland in their previous two fixtures had lost 1 – 0 to Northern Ireland, and drew 2 – 2 with Wales. England also failed to get off to a successful start losing to both Northern Ireland and Wales.

Despite Scotland being a point ahead of the ‘Auld Enemy’, the Scots still feared they would finish bottom of the table facing the challenge of beating England, the previous winners of the British Home Championship, on home soil.

If the thought of facing the previous winners wasn’t fearful enough, the team selection certainly was. Left out of the 11 man squad were Davie Meiklejohn (Rangers FC, 409 app), Jimmy McGrory (Celtic FC, 378 app and 395 goals), Bob McPhail (Rangers FC – record of 230 goals only to be beaten by Ally McCoist in 1997) and Willie McStay (Celtic FC, 4 League titles and 3 Scottish Cups).

These players were considered as HOME SCOTS, players who were Scottish who played in the Scottish Football League.

The players that were favoured were the ANGLO SCOTS, Scottish players who played their football around other parts of Britain.

In place of the HOME SCOTS were 8 Football League players. One of which was Tom ‘Tiny’ Bradshaw who would be making his Scotland debut at Wembley against the famous Dixie Deans.

Dixie made 399 appearances for Everton, scoring 349 goals.

Scotland, inevitably, were deemed NO MATCH FOR ENGLAND!

That was until the rain.

Scotland’s captain, Jimmy McMullan, took his team for a talk the night before the game. He famously said:

“The President wants us to discuss football but you all know what’s expected of you tomorrow. All I’ve got to say is, go to your bed, put your head on your pillow and pray for rain.”

It did nae rain but it POURED!!

The rain was always going to favour the small Scots who could easily twist and turn away from the tall men of England.

3 minutes!! 3 minutes in and the Scots had taken the lead with an Alex Jackson header.

Just before half time and the Scots went 2 – 0 up through an Alex James left footed shot.

You wouldn’t believe what you were seeing.

This was never meant to happen. Every pundit in the world would have put their granny on England to win!

Even the Scottish fans! In fact some of them probably did.

Jackson grabbed his second on the 65th minute, as did James in the 74th minute, and Jackson rounded off the hat trick in the 85th.

England would end the game with a mere consolation goal.

The game would finish 5 – 1 to the Scots. The Wembley Wizards had been born.

Sadly this great team would never play together again and for Tony Bradshaw, despite keeping Everton’s son Dixie Deans at bay, it would be his only cap for Scotland.

These players will forever go down in history as giving one of Scottish Footballs greatest ever performances in the dark blue. It was one of thee most remarkable victories of its time, and 87 years on it remains one of the Scots best victories against England.

The 1928 Wembley Wizards:

Jack Harkness (Queens Park)
James Nelson (Cardiff City)
Tommy Law (Chelsea)
Jimmy Gibson (Aston Villa)
Tom Bradshaw (Bury)
Jimmy McMullan (Manchester City) CAPTAIN
Alex Jackson (Huddersfield Town)
James Dunn (Hibernian)
Hughie Gallagher (Newcastle United)
Alex James (Preston North End)
Alan Morton (Rangers FC)

REMEMBER THE NAME. REMEBER THE HEROES.

“Scotland, Bonnie Scotland – Forever”

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