The Greatest Game Glasgow Ever Saw – European Cup Final 1960
Ahead of this year’s Champions League Final in Cardiff, GlasgowLiving look back to the 18th of May 1960, when Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt faced off for the trophy at Hampden Park, playing out one of the beautiful game’s most famous matches.
Tonight, Saturday (3rd June) Juventus and Real Madrid will contest the 62nd European Cup final down the road in Cardiff. The thrilling culmination of the Champions League competition is widely regarded as the biggest game in club football. And the biggest game of club football brought its best ever show right here to Glasgow. In fact, forget the best European Cup game seen in the city, this was the greatest game ever played in Glasgow. Actually, it was the greatest game ever played anywhere. Glasgow made it that little bit more special.
Some fantastic memorabilia from the game, including the match-day programme, a medal awarded to the Scottish match official Jack Mowat and hand-written team lines bearing the names of superstars Di Stefano, Puskas and Gento, can be seen at the highly-recommended Scottish Football Museum inside Hampden Park. The collection of 1960 European Cup final memorabilia on display at the Scottish Football Museum is pretty spectacular.
This was the fifth final in the history of the European Cup, nowadays contested as the Champions League. The all-conquering Real Madrid had won the previous four tournaments and beat big rivals Barcelona in the semi-final as they looked to maintain their exclusive hold on the big-eared trophy.In opposition was Eintracht Frankfurt, the first German team to reach this stage of the competition. The German champions were familiar with our dear green city, having touched down only two weeks earlier for a semi-final with Rangers, which the West German’s had won 12-4 on aggregate, scoring six times in both legs.
127, 621 football fanatics packed into the National Stadium, still the record attendance for a final in this competition, demonstrating the affinity we Weegies have for fitbaw. What those in attendance witnessed over the next 90 minutes must surely have lived eternally in their memories as Madrid kept their grip on the trophy with a remarkable 7-3 win – yet another record: the competition’s highest-scoring final.
“We may not see another European Cup final until we are much older but we shall remember this one as long as we live”, read the Glasgow Herald the following day.
Alfredo Di Stefano scored three and Ferenc Puskas four as Madrid blew Frankfurt away in an incredible attacking display. The local press gushed with praise in the next morning’s newspapers.
The Evening Times’ Gair Henderson proclaimed the previous night’s action “a match the likes of which have never been seen in Glasgow” while declaring Real Madrid “the greatest football team to ever tread on Hampden’s turf.”
“127,000 salute magic men of football”, exclaimed the Daily Record front page the next morning.
“Roar upon roar surged down on the excited, jubilant men of Madrid, as they trotted round Hampden Stadium last night…European Cup held aloft”, the paper continued.
“This was the salute of 127,000 fans for one of the most dazzling displays of soccer wizardry ever seen in Glasgow.”
And the love-in wasn’t all one-way traffic.
“Hampden is the greatest ground in the world and the Scots are the best football crowd in the world”, Real Madrid officials told the Daily Record.
Hat-trick hero Alfredo Di Stefano told the paper’s reporter, “My main impression of the match was at the end when we got that tremendous cheer from the Scottish fans.”
So appreciative were the Glesga crowd of the Real Madrid team that their applause continued long after the final whistle. And so humbled by the welcome from their hosts, the Madrid superstars circled the pitch, showing off the giant trophy to the crowd. It was one of the first known laps of honour on a football pitch, a tradition since copied around the world that was born thanks to the world-renowned friendly Glasgow welcome.
Glasgow has been a happy hunting ground for Madrid, who won their ninth European Cup the last time the competition culminated at Hampden. Current manager Zinedine Zidane scored the winner with one of the most iconic goals of a generation as ‘Los Blancos’ beat Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 in 2002.
“Madrid’s 2-1 victory over Bayer 04 Leverkusen was not on a par with their 7-3 win against Eintracht Frankfurt 42 years ago, but the sight of Zidane’s volley finding the top corner of Leverkusen’s net on the stroke of half-time may live just as long in the memory of those who saw it”, claimed UEFA’s website afterwards. It’s safe to say the most successful club side in European football has brought their best for the Glasgow crowd over the years!
And German teams have featured in all three finals of Europe’s premier club competition to be staged at Hampden. While Frankfurt and Leverkusen fell short, the great Bayern Munich of Beckenbauer, Rummenigge, Muller et al triumphed over St. Etienne of France in 1975.
After the 1960 final Real Madrid president Santiago Bernabeu said: “I’ve never heard such cheering in all my life, all finals should be played at Hampden.”
Having been the stage for the tournament’s best ever game and one of its best ever goals, Glasgow Living wholeheartedly second that! Were you at any of Hampden’s three European Cup finals? Share your memories with us using the comments section below.
***Words by Alistair Sargent***