Dunfermline Athletic

1969: Bordeaux 2 Dunfermline 0

Memorable Match #58
Inter Cities Fairs Cup
First Round Second leg
The Battle of Bordeaux, Municipal Stadium,
Wednesday 1st October 1969

The Fairs Cup 1969-70 drew Dunfermline against Girondins Bordeaux, the first French opposition ever to be matched against the Pars in European competition. This French side had finished runners up to Saint Etienne in the French league championship the previous season and had scored 87 goals in their 34 league matches. Bordeaux came to East End Park having played seven league matches and sitting second in their league.

The outstanding personality in the French team was undoubtedly Jacques Simon, the 28-year-old forward who had been capped for his country 22 times. The former Nantes player was an exciting performer, famous throughout France and entrusted with organising the play of the Bordeaux players. Alongside him in the high scoring attack was a 26-year-old Brazilian Pontes Rutier, a relative newcomer to the team but with all the skills and talent that was expected of a South American.

Dunfermline were without Roy Barry for the tie. He had undergone a closed season cartilage operation but had recently re-entered hospital. Doug Baillie was at centre half with George McLean upfront, both experienced European campaigners with Rangers, were playing in their first European match for Dunfermline.

The French representatives were known to be a very competent side, but what surprised the crowd of 11,363 in the first leg at East End Park on 16th September was the dirty play dished out by the visitors. As a result of constant pressure, Dunfermline went ahead through Paton after 27 minutes. 10 minutes later the team would have gone to up had McLean not hit the post with a penalty kick.

In the second half Bordeaux made it easy for the home side by getting two players sent off for persistent crude tackles. Further goals against the depleted team from Mitchell, Paton and Gardner gave the Fifers a comfortable 4-0 lead to take to France.

The return match in France is a game that will remain in the memory of every player official and supporter who witnessed as dramatic events. The home crowd were fired up for the no holds barred battle that ensued.

Dunfermline players had to run for their lives from the hate filled Municipal Stadium in Bordeaux. There were terrifying moments of soccer insanity has hundreds of unruly, half crazed French fans dashed from one side of the pitch to the other in an attempt to attack the brave man from Fife at the finish of this dreadful Fairs Cup battle.

Dozens of policeman raced to the middle of the field to meet the on rushing spectators. Bodies were hurled to the ground as violence flared.

Bordeaux’s 2-0 victory was not enough to keep them in the tournament and that failure incensed the fans, but the French side got what they deserved. They spent 90 minutes trying to provoke the Dunfermline side into a fist fight, the final crowd charge was the last straw and a sorry night for European football.

In the game itself, the Bordeaux players hacked, kicked, tripped, pulled jerseys, tapped heels, pushed and generally added - unbelievably- to the comprehensive repertoire of fouled tactics which they had already shown in their 4-0 first leg defeat at East End Park.

Before the game, coach Jean-Pierre Bakrin promised sportsmanship and all out attack. Well he got the attack and it was more akin to bodily assault. The French were cheered on by the 20,000 crowd for everything they did while Dunfermline were whistled and jeered at every time they touched the ball.

This was a night of shame a night on which French sportsmanship sagged to rock bottom. A night in which Dunfermline lost because of the goals - but surely not for the sane way they conducted themselves. The goals were incidental, the first came after 18 minutes when winger Hervé OTHILY drove home from the fringe of the penalty box. 1-0

The second was scored by left-winger WOJELAK in 87 minutes as the angry hate filled game neared its disgusting end. Dunfermline actually had the ball in the net in 76 minutes McLean shot home from an Alex Edwards’ free kick but the flag was up for offside before he made contact with the ball.

Edwards was tremendously accurate throughout the match but was also the target for tough tackling throughout. Mitchell was the man the French coach Bakrin, feared most. Papin was detailed to follow him and the French defender showed signs of temper when he threw the ball at Mitchell because a decision was given against Bordeaux.

Above: The Pars forward line v Bordeaux:- George McLean, Pat Gardner, Alex Edwards, Bert Paton and Barrie Mitchell

The home player who was the most fortunate to stay on the field was Brazilian Ruiter. In the first half he appeared to strike Baillie when the ball was several yards away and then spat in his face. The linesman saw what had happened and ran onto the field waving his flag. The burly Belgian referee gave Ruiter a telling off and that was all it was, a weak decision. Unexpectedly referee Francis Rion was nearly powerless by the finish to stop the foul play.

The facts state that Dunfermline lost this game but they fully deserved to win the tie because the resolutely refused to become involved as the French wanted them to.

Ten minutes after the finish in the dressing rooms deep down in the huge bowl of the stadium the Dunfermline officials were busy congratulating the players on their restraint and up top the fans were still knocking over barriers.

BORDEAUX: Christian Montes: Yvette Teniers, Georges Grabowski, Didier Desremeaux, Pontes Ruiter, Gérard Papin, Hervé Othily, André Betta, Edouard Wojciak, Réginald Dortomb, Jacques Simon

DUNFERMLINE: Willie Duff: Willie Callaghan, John Lunn, John McGarty, Doug Baillie, Willie Renton, Barrie Mitchell, Bert Paton, Alex Edwards, Pat Gardner, George McLean.

REFEREE: Francis Rion, Liege

Above: The Dunfermline players await departure from their hotel the following morning


Bert Paton who played with a poisoned leg as a result of an injury inflicted by a French stud in the first match maintains:-

“Bordeaux was my worst experience ever. Barrie Mitchell got kicked stupid. Doug Baillie was provoked and the crudest way possible. We had agreed at half-time at the end of the match all the players would meet in the centre circle to make their way to the changing room together. But by the end the crowd invaded the park and it was every man from himself.!

Doug Baillie said that it was “a never to be forgotten 90 minutes, I will never forget it anyway. For what started as a stage for displaying all that is sordid in football ended with my East End colleagues and myself rolling about in laughter in addressing them afterwards.

“After the match we fought our way off the field and battled our way to the relative sanctuary of the changing rooms. All was well we thought. Everybody had made it back safely. Wrong, one man was missing. There was no sign of George McLean. Five minutes later big George staggered into the dressing room with blood gushing from a head wound. He been hit with a beer can. How are you feeling I enquired anxiously. ‘Fine’ came the reply, I was lucky it was a can of light ale!”

After the game the Dunfermline party had to remain in the dressing room for an hour after the match ended until order was restored. They were then given a police escort out of a side entrance to the ground and were advised to remain in the hotel for the rest of their stay.

The reward for overcoming the French was a second round tie against Polish army side Gwardia Warsaw. The Pars exited the tournament on away goals to Anderlecht in the third round.

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