On Saturday doing the half time draw will be a former player from the 70s - George Campbell.
Kevin Stirling spoke to George for this week's interview in RedMatchday
Former Aberdeen winger George Campbell was recently back at Pittodrie from the relative warmth of Australia with his young Melbourne side as they embarked on a tour of Scotland. George was welcomed back to Pittodrie for the Motherwell match as his young side were also put through their paces by the Aberdeen coaching staff. George is back at Pittodrie On Saturday as a guest of the club as he enjoys a prolonged stay back in his native Scotland. It is of course a far cry from his days of playing in the village of Caol where he was brought up.
Fort William will perhaps never be regarded as a hotbed of football talent; given the present Highland League sides struggle to keep going. However the area down the years has produced some fine football players who have gone on to play at the highest level. Most notably former Don Duncan Shearer and John McGinlay went on to play for the Scotland national side together in the 1990's. Back in 1975 a young winger caught the eye of legendary Aberdeen scout Bobby Calder. George Campbell was brought up in the Fort William; "I grew up in a village outside Fort William called Caol and mainly played for my school and the local boys club. The area produced some useful players around that time like Don Gillies and Donald Park and sometime later Duncan Shearer. Donald Park and myself played on the streets together and developed our technique playing one on ones and "hit the lampost". The Fort William area was producing some decent players back then and our school team were the North of Scotland champions so a few clubs started to take notice. A visit to my parents from wee Bobby Calder convinced them that Aberdeen was the club to go to."
Aberdeen made an impression on a young George as he settled into his new surroundings; "I loved the place right away and I stayed with the Esselmonts at the Crown Hotel along with a few other young players in the beginning before moving in to digs. I soon stayed in a couple of places in 'digs' with big Walker McCall, Noel Ward, Bobby Glennie, Jim Rodgers , Alec McLeish and John Gardiner to name a few. In fact big Walker taught me how to iron my first shirt and make Hungarian Goulash!"
Pittodrie was also a bit daunting for George but he soon appreciated what his new surroundings were all about as he soon established himself in the Aberdeen reserve side in the days when reserve football meant something; "Pittodrie was as large as life to me and the stadium was first class at the time. The young lads coming through at the time were very useful and our reserve side boasted the likes of the lads mentioned previously along with Ian Purdie, Bobby Street, John Craig, Ian Hair, Neil Cooper, John McMaster and many more. The first team had Davie Robb, Eddie Thomson, Steve Murray, Henning Boel, Bobby Clark, Arthur Graham, Joe Smith, Joe Harper and wee Alec Willoughby who taught me the importance of strapping my ankles."
Ally MacLeod was the Dons manager at the time; "I loved his passion for the game and could listen for hours about all his wee stories. He had some unusual training techniques and unless his team won the training games we had they would go forever. He liked to give the young lads a go and as a former left winger he also liked my game."
George made his first team debut against Hearts at Pittodrie on 10th August 1974 against Hearts in a League Cup tie at Pittodrie; "We played Hearts and lost 1-0. I lined up against my mate Donald Park so that was a great memory." Although George struggled to nail down a first team place he went on to make the squad for the 1976 League Cup Final; "An incredible experience as we broke the Old Firm stranglehold on domestic trophies. I can still remember the bus journey in to Hampden and we were coming to a roundabout at the same time as the Celtic coach and Ally was urging the driver to get in front of the Celtic coach. We did and Ally turned to the boys and said "It's going to be our day today" and it was."
Scottish grounds back then were far removed from what we see today; "I loved playing at Pittodrie, Ibrox, Dens Park and Tannadice. I was never keen on Boghead and East End Park in the middle of winter." George also played with and against some top players in his career; "I had the pleasure of playing with Zoltan Varga who was almost freakish and Danny McGrain was a hard man to play against."
George eventually got his chance in the side after Arthur Graham was sold to Leeds United in 1977; "After Arthur Graham was transferred south I was promoted to the first team. However, I suffered a stress fracture in a friendly against Fraserburgh in a pre-season game. The boss at the time Billy McNeil bought Ian Scanlon so I figured it was time to move on. Bobby Clark was a real mentor to me at the time and suggested I ask for a 'free' transfer as he would get me to the USA. However, big Billy had other ideas and I ended up in Australia!"
After leaving for Australia George ended up in the Australian league; "I played in Australia's National League for over ten years mainly with a Greek Club called South Melbourne." These days George works full time with tourism; "I work in Australia's Tourism Industry and I am the National Operations Manager for a company called AAATourism."
George recalled some humorous tales from his time at Pittodrie; "Lots of funny stories but most are not printable. However, I remember Ian Hair was consoling John Gardiner after one game at the bus stop after he had had a stinker. John was threatening him he was going to jump in front of the bus and Ian retorted "Nah, don't do that Skelf it will go under you!"
To read the full interview buy a copy of RedMatchday on Saturday.