Obituary: Teddy Scott, footballer player, coach, physiotherapist and manager
Born: 22 March 1929, in Ellon, Aberdeenshire. Died: 21 June, 2012, in Ellon, aged 83
The life of Teddy Scott is proof that to become a legendary figure at a football club you do not have to be a star player or manager. Indeed, Scott played precisely once for the First XI of the club he loved and to whom he gave 49 years devoted service as a player, trainer, coach, physio and kit man, the latter a role which enabled him to carry on being indispensable to management and players alike.
For years until he officially retired in 2003, Scott was for Aberdeen FC that rare breed which is so necessary for club continuity, a cross between a father figure and a counsellor, a man whose influence behind the scenes was perceptible and enduring.
In more practical terms, he made a long-lasting beneficial impact on the club through his piloting of a youth training policy years before most clubs adopted the practice. Scott’s perspicacity ensured that Aberdeen produced a steady stream of young professionals over many years.
He was born one of eight children in Ellon, which remained his home town for all his life, and his formal education ended at the age of 13 when he left Ellon Secondary to work as a message boy. He trained as a plumber but carried out his National Service in the immediate post-war era with the Royal Army Medical Corps.
While stationed on the south coast of England he played for Bournemouth, but on his return to the North-east he dropped down to the junior ranks, playing for Sunnybank in Aberdeen. He was a centre-half, though he did not fill the usual mould of such players at the time, being neither giant of stature nor slow of feet. Instead he was possessed of a prodigious jumping and heading ability and no little skill, while his physical fitness was always exemplary.
In 1954, Sunnybank made history as the first club from the North Region to win the Scottish Junior Cup, beating Dundee side Lochee Harp 2-1 in the final at Hampden Park, watched by a crowd of 22,600. Scott’s performance in the final and in the preceding rounds had brought him to the attention of Aberdeen, and he signed for the club a few weeks after the final.
Joining a professional club at the comparatively late age of 25, Scott was unlucky to land at Aberdeen when the Dons had two men ahead of him in the pecking order for the centre-half position, the highly-rated Alec Young and the youthful Jim Clunie. Indeed it was serious injury to Clunie that saw Scott step up to make his only appearance for the first team, in an away win to Stirling Albion in 1956.
At that period in the 1950s, reserve football was much more prestigious than it is nowadays, and Scott was playing at Pittodrie at a time of considerable success, Aberdeen winning their first Scottish League Championship in 1955 and adding the Scottish League Cup the following season.
Sadly, Scott’s career did not prosper and he was loaned to Brechin City before being given a free transfer in 1957.
Signing for Highland League club Elgin City, Scott also worked as a PE teacher, but in 1958 new Aberdeen manager David Shaw recalled him to Pittodrie as trainer responsible at first for the physical fitness of all the players, and then becoming reserve team coach.
That role gave Scott the responsibility for bringing young players through the ranks, and he thrived in the job. A succession of Aberdeen managers came to rely on Scott’s ability to train and coach young footballers, and perhaps more importantly, he had a gift for instilling respect and discipline.
Scott himself singled out Eddie Turnbull, Billy McNeill and Sir Alex Ferguson as the best managers of the 15 he worked under, and he became something akin to a factotum for them.
His dedication to his duties was indefatigable.
Travelling back and forward by bus to Ellon each day, the story was told that if Aberdeen had an early start, Scott would bed down for the night on the club’s snooker table. He never admitted to that, but never quite denied it either.
Scott’s greatest hour with Aberdeen was the historic European Cup Winners Cup victory over Real Madrid in 1983, at a time when Ferguson had built a truly great side featuring Gordon Strachan, Alex McLeish, and Willie Miller.
All three of those men and many dozens of players and managers paid Scott generous tributes when he retired in 2003 after 49 years service with the club, four years after Ferguson’s mighty Manchester United came to Pittodrie for a testimonial match that earned Scott a reported £250,000.
He also received special merit awards from the Scottish and European governing bodies, the SFA and UEFA, as well as being inducted into Aberdeen FC’s Hall of Fame, while his room at Pittodrie became a museum for the club, storing vast amounts of memorabilia donated by grateful players often long after they had left Aberdeen.
Speaking in Ellon last night, Scott’s son Gary said: “He was a devoted dad, grandad and great-grandad who was a great family man as well as a loyal servant to Aberdeen FC for nearly 50 years. His pride and joy, however, rather than all the awards and recognition he got at Aberdeen, was his Scottish Junior Cup medal that he won playing for Sunnybank, which I think says a lot about him.”
Teddy Scott is survived by his wife Jean, by son Gary and daughters Kay and Shirley, and by his children and great-grandchildren. Aberdeen FC will announce details of his funeral and their tribute in due course.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North west