Following the very sad news of the death of football legend Alfredo Di Stefano, I was reminded of the time I was privileged not only to have seen the great man display his incredible skill and ability on the hallowed turf at Hampden Park, but to have met him and his team mates after the match.
The occasion was the unforgettable 1960 European Cup final featuring Di Stefano’s Real Madrid against Eintracht Frankfurt in which he scored a hat-trick; leading his team to an amazing 7-3 victory, and the likes of which has never been seen again.
I attended the match in my capacity as a St Andrew’s Ambulance Association cadet on first-aid duty and I was lucky enough to be allocated my position seated in the south stand from where, you can imagine, I had a perfect view of the spectacle which took place that evening.
I was also lucky in that, right up until well after full-time and the presentation of the trophy, we had no casualties to deal with – that is, not until a member of the press fainted near the team changing rooms.
As we were closest to the incident we were called upon to attend to him, during which time the teams were emerging to board their buses.
Di Stefano approached us, curious to know what was happening and that was when I met him. Beside him was the equally great Ferenc Puskas, who presented me with a Real Madrid team badge which I treasure to this day.
I can say that both men, and the other team members from Real Madrid and Eintracht who spoke to us, were perfect gentlemen.
It’s a memory I will cherish for as long as I live.
David M Steel