Footballer and coach;
Born: 1929; Died: June 21, 2012.
TEDDY Scott, who has died aged 83, was a player and coach who served Aberdeen Football Club for almost half a century.
Few football club legends ever gain such status on the back of a single first team appearance, but Scott, who has died following a lengthy battle against Alzheimer's disease, was a one-appearance player who did this.
He was born and – apart from during his National Service – lived his entire life in Ellon. He left Ellon Secondary School to become an apprentice plumber and combined his lengthy apprenticeship with playing football, for Caley Thistle Under-18s and later, by which time he had served his apprenticeship, as centre half for Aberdeen Sunnybank in the juniors.
Although only 5ft 7ins, he was renowned for his ability to spring into the air and beat taller players to high crosses – an ideal attribute for a centre-half. His timing was good too, in that his spell with the club included Sunnybank's triumphant season of 1953-54, when they became the first North Region club to win the Scottish Junior Cup, beating Dundee's Lochee Harp 2-1, in front of 22,000 fans in the final at Hampden.
Aberdeen were watching the Sunnybank defender's progress and at the end of that season they signed him. Some thought Scott was "too wee" to play centre-half in the senior game, but the equally diminutive Alec Young had made the number five shirt his own at Pittodrie, following his arrival from Blantyre Victoria.
With Young established in the first team, Aberdeen winning the 1954-55 Scottish League Championship and the young Jim Clunie performing well in the reserves, Scott had to wait until midway through the 1955-56 season for his solitary taste of first team action, in a 2-0 win over Stirling Albion at Annefield, on February 25, 1956.
Aberdeen sent him out on loan to Brechin City for a season, then released him, whereupon he joined Elgin City, then still a Highland League side. He was at Borough Briggs for a single season, before he was asked back by Aberdeen manager Davie Shaw to be a member of the coaching staff.
Scott worked quietly away in the background until Shaw stepped down from management in favour of Tommy Pearson; this allowed Scott to become reserve team coach and it was in this role he made his finest contribution to the club.
It seems simple now. Scout Bobby Calder would find the unpolished diamonds, bring them north and Scott would guide, cajole, encourage and polish them, before handing them on to the first team coaches. And what a rich seam he worked: Martin Buchan, Willie Miller, Alex McLeish, were just three future Aberdeen and Scotland captains to benefit from Scott's guidance. Add such names as Jim Smith, Davie Smith, Tommy Craig, Arthur Graham, Davie Robb, Neil Simpson, Neale Cooper, Jim Leighton, Bryan Gunn, Stewart McKimmie, David Robertson, Eoin Jess and Scott Booth were just some of the youngsters he set on the road to stardom during his almost 50 years with the club.
Scott worked under 15 Dons bosses, including Eddie Turnbull, Ally MacLeod, Billy McNeill and the greatest of them all – Sir Alex Ferguson, who paid him the huge compliment of bringing his full Manchester United squad north during their treble year of 1999 to feature in Scott's testimonial match, on 18 January that year.
Pittodrie was packed to honour this great club servant, who richly deserved the accolade. By then he was kit manager at the club, a post which afforded him time to establish a spectacular football museum of club banners and strips, collected during Aberdeen's glory years in Europe under Ferguson.
Although long past normal retirement age, he was a symbol of continutity during seasons of change, before finally retiring in 2003. Sadly, his retirement years, during which he initially continued to cheer on Aberdeen from the stand, were afflicted by Alzheimer's. He had to move out of the family home and away from Jean, his wife of more than 50 years, to live out his days in a nursing home in Ellon.
In a football club, players come and go, as do managers and to a lesser extent directors. But in the best clubs, there is always a stalwart who soldiers on in the background. Scott was one such giant of the game in Scotland and his status was further recognised when he was one of the inaugural inductees into the Aberdeen club's Hall of Fame.
He never sought riches or glory. He simply did his job better than most. As Gordon Strachan, another of the Dons legends who acknowledges the debt he owes to Scott, is alleged to have told Ferguson, during one of the manager's notorious rants in the course of which he threatened to sack Scott over some missing shorts in the match-day hamper: "Ach gaffer – and where would you get the 10 men you would need to replace him?"
Teddy Scott is survived by his wife Jean, son Gary, and daughters Kay and Shirley.
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