Audio Clip

Track Four (2.51)
Dr David Player
First Director of the Scottish Health Education Group
Signing first Scottish non-smoking teams

History of NHSScotland – Timeline – 1954 Smoking Kills & 2006 Smoking Ban

“Going down on the train from Glasgow to Dumfries and coming back sitting opposite me in the carriage was a scout from St Mirren and I’m talking about that Liverpool manager, Shankly, who said you know, life and death, this is more important than life and death. And he was questioned by the Scottish reporter and what he put it down to, why they were so good. He said they are so good they have the record of winning or drawing more games in the last ten minutes than any other team in Britain and the reason for that is, he said is, none of them smoke. He said if they smoked I won’t have them on the team, because they are so fit they can come off after 90 minutes and play another 90 minutes. So I’m saying to this guy, the fella who worked with St Mirren as a scout, that’s what we need, we need a non-smoking team in Scotland. You think I could persuade anybody to do this? Aw he said I’m with St Mirren, the manager of St Mirren, Alex Ferguson. So I went and saw Alex with the scout about two weeks later and said I’d like to sponsor St Mirren as the first non smoking team in Britain and wear it on their jerseys. Aye sure. So we went down after the game had a wee dram and we got on fine. And they won the cup that year so that made a big impression. And then, of course, Alex moved up to Aberdeen and I moved up and sponsored Aberdeen as a non smoking team, I sort of took a back seat but I had the Minister of Health here going up supporting Aberdeen and all the cups they won there. When we went to the World Cup the Scottish team were the only non smoking team in the World Cup. I also went over and signed up Brazil, Russia and Czechoslovakia. I had a great time. I had to be there you know in Spain. Jock Stein and the Secretary of the SFA and myself were there to greet them when they came back on the planes you know. And I said the press are going to be after this, and if they catch any of the players smoking we’re going to look awful stupid. The Secretary says to Jock get Danny in, Danny McGrain, he was the captain, wee Danny. So Danny comes in, in his training kit. “Danny the Doc’s got a problem here, what’s going to happen if any of the boys are caught smoking out in Spain”, he said it would destroy this idea, “don’t you worry boss we’ll break their f-ing legs.” And tell them that’s what’s going to happen to them.”