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Anglo-Franco-Scottish Friendship Cup
The Anglo-Franco-Scottish Friendship Cup was a tournament that was as bizzare as Celtic's performances in it were woeful.
Made up of eight French, four English and four Scottish teams the competition was held during the 1960/61 season and was a poor immitation of the relatively succesful Franco-Italian Friendship Cup.
While the French/Italian effort had attracted top teams from both countries this new tournament essentially catered for those sides not good enough to participate in either the European Cup or the Inter-Cities-Fairs Cup.
Qualificiation for the Friendship Cup was based on league position from the previous seasons. On this basis Celtic should have missed out, having finished their 1959-60 league campaign in an uninspiring ninth place. However, Ayr United were unable to compete on the grounds that Somerset Park had no floodlights. When Hibs then turned down an invitation to compete, Celtic were drafted in to make up the Scottish quota.
The tournament winners would not be an individual club. Instead each nation was awarded 2 points for every win picked up by one of their sides and a single point for a draw. The French organisers had originally wanted the British clubs to compete as one nation but the Scottish League objected to this proposal. Consequently tournament officials decided to cast two trophies and split the competition into seperate cups with English and Scottish sections.
As if such laboriously contrived arrangements were not unappealing enough, Celtic were then drawn to face the little known UA Sedan-Torcy. A side of part-timers from a small coal mining and industrial town in the north east of France, Sedan had won the French Cup in 1956 but in truth had done little else since their formation in 1919 and were all but unknowns outside their home nation.
Celtic were away for the first game which was played on the evening of Saturday August 6th. Held during the traditional French summer holiday period the tie attracted a poor crowd of only 3,000. At the insistance of organisers the Bhoys wore yellow numbers on the back of their Hoop shirts.
Despite containing the likes of Paddy Crerand, Billy McNeill, Bertie Peacock, Stevie Chalmers and Bertie Auld, the visitors were outclassed from start to finish as the French side cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory with goals from Lion, Lerbert and a Dunky McKay own goal. In fact the hosts were three goals up within the first half-hour and so inept was the Celtic performance that the supporters of the part-time Sedan side began jeering the woeful Bhoys.
While Sedan were unknowns in Glasgow, Celtic were similary obscure in this part of the world and their performance on that day did little to endear themselves to the locals.
The Celtic team defeated that day was: Haffey, MacKay, Kennedy, Crerand, McNeill, Peacock, Carroll, Chalmers, Mochan, Kelly, Auld.
The return match in Glasgow was staged on Tuesday October 18th. An intrigued crowd of 27,000 turned out to see the continential visitors who shocked their hosts by taking the lead within the opening minute. In a frequently bad tempered game, Celtic were often second best but despite a missed penalty from Bertie Auld they managed to secure a 3-3 draw with a goal from John Divers and two late efforts from Steve Chalmers. The visitors found the net through Fulgenzy (2) and Lion. Celtic had Bertie Auld booked while Mouchel, Robert and Hatchi of Sedan had their names taken.
The Hoops side at Parkhead was: Haffey, MacKay, Kennedy, Crerand, McNeill, Peacock, Chalmers, Fernie, Carroll. Divers, Auld.
Clyde, Motherwell and Dundee had been Scotland's other representatives in the tournament and the success of these teams meant that Scotland would go on to claim the trophy having finished with 11 points to France's five. There was little to cheer about though as in the main the tournament, which would run for one more season*, was poorly attended and far from lucrative.
In fairness to a mostly youthful Celtic side their opponents Sedan were no mugs, and they would go on to lift the French Cup for the second time in 1961. Yet, by 1966 - just as their opponents in 1960 were preparing to conquer Europe - AC Sedan-Torcy were strictly no longer in existance after a merger with Racing Club de Paris saw the creation of Racing Club Paris-Sedan - a bizarre merger of clubs located more than 150 miles apart.
The club - presently in the second tier of French football - would undergo a couple of more name changes before finally settling for their current title of CS Sedan in 1975. But despite the name changes and mergers, as the town where Cesar made his European bow, Sedan will always form a little part of Celtic history.
*Although Celtic agreed to take part in the tournament again their games with Stade Remis went unfulfilled after the two clubs failed to agree suitable dates to play.
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