Sign in or
|H | Player Pics | A-Z of Players|
PersonalFullname: Francis Haffey
aka: Frank Haffey
Born: 28 Nov 1938
Signed: 1 Jan 1958 (trial); 18 Feb 1958 (full, from Campsie Black Watch)
Left: 9 Oct 1964 (to Swindon Town)
Debut: Celtic 4-1 Third Lanark, League, 30 April 1958
International Caps: 2
International Shut-outs: 0
BiogFrancis Haffey was a football goalkeeper for Celtic and for the Scottish national team. He was actually born and raised not far at all from Ibrox stadium and was signed from Campsie Black Watch a Juvenile team.
Haffey is best remembered as one of Celtic's more eccentric keepers (and we've had some erratic performers in our history), yet he still played more than two hundred matches for his club and was generally liked.
He is most often associated with Scotland's 9-3 loss to England at Wembley in 1961, which unsurprisingly would be Haffey's final match for Scotland, and typically he had to carry the can for that debacle.
After breaking an ankle in the Glasgow Cup against Partick Thistle in November 1963, effectively ending his Celtic career, and he left the following October to play for Swindon Town. Soon thereafter, Haffey moved to Australia, where after a shorter career as a footballer there he found his way into the entertainment business as a cabaret singer!
Haffey made 201 appearances for Celtic and had 61 clean-sheets which isn't too bad a record. It wasn't a great time to be at Celtic. Another long barren spell with no trophies, poor coaching & team management, constant meddling by the board (esp by Sir Bob Kelly) and declining performances were the marks from that time.
He won two caps for Scotland, and is still remembered in Scotland but sadly more for the humourous aspect of that 9-3 defeat.
Some of his more memorable post-Wembley appearances for Celtic:
Feb 62: Puts a free kick into his own net!
Mar 63: Throws a pass-back between his legs!
Apr 63: In a Scottish Cup semi-final, fluffs his attempted clearance straight to an opposition player who scores!
InterviewSigning For Celtic
When I left school I went to play for a juvenile team in Kirkintilloch called Campsie Black Watch in 1955. The manager there was a chap called Gerald Marley. Incredibly, he is still their manager now. The guy must be about 150!
After about a season I was snapped up by Celtic as a goalkeeper aged 17 in 1956. I can remember my first ever game was for Celtic reserves against Rangers reserves at Ibrox. It was a trial match to see if I would be taken on. Billy McNeill was in the same position as I was.
About three minutes before half-time I was lobbed by the right winger Billy Duncan from 40 yards out on his own touchline. I thought that was the end of my Celtic career. But at half-time the manager, Jimmy McGrory, came into the dressing room with contracts for Billy McNeill and I to sign.
Somebody was on the treatment table and so Billy turned around and I signed mine on his back and then I turned around and Billy signed his on my back.
To begin with I was part-time while I completed my apprenticeship as an engineer.
I made my first team debut in a friendly match in Northern Ireland. The regular keeper, Dick Beattie, had torn tendons in his finger and I was flown out to Belfast to play. I stayed in the top side for six or seven years and played in 201 games.
I was good at taking crosses. Nowadays you won't see a goalkeeper moving more than three yards off their line. When the opposition scores then, nine times out of 10, they turn around and blame their defence. But Jock Stein stressed to me I had to come out between six and eight yards. So that is what I did.
I used to enjoy the Old Firm games. I see tackles and behaviour in the matches now that, if they had taken place in my day, would have resulted in police intervention. In all the Old Firm matches that I played I was never once the victim of a bad tackle and no player ever swore at me. I had it from Hearts and Hibs players but never anybody at Rangers.
I was great friends with Ralph Brand and George Niven. Jimmy Millar was a hard player but he was a gentleman. John Greig was a fantastic player. Jim Baxter was also a pal. In fact, I can remember once, after drawing an Old Firm game 1-1, Billy McNeill, Pat Crerand and Mick Jackson and I went to meet Jim Baxter in the George Hotel.
While we were waiting some Rangers supporters came in and when we told them who was joining us one of them said: ''That b*****d! We'll fix him up!'' The fan clearly felt Slim Jim had played badly that day. But he never had a bad game.
When he finally arrived there was a scuffle with the Celtic contingent protecting Jim as the Gers fans tried to get at him. But it was more of a push and a shove than a punch-up.
The biggest crowd I ever played in front of was in the Scottish Cup Final against Rangers in 1963. We drew the first game 1-1 on the Saturday and then lost the replay
3-0 on the Wednesday. The crowd at the first game was 129,000 and 120,00 at the replay.
I got some stick from Rangers fans after that [9-3 against England] when I played for Celtic in Old Firm games. They used to sing: ''Haffey! Nine! Haffey! Nine!'' I used to turn around and pretend to conduct them with a baton and help them to get the rhythm right. I didn't let it bother me.
England 9-3 Scotland
A few years ago when Scotland played England in the Euro 2000 play-off double header a Sky TV crew came out from Brisbane to interview me at the local soccer club. When they showed the interview Bobby Robson was one of the guests in the studio. He was playing that day and scored their first goal. He said that, in his opinion, I was only at fault for two of the goals.
Just a few days after the match Jock Stein got a hold of a film of it and sat with me at Celtic Park and went through it all. He also felt I was only to blame for two of them. If people like Jock Stein and Bobby Robson feel it was two then that is fair enough. I feel I was maybe at fault for three.
I moved to Swindon Town in 1964. I fell out with the manager, Bert Head, down there and moved on. I emigrated to Australia in 1967 and joined a Hungarian team called St George Budapest. They were the top team in the country and I played for them for about four seasons. After that I joined a Jewish team called Hakoah in Sydney. I had a great time playing for them until I was about 35 and then I retired.
I worked as a sales rep and also used to appear on the club circuit singing and doing a stand-up comedy routine. I also appeared in the television series, Spy Force, over here with the famous Aussie actor, Chips Rafferty. I was an extra in something like 13 of the 17 episodes which were made.
Frank Haffey now lives on the gold coast in Australia amd is an occasional member on the big list on the topic, Frank was the musical conductor for the choir in the celtic end under the cantilever when he was hardly busy playing in the game. Was also a cabaret singer!
|APPEARANCES||LEAGUE||SCOTTISH CUP||LEAGUE CUP||EUROPE||TOTAL|
Honours with CelticNone, the barren years!
AnecdoteFrank Haffey a Celtic keeper of the early 1960's is generally regarded as being one of the more eccentric players to have played for the Hoops.However on one occassion even Frank was surpassed in terms of doing "daft" things by Denis Connaghan a keeper signed from St.Mirren by Jock Stein in October 1971.
In the 1974-75 season in a first round Dryborough Cup game at Broomfield Celtic were coasting 4-1 against Airdrie - Denis went to throw the ball out to Danny McGrain who was playing left back (not his usual right back role that day) and as he went to throw it he changed his mind as he thought Danny was covered by Airdrie's winger but as he was in mid-throw at this point he lost control of the ball and ended up throwing the ball into the Celtic goal to make the score 4-2.
Fortunately Celtic still won so Denis got let off fairly lightly by Jock Stein.
Jock Stein was never a great fan of the Dryborough Cup which was played early in the season - Jock used it more as a build-up and experimental tournament towards the League Championship.Jock only took it seriously when Rangers were involved and that year having beaten Dundee in the semi-final Celtic played Rangers in the Final - the game itself ended up a draw and therefore went to penalties.
Denis Connaghan was the hero in the penalty shoot out and Celtic won it 4-2 - so at the end of the day the Gorbals born Denis redeemed himself although he apparently still gets asked "Do you remember the day you threw that ba' in the net"?
"Frank's Eccentricities" - kicks a bye-kick into his own net!!!!/Takes and misses a penalty!!!!/Heads clear wearing his bunnet!!!!
Although Frank was not involved in the Denis Connaghan throwing the ball into his own net incident - he did have a few "moments" of his own.
In a game against St.Johnstone in February 1962 Frank went to take a bye - kick and angled it sharply towards the Celtic right back Dunky McKay but Frank managed to scaff it big time and kicked the ball into his own net - the referee deemed that the bye - kick should be re-taken as the ball had to move forward whereas in the Denis Connaghan incident the goal stood.
Celtic won the game 3-1 eventually and Frank claimed he had earlier collided with Dunky McKay and was still dazed when he went to kick the ball.
Frank also took a penalty against Airdrie whilst in goals for Celtic and missed!!!!
He is also remembered for coming out of his penalty area and headering the ball the ball clear whilst wearing his bunnet in a game against Third Lanark.
Haffey’s upside-down world
England put nine goals past Frank Haffey in 1961. He never played for Scotland again, moved to Australia and worked as a comedian. John Wright reports
Sunday Times (Jan 12 03)
WEMBLEY, April 15, 1961. A dark day. It was an era of Home Internationals and Scotland were strafed 9-3 by a rampant England side inspired by the visionary Johnny Hayes and the lethal goal-scoring touch of Jimmy Greaves, who struck three times on that fateful afternoon.
It remains Scotland’s most humiliating defeat against the Auld Enemy, although most of the players that day, from Bobby Shearer, Eric Caldow and Billy McNeill to Dave McKay, Denis Law and Davie Wilson, emerged with their careers unscathed. But for one man, it became too much to bear. Frank Haffey played 201 games for Celtic from 1958 until the early 60s, and that afternoon, he made the second of two Scotland appearances. After conceding nine goals against England, the goalkeeper was never able to shake off the stigma.
He briefly joined Swindon in 1964 after leaving Celtic before making an even more drastic move 12 months later — to the other side of the world. Haffey simply disappeared.
Here, from the warmth of Australia’s Gold Coast — where he now runs a goalkeepers’ clinic — the 64-year-old reflects on that game, and its aftermath . . .
EVEN though Bobby Robson said only two of the nine goals I’d let in were my fault, I felt terrible after that game. Yes, I did sing in the showers afterwards; I had to do something. Denis Law sat in the bath next to me and said: ‘Frank, as a goalkeeper, you’re a great singer.’ The British press had a field day with me too. They photographed me under Big Ben with the time on three past nine. Arriving back in Glasgow on the train, they got one of me with the big number for Platform 9 above my head, and then walking past a doorway with the number 93.
But it hadn’t all been bad. In my first game for Scotland I saved a penalty from Bobby Charlton and we drew 1-1. The paparazzi used to follow the players around in the old Celtic days, too. Once, some photographers were even up on a roof across the road from a hospital trying to take pictures when my wife had cut her leg.
People talk about my antics, but they weren’t antics. They say I once headed away a corner kick, but I was off my 18-yard line. True, I did score an own goal from a goal kick, but I only kicked the ball the wrong way because I’d been dazed seconds before in a tackle. Anyway, it was declared invalid because the rules state the ball must be kicked upfield.
One funny thing about the Celtic-Rangers rivalry is that I was actually born 50 yards from the old enemy camp. Dozens of Rangers fans over the years would have lifted me over the Ibrox turnstiles when I was a kid. A few years later, I was playing against them keeping all their goals out.
Once, a few of us (Celtic players) — Billy McNeill, Mike Jackson, Paddy Crerand and myself — were in the George Hotel in Glasgow waiting to meet Jim Baxter, of Rangers, for dinner. We were good friends off the field. We’d played Rangers that afternoon and had drawn 1-1. Four or five Rangers supporters came in, spotted us and discovered we were waiting for Jim Baxter. To our disbelief they said: ‘Not that bastard.’ We were unable to warn Jim — oh for a mobile phone. Too bad they hadn’t yet been invented. He was set upon, but we intervened and it became a push-and-shove situation. Jim was one of the best players in the world in my opinion — unbelievable.
As for what made me leave the scene after the 9-3 game, one thing led to another. With Celtic I went over on my ankle during one game in 1963 and twisted a tendon slightly. A few weeks and it would have been better, but I was dropped to the reserves for three months. The last straw was the song. I used to make records for Celtic, such as The Celtic Song in 1959, with all the players. Jimmy Johnstone, Billy McNeill and Bobby Murdoch would join in the chorus. I’d been out of the first team just three weeks before the record came out and found myself with my name on the cover, but dropped from the song. ‘There’s Haffey, Young and Gemmell, they proudly wear the green,’ became ‘There’s Fallon, Young and Gemmell.’
I left Celtic a sad and disillusioned man. The boss at the time, Jimmy McGrory, called me into his office and, with a tear in his eye, told me they had to cut my pay, as I wasn’t in the first team. I’d been married just a short time, had bought a house, and we were expecting our first child. I knew my injury was almost healed, and in a matter of weeks I’d be ready to reclaim the No 1 spot.
The swiftness of the axe that felled me was amazing. I’d given seven years of my life to Celtic, I had a great following, was a loyal servant, and at 25 I had a lot of playing years in me. The wage cut was drastic, and they knew I wouldn’t accept it.
My time with Celtic was over. I immediately requested a transfer, Swindon made an offer and I accepted. I only spent five months there, as the set-up wasn’t what I thought it would be. After discussions with my brother-in-law, who had emigrated to Australia years before, Helen and I decided to take the plunge and relocate there.
In Australia I played for St George for five years. The night I arrived in Sydney there was a monsoon and I had to go to a training session. I saved a few shots at goal and the coach said: ‘That’s enough for me’, and was off. We went on to win a final in 1967 — beating Apia 5-2. The next four years I played for a Jewish club called Hakoah. There was only one Jewish bloke in the team. In 1968 we went on a cruise, and ended up in Glasgow for four weeks, where I was given a warm reception by Celtic, which was fantastic.
In Australia I’ve also worked as a singer, comedian and actor. The famous Aussie actor, Chips Rafferty, was a friend of mine. He told me he was born in Moscow and came out here when he was six or nine. My first break in TV was as an extra in a serial called Spy Force, starring Jack Thompson. One day I had to climb a huge gasometer dressed as an Aussie soldier. The moment I shouted my line: ‘Sergeant, there’s a bomb in the valve!’ they replaced me because of my Scottish accent. When I was doing my comedy act, I used to play in places such as Australian Legion clubs. But old people’s homes were the best because the residents couldn’t walk out. I used to say: ‘I don’t have to be here, you know. I could be home with my wife. Fighting.’ The women used to throw their underwear at me. They were still wearing them. For quite a while I’ve been running a goalkeeping clinic on the Gold Coast in Queensland. The students are all ages, from six to 36.
There are a lot of promising goalies amongst them. One, Mark Conrad, is 18 now and is on trial with a German team. Another is Nick Rundle. He is just 16 and playing in Tasmania. They will be names to watch out for in the not too distant future.
I talk to my eight-year-olds the same way I speak to the older ones. The philosophy I teach them is the same and is simple: ‘Don’t wait for things to happen or hope they’ll happen. Make them happen.’ I talk to them about mistakes and say: ‘If you make a mistake as a goalie, you’re one down; if you make two mistakes, that’s two goals.’
I still love watching British football on TV, but the local talent has been stifled by too many imported players. It is ruining the game. Where are the young players, all the Jim Baxters, the Jim Johnstones, the Billy Hendersons, the Frank Haffeys? We all came through the junior leagues. There were no academies in those days, no big signing fees and no big wages. What’s gone wrong?
Haffey home before ten to relive infamous Wembley rout of 61
Published Date: 23 December 2005
IT IS a match that has never been allowed to fade into obscurity, but how strange that this year the two main protagonists from that Wembley date in 1961 have prompted a further need to revisit what was a traumatic afternoon for one side of the Border at least.The death of former England skipper Johnny Haynes in October was the first, solemn reason, but the return of Frank Haffey, the tormented goalkeeper who conceded not just Haynes' brace, but also a further seven goals, offers a more light-hearted excuse to peer back at one of football's most seismic results: England 9, Scotland 3.
Haffey was back in town yesterday, spreading a little Australian sunshine around a bleak December's afternoon, and visiting, for the first time in 40 years, his Glasgow homeland.
Not even Sir Alex Ferguson makes reporters wait this long to conduct a post-match press conference. In truth, while the myth has a broken Haffey boarding a boat bound for the other side of the world the very next morning, the Celtic keeper lingered on these shores for a further four years before being lured towards a new life in Queensland.
He was over it by then. In fact, he was clearly over it by the post-match bath. While all over Britain ears pricked up at the score, Haffey was scrubbing himself down with a loofah, merrily singing a song. Later, he would be easily persuaded to pose in front of a platform 9 sign at King's Cross station by Fleet Street photographers.
Although one report of the game had him heading "head bowed, alone, for the darkness of the tunnel" the reality was far different. He'd later become a professional comedian and cabaret artist, but few would have expected him to run through his routine right there and then, in front of a startled Denis Law.
"After the game I just had to do something," Haffey, now 67, says. "I started singing in the bath. Denis said to me: 'We've just lost 9-3, and you're singing away.' I said: 'Don't tell me about it, I know.' I was just singing to get over my troubles. Denis turned to me and said: 'As a goalkeeper you are a great singer.' "
He almost hadn't made the match. Still a young 23 when he was selected to make his second international appearance - in his less-remembered debut, also against England, he saved Bobby Charlton's penalty - his sister, bizarrely, concocted a plan to keep him in Glasgow and away from the bright lights of London. She locked him in a room. Unfortunately for not just Haffey but also an entire nation it was a room in a ground-floor tenement flat, and he escaped out the window to meet with his destiny.
"I did a Harry Houdini," he says now. "If I hadn't got there to meet the team and travel down we might have drawn or something. But, hey, it's sport. That's all it is. It's there to be enjoyed, win lose or draw."
Haffey can laugh about it now, and in fact has been for over 40 years. It might be news for the Jimmy Greaves-types who have since mercilessly savaged Scottish goalkeepers, but Haffey has been lampooning himself for years. Unsurprisingly, he made his experiences part of his comedy act. "I told the audience I once used to play a ball game but I wasn't very successful because I used to keep dropping it," he says. "It was one way of being remembered.
In Australia he might be remembered for a different reason. He appeared in the cult television programme Spyforce, the Second World War adventure series in which Russell Crowe made his acting debut. He is presently busy preparing another generation of goalkeepers - fortunately, perhaps, they are Australia's. "I still coach at three high schools and two private colleges," he reveals. "I feel great."
The Gold Coast clearly works for him, and he never regrets leaving Swindon Town for Sydney Budapest in 1965.
A genuinely popular player among his team-mates, there was little chance of him being cold-shouldered in the aftermath of that Wembley match. Haffey and Jim Baxter were best pals, and he once helped avert a brawl after the Rangers midfielder had been confronted by some of his own fans after a poor performance in an Old Firm derby. Haffey crossed the Glasgow divide, having grown up in a flat on Copeland Road, within a goal-kick of Ibrox. Mind you, perhaps not one of his own. Legend has it he once managed to direct a free-kick into his own net. He was back at Ibrox yesterday, escorted there by his advocate nephew John. He has returned to Britain to visit his two sons, both of whom live in York, where the name Haffey is less likely to lead to an arched eyebrow.
He visited Parkhead on Wednesday, where he stared agog at stands stretching high into the heavens. Incredibly, one alteration to the Celtic Park he knew as a player has been the addition of the European Cup to the trophy room. Celtic defeated Inter Milan in Lisbon two years after he left for Australia. The Jock Stein era has come and gone since he left the club after 211 appearances, as have a few others too.
Although he is known for his Wembley wobble he excelled when playing at Ibrox. "I began going up there when I was six or seven years old," he says. "My parents wouldn't let me go to Parkhead because it was too far. It was only a two-minute walk to Ibrox. There must have been hundreds of Rangers fans who lifted me over the turnstiles. It's funny, but 12 or so years later they were cursing me. I was good at defending the Copeland Road!"
Haffey was touched by the welcome he received at Ibrox yesterday, and surprised at the level of interest in his return. He is considering writing his autobiography, motivated by a reporter from Tasmania who wrote an article on Haffey after 12 hours' worth of phone-calls researching his career. You ask him about its working title, with Nine Past Haffey a sure bet. Never one to do the obvious, Haffey demurs: "It's Too Late Now," he offers instead, before thinking better of it and resorting to the lowest common denominator, even if it isn't quite low enough for Scotland fans: "Or maybe, Home Before Ten!".
- Last Updated: 22 December 2005 10:38 PM
- Source: The Scotsman
- Location: Edinburgh
Latest page update: made by joebloggscity
, Nov 27 2012, 12:14 PM EST
(about this update
About This Update
Edited by joebloggscity
8 words added
2 words deleted
- complete history)
More Info: links to this page