Alec Stock wrote the following article for the August/September issue of ‘Rangers Roar’ about the trip to Spain in 1967 and a goal scored at ten to one in the morning:-
As a result of winning the Football League Cup and Division Three, we found that certain pleasant things happen. One of them is that we are constantly receiving invitations to play clubs on the Continent. After much consideration, we turned down games in Brussels, Luxembourg, Germany and decided to take on a tour to Jaen in Spain, which is approximately 200 miles south of Madrid, standing in a most fertile part of Spain famous for its olives. We found that we were taking part in what was called, ‘The Olive Tournament’, besides ourselves, other clubs taking part were Roma (1st Division Italian League), Malaga (1st Division Spanish League) and Jaen (2nd Division Spanish League) So you can see the opposition was quite formidable. The biggest drawback to this tour was the fact that we had finished competitive football on May 13th and everyone had broken up for the close Season.
We managed to train on one day each week but we were short of match fitness and far below the standard of the other three clubs taking part, who were still engaged in their own cup competitions. However, full of confidence, we flew out to Madrid on Thursday June 8th. The following players were included in the party:- Ron Springett, Mike Kelly, Tony Hazell, Jim Langley, Dave Clement, Mike Keen, Ron Hunt, Mark Lazarus, Ian Morgan, Les Allen, Roger Morgan, Mike Leach, Rodney Marsh, Bob Keetch and Alan Wilks. Arrangements were made for Frank Sibley, who was away with the England Under 23’s side, to join us on Friday, June 9th.
It was a very good trip and we arrived in Madrid at about half-past-two, to take a coach and travel 170 miles south to Bailen. This is a small town about 20 miles from Jaen but possessing a very lovely hotel. The food was excellent, the swimming pool was beautiful and I was frightened if we stayed there too long, everyone was going to be about two stones overweight. We did a little light training on the Friday but generally we relaxed, sunbathed and enjoyed the Spanish hospitality.
We had a unique experience on the Saturday night, the day we were due to play Jaen. This match was scheduled to kick off at 11 o’clock at night but eventually we kicked off at 11.25. It was an excellent game and we should have been three up at half time. Rodney Marsh hit the bar, Mike Keen hit the bar and generally speaking we were playing very well. Our team was:- Ron Springett, Tony Hazell, Jim Langley, Mike Keen, Ron Hunt, Frank Sibley, Mark Lazarus, Ian Morgan, Les Allen, Rodney Marsh and Roger Morgan. The substitute for Les Allen was Alan Wilks. We were unfortunate enough to lose Les Allen in the first half with a slight injury and with this we lost a certain amount of rhythm but I think readers would like to know that Jaen scored their goal at ten-to-one in the morning and I’m not sure whether this is history ? I wonder if anyone has ever lost a match at such a late hour ? Unfortunately, we lost Frank Sibley with what looked like a very bad knee injury in the last minute of the game. We played well but lost two players, one looking pretty grim.
We returned to the hotel at four in the morning, knowing that we were to play at eight o’clock at night against Malaga who looked a very good outfit. We decided to give everyone on the tour a game and our team was:- Ron Springett, Bob Keetch, Jim Langley, Mike Keen, Ron Hunt, Tony Hazell, Mark Lazarus, Ian Morgan, Mike Leach, Rodney Marsh and Roger Morgan. Again we had an excellent game, 2-1 down at half time, Rodney Marsh scoring our goal, to run out of steam in the last half-an-hour to lose 5-1. After the game, we went to the Presentation which was won by the local side, who beat Roma and once again you will be interested to know that the presentation of the trophies and the celebrations took place at half past two in the morning. We were just getting warmed up when we left at 4.30 to return to our hotel, pack our bags for Madrid where it was decided we would give the players two or three extra days relaxing and a bit of a holiday.
It was hard work but good fun and everyone got a good suntan. We look forward to being invited again.
P.S. One of the highlights of the tour was the dropping of the interpreter, fully clothed, into the deep end of the swimming pool. It was a secret as to who pushed him in !
P.P.S. We were without Keith Sanderson on the party who, as you know, is a part timer and was busy working. We sent him a nice postcard with a, “wish you were here” notice on it but at the time of writing he is getting his own back, on holiday in Yugoslavia. We were also unfortunately without Ian Watson, who on the day we arrived in Madrid, was having a nice, steady, cartilage operation.