What was it like hearing the anthem before the first match?
It took a little bit of time to realise it was real. We were all part-time players. There we are, in a country that was one of the better countries in the world as far as the game was concerned, both on and off the field. I’ll never forget arriving in Munich and the new stadium had just been built, and the railway station came right into the stadium. It was built for the future, it wasn’t built for then.
Which was the toughest match?
It was going in against Chile in the final game, because were most probably looking as though the best had come from us. Everybody was expecting us to get pretty easily taken care of. We were tested in every way – it was the wettest ground I have ever played on. Half-time was an extra 20 minutes because they just weren’t sure if we were going to go back out or not. And everybody was expressing their spirit, it was quite extraordinary. I was amazed at the running and the defensive qualities of every member of that team. They were never outclassed. The game was of a high quality and we were equally as good as they were.
Your best moment on the field?
The moments where we created opportunites against Chile and I was watching from the goals at the other end. We had some good chances, like the opportunity Atti Abonyi had in the second half to score and the ball just went over the crossbar.
And the worst?
Also against Chile. We were in the 92nd minute and this ball came in and it was chest-high as far as I was concerned, but because of the state of the ground I came back down onto the ground, my heels went from underneath me, and it threw me backwards along with the ball. Fortunately for me, Peter Wilson was the defender that he always was and he blocked the shot that came in when the ball spilled to the ground.
Your best moment off the field?
You could always be very, very sure Peter Wilson was going to test everybody. Whether he was testing the physiotherapists with an injury he didn’t have or whether he was testing everybody to make sure they were in bed at the right time of night. It was very, very interesting that he could do all of these pranks and still go on the ground and retain his presence.
And the worst?
After the World Cup, coming off the plane having arrived back home and we find out that Sir Arthur George has sacked Rale Rasic. I firmly believe that is one of the main reasons that is why we disappeared into the wilderness for 34 years. I thought that was fairly ordinary.
What about the funniest moment?
I come back to Peter Wilson. The late Peter van Ren, who was the physiotherapist, I think he’s most probably looking down from above these days thinking, God, how was I so silly? That injury on the penis of Peter Wilson was just a steel marble under his foreskin.
What’s your lasting memory of the 1974 World Cup?
Going into the stadium prior to the first game against East Germany. My heart was going at a rate it’s never gone at since, I can assure you. It was just phenomenal to think, here we are in a group with one of the better nations in the world, we’re going to play against them and give it the best we possibly can.