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Aberdeen A.k.a Washington Whips

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Didn't know much about this until today. Interesting concept......


Just found more info for those interested.


In 1966 a group of sports entrepreneurs, led by Jack Kent Cooke and including Lamar Hunt and Steve Stavro, formed a consortium known as the North American Soccer League with the intention of forming a professional soccer league in North America. This group was subsequently sanctioned by both the USSFA and FIFA. However a rival consortium known as the National Professional Soccer League also emerged and to avoid confusion Cooke renamed his consortium the United Soccer Association. The USA originally intended to launch its league in the spring of 1968. However the NPSL, which secured a TV contract from CBS, announced it was ready to launch in 1967. Not wanting to lose ground to its rival, the USA decided to fast track its launch. Without any players of its own, it opted to import whole teams from Europe and South America. It was intended that these teams would represent the franchises during the inaugural season, giving them time to build their own squads for the following season.


1967 SeasonAfter a series of exhibition games, the USA began playing on May 28 and got off to a good start. The Houston Stars attracted an opening crowd of 34,965. However subsequent attendances did not keep pace and the league finished with an average of 7,890 per game. Of the twelve teams Los Angeles Wolves, represented by Wolverhampton Wanderers and featuring Derek Dougan, Cleveland Stokers, represented by Stoke City and featuring Gordon Banks, and Washington Whips, represented by Aberdeen, emerged as the strongest sides. Roberto Boninsegna of Chicago Mustangs finished as the leagues top scorer with 10 goals. The USA entered its play off stage in July 1967. The Western Division champions Los Angeles Wolves, by the flip of a coin, won the right to host the championship game against the Eastern Division champions, Washington Whips. The match drew 17,824 to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Wolves won the championship beating the Whips 6-5 after 36 minutes of extra-time. Four goals were scored within a 4 minute period midway through the second half and each team scored during extra time. The game was decided after Whips defender Ally Shewan scored an own goal.

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This was on the AFC site a few weeks ago.


Kevin Stirling looks back what the Dons did to awaken interest in the beautiful game and help launch soccer back in the "Summer of Love" in the American capital.


"The trip of a lifetime and one that I would have not missed for anything. It was a marvellous experience" That was how former Dons keeper Bobby Clark summed up the summer of 1967 when I asked him about the marathon tour to the USA and their participation in the Presidents Cup competition.


It was indeed a remarkable adventure and without doubt the most eventful tour ever undertaken by Aberdeen, yet it all followed the Dons defeat in the Scottish Cup Final against Celtic, a game missed by Aberdeen manager Eddie Turnbull through illness.


That illness also looked set to prevent the boss from going to the States with his team, but despite being under doctor's orders not to travel, the persuasive powers of the American soccer organisers meant that Turnbull not only went to the tournament but was also afforded a meeting with the USA President as part of the deal!


Scottish football was perhaps enjoying its highest ever profile with Celtic newly crowned European Cup winners, Rangers losing to Bayern Munich in the European Cup Winners' Cup Final and Kilmarnock reaching the semi-final of the Inter City Fairs Cup only to lose out to Leeds, while on the international front, Scotland had just beaten World Cup winners England at Wembley in an historic 3-2 success.


Aberdeen for their part had emerged from a prolonged period in the doldrums and under Eddie Turnbull the signs were encouraging. The Dons had finished in 4th place in the League and also reached the Final of the Scottish Cup and the last four of the League Cup. A first ever European tie awaited them in the new season but as season 1966/67 closed, Aberdeen embarked on their tour of the States.


The Americans had invited 12 teams world wide to take part in an exhibition tournament to gauge interest in 'soccer' in the USA, but each club would have to adopt a name bestowed upon them by their hosts for the duration of the tournament. Aberdeen were to be based in Washington and after a radio poll that attracted no less than 35,000 entries, Aberdeen were named the Washington Whips. The twelve clubs were divided into two sections with the group winners meeting in the Final.


The 'Whips' got off to the worst possible start with a 2-1 defeat against Cleveland Stokers (Stoke City) but manager Turnbull was none too pleased with the Cleveland approach, declaring that their defensive outlook would hardly encourage their hosts to come out and see what it was all about.


Next up were familiar opponents in Hibernian under the guise of Toronto City.Official programme from 1967


Goals from Jimmy Smith and Jim Storrie put the Whips in command before a second half strike from Eric Stevenson meant a nail biting finish. Martin Buchan played for the Whips that day, replacing Tom McMillan who was injured in the first game. Following their first win, it was back to the grind of a 1-1 draw against the crack Italians Cagliari (Chicago Mustangs) whose ultra defensive outlook seemed so futile given the 'exhibition' status of the tournament.


Aberdeen then came up against the first of a series of bruising encounters with Uruguayan side Cerro offering plenty of fight, but the South Americans had no answer to the Dons' goal threat and a 3-0 win was no more than they deserved, though sadly Dave Johnston was injured in this one and he was to play no further part in the tour. Irish side Glentoran (Detroit) put up stern resistance with a 1-1 draw against Aberdeen as the two sections were now taking shape. Not that far away a Scottish representative side were also touring the North American area after visiting Australia and New Zealand. The Scots side contained mostly players who were out of the international side, but in Winnipeg Scotland beat Canada 7-2 with a youthful Joe Harper helping himself to five goals - also in the side was Alex Ferguson.


By 14th June it was coming down to the wire and nearest Aberdeen rivals Stoke City looked to have edged ahead until a late Wilson goal saved the Whips from defeat. What was remarkable was the physical nature of most of these games.


Hibernian had trouble with Cagliari and after taking the lead the Italian side walked off and the match was abandoned. Further drawn games with ADO Wolves and Sunderland kept the Dons in contention for that prestigious final place but the tough nature of these games had taken its toll and there were several injury problems to contend with. Boss Turnbull was determined to get his side through and with three games to play it was still all to play for.


Wolves did not help their cause in the 1-1 draw with Aberdeen as they had illegally fielded an extra substitute, the American organisers insisting that the game be replayed. Meanwhile it was back to more familiar opponents when Dallas (Dundee United) were defeated 2-0 with a late Jim Whyte goal easing the Dons through. Against Brazilian side Bangu it took the goal of the tournament from Jimmy Smith to give the Dons a vital win, meaning that it all came down to the last game, with


Hibernian out of it after Stoke defeated the Edinburgh side. The Dons were up against Glentoran while Stoke faced Sunderland with both teams level on points. Aberdeen looked to have blown it by losing 2-1, but news came through that Stoke had lost 3-1, but even so, it still looked ominous for the Scots, as Stokes's superior goal difference would have put them through. However it was then decided that the Aberdeen v Wolves game would have to be replayed and a win for the


Scots would secure a final place. Aberdeen came good when it mattered and hammered Wolves 3-0 to set up an intriguing Final against the same side.


There was no love lost between them

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  • 2 years later...

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