IAIN CAMPBELL COLUMN: Hampden: The Trivia Pursuit for Our Fergie; HIS HISTORY LESSON
Byline: IAIN CAMPBELL
THAT Sir Alex Ferguson knows a thing or two about football is not open to doubt.
What is less well known is that the Manchester United boss is also something of a historian when it comes to the game he loves.
As Aberdeen manager, he was virtually unbeatable in sports trivia quizzes with his players, though some would tell you he was prone to bending the rules at times.
Players and matches from the past are ingrained in his memory and Sir Alex more than most is aware of the lessons of history.
For that reason there will be a nagging doubt in his mind surrounding this month's Champions League semi-finals.
Most people would agree a Hampden clash between Manchester United and Real Madrid next month would be a "dream final".
But significantly the great 1960 final at Hampden was between the Spaniards and a German club, Eintracht Frankfurt.
And, if you are looking for another omen, Eintracht defeated a British side, Rangers, in the semi-final.
Leverkusen's performance against Liverpool suggests a United side without the injured David Beckham and Roy Keane will have its work cut out.
On the other hand, United won their first European trophy in 23 years when they defeated Barcelona in the 1991 Cup Winners Cup Final and Ferguson will be hoping that if history is going to be repeated it will be setting up that re-match. IN all honesty, while Real v United would be the choice of the vast majority of football fans around the world, even a Leverkusen v Barca match would ensure a top quality Hampden occasion.
As the Scottish football league season stumbles to its conclusion with an outbreak of blood-letting over diminishing TV money, there is a distinct hint of Champions League fever in the air.
Thousands of hopefuls have applied for tickets and the arrival of both the great and the good for the handing over of the European Cup last week in Glasgow was a glittering football occasion the city doesn't see that often.
Hampden has its critics, not without good reason, but it has re-established itself as a top class football venue. …