By Chris Wright
Arise Sir Willie ‘Bud’ McClure Johnston, formerly of Rangers and West Brom, who, during the first of his one-season stints with the Vancouver Whitecaps and coming months after he’d been reprimanded for celebrating a goal by mooning the opposing team’s bench, further etched his name in the annals of footballing folklore by swigging from a bottle of beer offered to him by a fan before whipping in a corner for his teammate to nod home…
The very epitome of ‘nonchalance’…
For the record, oor Willie had a bit of a colourful career to say the least, here’s a brief run-down of some of the highlights – the ‘tip of the iceberg’ as it were…
Back in 1980, Aberdeen’s John McMaster had to be resuscitated on the pitch against Rangers at Ibrox after Bud took the opportunity to stamp on his throat. Johnston then apologised to McMaster, saying: “I’m not proud of what I did – I thought it was Willie Miller.”
He claims to have been sent off 20 times (including once at gunpoint!) in the 20 years he played professionally – a claim which we choose to whole-heartedly believe.
Two years earlier, Johnston was jettisoned from Scotland’s 1978 World Cup squad after taking medication for his hay fever and subsequently testing positive for banned substance Reactivan. Upon his return to West Brom, manager Ron Atkinson met him at the airport with a solid gold Ronnism: ‘there is some good news, you’ve got a sponsorship deal with Boots the Chemist!’
Baggies lore also has it that Johnston once sold a garden shed to a West Brom fan while waiting to take a corner kick as a player was receiving treatment for an injury.
Oh, and as far as we know, nearly all of his personal football memorabilia is currently locked inside a boarded-up pub in Kirkcaldy after him and his son were turfed out by the brewery.