Noel Draper pays tribute to a hardman who, in many ways (and most of them bad), symbolises British football in the 1980s….Doug ‘Rambo’ Rougvie
Footballers are fickle creatures. Watch them in one team and they appear to be footballing gods, commanding the game, making outrageous passes and winning every tackle. Watch them play for someone else and they turn into a shadow of their former self’s, hiding in full view, hitting passes into the crowd and missing tackles. Doug Rougvie was such a footballer.
Doug started his career at Aberdeen in 1975 and made his name as a tough tackling centre half cum full back. He had found himself in the right place at the right time because a couple of years later a young Alex Ferguson became his manager and transformed what was a nearly club into a winning club. Within a few short years Doug had won 2 Scottish league titles, 3 Scottish Cups, a European Super Cup and, to top it all off, a Cup Winners Cup medal beating the mighty Real Madrid in the final. He was, and still is, on most Aberdeen fans favourite players lists alongside such greats as Strachan and Miller. Even now, when asked who could come in and sort out their beloved club, his name is still mentioned. In 1983 he was selected and played for Scotland. Once. A dream move to a top English football club was on the cards and in 1984 Doug moved to Chelsea for the not inconsiderable, at the time, amount of £150,000.
One rather unkind journalist said, “If he were any more limited he could be quoted on the Stock Exchange.”
It was at this point that his enjoyment of fouling anyone who came near him and complete lack of pace became apparent. In his debut match against Arsenal he managed to floor Viv Anderson with one mighty tackle. The Chelsea fans loved him instantly, not for his skills, but for his passion and commitment. He also seemed to love scoring own goals and pulling defeat from the jaws of victory. A reckless challenge here, a sending off there, it seemed that nothing would stop Doug “Rambo” Rougvie. Ask any Chelsea fan about the famous Sheffield Wednesday game. A game they were losing 3-0 before a monumental comeback meant that with a minute to go they were winning 4-3. I said were winning because Doug obviously thought that this was a stupid way to end a game of football and proceeded to hack down the Wednesday winger in the box. Thanks to the resulting converted penalty the game finished 4-4. A song made up by the Chelsea fans went along the lines of “3-0 down, 4-3 up, Dougie Rougvie f***** it up, La la la la, la la la, la la.”
He was sent off whilst playing against Wimbledon after 10 minutes for head butting John Fashanu. That’s Fash the Bash. He of the black belt in something nasty fame. One rather unkind journalist said, “If he were any more limited he could be quoted on the Stock Exchange.”
Dougie also managed to score an own goal at Wembley that resulted in an easy 5-1 victory becoming a heart stopping 5-4 win against Manchester City. According to one Chelsea fan “at a time when there was no money, he was STILL over paid.” Doug was sold to Brighton in 1987 for £70,000.
Doug Rougvie. A legend at two completely different clubs for two completely different reasons. Praise indeed.