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BRANDON: I remembered the 1975 Timbers -- in 1975


by: COURTESY OF PORTLAND TIMBERS - Portland fans greet their team during the soccer fever of 1975.Sometimes rummaging through the garage is worth it.

Recently, I found a box of press clippings with some of my first published sports stories, dating to … well, let's just that they date to somewhere between when men first landed on the moon and Richard Nixon resigned as president.

One of those early sports columns caught my eye because it now makes me look a little like Nostradamus.

It was published on Aug. 20, 1975. The Portland Timbers had just defeated the St. Louis Stars 1-0 in the North American Soccer League semifinals -- before 35,503 fans at Civic Stadium, before the facility was remodeled into PGE Park and then downsized into Jeld-Wen Field.

I was there for that game. And I covered nearly every home game, if not every home game (my memory isn't that good), during that incredible, inaugural season during which the Timbers became the talk of the town.

As much as the Timbers are relatively big league today as a member of MLS, I still hold that they were even more beloved 38 years ago.

As others have written, the lads quickly won over the city with their British accents, Beatle-like humor, hair styles, talent and accessibility (in those days, you could see and touch the players at after-game parties and elsewhere, and you could talk to them in stores and other public places, not just on Twitter).

by: COURTESY OF PORTLAND TIMBERS - PORTLAND TIMBERS 1975 LOGOIn my 1975 column, I tried to project into the future, predicting another Timbers championship bid and looking back at the NASL team with nostalgia.

Here are the first five paragraphs, followed by a few other excerpts:

• Thirty years from now, when the Portland Timbers are playing for the 2005 NASL championship, a boyish, starry-eyed sports writer is going to come back from the stadium out of breath in wonderment over the pandemonium he has just witnessed.

As much as I hate to admit it, I'll probably be sounding like a 21st-century L.H. Gregory, partial to the teams of yesteryear, that glory of long ago still fresh in my mind.

"That was nothing," I'll say flatly to the young writer, telling him to pull up a chair while the ol' boss recalls how it was in the beginning.

"I was around for the first year of the Timbers," I'll say. "1975 it was, before you were even born. I was a spritely lad turning 21 that summer."

by: COURTESY OF PORTLAND TIMBERS - VIC CROWE, coach of the 1975 Portland TimbersA couple of other intern writers will gather around my desk. One of them will get courage enough to clear his throat and ask, "What was it like that year?" …

"They sold out the Seattle (playoff) game with 27,000 … and when Tony Betts headed in the game winner in overtime, the crowd went berserk. … Fans poured out onto the field, mobbed the players, mobbed each other. The team somehow managed to take its patented victory lap without trampling anyone to death. They tossed kisses to the crowd, and the people threw back kisses to them. Outside, horns honked, peopled whooped it up and danced in the streets.

"Yes, sir, it was something." ...

The kids will be on the edge of their seats, listening intently to the storytelling and thinking how exciting it must have been to be a sports writer in 1975.