Johan Cruyff.

Dutch genius Johan Cruyff nearly joined Dumbarton in 1980

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The recent passing of Dutch genius Johan Cruyff has left a void in football for the generations that were lucky enough to witness his exquisite talent.

However, the inventor of the self-named Cruyff-turn has left his legacy stamped all over the game and indeed, in the way Barcelona play to this very day.

In amongst his famous poise and style, another footnote on a glorious career almost came to be when the late Sean Fallon attempted to sign Cruyff for Dumbarton in the late stages of 1980.

Fallon, who won the European Cup with Celtic back in 1967, passed away three years ago himself. However, 20 years on from his famous attempt to lure Cruyff to the delights of western Scotland, he revealed his audacious plot.

"I knew it was always unlikely we would get Cruyff but the way I saw it, we couldn't lose," Fallon said.

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"At worst, it got Dumbarton on the back pages for a few days and boosted the club's image and profile, which was very low at that time."

Fallon was right. Dumbarton were languishing in no man's land in the Scottish First Division and couldn't fill their declining ground. It was as much a publicity stunt as it was a gamble, but that didn't deter a hopeful Fallon.

"At best, if we were really lucky, we might get a magnificent player," Fallon said. "I think I was closer to making it happen than some people think.


"Cruyff was struggling a bit financially because he had lost all his money in a bad investment so we felt offering him a few thousand pounds per game might tempt him.

"If you don't try, you'll never know - and he did agree to meet us. I went over with the chairman to Amsterdam and found him to be very polite and knowledgeable about the whole Scottish scene."

So there you have it; a 33-year-old Cruyff almost took his talents to Dumbarton. It's nice to know - much like Ronaldinho's letter to Spurs a few years ago - that Cruyff had the class to hear out his humble suitors.

What other audacious bids have we witnessed down the years? Tell us now!

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