In a week where the world mourns the loss of the wonderful Elizabeth Taylor, Hitthebyline.com looks back on a bizarre night in Budapest when she touched the hearts of a few hundred travelling Celtic fans.
It was the 8th of November, 1972 and the Hoops had just crashed out of Europe at the hands of Upjest Dozsa. A 3-0 hammering by the Hungarian outfit put paid to any hopes of repeating the heroics of the Lisbon Lions in 1967. A merry band of Celtic fans made the journey over, led by Pat Connelly – the first ever Head of the Celtic Supporters Club.
The Parkhead faithful were buoyant as their heroes had led 2-1 from the first leg, but their hope had turned to despair when Upjest turned on the style at home. Licking their wounds, the fans returned to a surprise that they’ll never forget.
Hollywood icon Richard Burton too had made the trip to Hungary, but for altogether different reasons. Burton was busy filming one of his many successful films, ‘Bluebeard’, with his lovely wife in tow.While the Celtic fans looked to drown their sorrows in the hotel lobby, awaiting a sombre journey home, their mood was transformed by the presence of Burton and his radiant wife, Liz Taylor. The defeat was soon consigned to the back of those fans minds as Burton and Taylor shared jokes and drinks with the humble Glaswegians.
The friendly couple were as untouchable as royalty, yet took the time out to unwind with their awestruck fellow hotel lodgers. The generous Burton even went as far as to keep the beer flowing, putting £2,000 (worth almost £21,000 in today’s money) behind the bar. Burton and Taylor even took the time to pose for a photo with the elated fans. An even greater honour was bequeathed to Connelly, as he escorted the kind-hearted Taylor back to her room for the evening and into the arms of a resting Burton.
As Elizabeth Taylor is held in the thoughts of the world this week, the memories of her will differ from fan to fan. Some will have films like National Velvet and The Taming of the Shrew coming to mind. Others will remember her dazzling good looks, and friendship with Michael Jackson, but for a few hundred fortunate Celtic fans, the memory of an unforgettable night in Budapest will forever be endeared to their hearts.