For comedian Phil Differ there was no player better than the legendary Billy Bremner.
And for anyone who disagrees, the comic is set to try to sway audiences when he performs his new show Billy Bremner and Me at the Dundee Rep this month.
Phil, the man behind the annual Hogmanay television programme Only an Excuse?, tells the tale of his childhood dream to follow in the footsteps of the former Leeds United and Scotland captain.
However, his dreams soon fade as he realises there is one thing standing in his way – his own mediocrity.
Phil said: “I think lots of people expect to see me in a ginger wig pretending to be Billy Bremner, but it’s not a play.
“It’s an illustrated lecture of his life.
“I use music, slides and stand-up to tell his story.”
Like Bremner, Phil attended Stirling’s St Modan’s High School.
It’s this that Phil thinks made his admiration of the footballer so strong.
He said: “He had been through the school about eight years before me.
“I looked up to him so much because he was the captain of Scotland.
“Beforehand, I thought footballers came from another planet.
“For a footballer who had such a successful career to come from the same area as me was hugely impactful.”
Phil said Bremner’s archetypal Scottish charm also helped make him endearing.
He said: “You didn’t get a lot of games on television back in those days. I remember watching him on TV in the late ’60s. He looked like a real Scotsman. He had ginger hair and wanted to fight everyone.”
When asked how he came to realise that his professional football dreams wouldn’t come to fruition, Phil didn’t give too much away but did say he knew his life would take a different direction when he was about 17.
He said: “I think part of me thought that reading lots of books about football and playing Subbuteo would convert into the pitch and I would turn into a footballer. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.”
Phil insisted that although he never got the chance to play football professionally, his love for the game hasn’t waned and in some ways he enjoys it better.
He said: “Although the show is a homage to Billy Bremner, it’s also about the joy of football.
“When you realise you’re not too good at the game but enjoy it for what it is, it becomes amazing. I still play 11-a-side at the age of 62.”
Although Bremner – who died in 1997 – is no longer here to witness the tribute to his life and career, Phil insisted he still has an idea of what he would say to his hero.
He said: “I think I would tell him I wished he picked the school team. I don’t think the gym teacher liked me.
“I would like to ask him who the best player he ever played against was. George Best said that Billy was the only player he never got the better of.
“I would be worried my mouth would dry up and I would hardly be able to speak.”
Billy Bremner and Me is at the Dundee Rep on Friday March 29 at 7.30pm. The age recommendation is 14+. Contact the box office on 01382 223530.