Archie McLean 1894-1971

Archie McLean 1894-1971

Archie McLean from Paisley, was a mechanic who worked on the machines for the Scottish based textile company J and P coats. They established factories in many parts of the world. In 1912 he was sent to São Paulo to work in the Coats factory there. This is 17 years after Charles Miller, who took the English type of football to São Paulo.

Like many a Scot in the Americas, and like his compatriot Thomas Donohoe in Rio, Archie Maclean set up a football club. It was known as the Scottish Wanderers and contained workers from Coats. The most important point here is that Maclean was a Scotch Professor. When the Brazilians saw the game he was playing, they christened it the ‘Tabelinha’ style. This was in complete contrast to the English style of football which they call the ‘Bombazo’. You don’t need a degree in Portuguese slang, to guess what this refers to.

Tabelinha means the ‘little chart’. What was going on here? The rushing around style did not appeal to the Brazilians. It was a reasonable game, but you are not going to last long, in searing heat, if you play a brainless type of football. The Brazilians grabbed the Scottish style of Combination and made it their own.

Maclean himself was nicknamed ‘Veadinho’ - the little deer. Now it is slang for a gay man. Then, it described the grace and skill that McLean showed as he moved, passed and ran, in an entirely Scotch Professor style.

Archie McLean was praised in his time, as a pioneer of football. However, not being from London, his critical role in the development of Brazilian football is almost never mentioned. When he died, the Brazilian press lamented his departure, with the comment that the English player Archie McLean from Paisley, Glasgow, near London had died. And that, ladies and Gentleman, is why you need to read and share this book. Here’s the final kicker. How do books refer to the Scotch professor style of play? It is known as the ‘Systema Ingleza’.

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