Icons of Football: Joe Jordan

Joe Jordan
[BBC Sport]

Former AC Milan, Leeds United and Scotland forward Joe Jordan is featured in the latest series of BBC Scotland's Icons of Football.

Here, those who know him best look back at his prolific career.

'Gentlemanly but, on the pitch, an animal'

Johnny Giles, former Leeds team-mate

Joe came into the game at a late stage, compared to lads that came into the game at 15 or so, and he did unbelievably well in what he did, what he won.

Eventually he got into the first team but he was a very, very modest individual and I liked him for that. Everyone knew very early on that Joe was a very determined lad, who was going to do what he needed to do.

He came into a Leeds side that were a top team full of internationals and it wasn't easy for anybody [to get in the team] at that particular time.

Joe is a very quiet lad, he's very gentlemanly but on the pitch he's an animal. That's what he had to be. He had to work to get there and he never stopped working.

He arrived at Leeds when we was 18, which meant he wasn't an outstanding schoolboy or youngster, which meant he had to work for it and graft for it, to do what needed to be done.

Joe wasn't an outstanding ball player but he had a go, he had a go and he had a go - all of the time.

'He's Uncle Joe'

Hayley McQueen, daughter of former Leeds team-mate Gordon

Joe Jordan to a lot of people is scary, he's a dour Scotsman but he absolutely isn't. To me, he's just the ultimate family man, he's Uncle Joe.

Joe and my dad were a double act, it's crazy to think about not only their career but their life always overlapping.

They stayed in digs together at Leeds with Mrs Jones, who I bet had her hands full, moved to Manchester United together, played for Scotland together at international level, holidayed together, had Christmases together.

My dad and Joe were very much in each other's lives right up until the very end, until my dad's passing. He read a eulogy about my dad at his funeral, which was obviously really moving.

When my dad was ill and receiving palliative care, Joe jumped in the car and drove up from Bristol, didn't think anything of it. He would spend weeks at our house by his bedside talking about the past, sometimes just sitting there saying nothing for hours on end, sitting by my dad's side.

He was by my dad's side playing football for Leeds, Manchester United and Scotland and he was literally by his side at the end of his life, which meant a lot to us.

'A leader on the pitch'

Fabio Capello, eventual AC Milan manager

I was working with AC Milan. At the time, [Giuseppe] Farina was the chairman and we were looking for a centre-forward. I went to Glasgow to watch a game, where Joe Jordan was playing

I had seen a good player but most importantly a driving force. Everyone was thrilled that day, that night, all the Scottish fans, and he really was a leader on the pitch.

In Milan, I spoke with the chairman and gave my account. I said that he was a good player, very strong mentally. That was my encounter with Joe Jordan, I only saw him once.

He is remembered because he was a very serious professional, very considerate and generous on the pitch.

Mauro Tassotti, former AC Milan team-mate

We would travel in the same car. We would take a car and go. There were four of us - there was me, [Ruben] Buriani and [Roberto] Antonelli and Jordan. Let's say that they were the most senior players in AC Milan at the time.

This experience with foreign players, with Jordan, helped us realise that we needed to go all out, full speed, even during training sessions.

On Jordan's clash with Rino Gattuso when a Tottenham Hotspur coach

Knowing Joe, he never backed down, not even with a man who was 30 years younger than him.

We laughed a lot thereafter. We've been making fun of Rino for so long.

'There's huge affection for him'

Graham Hunter, journalist

Joe moving to AC Milan represented a vouchsafe [from Italians] to say "we like your guys, we like your quality".

We were always roaring at the moon that we're better than England and we're better than you think we are, so it was a badge of honour that AC Milan wanted Joe Jordan.

The legacy he's left at Milan is partly to do with the fact he did play well and partly to do with him scoring in a derby. There's huge affection for him.

There was a lot of debate in training [at Milan] about what you do and don't do to make a team successful and Joe brought an aggression, pressing and a closing down of players and a running after the ball that none of the Italians had seen or really believed in.

One day a young Franco Baresi - through an interpreter - was saying "what are you doing? Don't chase, save your energy, wait". And that attitude was about to change immediately under Arrigo Sacchi.

So, Joe was a forerunner for influential concepts.

The things he brought to that training ground and that club, including discipline, including hard work in terms of what it costs to be a winner, he helped install that.