Deveronvale Football Club
Briefly outline your football career prior to joining Deveronvale.
I was in a prime position at the Vale as I went training with them from the age of about 14, as I joined in with my big brother Des, who also played for the Vale. Billy Anderson was playing for the Vale then along with Zane Watt, Jocky Wilson, Big Martin Allan, Alfie Smith, Brian Mercer, Norrie McBain, Jmmy Kinsella etc. I was also a traveling member of THE VALLEY CREW (...we sing this song SUPER SUPER, the valley crew we sing this song, SUPER SUPER VALE etc etc all the way there and all the way home!) Happy days! Better answer your question now I suppose - Foggie primary school team, then Banff Academy school teams (except the Under 14s run by the French teacher Mr. Paterson, who thought I was too small to play for the Senior team at Banff Academy). I had trials for King Street A under 18s who had Aberdeen school boys Ian Wilson and Neil Cooper playing for them. Never made it with them but was welcomed at a lesser club run by Frankie Waugh -Walker Road Youth Club, and spent 2 great years there. Used to leave Foggie on the early morning bus to Aberdeen, I think it left at about 07.00 and got hame at 20.00 at night a for a game o fitbaw. Joined Vale at the start of season in 1975 when George Christie was the Manager. I had to wait for my debut until some time in October that year after Auld Sandy Bremner gave George a gentle reminder about some of his younger squad members who might do a job for the team. So I started my first game for the Vale away to Keith and must have covered every blade of grass and tackled every player on the pitch, my own team included probably! What do I remember about it ? The fact that I was so ill afterwards that I was unable to go out on a Saturday night which had never been known before or afterwards! I must have done OK because I remained in the midfield for the rest of that season. That’s not very brief! I think I’ve answered Q5 as well in this section. I always wanted to play for the Vale as it was my local team with loads of family connections - Dad Sandy, Uncle Bingo, late Uncle Podger and sister Pauline were all on the committee at some stage, and brother Des as I said earlier started his senior career with the Vale.
Which year(s) did you play for Deveronvale? Who signed you for the club, and what attracted you to join ?
First spell was from August 1976 until June 1979, signed as I said by George Christie. Second spell as player/ manager was August 1994 until June 1995. This time it was Eddie Bruce who persuaded me to come and unite Deveronside and Deveronvale. Which I did. Both spells were great times except for the time I left during the reign of 'King' Ken Tedcastle... King Jester more like! I don’t know what I did to upset him but I was not a football player in his eyes. I left for a short spell (Mr Banff can look through his records and see when I left.) I had trials with Huntly and Elgin City, but Jim Gerrard didn’t think I was good enough, and so did Ian Dickson at Elgin City, although the late Jim Anderson, who was Mr. Huntly always said Jim Gerrard made a big mistake. I was still training with the Vale to keep myself fit and able, and was asked to fill in at left back away to Forres Mechanics in November 1977, I think (again Mr. Banff can look up the records and check my memory) I think the wise old Johnny Cowie might have had something to do with my recall. I must have done O.K. because I don’t think I missed a game until October 1978 when King Ken ruled that as I had trained with Celtic all week along with Allan Forbes, it wouldn’t be fair to leave someone out who had been training at Banff. I have always been told as a player and a manager that you play your strongest available team. Allan Forbes and I watched from the stand that Saturday 7th October my 21st birthday. Happy Birthday from King Ken! Second spell as player manager was a bit special because I gave the graduates of the Deveronside Under 18’s their chance in the first team. If you're good enough you're old enough and some of them became regulars too. Alistair Veitch, Stephen Rattray, David Ironside, and Craig Stewart are the ones that spring to mind, sorry for any one left out. I also tried to get my nephew Ross, but Pele Paterson got wind of it and signed him for Huntly. We had a very respectable season finishing in the top half of the table and picking up the club's first bit of silverware since my first spell in 1978. We were well off for good footballers too. Bradley Kerr (when he turned up)Paul Bridgeford, Rico and the ever lasting Dippy. Happy days.
What are your fondest memories of your time with the club?
We were playing at Clachnacuddin during my second spell at the Vale. I was rolling around on the ground as usual and I tackled the ball with the nearest part on my body. Then all I heard was Rico saying "I have seen everything now (or words to that effect) you're aff ur heid cove tackling someone with ur heid!"
What is the most memorable game(s) you played in for Vale, and why?
Probably the Bells Cup Final in 1978 when we beat Jim Gerrard’s Huntly team. He kicked 10 bells of s**t out of me, as did his partner in crime Dave Watson, but we kept battling on and ran out victorious. It was payback time for Jim who rejected me 18 months earlier. The other game (or games) was the Aberdeenshire Cup final against Peterhead in 1979 when we drew 2-2 with them at Peterhead, and the replay at Princess Royal Park the following Sunday was mobbed. What a crowd we had, and I was so disappointed that we let the fans down that day.
Who were the characters at the club ?
Norrie McBain was the goal king I watched from the Bridge Street End. Then I played in the same team later on... how cool was that ! Johnny Mackie was a loyal servant to the Vale. The local crew - Grant Smith, Allan Forbes, Syd Imlach, Michael Herbertson, Walter Robertson, Alex Cormack and my taxi driver Les Mason. My memory has gone blank, its nearly 12 o’clock at night when I’m typing this with two fingers. That’s the young guns, now the oldies - Johnny Cowie, Roy Chillingworth, Raymond Archibald, Davie Ross , Charlie Esslemont, Brian Pratt, and of course the Aberdeen connection - Jim Leighton ! What a keeper, even at 16 or 17, I cant remember. Then the next year we had Chris Slavin. A special mention to Dougan, Biz (Jim Leslie), Faither (Alex McPherson), Jimmy Hay and the Englishman Kenny Lloyd...all legends ! To anyone I missed out I'm very sorry. It is late and I'm getting on a bit now but good luck anyway. If you want to remind me who I missed out call me on 07877 636196
Who were the best players you played with at the Vale and why?
Any player who wears the red and white of the Vale are already the best. I will mention one player who never played for the Vale, or any other team, mind you he would have only played for one team and that was his beloved Glasgow Rangers - William 'KIPPERS' Wilson from Portsoy, the best player I have played with or against. What a waste of talent. I would have captained Scotland if I had his natural ability.
And who were the best players you played against, and why?
I couldn't single players out because every team then had characters in their ranks. Kenny Roger and Rexy Hunter at the Broch, Big John Sievewright and Ally Christie at Peterhead, Charlie Duncan, Dave Milroy and Tichy Black at Inverness Thistle, the whole team at Keith under Bobby Wilson etc etc, My old team I left at Brora had characters too - John Sutter who I coaxed out of retirement, Donald Allan who’s career I made last 4 years longer than it would have, and Gary Farquhar who another naturally gifted playe
What have you done in a football sense since you left the Vale ?
Keith F.C. 1978-Oct 1980 Colchester United Oct 1980 –Feb 1983 Loan spells at Birmingham City F.C. Oct 1982 Wrexham Town Dec 1982 Plymouth Argyle Jan 1983 Millwall F.C. Feb 1983 –July 1985 Reading F.C. Aug 1985- June 1987 Brighton and Hove Albion July 1987-June 1990 Peterborough United July 1990-June1991 Dundee F.C. July 1991- June 1992 Loan spell at Shrewsbury Town Mar 1992 April 1992 Player /Manager at Brora Rangers F.C. Player /Manager at Deveronvale F.C. July 1994-June 1995 Youth Team Manager at Gillingham F.C. July 95-June 2003 Academy Coach Millwall F.C. Aug 2003 –June 2006 Kent Elite Soccer Sept 2006 –June 2007 Fosse Bank School Sept 2006-Present
What does a normal Saturday afternoon entail for you these days ?
I have 2 sons Leigh 26 and Sean 22. Leigh plays For Cray Wanders in the Ryman Premier and Sean has just joined Whiteleafe F.C. in Ryman Division 1 so I will be watching them most afternoons. Which ever one is nearest probably.