Briefly outline your football career prior to joining Deveronvale?
Middlefield Boys Club-Aberdeen Stonehaven Juniors Forres Mechanics Turriff United with Billy Anderson as manager.
Which years did you play for Deveronvale ? Who signed you for the club, and what attracted you to join
I was signed by Ken Tedcastle in 1977 and played for the Vale until 1979-80 season. We lived in Banff for 9 years and I taught at Banff Academy, so to sign for my local Highland League team was a huge bonus for me.
What are your fondest memories of your time with the club?
We had some great times at the club sharing in the highs and lows together. I think that we all had a tremendous enthusiasm for the game at that time (both players and officials) and a family-like bond was the thing which impressed me about the club. Everyone connected with the club was willing to ‘do their bit’ for the good of the team and it was this atmosphere which I remember most of all. Living and working locally was an amazing experience being a Vale player as the Saturday result would mean so much to the fans in Banff and Macduff . A visit to the pub or hotel for a meal at the weekend was either like a carnival atmosphere or a funeral gathering. Also I always had to answer to the kids at school on a Monday if we had a bad result on the Saturday.
What is the most memorable game(s) you played in for Vale, and why?
Undoubtedly, winning the Bells cup final at Huntly after extra time and penalties in the 1977/78 season. The players,officials and supporters—brilliant! The Aberdeenshire cup final at Peterhead in 1978/79 which we drew 2-2 and then the replay at Banff which we lost 2-0. These were both really good matches to play in. Peterhead were having a great season at that time with players like big John Sievwright and Charlie Duncan, but we should have beaten them in the first game. Again the supporters were amazing. We also played in an indoor five-a-side competition at Aviemore with many of the Scottish League clubs being represented. It was a fantastic weekend and we ended up with a draw against Celtic (I think if my memory is correct) with manager Jock Stein there watching.
Who were the characters at the club ?
There were many characters like Kevin Bremner’s dad who would think nothing of travelling for miles to watch his sons play and train. Dougan Duncan was always at Princess Royal day and night –an amazing man! Ian Cormack-our trainer was a special person who would always have a friendly chat as he rubbed on the liniment. Committee man Eric Gault was ever present at training and always had a smile for everyone-even in the bad times. Billy Anderson and Peter Davidson, who I played with at Turriff before the Vale, both had an amazing appetite for the game. Billy must be the best motivator of players I have ever played with and we certainly had some fun times together.
Who were the best players you played with at the Vale and why?
All of them! Special mention to Allan (Forbies) Forbes and Kevin Bremner who were the local rising stars at that time. Both goalies –Jim George and Jim Leighton (It was always great to watch him on TV and say “I used to play in the same team as him”) John Mackie could easily have played at a higher level had he been given the chance. Grant Smith had exceptional skills and a great left foot. Dave Pirie was a fantastic winger with a tremendous knowledge and appetite for the game. And the list goes on:- Johnny Cowie, Norrie McBain, Brian Pratt, Alex Cormack, James Pirie, Gary Loch, Les Mason, Roy Chillingworth, Michael Herbertson ----sorry to those I have missed--- blame the memory! It was a privilege to have played with them all.
And who were the best players you played against, and why?
Charlie Duncan was the hardest and most skillful midfielder. I remember Tich Black gave me a mauling at Inverness Thistle scoring a hat trick when I played at left back—I don’t think I ever played in that position again for the Vale. Eric Wilson of Keith was probably the hardest tackling central defender at that time – and especially against me!! Eric and I both taught at Banff Academy and were (and are) good friends. There was always a great rivalry in the staffroom and the ‘banter’ both on and off the field in our fixtures was second to none.
What have you done in a football sense since you left the Vale ?
I played one season with Lossiemouth before returning to Turriff United as player manager. I spent 5 happy seasons there with ex-Vale players Grant Smith, David Pirie, Roy Chillingworth, Mike Herbertson and James Alexander. We also won Turriff’s first silverware in the Junior ranks which was a great time for the club. We emigrated to Perth, Australia in 1986 and I was player/coach of a team called Queens Park for a couple of seasons. I have always coached youth and school soccer teams here in Perth for the past 20 years. I even ended up as a class 1 referee in the local semi-professional league before old age set in!
What does a normal Saturday afternoon entail for you these days ?
As we live close to the sea we usually have a walk along the beach followed by a dip in the sea. ( See picture below… it’s not as cold as Banff Links! ) I sometimes go to watch the local football matches here, but the standard of play and the player’s enthusiasm for the game is not the same as in Scotland. I’m always keen to find out the results from home and still keep track of my old clubs through the internet