Which years did you play for Deveronvale ?
1986-87, 1987-88 & 1988-89.
Who signed you for the Vale and what attracted you to sign for the club ?
I signed formally for Julius Morrison but was invited to a trial by a Vale committee member who watched me play in a Welfare league game for St Marnans (Foggie). I'm not sure if Julius liked what he saw in the trial or felt pressured to sign at least one local!! I should mention I previously 'politely declined' the chance in the middle of the previous season. In my defence I was asked to sign after playing a trial game against Caley - the infamous 12-0 result. I was too shell shocked to put pen to paper at that time. However, the chance to play for my local highland league club was too big an opportunity to miss.
What are your fondest memories of playing for Vale ?
I have some brilliant memories and not only relative to the football played. I made some fantastic friendships that I still value today. I also learned more about the game in my first season at the Vale than I had done in the previous 10 years. The games that stick out were against Caley when we 'hammered them' 4-1 at PRP and achieved a creditable draw in Inverness the same season. That year we also drew 2-2 with current champions Inverness Thistle. I scored the best goal of my career and also gave away a penalty (albeit chopping down the striker before a certain goal). Thankfully Colin 'Fingers' Clark saved it and we held on. Also, the next season we beat Peterhead 1-0, again current champions, with a threadbare squad. It may seem strange but travelling to training from Aberdeen to Banff always had a special moment. We nearly always stopped outside the same house beside Turriff to laugh at the worst wallpaper in human history. I think it is still there today! .
What is the most memorable game you played in for Vale ?
It has to be the 4-1 Caley game at PRP although the pre season friendly against Rangers was memorable due to the crowd and the number of first team players involved
8. Who were the characters at the club ?
There were many characters that emerged during my 3 seasons. I remember the Trevor Beagrie moment on Robin Galloway's radio show when 'Male Model' Trev was taken in hook line and sinker. Also Trev spent the night in a garden shed just outside PRP after the 4-1 Caley game. You can safely assume there was a fair bit of celebrating that night. Gary 'Painter' Morrison and his cousin Neil took me and Rob McBeath under their wing . They introduced us to the social life in Aberdeen. I think my liver is still in shock. More locally, Nigel Montgomery and Gary 'Chubber' McDonald were legends in the Banff / Macduff social scene. Do I need to say more!!
Who were the best players you played with at the Vale ?
There are a number of candidates. Alan Duguid was fantastic on the ball and had great vision. Alan Forbes was the best goal scoring threat as a centre half I have ever seen. Graeme Masson was pretty formidable when he was at the Vale during my time. I can only imagine how good he was in his younger years. Neil Morrison (the 11 stone version) was the complete striker - fearless, fast and deadly. Both Neil and Colin Clark were fantastic Goalkeepers. Nigel Montgomery was part of the fabric of the club. The stand out though has to be Joe McCallan. Joe was into his 40's and was still head and shoulders above everyone. His timing, vision, touch, strength and ability in the air were incredible.
And who were the best players you played against ?
Ian Thain was by far the best goalkeeper during my time in the highland league (and not just because of his Vale connection). Billy Urquhart at Caley was almost a living legend. Johnston Bellshaw of Ross County was dominant, pacy and had great distribution for a centre half. Russell Mckay of Elgin City and Gordon Connolly (Ross County) were complete midfielders. Billy Ferries (while at Elgin especially) was unstoppable. My personal favourite was Mike Teasdale who I played against throughout my School days and while he played for Elgin City. It was no surprise when he went full time.
What have you done in a football sense since you left the Vale ?
I signed for Sunnybank Juniors when I left the Vale. I only played one full season as I moved to Inverness with work. Sunnybank sold me to Fort William (I don't imagine they had to pay that much!!) and it was strange playing at Princess Royal Park for the away team. I moved to Edinburgh in 2003 and signed for Edinburgh Utd in the East Region Juniors. I played for them for 5 years before joining Livingston Utd in the same league for 2 more seasons. In 1999, I left Livingston to join Bank of Scotland FC in the Amateur ranks. We play in the Central Scottish league and our home ground is at the new Hearts Academy just outside Edinburgh..
What does a normal Saturday afternoon entail for you these days ?
Thankfully I am still getting a starting place in centre midfield. We arrive around an hour before kick off, name the team, go through who does what in terms of set pieces etc. and then have a decent 20 - 30 min warm up. After the game we have to go to a Scottish & Newcastle pub (as they sponsor the league - a great excuse!) A couple of drinks and a bite to eat later and then I'm off home to the family. A couple of Ibuprofen later and I should still be able to walk the next day. Occasionally there is a team night out but as the team has an average age of around 35, we do not head for the Edinburgh equivalent of the Fusion (in Aberdeen - cheers Painter). Those days are long gone!