Briefly outline your football career prior to joining Deveronvale?
Deveron Boys as a young lad. (Thanks to Lennie Binnie for teaching me that a left foot was not just for standing on!)
Banff Academy, then had a spell with Deveronside before signing for the Vale.
Which year(s) did you play for Deveronvale? Who signed you for the club, and what attracted you to join ?
I think I first signed for the Vale in 1999. I had trained a few times with the team under Brian Stewart and Malky Murray but I was eventually signed by Gregg. I left in 2004 I think.
I obviously followed the Vale as a young boy so it was always an ambition to play for them one day. Of course it was great to play with my heroes Nige, Dolan, Hendo and Tony Farquhar!
What are your fondest memories of your time with the club?
A few stories come to mind….Darren Nicol holding up a petrol station with a fake gun and a mask was brilliant! I remember picking up the Sun on the Monday and reading about it. He managed to find a toy section at the back of a petrol station, donned a robbers mask, Vale tie round his head and scared the living daylights out of the clerk with a tattie gun! Brilliant! Franny More and I once shaved a bold Spot on Molby’s head one night at Nige’s…it was funny until the next away trip to Wick when Molby took revenge on my club suit…needless to say I didn’t have another set of clothes to travel home in so I was kitted out in a sleeveless blazer, my shirt wasn’t even worth putting on so I had a warm up tee-shirt on, no pockets in my trousers…and that’s how I was for the rest of the night! I learned a valuable lesson that weekend…never tamper with Molbs! Obviously winning the league for the first time was amazing…the Castle was bouncing that night! I didn’t buy a drink for a week I played in a reserve game one night and Derek Craigie was up front….I remember him signaling to the bench that he needed a sub and it was still the first half, it was granted and he ran off the field like John Wayne ….turns out he had an accident and all I’m saying is…lucky he had a pair of cycling shorts on! Another reserve game saw us get beat 9-1 away at Peterhead..I remember Ian Stewart scoring 6 goals that night and I was gutted but what happened after the game fairly cheered me up. We walked into the changing room and there was a bag of balls lying on the floor, the old fishing net bag we used to use. David Henderson was absolutely raging (the kind of lad who never went nuts) he had on metal studs and I remember him trying to smash the bag of balls across the room…..Hendo ended up getting his feet tangled in the net and down he went like a bag of cement! We had just got humped 9-1 yet the entire changing room was in absolute stitches! Better than that, he stood up tried to do it again and the exact same thing happened! Hilarious. I think even Gregg had a chuckle at that!
What is the most memorable game(s) you played in for Vale, and why?
The 4-3 game v. Morton was some game with us just losing out in the end, I remember getting pelters from their fans the whole first half but when we came back into the game they soon shut up. Despite the fact it was just a friendly, I will always remember beating Aberdeen at the Vale…practically their first team and we beat them 1-0, I managed to get the goal from a great free kick from Nige. The game at Keith that won us the league…what a day. I’ve never had a feeling like that again! Gregg greetin was a good laugh too! To win the league for the first time in the Vale’s history was special and to do it by such a huge points margin was great. The Highland League is always tight so to win by so many points was a great achievement. Partick Thistle at Firhill in the Scottish Cup was great too, 0-0 at half time was a great achievement. We ended up getting beat 3-0 but the home fans gave us a standing ovation at the end which tells you how well we did that day. Those occasions are brilliant, to go far in the national tournament is always a great experience, and of course a great day out for the supporters. I remember being out on the pitch in our suits before the game that day and we heard the Valley Crew in a local bar singing away…fairly gets you up for a game.
Who were the characters at the club ?
Lennie Binnie is a legend! What a man! Probably the only man that can put Gregg in his place! I remember him telling the boys that he got caught by his wife watching a certain DVD Darren Nicol had given him, I don’t need to explain what kind of DVD it was! Darren Nicol was one of the funniest boys I’ve met, Nicol was the man that always got the funniest reaction out of Gregg! Bingo Bremner - a true gentleman Dougan Duncan – another legend at the vale…sadly missed. And of course the heart of the Vale…Linda, Stilly, Eddie, Stuartie etc
Who were the best players you played with at the Vale and why?
Well Dippy obviously, he’s been consistent for 483 seasons, probably still has another few hundred to go. He will beat the appearance record by around 9000. I cant remember Dolan having a bad game. Nige, taught me a lot as a younger boy, and was always ready to put me in my place! Molby, absolute menace but the best finisher I’ve ever seen. Matty Kinghorn, quality player and great lad. Loved a dance in Downtown, Elgin… As Gregg would say..”Wired to the moon” I better give Chizzo a mention, the height he jumps he should be in the NBA. His goal return is brilliant for a boy that plays a lot at the back. Hendo…Mr. cool, calm and collected….rarely scored but I remember him scoring a bicycle kick at Nairn I think it was….he didn’t know how to celebrate! Big Dougs…great player…loves a ‘discussion’ wi Gregg! Yogi…probably one of the most under-rated players in the league…hardest working player, and I think how he plays is taken for granted by a lot of people. Big Rab Broon….Alot of people got annoyed at him because of his temperament or whatever but I loved it, he often fuelled the rest of the team to wins…great attitude, great player. Dec Craigie…. Absolute gent and great goalscorer. Would shoot from almost anywhere. Stuartie Gray….loved a hard tackle, always good to play with Stuartie Alan Mair….he was there when I was just coming through and he taught me a lot…like not to run too hard in the first session of summer pre-season! Franny More…300 fags a day and still lightning fast! Scotty Anderson…always felt safe playing in front of Scotty…great player. Levi Stephen…great to play with…even better for a story!
And who were the best players you played against, and why?
Michael Hart for Aberdeen…fastest man on the planet, never stopped for 90+ minutes Paul Lovering and John Hughes v. Ayr Utd, we got beat narrowly that day 6-0, I remember bottling a 50/50 with John Hughes…sensible I thought. Michael Stephen was quality at the Broch, always tough to mark or play against
What have you done in a football sense since you left the Vale ?
I’ve been in America for the past 4 years on a scholarship. I went to Virginia initially, broke my leg in the first game but went on to have 2 great seasons when I recovered, reaching the national finals in Daytona Beach, Florida. I now play in Binghamton, New York which has been great. John Scott is the assistant manager there so again it’s great to play under someone I respect so much. I did plan to come back and play in the Highland League again next year but apparently when you participate in ‘Mac The Track’ your playing days are numbered! Thanks Stuartie
What does a normal Saturday afternoon entail for you these days ?
Well because I still play it’s pretty much the same, home games we go out to eat as a team a few hours before the kick off, we have to be at the ground a couple of hours before the game for treatment, rubs, Ice Baths etc Away games we are normally in hotels as the average away ground is 6/7 hours away. Going to places like Vermont and Long Island is just like Wick and Fort Bill