Alan Mair

DOB: 01/10/69

Briefly outline your football career prior to joining Deveronvale.

Played for local welfare side Banff Rovers who at that point were arguably the best team in Banff.

Which year(s) did you play for Deveronvale? Who signed you for the club, and what attracted you to join ?

Played for Vale during various years through 80's, 90's and 2000's I think ! The first manager I signed for was Julius Morrison, followed by Billy Anderson (who had the biggest influence on my career) Joe Harper, Neil Clark, and Brian Stewart . My friends and I used to pay to watch the Vale, then proceed to ignore the main game and indulge in a game of our own, hoping someone would "spot" us. I think it was a case of mistaken identity! After helping the club out when they were short of players (I think I was 15 when I made my debut) I got the taste of Highland League football and loved it. I just lapped up the abuse I was getting from opposing fans - I`ve no doubt I was asking for it ! When the Rovers then explained that as part of the transfer deal they insisted that the Vale had also to take a certain "Kevin Taylor" off of there hands - I was literally shoved out the door !

What are your fondest memories of your time with the club?

As with almost all the other ex players it was the cameradere between EVERYONE who was involved with the club, particulary in my early years. There were no "superstars" in the dressing room, or if there were, they weren`t for long!. All the players realised to get anywhere we had to play for each other and this brought us even closer together. I really enjoyed the training at the club, even more so when it didn`t involve sprints! The facilities at the time were not the best, but the old shed had a homely feel about it and we just got on with it. We also had one or two quiet nights out as a team when celebrating our better results but above all it was great to play football at that level. Being a local lad, as long as you gave your all you were given great support, what more could you ask for?

What is the most memorable game(s) you played in for Vale, and why?

The game which stands out in my mind was the Aberdeenshire Cup game versus Cove at Allan Park, it was a game when unusually everything seemed to go right for the Vale, but when Neil Morrison scored after about 5 mins I remember thinking this was going to one hell of a long game. I can`t remember the second goal, but when "Chubba" miss-hit a half volley from the penalty spot which flew into the roof of the net with 5 mins to go I finaly realised we might actually win! It was with a great sense of achievement, the players collectively walked into the social club after the game, settling down at of all places, the bar, to openly discuss who we hoped for in the next round! About a week later Juice then told me that him and Colin Wilson had been off-shore on the day of the game and were bracing themselves for the barrage of abuse they were about to get from all the "toonsers" on the rig when the scores were being read out. When they heard the "Cove-nil" bit they thought, oh well at least the Vale have got a draw, only to discover we had in fact won.The result was even repeated and needless to say I`m sure the pair of them left it at that! Towards the end of my last spell at the club I was honoured to score the 3000th goal the Vale have ever scored in the league and I even recevied a trophy for my troubles.This turned out to be the only silverware I collected during my time at the club, however there have been a lot of players far more talented than me left with nothing.

Who were the characters at the club ?

The Vale has always been full of characters, none more so than some of the fans, they needed to be! One fan in particular comes to mind - the legend that is "Uncle Mo." I fondly recall one incident in the old changing rooms when I was a starry eyed teenager.The manager at the time was conducting his final team-talk when the legend himself snuck in and took a seat. He proceded to wait until the unsuspecting manager had finished and promptly told the players to "never mind that crap, just get stuck into the f*****s!" I also recall when playing a friendly at PRP, and having been substituted I was making my merry way back to the changing rooms when a certain Mr Randall appeared and asked the score, me being a polite individual and not wanting to swear replied "God knows" and innocently carried on walking. I think the reverand asked the great man himself ! Billy Anderson was one of my managers and was never shy with publicity. At training one Thursday he told everyone we were having an extra session on Saturday morning. I walked in bleary eyed and saw what I thought was a new signing getting put through his paces only to discover that the new signing was in fact 'Clive' from the Hitman and Her. Billy had the local press down to capture the spectacle. Wiillie Shaw was another member of the backroom staff, the sponge man I recall, and during a midweek game was called into action .Unfortunately for Willie it had been teaming it down so when given the go-ahead to come onto the pitch he soon found out that slip on shoes didn`t agree with the underfoot conditions, After trying to "run" to the injured party he decided against it, and broke into a stylish skating movement which had the players, officials and indeed the whole ground in hysterics. Deveronvale also provided me with biggest laugh I`ve had in football for a long, long time.My workmate Getaway and I were 'debating' how many finals the Vale had been in during Gregg Carrol"s tenure - we just couldn`t agree so we enlisted the help of someone in the know. Step forward local finance consultant Mr Alan Bruce. Alan we thought would have a head for figures. When we asked the illustrious man himself, he replied with great authority "they`ve been in 17 finals and they`ve won HALF !" Dippy, I`m glad he`s looking after your money, not mine!! Every player at the club were characters in there own way,Tony Farquhar for example! But the more conventional during my time were Pirie, Dinky, Chubba, Forbies, Clarkie, Painter, Singer and of course Rico... I`m sure he still wears THAT shell suit !!!

Who were the best players you played with at the Vale and why?

When I was just starting out at the Vale, the stand out players were Alec Cormack, Davie Wilson, James Pirie, Big Toosh, and of course Joe McCallan. Joe always seemed to have time on the ball despite the rest of us running round like idiots. Nigel Montgomery was another player with this ability and although he wasn`t the quickest, he more than made up for it with his reading of the game. I think I only played alongside Bradley Kerr in a couple of friendlies, but even in them he was different class - his touch, vision, and passing were unbelievable, a joy to watch. THE best player I ever played with, and in my opinion the Vale`s greatest ever, was Dippy - he just never stops (even now) running, and despite the fact he still can`t cross the ball like me, he charges up and down the line like a man possessed.

And who were the best players you played against, and why?

The players I had the most problems against were Billy Ferries and Barry Wilson, mainly because of pace, or rather my lack of it ! It didn`t help that they were both playing in excellent sides - Elgin and Ross County respectively, and more often than not had a lot more of the ball than the Vale.

What have you done in a football sense since you left the Vale ?

In my younger days I spent a lot of time moving back and fore between the Vale and Banff Rovers -personally I didn`t (and still don`t) see the point of sitting on the bench whilst I could step down and get a steady game. Later in my career I moved to Lossiemouth where I got the chance to play in the Scottish Cup, back to the Vale where I went on a goal scoring run - 3 in 3 games (prolific for me) and after a brief spell at Buckie returned to the Welfare League where I am now the manager of Banff Rovers.,

What does a normal Saturday afternoon entail for you these days ?

If I`m not attending one of their games, I spent most of my Saturday afternoons listening to Leeds United`s games on LUTV, but because of their ridiculous KO times I occasionaly get to take my son Lucas to see his uncle Dippy playing for the Vale at PRP. Despite hating their r*d strips he seems to enjoy it.

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