Briefly outline your football career prior to joining Deveronvale.
Played for the Huntly Amateur side, then Huntly and Keith Youth /Development teams to the Highland League. Went straight to the Vale from there.
Which year(s) did you play for Deveronvale? Who signed you for the club, and what attracted you to join ?
Played for the Vale from 1985-88. I was signed for the club by Ken Tedcastle, who at the time was running the Huntly Development side. I always wanted to play at Highland League level after watching the league as a youngster. It was also the challenge of playing at that level. I always remembered the support that the Vale took with them to the games and the pitch always looked magnificent and the best in the League.
What are your fondest memories of your time with the club?
The main memory I have of the Vale is the true passion everyone had for the club and team. That is everyone from players, committee, managers and of course the supporters. You could not fail to enjoy your time at the Vale and it is reflected that 20 years on we still remember those times as if it was only yesterday. Getting to the Aberdeenshire Cup final at Huntly was a great occasion to be part of. The build up to the final, the excitement of the day and the Vale supporters that out numbered the locals.( If they didn’t, they made the most noise !) Getting sent off on that day was probably a low point, I still say I was innocent !! Being from Huntly it was fair to say I was copping a fair bit of abuse and one particular gentleman was giving it to me, so I politely told him that his opinion was not needed. Unfortunately, the linesman was near him and thought I was giving my opinion to him. Needless to say it was a learning experience. The away trip that I remember the most was the fateful trip to Brora. The pitch was flooded but the referee let the game go ahead because we were already on our way and nearly at Brora. When we arrived, Smudge found out we had no thermal tops to wear. The wind was howling down the field and the wind chill factor felt like minus 20deg. So we started the game and the very first tackle I made I ended up aquaplaning over the water face first. When I stood up it was like being blasted in a freezer. The ball only came into our half once. Trevor “Strawberry Blonde” Beagrie decided he had had enough standing around on the half way line and decided to become a centre forward. Needless to say at half time the score was 0-0 and there ended the Beagrie aspirations to become a forward. The Brora keeper was outstanding, keeping a clean sheet, but he even had to save his own kicks which blew straight back into his goalmouth. At half time both sets of players had symptoms of hypothermia and the game was canned, it took half an hour to get any feeling back into the body from the hot showers. Brora very kindly sent bottles of brandy to the changing rooms and that set us for an eventful trip home
What is the most memorable game(s) you played in for Vale, and why?
The Caley game at PRP when we beat them 4-1. Probably the most complete performance by a Vale side I had been involved in. It felt good after the humiliation of the 12-0 the season before. It was great to see them trudge off the field knowing they were well beaten. Beating Huntly at any time was magic for me, so winning 1-0 at PRP and then the local derby with Buckie the week after which we also won 1-0. Those games stood out for me because it showed not only that we could play football well, but that we could battle really hard and not give an inch. I think it was those results that finally made people sit up and take notice that they had to work really hard to beat us. I think it also meant we went through December unbeaten. One other match that sticks out was at Cove when we were 2-0 down in 20mins and fought back to win 3-2 with Mike Campbell scoring a great goal late in the game.
Who were the characters at the club ?
Ian Thain was always pulling stunts on and off the field and drove us insane on the away trips with his “Drifters music” Gary Morrison- If anything was happening he was usually in the thick of it. Johnny Mackie- The worst first aid person off the bench. Whenever you were injured and you saw Johnny coming on it was usually more beneficial just to get up and go in the opposite direction. Alex Cormack- The worst loser ever. Alex would claw your eyes out even at training to win !
Who were the best players you played with at the Vale and why?
The whole squad of 87-88 were some of the best I had played with. Fingers Clark – An amazing shot stopper especially the penalties. Great to have as the last line of defence. Cost the club a fortune in tape for his fingers though. Neil Morrison- Gave the team the aggression and fire power up front and scored some great goals Iain Paterson and Niall MacBeath were classy players that caused lots of problems for the opposition Joe McCallan- What can you say that hasn’t been said already. He was a real inspiration for younger players and I for one learnt a lot from him. I could go on with everyone, it was a pleasure to be part of the set up at the time. I would also like to mention Julius Morrison who came into the Vale when things had reached rock bottom and turned it around. His ability to find players that fitted the mould/culture at the Vale was amazing. He held onto the core of players he wanted and added great talent and ability to the squad. He treated everyone with respect and demanded the best. It was down to him that the Vale had one of the best seasons for a long time.
And who were the best players you played against, and why?
Hamish French -was a very classy player at Keith and no matter how hard the tackles were he just kept smiling Ally Brebner – When he was at Huntly we had some great games, he was fast and tricky on the ball Steve Paterson- Then at Forres was an amazing player to play against. He had a great ability to control the game and most situations.
What have you done in a football sense since you left the Vale?
I left the Vale in 88 and went to New Zealand. I played for a club in Wellington which was a feeder club to a National League Team. The National League meant that we played on Sundays and could be in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin etc all cities around NZ. We had to fly to games because of the distances involved. It was a very good standard of football and managed to meet up with Norman Kellas (ex Lossiemouth) and Graeme “Soapy” Cameron (ex Forres) who were both playing for an Auckland side at the time. The manager was also ex Highland League, Malcolm Cowie (ex Elgin City). When I finally retired from “all the travelling” I went back to the feeder club where Ian Porteous (ex Aberdeen) was the coach. I played there for another couple of years until the young guys started running around me. I had passed on all that I had been taught by Mr McCallan which was mainly whineging and moaning at the players until you got the best out of them. Mike Campbell came out to play at the club and did his usual magic and great crosses until he got a back injury that he never completely recovered from I have coached at the feeder club level and also the kids junior football. I manage to play in the local indoor five a side league, but it is a bit fast for the old body now and struggle tackling anything and anybody.
What does a normal Saturday afternoon entail for you these days ?
Saturdays are the kids sports days usually sailing, kayaking, netball etc etc There is lots to choose from and we enjoy getting out and about at the weekends. In the Winter the family is usually skiing and in the Summer we are either enjoying the sun and heat or in the lake boating and water skiing in