Fan Profile#6: AFC1320 - media personality

1. First game you recall?

A game at Gayfield Park around 1968/69, my Dad took my along and if memory serves. I remember Eric Sellars blasting the ball out of play and it hitting my leg and I started to cry, Eric patted me on the head and I prayed the "Mitre" mark would stay Imprinted on my leg so that. I could show all my classmates at Hayshead Primary School on the Monday.

2. Why did you start/continue supporting Arbroath? My Dad was a huge Arbroath FC fan and followed them home and away. He installed the belief into me that you should support your home club and, to this day, I think this is the correct thing to do. You can still have your glory hunting team to go alongside your home club ( I do, MUFC).

3. Best experiences as an Arbroath supporter?
The promotion years under Dave Baikie and John Brownlie, the penalties by Coops and John Cusick's goal will remain with me forever, also the away game at East Fife when we won 4-1 to play Rangers in the next round was one of the best AFC experiences I have ever witnessed, that was one of the best away AFC supports I can ever recall. Also anytime we beat our bitterest rivals from up the road.

4. Worst experiences as Arbroath supporter?
The drubbing from them up the road last year was a bitter pill to swallow and I hope the AFC players realise that this means as much as an Old Firm game to the likes of us. The home Spartans game a few years ago comes to mind as a bad one and never actually going up as Champions (but that will come someday).

5. Best and worst things about being an Arbroath supporter? Not supporting the Old Firm. Supporting a club which means something to you.
Getting to know the Manager and players and mixing with them. Playing charity matches on your clubs football pitch, how many Old Firm supporters can say that? You really notice this on Scotland away trips speaking to supporters from lower leagues who have respect for each other that it makes you proud to support your local club.

6. How many games do you manage per season?
Not as much as I used to because my job changed a few years ago meaning that I have to work most Saturday mornings as opposed to working days/nights, so any game over an hour away is mostly out for me now. I go to most home games and have been a season ticket holder for years I also go to the reserve games as I like to see if any youth players a breaking through and any trialists etc..

I make a point of going on the pre-season trips, the ones in England a few seasons back were brilliant trips with the fans going out at night with the Management and players.

I'm part of a syndicate which owns 4 Man Utd season tickets so go to a few Old Trafford games during the season but again not as many as I used to, I started supporting them in the mid-1970's when they were in the English 2nd Division because of the Scottish connection, my Dad's English team was Leeds United.

I also go to the Scotland games and my next trip is to Amsterdam in March, I often meet Jamie Bishop's Mum and Dad at the away games.

7. Your analysis on THIS season's campaign?
Not trying to sound a defeatist I think ending up 3rd bottom of the 2nd division would be an achievement. We then re-stock get in a few more quality players and aim for mid-table next season then build on that. John quite rightly was loyal to players who got us up from the 3rd Division but some are just not quite good enough to step up to this level, this is not a criticism of those players but a fact of life.
It was just like a few years ago our striker Billy Spence was a great 3rd division striker but could not do it in
the 2nd division so we brought in Colin "Dibble" McGlashan who could score goals in the 2nd division and probably would have still got a few goals in the 1st division.

8. Advice to the Board and the Manager?
The board do a really good job and I get annoyed at "fans" who slag them off, my answer to those people is "well if you think you can do a better job then you join the board" I would still love to see more businessmen on the AFC board though people like Dave Laing to work beside the present set up who all have the love and passion of the club.

I've always maintained though that we should have local people involved in the running of the club, this goes for both people on the board and the Manager as you get the best out of them and they should live locally.

The Manager does a great job in promoting the club locally and I would like to see even more of this, like visiting local Schools as I hate when you see a local youngsters photo in the local paper and it is mostly Old Firms kits on.

The Arbroath youngsters, ask anybody who grew up in the 1970's the most football tops you saw being worn in this town was Arbroath FC tops and that is the way it should be today but unfortunately times change and glory-hunters are the norm now I am afraid to say.

9. Advice to the other fans?
There have always been sections of the support who go to moan and complain for the sake of it and pick on certain players (mostly local players at that) this has always happened since the 1980/90's when I remembered Gubby Mitchell, Mark McWalter and Steve Florence and the likes getting stick then if anything it has got worse with the likes of youngsters

Terry Masson and Paul Watson getting unbelievable stick, there is a difference between constructive criticism and just plain abuse and unfortunately it is the latter which is happening just now. We all pay our money and are entitled to let of steam but I am certain there is a minority of our fans who go out to Gayfield Park hoping for any excuse to slate our own Manager and players which is pretty sad.

People have to remember they are part-time players trying their hardest for our club.

One thing that does get up my nose is the pop-star type of player who does not put in any effort in and inconsistent match officials, I do let of steam at those but I do try to be constructive.

10. Realistic ambitions for the club?
I have always maintained that we should be a mid-table 2nd DIVISION Club who now and again should be getting promotion to the 1st division for a season or 2 like what happened in the Baikie/Brownlie era.

11. Other interests

Other team(s) supported? Arbroath FC, Man Utd, Scotland, although I do like to also see Pompey and Millwall doing well.

Other interests: I have a lot of books on football, autobiographies and true-life gangster stuff like The Krays and Mad Frankie Fraser etc. I used to play a lot of football and still like the occasional charity game but after the next one I am retiring.

Music David Bowie, Punk, Ska, Queen, Rush, Rod Stewart, 70's stuff and The Foundry Bar Band.

Heroes: My hero was Joe Jordan and my favourite AFC players are from the 70's Billy Pirie, Andy Penman, Jimmy Bone, Albert Kidd through to the 80's Lex Richardson, Alan McKenna, 90's and into 2000 Colin McKinnon, Charlie Adam, George Rowe, Hinchy, Dibble and John McGlashan to name but a few.

Local players The vast majority of home-drawn talent were a credit to the club and it was great to see them all play for the club lads like Kennedy, Powell, Durno, Mylles, McWalter, Mitchell, Florence, Tindal, Cooper, Webster etc.. As long as I see a bit of class and players who really want to wear the famous maroon and who give 100% then you will get no complaints from me.

Present players should remember that they are really lucky to play for the club, thousands of supporters over the years like me never got the opportunity to do this.

Although my nickname was `Zico' and apart from being a youngster on trial at Aston Villa and playing junior and amateur football I would have done anything to play for this famous club.

What about the Graham Speirs connection? Graham Speirs, I still keep in touch with him and meet up with him in Glesga sometimes, over the years I have met him when AFC have played at Hampden, Firhill and Broadwood. I gave him an AFC fleece for his 40th a few years back, you can maybe add this to one of my questions as he like us sticks up for the smaller teams against the Old Firm.