Here are three wee things about our 25th Birthday which never made it into a proposed souvenir programme unfortunately. Thanks to Colin and Gav for their kind words.
Is it really 25 years since we played our first game ? Since some of us were much younger, fitter, actually had a hairstyle and could drink all day and not have a hangover the next morning ? Doesn’t time fly when you’re enjoying yourself !
From the very first season, where we embraced the all day drinking culture in Edinburgh, to the 25th, when we’ve gone back to our QP supporting roots, via great seasons with success on and off the park to not so good ones with fall outs and recriminations, the thing that has stood out has been meeting people who have become friends over the years.
There have been so many weekends away, whether in
I think the first three seasons will always stand out and they are the ones which earned our reputation.
Nobody gave us much credit on the park in those days, despite our success, and this was probably due to the eclectic mix amongst the team with schoolboys and old fogies (late 20’s was old in those days) meaning we never looked much of a team when we arrived at games.
The fact that our top scorer was balding, overweight, stank of curry from the night before and smoked like a chimney didn’t mark The Great McLellan out as the sort of guy who would be a match winner, but he was.
Kenny could hardly fail to shine when he was surrounded by such talented players like the old heads, Ronnie, Davie and John and the youngsters like Foxy, Stevie, Dizzy, Beany, Fergal, Martin, Jazza, Stormy, Rab and Davie Wilson.
Then there was Neil McAllister who would play in any position whether it was for nine minutes or ninety because the team was all that mattered to him. And who better to waste a couple of minutes at the end of a game by coming on as sub but Tubsy MaRubsy !
We even had our own entertainment in the shape of our late great Patron Ian Younger who was superb on the piano, national anthems a speciality, and he would take over the Afton Bar in Haymarket every time we were in the Capital.
The team didn’t just go out and play by accident though as pulling all the strings was the Boss, Higgy, who inspired both young and old to play together and he was the glue that kept it all together.
They were halcyon days and put us on the map, a map that was to take us to so some many places all over the country and beyond spreading the word of Queen’s Park FC.
Unfortunately we had to leave the Supporters League as too many of the regulars had retired and been replaced by people who “didn’t get it”.
So, in 1995, we went down the friendly route, or touring team as Stormy suggested we should become. More time could be spent on playing who we wanted, when we wanted which meant we could put socialising above playing (have you seen some of the results !!).
More and more like minded friends were gathered up as we went through the seasons and the Ian Younger Sixes became a great meeting place for some of the people who weren’t able to play elevens anymore.
The recent sad passing of Tam Moon senior is a reminder of all the great hospitality that people’s parents gave our visitors and they played a huge part in our events and weekend visits from the likes of Leyton Orient and Merthyr Tydfil.
We probably treaded a bit of water during some of the seasons when interest wasn’t high and away trips weren’t held in the same affection as before. However, we stuck it out and eventually we acquired people who did “get it”.
Obviously things changed three years ago when the team was left with only four of us but that’s because people started putting results before socialising and that only gets you an ego boost when you play at our level.
Out of the ashes came the young QP supporters and we now have a group of people who enjoy away trips (too much sometimes for us auld yins !) and the company of others.
It’s always customary to talk of “journeys” but it hasn’t been, it’s been an adventure and one I’ve had the privilege to be part of.
The first twenty five years have been great fun and I hope the next twenty five are as well as we have so many more teams to meet and friends to make.
"It all started in the fetid surroundings of a sweaty changing room at Saughton Park, Edinburgh. The date is December 1982 and while Renee and Renato topped the charts, 11 callow youths gingerly pulled on a set of bright orange nylon football shirts and tiptoed onto an ice-bound Pitch 3. Hovering in the distance was a group of men from Glasgow's Southside, resplendent in a strip already familiar to Scottish football fans for over 120 years: the hoops of Queen's Park. And so it began: Meadowbank Thistle Supporters versus Queen's Park Supporters. A 30-year rivalry which has spawned classic matches, endless carousing in the bars of Scotland and created and maintained friendships which endure (and are not endured) to this day.
Fast forward five years, to 1987. Two bespectacled young men emerged from their caravan cocoon in North Connel. Not Renee and Renato again, surely? No; these were two Glaswegians with a plan to take a Queen's Park supporters team from obscurity to the highest echelons of Scottish fan football. And so it came to pass that their first-ever league match was at home to Meadowbank Thistle, a quirk of fate not lost on anyone who was there that day.
These were the days long before mobile phones, the internet and the instantaneous communication which defines our lives today. These were the days before Bros had even had their first hit. Running football teams has never been easy. But in the days when carrier pigeon or smoke signals were just about the most effective way of tracking down players, organising fixtures required endless patience, perseverance and politeness (telephoning usually meant talking nicely to someone's parent before you could impart the arrangements for pitch and pub to your star centre-forward or opposing match secretary). In those heady days of mass-unemployment, a fixture against Queen's Park usually required a weekend return to Glasgow (or vice-versa to Edinburgh) and the certain knowledge that you'd probably miss signing on on the Monday. When it came to hospitality, the away game against the Hoops was five-star. Mr C's nest in Toryglen was most welcoming and comfortable. Endless tea, Forlorn sausage and Senior Service and the inimitable company of Iain's parents, all washed down with cans of lager accompanied by videos of dirty Leeds United circa 1973 were the stuff of legend. On one famous occasion the entire Thistle team plus subs bedded down. Unforgettable.
And so it came to pass that the Queen's team began to accumulate trophies and medals like rashes and poxes. Records were broken, legends created, songs were sung long into the night. Behind it all stood Mr C. Eric Morecambesque in appearance, but always Ernie Wise. Always there, organising, cajoling, encouraging… and drinking. The first to arrive, the last to leave. The first with his hand in his pocket, the last to ask for a drink.
And as we grew older and football sold its soul, or worse, moved to Livingston, we created a new reality. Veterans buried hatchets and started afresh. Now it was Queen's Park versus Edinburgh City. We've even managed two fixtures on the hallowed turf at 'The Stadium' - a testimony to our 'commonwealth'. Mr C's reborn team is made in his own image: fair, friendly and fond of a bevvy. Never mind if they are young enough to be our children, it feels like a compliment that they still want to run rings around old fogeys like me!
I'll leave the last words to that delicious duo from all those Decembers ago, albeit with a small amendment. It's a love song. To Mr C. And to us.
Save your love my darling, save your love
For summer nights with moon and stars above
A serenade I long to sing you
The reddest rose I'll always bring you
Save your love for Embra and for me"
Meadowbank Thistle, Edinburgh City, Tranmere Rovers and Scotland
On behalf of all those involved with the St.Johnstone Supporters teams over the years, including Ormond Saints I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Iain Campbell and his Queen’s Park team in reaching the fantastic milestone that is their 25th birthday.
I have known Iain personally for most of those 25 years and I have no doubt in my mind that the 25th Birthday party may never have been reached without the man who is affectionately known as "Mr C"
We first met in 1987 after I had written, yes written (no internet back then you know), to Iain to see if the then W.O.M.S.C Willie Ormond Memorial Saints Away Club could get a game of football against them and the two teams relationship was born
We have had many a great day both in Glasgow and Perth and even when we, as a team were taking time out from eleven a side we still met annually in the now legendary Queen's Park Sixes competition, now known as the Ian Younger sixes
Mostly though it has been about more than football and many a friendship has blossomed over the years. The connection between the two teams, with a strong emphasis on the social aspect, has led to many a great day/night out being enjoyed in both Cities (I can say that now, thanks your Mage.!!).
Good luck for today , I am looking forward to the occasion very much