Memories of Arrochar and Tarbet Football Team
By Snowy – Ian MacLachlan
I came to Arrochar in 1949 from Cairndow, Argyll and became involved with the Arrochar and Tarbet Football Club in the late 1950s, along with another Hydro Electric Board colleague, Alan Hill. This had followed discussions involving the Tarbet church minister Mr Watt and other community representatives. I started at first by being involved in running the children’s sports days, held in front of the old Village Hall. This progressed to involvement in football, which was played on the football pitch at the Arrochar Hotel. The first team was a primary school team who played matches against Helensburgh, Kilcreggan, Garelochhead and Rhu in the School Lochside League. Even though this was a young school team, the players were very good and very competitive. The team interest, playing friendly games wherever they could, began to stop the boys of the village hanging around aimlessly, as there wasn’t much else for them to do. (Miss Grierson of the Red Cross was not in favour of the team as many of the patrons in her classes had defected to the football team).
The Gareloch Years
As time progressed and interest continued across a broad range of age groups the club joined an Amateur Gareloch League, where they continued to compete for many years. The teams in membership varied each year and the league officials were all from the Lochside area clubs : Helensburgh Select (Derek West / A Sharp); Admiralty Police (Mr Buckie); Garelochhead (Robert Conkie) ; Cardross Rovers (Donald Calder) ; Dumbarton Thistle (John Murray); Kilcreggan (Harry Fox/ Mr Ferguson); Rosneath & Clynder (Mr Thomson); Rhu (Donnie Thomson); Watkinson’s (A garage team - William Kennedy); West End Rovers ( J Moffat / Mr Stenhouse). Although small the League organised two games a week over the summer providing many playing opportunities. They also had a League select team playing against representative teams from other leagues (United Churches League) and visiting Navy Ship’s teams. They had League dances and sponsored trophies, cups and shields for competition. The teams were much in demand during pre-season friendlies with bigger clubs in the area and good players were being snapped up by the ‘big’ Rhu and Dumbarton clubs.
Admission to the Scottish Amateur League
Despite a number of failed attempts to enter the major Amateur leagues, Arrochar & Tarbet AFC were voted into the Scottish Amateur League in 1965, with support from the RN Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, which was connected to the Torpedo Range at Arrochar, Helensburgh Amateurs and other forward thinking clubs such as East Kilbride YMCA. There had been much resistance in previous attempts, due to the travel and expense involved in teams coming to Arrochar from the Glasgow area. However, the argument that visiting clubs would only come here once a year, whilst Arrochar would be travelling to Glasgow every other week for away games, won the day. We were supported by the league minute secretary, who would later become president, Mr Angus McConnell, and other league officials David Todd and Joe Paterson who had all spoken in Arrochar’s favour, to say that the League could not call itself “Scottish” if it only allowed teams from Glasgow into membership.
Arrochar & Tarbet were proud to be the second “Argyllshire” county team admitted, as later Oban Saints, Campbeltown Pupils, Rothesay Brandane, Dunoon Amateurs, Lochgilphead Red Star and Lochside Rovers from Furnace, all gained admission. Rothesay Brandane were the first team admitted - they were accepted into the Scottish Amateur League, Division 2a in 1947, winning the league in their first season; In the next season, 1947/48, they won the West of Scotland Cup beating Queens Park in the final and the season after that were narrowly beaten 4 - 3 by Greenock High School F.P, in the quarter final of the Scottish Amateur Cup.
The wooden plaque pictured above was made and presented to the team by Tommy Fraser.
Two Teams from Arrochar
Joining the SAFL in Division 5A ( comprising: Bearsden; Bishopton Thistle; Clydesmill; Dumbuck; Glasgow Transport; Glenboig; Helensburgh; Rannoch; RN Torpedo; Rutherglen; and Strathclyde University) was a great experience for the club whose journey would see them climb through seven divisions in total, to eventually compete in the league’s premier Division 1 in 1981 . The club remained loyal to the Gareloch league and fielded two Arrochar & Tarbet teams - one in the Lochside League and the other travelling the West of Scotland in the Scottish Amateur League and National cup competitions (the Scottish Amateur Cup and the West of Scotland Amateur Cup). The Lochside team however, was now made up of very young players, many still at secondary school and they were beaten by some big scorelines to begin with. They almost withdrew from the league at one stage, as the players were “too young”, but with great spirit and determination throughout the club and the villages who supported them, they continued to play and fulfil their obligations. In one notable match the Helensburgh Advertiser newspaper’s football round up reported a 71 – nil defeat. The next day a schoolboy delegation visited their offices to complain about an gross injustice, as it had only been 17 – 0 !!! We had an apology printed in the next issue and the team went on to improve and inflict some shock results on other more fancied teams. Notably in November 1966 v Cove & Kilcreggan, who themselves had beaten Admiralty Police 8 -3 in a previous match, the young Arrochar team won 6 - 3 on the peninsula ground. (A&T fielded : Allan; Hendry; S. Brown; A Mathers; G Brown; E Clarke; D MacLachlan; B Watt; B Ross; B Kelly and C McLean).
Before the team had changing facilities near the pitch, the team changed in the village Hall and walked down the road to the pitch. Then Arthur Ross of Ross & Sons donated a small hut to the team to be able to change at the edge of the pitch. This was a bonus, but it was only big enough for one team at a time to change. It was also a little crowded, sharing with big bags of sawdust, which needed to be kept inside to keep it dry for lining the pitch, having been obtained in large quantities from the sawmill.
When the proposal to build new houses behind Kirkfield Place, in Arrochar, came on steam (now MacKenzie Avenue), Helensburgh council had to move the Wee Tighness School building, which stood at the point of access to the site. The team was later lucky enough to “acquire” the building, in a complex one-piece manoeuvre, again managed by Ross & Sons, as it was transported and placed on the football pitch below the then police station. This gave the team wonderful changing facilities, complete with a shower room and a kitchen for brewing up the now firmly established team after-match hospitality of “tea and biscuits”. Which was reciprocated at most other venues that Arrochar travelled to, with some officials having to go to great lengths at public parks and pitches with no electricity. The pavilion was so spacious the club accepted an offer of a full size snooker table, from a Mr Tait of Ben Reoch House. It was taken apart and moved to our hut and pieced back together by a professional firm of snooker and billiard table makers, all funded by Mr Tait. The table gave the young boys of the village many an hour of fun. Floodlights for training were sourced from one of the clubs many sponsors over the years. Support coming local dances in the village hall held twice a week in the summer, a 100 club highest score collected house to house by Rab Campbell along with annual support in various ways from Jimmy McTavish (transport & fuel) , Arthur Ross (building work & labour), Johnnie Paterson (Tractor, sand and seed), Findlaters Stores (Provisions) , Johnnie Galbraith (hotel hospitality & funds), North British Hotels Trust (charity donations), with other occasional contributions of transport, hardware and goods from the RN Torpedo Range, Forestry Commission, Scottish Hydro Electric and latterly Glen Douglas RNAD. The source of the club’s sturdy pipe goalposts, which lasted longer than many other grounds, Wembley included, being from one of the latter organisations.
The team would train on both Tuesdays and Thursday, then play matches on Saturday and in midweek. Often the team would play two matches on a Saturday. For those players not lucky enough to get on the pitch on Saturday, they would normally be included in specially arranged midweek matches against the likes of Strachur, Cairndow, Inverary and of course the Ship’s company of a ship berthing at Finnart or Glen Douglas jetties, or occasionally the Torpedo Range . Whenever a navy ship or submarine was berthed in the Loch, we would play against them, sometimes twice a week. These matches always generated lots of support – particularly from the local girls who may then have had an eye on the men in uniform, running around in their sports kit!
The second team or reserve team would play its matches around the area if the first team fixture was also at home. Home venues were then at Tarbet, Garelochhead, Helensburgh and Rosneath which stretched both the organisational skills and budget, as players didn’t have cars and Jimmy MacTavish's bus hire fleet was well used.
In the early days players would finish training with the challenge of a “run up to the mast”, a TV aerial high up above the village on Cruach Tairbert hill. A stopwatch was used to record the efforts of George Brown and George Watt who were the fastest up and down. For Snowy it saved on ball wear and tear (we didn’t have many and some had to be kept good for matches!), it also lead to a quiet life in the changing area as most were “too knackered to give him much cheek”. George Brown, who joined the team in 1963 from the Boys club section, holds the record for the training run from the bottom at the football pitch to the mast and back. Many of his team mates would comment that they would still be running up the hill while George was passing them on his way back down. His record still stands at 21 minutes and will probably remain unbeaten, with a forest of trees now grown up all along the way, the mast dilapidated and having to wait about this time for a gap in the traffic to cross the road.
Over the years the club went on tour to play challenge matches, with many tales to tell of the trips and the socialising (before and after the matches, which they invariably lost!). The longer the trip - the more incidental the occasion, was generally the rule. Of course friends and families at home in Arrochar were uninformed at the time, as the tour party subscribed to “what goes on tour - stays on tour”! Which was probably consistent with the fact that few could recall much of the events anyway? Notable trips were to Blackpool, Aberdeen, Inverness, Edinburgh and Islay, with the club even invited back with trophies sourced for competition. Teams we played against then came to Arrochar for return matches and an almost European dimension saw teams winning their home legs but, (probably) due to the long distances involved, seldom won the away matches! As Kenny Dalgleish would say – Maybe’s Aye, Maybe’s naw!!!
Summer Tournaments were another club adventure with memorable multi-team and game events attended at Dunoon; Rothesay and Oban.
On one trip the bus was timed to leave the Tarbet Hotel at 11.00am (before the Bar would open) to make a good start and a determined effort to remain as sober as possible before the big challenge match. Unfortunately Snowy was on good terms with Mr Galbraith, who invited the party into the hotel for a little “hospitality” before their long journey on the bus to Aberdeen. We lost heavily as we recall with the Hall Russell shipyard team taking the match to the big Linksfield pitch and giving us a bit of a runaround! A very pleasant weekend followed and all the party were successfully accounted for as they were woken up on their return to Arrochar.
The Club played in many strange places and venues over the years with one memorable local arrangement to play Rhu inside the high security zone at Faslane, with all the players, officials and supporters requiring special passes to enter the gate – not everyone being allowed in, as some were considered undesirable – for some reason!
Most Memorable Match
Our most memorable occasion was bringing the Colin Munro Cup back to Arrochar for the first time. This came about as a result of a hard fought match with the final result being a 3 – 1 win against Newton Mearns Rovers at Rhu’s Ardenconnel ground. Jimmy Kelly was the man of the match following his memorable hat trick.
This famous win was reported in the Helensburgh Advertiser - see below. This was Snowy's most memorable match.
The team had many supporters who travelled to surround the field on a wet and muddy encounter which all ended successfully, with the team parading the trophy in a celebratory walk through from toilet car park to Loch Long Hotel, being presented with a bottle of whisky at Findlater’s shop instead of the usual supply of teabags and rich tea biscuits.
A good night followed that win, with memories of events after about 7pm a little hazy for all.
Brothers in Arms
With two and three teams fielded each week being drawn from the villages many players were needed, some interested in football, some not, but they were all asked to play and through some sense of local loyalty and pride they’d all pull on the jersey and a pair of borrowed boots. Brown, Campbell, Fraser, Gowans, Hendry, Kelly, Mathers, MacLachlan, Mackintosh, McLean, and Watt, to recall but a few. As within many families things would became tense and frustration would boil over occasionally with no holds barred. The football field was no exception and I witnessed two brothers racing from the Arrochar pitch together into the woods, for a bit of barney and a punch up, over something silly said or done, but before long they both returned unfazed to the pitch to finish the game.
The club has had many, many characters over my time with them and all gave me immense pleasure and respect, for which I am always indebted and I take great pleasure in knowing that they have all moved on in life, to be better people now. Many with great jobs and families, and who have hopefully benefited in some way from their time as part of Arrochar & Tarbet Football Club, in which I, along with many others, played some small part. I have continued to meet lots of people who we made contact with in our football campaigns and through holding the fund raising dances in the village hall, again many more strong and well meaning people which it was mainly a pleasure to meet. Some, a very few, were not so and that’s life, who didn’t like me, the club or the area and chose to reject our after match offer of tea and biscuits. One occasion saw me in at the bar with the boys after a game in Clydebank, when a big brute of a man with a scarred face approached. He asked if I remembered him ? No …. not really, I replied. You threw me out of a dance in the village hall ! Did I ? Came a sheepish response. Eye, but you let me again the next week, when I promised to behave!!! Oh, they were the best dances when we were about, says he. Can I buy you a drink?
In recognition of the club’s progress and achievement, local councillor Murdo McGregor convinced Dumbarton District Council to build a new pavilion in 1982 and completely rebuild the pitch to a quality standard that was required in the top amateur leagues. There was to be a new elite club structure (the Caledonian League) where only grass pitches would be allowed and teams were to provide after match facilities for players, officials and supporters. If Arrochar were to progress to the next level the Hotel ground needed to be upgraded and on this basis the hotel offered a new 20 year lease to the council allowing them to commence the work.
Down in the Bog
The old pitch was a constant problem with a large area of it being what can only be described as “boggy” or on some days with the high rainfall experienced in Arrochar more of a “quagmire. Against some of the top footballing teams the state of the pitch helped to contain the opposition skills and gave the home team an advantage!
It was uncanny how the Arrochar team negotiated their opponents into the ‘bog’ which turned to their advantage! The damage to drainage in the lower part of the field possibly due to it’s mid-summer use for the “Cadonas” fairground horses which circled continuously in that area of the field.
The new surface didn’t work out and one contractor’s mistake after the other, saw topsoil with glass in it, from a market garden glasshouse property, needing to be removed. New topsoil was then laid which was seeded with grass coming through well, when a thick layer of wrongly specified fine building sand was laid on top to improve porosity. The result eventually ruined the drainage, as the sand sifted through the soil and formed a layer of concrete below the surface, through which water could not pass to the drainage pipe work below. A full sized field quagmire remains to this day as successive recovery projects have failed.
As a temporary measure the club resorted to playing home games around the district on the Faslane Naval Base baize pitches, at Garelochhead, Rosneath and Helensburgh on grass. This was reasonably successful but slowly the club lost it’s identity and home support, which did not help as players came and went along with club confidence. When the team hit a losing streak it was hard to stop and the club fell through the divisions quicker than they were promoted.
There were valiant attempts to hold position and concentrate on local players again but team managers Billy Ross and Billy McKay had great difficulty in competing against the draw of old firm football in Glasgow. Loads of players at mid-week training dropped to a minimum on a Saturday with the two Billy’s forced to turn out themselves on occasions. The club could not continue as they began to default on games and a decision was made in soon afterwards not to renew membership after a 20 year run.
In the very early days the team had no sponsorship and the players had to buy their own football strips. The original jerseys were big, thick cotton shirts of red and blue alternate quarters front and back. The team colours later changed to various combinations of red and white. Snowy remembers one occasion when a set of new strips had arrived for the team, minus the goalkeeper’s shirt, so I set about getting hold of a nice silk shirt for the goalie. In a rush on the Saturday morning, I scooped up the new kit along with the black shirt for the goalkeeper and set off. It was only when the team came to get changed I realised that instead of the new goalkeepers shirt, I had picked up my wife’s black skirt instead! The goalie wasn’t impressed and declined to wear it, choosing to borrow a team mates woollen jumper instead.
See below for various team photos.
Life in a Tin Hut or the Iron Lung
To raise money for the football team’s continual running costs and expenses, the club held dances in the village hall or ‘Tin Hut’ as it was called, routinely on a Friday night and additionally on a “Tuesday Night Hop”. Each dance had a raffle with prizes were donated by all the local businesses. The dances were very well attended with many girls and boys travelling some distance from the likes of Crianlarich and Ardlui to come to the Friday night event, as well as locally based girls working in a number of the hotels around Arrochar and Tarbet. There were even occasions of some people being barred from the dances, as mentioned earlier for bad behaviour, as Snowy and other club officials acted as bouncers. They were regularly assisted by the local police officers and special constables, who always knew where to find anyone showing signs of unruliness in the village pubs earlier in the evenings.
Music was provided by visiting bands and local musicians who considered they could do as well as the incoming players for the money they were being paid. Donald Grant, Brian Squires, Ewan Groat, Ernie Clark, Barry Kelly and others with various names such as the Fruit Shop Band graced the stage and never failed to entertain the crowds. Snowy would like to think that he launched a few musical careers at the Arrochar Football Dances, as well as on the football field. With the village hall walls being so thin, walkers going to the dance could hear the music as far away as Tarbet and Arrochar, as they made their way to join the action. Some say they even made their minds up not to go depending on what they heard, however with no other alternatives, it was usually case of going in regardless!
There was no refreshment bar in the hall, but dance patrons had other ideas, as they left the hall with a “Pass Out” for some “fresh air” (smoking was allowed in those days!). A carry out (a half bottle or a few beers) had been left in one of the few cars, parked in the small car park or in the burn at the side of the hall, keeping it cool (if those planking it, could remember where and it wasn’t washed further downstream or removed by some eagled eyed fellow dancer). The ‘Tin Hut’ later called the ‘Iron Lung’ was rumoured to have begun life as a temperance building for Railway workers living away from home in huts for long periods as the West Highland railway was built.
The club’s income and expenditure was meticulously recorded in yearbooks with a total income noted in 1960 as 144 pounds and 18 shillings (£144.90), which was from a combination of dance income and collections made at games. A hat or tin was normally passed round the home supporters and as there was usually a large turnout at the games, an average collection at a match would be around 18 shillings (£0.90). We always incurred and recorded expenses, such as the 9 shillings and 6 pence (£0.43) for the tea & biscuits after the match. The records for 1966 show an electric clock purchased (to check how close to five o’clock opening we were getting on a Saturday afternoon, maybe!) for the pavilion, along with grass seed, manure and a cost for labour to reseed the pitch.
Some of the accrued funds went towards buying a team bus outright. Before the purchase of the bus, the team had relied on the goodwill of local car owners along with hired and loaned transport from Jimmy McTavish, the Torpedo Range and the Forestry Commission who had minibus and worker transport suitable for the team. Jimmy MacTavish’s offer of a Bedford Bus at a bargain price meant the team had an asset base, that didn’t need to be returned to the garage after every outing and a mechanic to be on hand to check it all over! OK, so it was FC green, had wooden bench seats, no mod cons and a dodgy sliding door to the crew cabin which was always sliding off it’s rails – once as it set off from the Sun chip shop, up Sinclair St. towards Tarbet and the last returning team member was clambering on board! Sparks flying and loud shouts from the back forced the driver to pull up and re-fit the offending door. It was an economical buy for the club (i.e. cheap) and it’s rumoured its still being paid for!. The bus had wooden sideways facing seats, which were so hard that by the time the team reached their destination the team couldn’t feel their legs or feeling a bit wabbit from the roller coaster trip down Loch Longside. The bus’s best service was behind it and a little worse for wear, with holes in the bodywork. Inside there were no lining panels, simply exposed metal framing with cavities which the team would fill with their old chip wrappers after the games. Unfortunately this practice led to another stushy, as a fly smoker dropped a smouldering match into the same space, resulting in a bit of combustion, which was again brought to the drivers attention with shouts of “Stop, Fire, Fire in the hole!”
Journeys into the Unknown directed by the Unwitted
Many an interesting journey to away games was had on the team bus or in a car cavalcade – depending on who was driving that day this determined how fast the team got to the match, the club sometimes receiving a fine for a late arrival and kick off!. Trying to find the opponents ground, often in Glasgow, was a constant challenge and source of amusement. This was in the days before Satellite Navigation and many a time we got lost. We relied on directions printed in the League handbook which was written mainly for Glaswegians making their way to grounds on “corpy buses” or City of Glasgow Corporation buses. On one occasion, while driving around looking for inspiration the cavalcade spotted the number of bus given in the handbook and promptly started to follow it ….. all the way into the Cathcart bus depot! On another occasion the lead car in the convoy of cars, with players and the travelling supporters, got it’s directions so wrong that it decided to turn off the road it was travelling along to re-assess it’s options. It’s detour was closely followed by the team and supporter’s cars, only to find they had all driven onto someone’s private driveway! - “Reverse, reverse! went the shouts!!”
There were many stars in the team and a few of them could have gone on to play professionally. George Brown caught the interest of Dumbarton Football Club but despite a twinge of envy for the professional players lifestyle, he stayed loyal to Arrochar as he enjoyed playing with the team and lifelong friends so much. Looking back at the Team Yearbooks show how consistent the team was, the same names appear regularly in the match reports. The boys seemed to enjoy both playing and training far more than lads do today. It seemed to give them discipline and set them on the right track. As mentioned most turned out well in my opinion.
Snowy said “I gave up coaching the team but never really left”. Barry Kelly took over from me and took the team from strength to strength, all the way to the very top in Amateur football. Division 1 teams in 1981 comprised : Giffnock North; Muirend; Westerlands; Strathclyde Police; Queens Park Arms; Avoca; Glenavon; P.O. Phones; Croftfoot; Weirs Recreation; St. Mungo FP’s; and ARROCHAR & TARBET AFC. Yes we were in with the elite and held our own for the few seasons we were there.
We were a small village select team taking on the cream of the West of Scotland football with it’s vast array of experience and resources which was no mean feat and a credit to all associated with the club on its 20 year journey. At it’s height we fielded three teams in an effort to sustain our position with a second team entered in the West of Scotland Amateur League and the thirds in the SAFL Reserve league division 3.
Although I did not attend all the games towards the end I always kept in touch with the players and the results. I would come back to make the tea from time to time and enjoy the biscuit ceremony and after-match banter, which sometimes (always) adjourned to a local bar! In the end the team died out due to lack of real commitment and interest from the younger generation of boys, who were more interested in watching the Old Firm football games than playing themselves. It was also due to not having a home pitch to play on and without the backing of our village support we “just got lost”. A sad end to a historic journey, but well done all who helped and especially those who played for the club, which can account for a roll call of over 200 players!
Arrochar and Tarbet Football Club Honours
SAFL Records held (any help with missing years appreciated! EMAIL US if you know!)
Year League Pos pld W L D F A Pts
1965-66 Division 5A 5th 18 6 7 5
47 55 17
Here are some sample match reports covered each week by the local Helensburgh Advertiser :
Scottish Amateur Cup Match Report
Weir Recreation 3 Arrochar 0
Arrochar put up a good show in this cup. Match at Newlands, to the extent that they received congratulations twice after the game. First Weir’s were full of praise for the hard game Arrochar gave them and admitted they did not expect such a competitive game from a Fifth Division side. The referee was the second to congratulate both teams on the sportsmanship which this game was played. And although Arrochar were out of the Cup they were all in agreement that this was the most enjoyable game of the Season.
Arrochar Reserves 2 City Chambers 3
The reserves had also their best game of the season on Saturday too and came within five minutes of a draw when City got the winner five minutes from time. In the absence of an official referee, McGilvary, Arrochar's ex-keeper on holiday in the Village, was called upon to take up the unusual role with the whistle.
Eaglesham 6 Arrochar 1
Eaglesham did not give Arrochar time to settle at Eaglesham on Saturday. From the stating whistle they went into a spirited attack and scored three goals in 26 minutes. They settled down to play a professional style of football and netted a fourth before half time and it looked as if the final score would go into double figures at this stage.
Arrochar had got over their shock start when play restarted and the second half was more even. Eaglesham still having the better finishing and were fully justified to their two second half goals. Arrochar’s goal came when C MacLachlan was knocked down in the penalty area when they had one of their few chances of scoring. I Parlane was Arrochar’s on the spot man and easily beat the over confident keeper. This is one game for Arrochar that is best forgotten.
Coronation Cup Match Report
Arrochar 2 PO Phones 4
PO phones won the game but it was Arrochar who took all the honours for their outstanding performance against this First Division side. From their previous friendly encounter it was unbelievable how much extra effort both teams could put into this cup game. PO were lucky to get a soft penalty after 20 minutes play but they had to fight hard for their next goal which did not come till after the interval and it did not count for long when Arrochar came back hard and T Reid shot a cracker into their net. Arrochar threw everything into attack after this and had PO tottering in defence but PO got a breakaway goal to put them further in the lead. This did not stop Arrochar trying and on another of their many raids on PO’s goal it was I Parlane who shot the goal of the match from 40 yards which no keeper could stop. PO’s fourth goal came before full time when Arrochar hesitated when they were justly expecting a foul award which was not given and a PO forward was quick to take the chance. MacLachlan was unlucky to receive a broken nose in a head encounter during the game. But this was a hard sporting game, which both teams deserve full credit.
Here are a selection of Team Photographs.
Back Row: Barry Kelly
(Team Manager), Gordon McKerrow, Ian Parlane, Callum MacLachlan, George
Brown, Iain MacLean (Captain), Jim Kelly, Ian (Snowy) MacLachlan
Colin Munroe Final
Back Row: S. Clark, S. Jackman, J. Boyle, K. Ross, J. Kelly, I. Maclean, A. Hamilton Front Row: G. Milton, T. Ross, J. Perry, P. Owen, F. Thomson, A. Fisher, M. Kelly
From 1950-1955 - Prior to Snowy running the Football team, David MacLachlan - 'Buddy' ran the team. The following was provided by David:-
This is my earliest recollection of Arrochar Boys
Football Club from 1950-1955. After 1955 I left Arrochar to work and
live in Alexandria. The earliest memory I have is Alex Grierson speaking
to a number of boys in a garage, up the lane at Oakbank. He had a
blackboard where he showed us basic positions and moves. The matches we
played under his guidance are very vague. When he disappeared off the
scene I took over the arranging of matches for boys aged 16 and under.
We played in the field where it is today, but in much poorer conditions.
We changed in a garage belonging to the Arrochar hotel. Charlie or
Johnny Paterson would cut the grass before a match. We would obtain bags
of sawdust form the Forestry Commission to line the pitch. The main
opposition teams were Lochgoilhead, Strachur and Crianlarich. When we
played at Lochgoilhead Mr. Robertson, the Headmaster, was my contact and
he would lay on sandwiches and cakes in the school after the match. When
we played at home the Arrochar team would bring their food to The
Cottage and after the match the visiting team would walk through the
woods to my Mother's and enjoy their tea.
From 1939-1945 Alistair Bell, born in Arrochar in 1928. remembers there being a football team throughout the thirties and forties in the village. The pitch was the field at the Arrochar Hotel and an old stable attached to the Hotel was the ‘changing room’. At one point there were three teams Arrochar, Tighness and Tarbet. He remembers the Arrochar strip being Brown and Green but they were never good enough to be in a football league. They were however involved in the Lochside league competing for the Hood Cup against Garelochhead, Shandon, Rhu and Helensburgh. Arrochar were never winners.
During the war the local teamed played matches on a regular basis against teams made up of Navy servicemen from the Submarines and Destroyers berthed in the Loch. No need for grass cutting, as they had to remove the cows before each game. The range transport was provided for transporting the team about. Watty Rhind was in charge of the fixtures and Alistair never remembers train nights, you just turned up when you got the shout.
Team members included: -
Alex Fraser was the headmaster of the School and he tried hard to get the team to a better standard…………..unsuccessfully.
There was also a women's team. Here they are pictured at the Wings For Victory cup at The Range in 1944.
Back Row: Kitty Burden, ?, ?, Jessie McVicar, ?, Isabel Boag
Front Row: Joyce Horn, Patricia (Pat) Carroll, Nan Black, Joyce Campbell, Peggy Carroll
Names include: -
D McVicar, A Carson, F Critchel, ? Campbell, B Campbell & Father, A McDonald, J McPhail (Jock), J Mcdermid, J Wylie, J Carson, D Robertson
(hover your mouse over a face to reveal their name)
If you recognise any of the players in any of these pictures that we haven't named then please EMAIL US with the name and we'll update this page. Thank you.