Junior Rivalries Part One

By Chris Sanderson

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GREAT JUNIOR RIVALRIES

PART ONE

THE SOUTHSIDE EL CLASSICO – POLLOK v ARTHURLIE

The distance from Newlandsfield Park in Shawlands up to Arthurlie’s Dunterlie Park is just over five miles and only 15 minutes in the car up the Barrhead Road that leads out of Glasgow’s South Side towards East Renfrewshire then into Ayrshire.

Back in the 80’s and 90’s these two Glasgow giants dominated the old Central League and even traded blows in two Scottish Junior Cup Finals during that 20-year period although it’s fair to say both clubs have not had the success they would have hoped over the last decade or so.
But this fixture still has every ounce the passion it has conjured up over the years as these two old foes battle for being the top dogs in Glasgow.

On the park BRYAN DINGWALL was the darling of the Pollok support scoring goals for fun but knew he would rarely get any Christmas cards with a G78 postcode marked on the envelope (that’s Barrhead for those unaware) for his efforts. Likewise one-time Arthurlie goalkeeper and former manager Sandy MacLean played in Lie’s greatest ever win over Lok in the 1998 Scottish Junior Cup Final.
These two guys told the www.thejuniors.info how life is once you have stepped over the white line at Newlandsfield or Dunterlie Park.

We’ll go to Bryan first…

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YOU HAVE PLAYED IN NORTH GLASGOW & LANARKSHIRE DERBIES IN THE JUNIORS SO HOW DOES THIS FIXTURE COMPARE TO THOSE?

BD: There is pressure in every derby game but I think the fact that you have a big crowd packed into either Newlandsfield or Dunterlie always made that bit special with the atmosphere and you always wanted to do that bit better.

CAN YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST EVER SOUTHSIDE EL CLASSICO?

BD: Yes in 2006/7 very well too for the wrong reasons too. I missed the early season Sectional League Cup game which we won 2-1 then we played in one of the first league games of the season. We lost 2-1 but I did managed to score.

WHAT GAME STANDS OUT FOR YOU?

BD: 2008/9 with a doubt – the demolition derby which Lok won 5-1. We scored three early goals and totally swept them away that day and it was a good day for me as I scored two goals.

YOU COME FROM LANARKSHIRE BUT IS IT EASY TO GET CAUGHT UP IN THE TRIBALISM THAT COMES WITH THIS FIXTURE?

BD: Without a shadow of doubt it was so easy to get hooked with all the hype. I knew once I pulled on a Pollok jersey I would never ever sign for Arthurlie as it would be more than life is worth lol.

HOW DID RAB SNEDDON FIRE THE TROOPS UP IN THE DRESSING ROOM PRE-GAME?

BD: Rab’s team talks were different for every game. He was a great man manager and a motivator too. But for Arthurlie games he would threaten us with a fine of a week’s wages if we didn’t win. I can also remember he would say “Make sure you win this one for the fans because if you lose it you don’t get the chance the opportunity to forget until the next one come’s around.”

YOU’RE MOST FORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE?

BD: Anytime we lost to them!

FUNNIEST MOMENT YOU CAN RECALL FROM THIS FIXTURE?

BD: There was a fixture we played against the Lie and one of their supporters was giving me it big style. Unprintable what he was ranting and raving at me so you can imagine his reaction when I scored and tracked him down to give him some back. He went quiet from that point!

BEST GOAL YOU EVER SCORED AGAINST THE AULD ENEMY?

BD: 2007/08 – a midweek fixture up at Barrhead which we won 3-0. I hit a left foot drive into the top corner of the net. Neil Parry was the goalkeeper if I remember.

MOST DIFFICULT ARTHURLIE OPPONENT YOU HAVE FACED & WHY?

BD: Big Stuart Allison – AKA Souness. He was a big dominant centre half who packed a crunching tackle and was always good in the air. You tended to always be aware he was there or there abouts.

BOTH CLUBS HAVE HAD A LEAN PERIOD RECENTLY – HOW DO YOU THINK THEY WILL FARE THIS SEASON?

BD: I think both teams have steadied the ship by both appointing good managers and will have good times ahead.
Now over to Sandy in the Blue & White corner.

Sandy

WHAT IS YOUR CLAIM TO FAME IN THE HISTORY OF THIS FIXTURE?

SM: Never lost a game against Pollok as Arthurlie manager. I think that I may be the only manager with that record.

THE OVD JUNIOR CUP FINAL IN 1998 BETWEEN THE SIDES MUST HAVE BEEN A MEMORABLE DAY?

Winning the junior cup v your derby rivals was the single best game I ever played in. It was a roller coaster of emotions for me. I told the manager five months before the final I was retiring at the end of that season. I had played in more rounds the David Cormack the other goalkeeper. But the morning of the game I was told I wasn’t starting. I was rock bottom but tried to stay professional for the rest of the squad. But after 40 minutes the manager told me I was going on. I went from being on the floor to being sky high. I firmly believe not a single Arthurlie player thought we’d lose that day. We were singing in the tunnel on the way out at the start of the game never in doubt we would ever lose.

BEST SAVE IN A LIE-LOK DERBY?

SM: Definitely the best derby game I remember other than the Cup Final was season 96/97. Maryhill were 2 points ahead of Pollok in the league but had completed their fixtures. Pollok had one game left…but it was against Arthurlie. Pollok needed to win to win the league. I had a blinder. I remember having to make a save on to the post in the last minute and as it rolled along the goal line towards the opposite post and Pollok players charged in I got up sprinted back across the goal to claw the ball away. The game finished goalless. We celebrated as if we had won the league ourselves. Maryhill won the league but for us it was anyone but Pollok.

I BET THE DRESSING ROOM TERRACE END AT NEWLANDSFIELD PARK CAN BE AN INTIMIDATING PLACE FOR AN ARTHURLIE GOALKEEPER?

SM: I was one of those players that loved the crowd screaming abuse at me it as it helped me with my concentration level. And I took some stick I can tell you but that was good for me. They would have done better if they had left me alone. My brothers often told me they would have to bite their lips at some of the comments Pollok fans dished out as they watch the game

WHAT WAS YOUR WORST DERBY MEMORY?

SM: Has to be being sent off in a Scottish cup quarter final at a packed Newlandsfield. The game finished level at 1-1 but we lost the replay the following week. That was horrible.

WHO WAS THE ARTHURLIE PLAYER WHO REALLY FIRED THE TROOPS UP BEFORE THIS FIXTURE?

SM: David Fulton our skipper and was our leader on the pitch. He wouldn’t allow anyone to give less than 100%. Some player he was too into the bargain.

WHO WOULD YOU REGARD AS YOUR TOUGHEST OPPONENT IN THIS FIXTURE?

SM: Perhaps the toughest opponent in a Pollok shirt was Colin ‘Rocky’ Crighton. He loved nothing better than smashing into goalies. Later he joined us at Arthurlie he was a gentleman off the pitch. But would have his beast mode on when he played against us.

YOU PLAYED & MANAGED IN THIS FIXTURE – WHAT WAS BEST?

SM: You can’t beat playing but I was very proud of my managerial record despite some mis-conceptions by some.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR TIME IN THE ARTHURLIE HOT SEAT?

SM: I contested five trophies during my time there and we won two and we’re 2nd and 3rd in the league. Not bad in my opinion. The club has struggled since then but I have no hard feelings as you accept its part and parcel of management and Arthurlie are still my club. Would I ever go back, yes in a heartbeat?

Derek ‘The Geordie’ Lothian has black & white blood running through his veins being a staunch follower of both Pollok and Newcastle United. He’s a familiar face around Newlandsfield Park spending hours of his spare time helping out with the running of the club.

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YOU SEEMED TO HAVE BEEN AROUND POLLOK SINCE THE YEAR DOT?

DL: My first Pollok game was in the 81/82 season when I was just 7 years old and as a local boy I was brought to Newlandsfield. 34 years later they are still a huge passion for me.

THE SOUTHSIDE EL CLASSICO – WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT IT?

DL: I think like most rivals when you are younger you feel your fighting a cause when you play ‘The other team’. But I can honestly say and I’m sure my good friend Robert Burns will agree that there has never been much trouble at games and most of it is banter before and more so the bragging rights for weeks after that makes it the best derby going, the one that loses tries to blank it out until the next one.

YOUR MUST MEMORABLE DERBY WIN?

DL: Obviously there are many games but the 1981 Scottish Cup Final lives long in my mind as it was my first taste of any final. Norrie Fulton’s goal will live long in most Pollok fans memories and to win the holy grail is amazing but to beat your biggest rivals add that much more sweetness to it.

ANY OTHER OCCASIONS SPRING TO MIND?

DL: Yes a couple of games stick out, one a 6-0 win in the section cup I believe in 1996/97 (I’m murder with dates) and in the season when Jim Sinnet was manager we played Arthurlie at home and after I believe 21 minutes we were 4-0 up. That will be the game ‘Dingy’ might recall. I remember turning to my fellow committee man Graham and saying this is going to be a cricket score as everything we touched went in the net. But alas it only ended up 5-1. I think we felt sorry for them and took the foot of the pedal but that was a highlight of what was a reasonable season for us.

NIGHTMARE DEFEATS AT THE HANDS FROM THOSE UP THE BARRHEAD ROAD?

DL: As I said when it comes to getting beat by ‘them’ we tend to blank it out the 1998 Cup Final when they beat us 4-0 and that is something that sticks in our throats to this day. Being humiliated that afternoon was hard to take as we just did not turn up to play and the fact that Johnny Millar scored made it worse as you will find out why later.

OK – PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE WEARING BLUE & WHITE IN THE EYES OF A LOK FAN?

DL: When it comes to public enemies at Arthurlie the list could be endless for many reasons but you had players like John McLay who knew how to use tactics not allowed in the game to wind up players. Then you had of course Charlie Hobbs who seemed to join any team playing Pollok so he could do his best to get noticed and if anything major happened in the game he was involved somehow. And of course there is Johnny Millar, not only a decent player but when he became manager would love nothing more than to beat Pollok and would let any fan and player know that he did, before, during and after a game.

ANY OF THE BOYS IN BLUE & WHITE YOU WOULD HAVE LIKED TO HAVE SEEN IN A BLACK & WHITE SHIRT?

DL: i have to say that I’ve never looked at any Arthurlie team and thought i want that player cause both teams are normally evenly matched and that can only add to a great game, we have had quite a few players come from them and become well thought of like Kris Robertson, Robert Downs, Zander Ryan and Alan waddle, who all contributed to a very successful time for Pollok throughout the Rab Sneddon years

IT’S BEEN A TOUGH COUPLE OF SEASONS FOR LOK – THE GOOD TIMES LOOK TO BE JUST AROUND THE CORNER AGAIN?

DL: I think after our relegation to the first division and our fantastic season last year when we came up as champions being the first club to do that shows our spirit as a club. Then it’s all about stabilising the club for the future. We as a club took it hard and are all pushing in the same direction which can only help the club. Now we have a very good management team under Tony McInally, Stuart Ralston, Brian Sheldon and Brian Whelan who are all working hard to put Pollok back to where it truly belongs. I know we will be fighting for all competitions this year as we have a very strong team in place with many top players scrapping for certain positions, and of course looking to win all the games against our Local rivals.

Now we head to the Blue & White corner where Robert Burns fights the Dunterlie Park corner.
Robert another ‘well kent face’ in junior football is Arthurlie daft.

NEILSTON IS CLOSER SO HOW COME POLLOK ARE YOUR BIGGEST RIVALS?

RB: I’d guess it’s because traditional in the old Central League it was Pollok that stood in front of Arthurlie winning things rather than Neilston. And I mean no disrespect to the Farmers Boys who almost and probably should have won the Super Premier only to lose it on goal difference which is a lot closer than Arthurlie have managed to date.

WHAT MAKES THIS FIXTURE SO SPECIAL?

RB: The supporters I think. It’s always a great occasion regardless of what the other side is doing as the form book goes out of the window and IMO the game is unrivalled junior and central league based clubs.

THE MOST SATISFYING WIN OVER LOK & HOW DID YOU CELEBRATE?

RB: Obviously the Scottish win was great, that’s blurry until maybe the Thursday after, that said meeting and beating Pollok in the first round the following season at Newlandsfield and winning 3-2 was great. The Central League Cup Final a goal down in injury time at Somerville Park and to win it was fantastic that said being 3-1 down at their place at half time to win 4-3 and clinch the league must be up there too.

WHAT’S THE MOST PAINFUL DERBY DEFEAT YOU HAVE ENCOUNTERED?

RB: They all hurt, every single one of them!

ALL TIME POLLOK PUBLIC ENEMY No1 – WHO WOULD THAT BE?

RB: David Elliot was a great Pollok player but opposition supporters despised him. I met him a few times personally and although he seemed mental on the field it transpires that’s just him full stop! Jimmy McPhee was one too … he looked like he couldn’t walk, ran like he needed to keep his balance but he pulled elbowed, spat and kicked but scored goals for fun, a pantomime villain if ever there was one, he’s also a cracking guy off the park too.

ANY GUYS FROM THE SOUTHSIDE YOU WOULD HAVE LOVED TO SEEN PULL ON A LIE JERSEY?

RB: Robert Downs, no wait….. Kevin O’Neil was outstanding but we had Gavin Duncan. Ian Spittal was superb as was Ronnie Lowrie so for me it’s between three, David McGeough who I thought was up there as one of the best box midfielders at our level only Martin McGarvey being close to him. Andy McLay was a magician too who always found space and never wasted a ball but for work rate, hunger and just goals I’d have loved to have seen Bryan Dingwall in sky blue and white too.

ARE YOU PLEASED TO HAVE THE AULD ENEMY BACK?

RB: It’s my favourite game of the season, I’ve a few good friends there that I missed only playing them once last season. I did get slaughtered posting how disappointed I was when they went down and I was! It’s the game the clubs treasurer’s rub their hands together for and it’s something I’m delighted is back!

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