Former Midlands AFA football club St James were always well served by loyal officials.
So much so that one ultra-dedicated official would be given a testimonial.
Now, as far as I am aware, events like this at the amateur grade level were very very rare and, indeed, still are.
Willie Morton had served the club from the late 1950s/early 1960s for a number of decades as player, manager and official.
Fittingly, in 1985, the club arranged for a former Dundee FC and Dundee United FC select to take on a team of past and present St James players and guests.
The Willie Morton Testimonial event went ahead at the Maryfield all-weather park on Friday, May 31, 1985.
After the game, all concerned went back to TFM’s pub (formerly Terra Nova) in Dudhope Street.
The DFC/DU Select was made up of household names, with legendary managers (then present and future) also taking part.
I had quite a number of friends who had played for Saints over the years, and attended many of their matches when I could.
I also “helped” out by playing for them in pre-season friendlies when they were low on personnel.
So, I was delighted to participate when asked to play in the game (notwithstanding knees creaking).
I recently spoke to Willie, who now resides just outside Kennoway in Fife.
“I had many, many great years at St James,” he said.
“I was asked to run the team by Gordon Payne, and brought in other great servants such as Alec White, Billy Carroll, Dave Mitchell and others.
“Perhaps our great feat at the time was winning the Bremner Cup when still a Division Two team, beating Broughty United 2-1 in the final on their own patch at the Esplanade.”
The testimonial came about when Willie wanted just one last game in the St James colours.
He revealed: “I was very friendly with Jim McLean and Wattie Smith at Dundee United, and asked them if they could put a team together.
“Wattie said to leave it to him, and he did me proud with some of the players he brought along.
“Legendary Dundee winger Hugh Robertson was also due to play, but he called off at the last minute.
“It really was a wonderful, wonderful evening – and a great memory.”
Many photographs were taken at the game, and I’ve shared a few with you – all from Willie’s special scrapbook commemorating the event.
Jack Charlton, who died in July, seemed to be one of those guys in football who was almost universally liked by everyone.
An England World Cup winner, top domestic honours with Leeds United and revered in the Republic of Ireland from his time as manager of their national team, he also tirelessly campaigned for workers’ rights, especially during the miners strikes.
Former policeman Bob Donaldson, late of Dundee CID, fondly remembers him, too.
He recalled: “In 1989, I was part of the Paul Sturrock testimonial committee.
“We put on many events throughout that year, but one of the main ones was Luggy’s sell-out
dinner in the old Angus Hotel in Dundee.
“Jack Charlton was a speaker at the event, as was his brother Bobby.
“This was, indeed, rare for them to be at the same event.
“Jack was brilliant and really stood out.
“Other speakers were comedian Bill Barclay, cricketer Ian Botham and Sheriff Irvine Smith.
“Jim McLean spoke at the dinner, too.”
Bob continued: “Jack was great and the audience loved his stories.
“I remember later on that night seeing Jack sitting in a corner with Craig Brown, sharing a
bottle of wine.
“I’m sure they had great tales to tell each other.
“However, my abiding image of that night was catching a glimpse of Jack walking down Union Street in the early hours of the morning with a framed SS Discovery print under his arm – a gift all speakers received.”
Billy Semple signing for Dundee?
After nearly nine years at Rangers, winger Semple (26) was freed in April 1972 after playing just a handful of first-team games.
To be fair, competition at the time for wing berths came in the shape of Willie Henderson, Willie Johnston, Davie Wilson and Tommy McLean.
He then had a brief spell with Durban United in South Africa before Davie White, his former boss at Ibrox, took him to Dens Park.
In his 18 months as a Dark Blue, he made just five starts for the first team, and listed as a substitute 14 times.
Continuing our look back at some of the old Sporting Queries, which were so popular in the Sporting Post.
SPQ – In November 1996, “Forfar Loon” asked: Please detail a Scottish Cup tie around the early 1950s when Forfar beat Dundee United.
SPA – Dundee United 1 (Crawford og), Forfar 3 (Martin, Dunn, Craig) in the first round at Tannadice on October 23, 1954.
Dundee United – Edmiston; Bell, Cross; Stewart, Arnold, Callaghan; Murphy, Stenhouse, Coyle, Grant, McIvor.
Forfar – Rough; Berrie, Blyth; Stewart, Crawford, Elder; Currie, Craig, Dunn, Allsopp, Martin.