Blether: Top players came out of Douglas Boys Club, but the star was Brian Alderson

Our recent stories on ‘crab’ football prompted another aficionado of this unique game to get in touch.

Davy Gow had a good career in local football in the 60s and 70s, playing for sides such as East Craigie juniors and Maryfield United juveniles (with whom he won the Scottish Cup) — and he remembers playing crab football in his teens.

Davy Gow, who leads the story below, is in their East Craigie Junior FC team photo from June 1979. Back row (from left) — Low, Castle, Brown, Beatson, Smith, Gow, Davidson, Campbell, Strachan. Front row — Phinn, Grieve, Bannon, Connaghan, Markie, Mitchell, Smith (trainer).
Also in the photo is Johnny Markie, subject of a number of BwB tales over the past few months.

He said: “In answer to your story on crab football and the Balerno Street club, the club was called Douglas Boys Club.

“They ran U/16 and U/18 football teams, managed by Pat Casciane and Mick Colgan.

“Some of the players involved in the club during my time went on to play in junior and senior teams.

“Players such as Billy McLuskey, Bobby Rice, Charlie McDonald, Dennis Brown, Jake Faulkner, Neil Scally, Bobby Hopcroft, Bobby Buchan and George ‘Podge’ Falconer.

“The crab football was played on Monday nights by some of the younger lads aged 13-14.

“I seem to remember a young John Brown playing!”

Davy, of Lilybank Terrace, Dundee, explained: “The soft ‘ball’ was used so that there wasn’t any damage done to the gym.

“The star of the crab football game was, undoubtedly, Brian Alderson, that lovely lad who left us so early. Brian could ‘skelp’ the cloth ball with both feet and was so naturally gifted. Of course, he went on to have a great senior career.”

Brian Alderson

Flying winger Brian Alderson played junior football with Lochee Harp and went south to Coventry as a teenager (around 1969-70).

He had eight years in the top flight in England and also played with West Bromwich Albion.

America then beckoned and he enjoyed spells with New England Tea Men and Atlanta Chiefs. Sadly, he passed away in 1997, aged just 47.

I met Andy Farrell at a function and he remembered taking part in the crab football competitions at the Douglas club.

He said: “That was a great club, and these were great times.

“Brilliant players were members such as Alex Bruce, Lawrie Blyth and brothers Frankie and Tommy Campbell.”

Original contributor Jim Mitchell came back on and said Tommy Campbell suggested crab football was also played in the St Pius school in Douglas on a Thursday night.

He also claimed the St Pius lads played a ‘Numbers’ game, but I have no info on that.

Maybe someone can fill in the gaps?

 

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