Hall of Fame Inductees 2019

Ian Mathers

Ian made his debut in 1968 and continued to turn out, initially for some 12 years and then occasionally in the late 80s and early 90s with the Fife XI, finishing with an outing with the Midlands XI in 1995.  Ian was in the team which won the club’s one and only Gray Trophy in 1978 with a surprise 5-0 win in the final against the mighty Auchterhouse team of the era.  It was probably one of the club’s finest ever performances up to that time. Ian was also a member of the team which was very unlucky to lose the Fife Amateur Cup final to Windygates at Central Park, Cowdenbeath two years later.

Ian served on club committee from 1972 to 1978 and played a major role in the construction of the pavilion at the Canniepairt which allowed us to move from East Common where the club had always played.

After the club achieved Junior status Ian negotiated sponsorship from his employers at the time, the construction giant Wimpey, who would be the shirt sponsor for the first of the club’s six Scottish Cup final appearances.

For the last twenty five years Ian has been the driving force behind the club’s Saturday morning early touches coaching sessions for primary school age youngsters.

Known to his contemporaries as the Provost, Ian, a former chairman of the Tayport Community Council, has more recently been the motivation behind the town’s Christmas lights display and is currently the driving force behind efforts to provide the town with a heritage trail which we’re sure will include somewhere a reference to the club. Ian Mathers…a worthy addition to the Hall of Fame

Bruce Burnett

Bruce made his debut in April 1976 as a 15 year old, substituting, would you believe, for Chas Anderson in a match v Strathkinness Amateurs on East Common. Whilst Chas would never squeeze into a strip again, no problem to Bruce who would go on to play in another 434 games for the club, scoring 271 goals.

And, although not quite unique, Bruce is one of only three players to turn out competitively for all four of the club’s teams, Midlands, Fife, Alliance and Juniors in a career stretching into 1992.

 Bruce scored an amazing 17 goals in the club’s 12 game run to the final of the Scottish Amateur Cup at Dens Park in 1986, including a record 6 goals in the 8-0 4th round replay win v Croda Star at Newtongrange after the sides had drawn 0-0 on Canniepairt.

Included in Bruce’s cup and league successes with the club throughout his playing career, is being part of the team which won the Jacques Vandebosch International Trophy in Belgium in 1982. Bruce’s visits Belgium continued an association with players and officials of the local club in Ougree, Liege which extends to this day.

In addition to his playing career with the club, Bruce was also a member of the club’s committee for a number of years in the late 80s and early 90s.

Bruce Burnett another worthy entry into the HoF

Andy Sommerville

During season 1990/91, the club’s first season in the Juniors, joint team managers at the time, the present club chairman Dave Baikie and Peter Marr along with assistant Ronnie Robb realised what the team needed was a commanding centre half and there was no more commanding centre half on the Tayside scene than one Andy Sommerville. Only problem was…Andy was playing with Downfield. The Spiders were reluctant to lose Andy but Baikie was determined to get his man and after protracted negotiations and a bob or two for a transfer fee, Tayport secured Andy’s signature.

The description colossus is often used to describe centre halves who not only dominated their defensive back line but could weigh in with their share of goals from set pieces. Andy was such a player for Tayport.

Andy or big Andy as fans knew him, played 179 games from 1991 to 1995 and was the inspirational captain who led Tayport to the club’s first ever Scottish Junior Cup Final at Firhill in 1993.

 Andy was equally inspirational as club manager for a very successful period from 1998 to 2001 during which the club played 137 games won 112 and lost only 12.  We read in the newspapers this week that Brendan Rodgers had a 69% success rate at Celtic, well Andy had a 81% success rate as Tayport manager.

Andy Sommerville, a true legend and fully deserving of a place in the club’s HoF.

Fraser Mann

As manager Baikie… no joint manager label by now… was building his team during that first season in the Tayside Junior FA and as well as the requirement to sign a central defender he also recognised the need to secure an able and dependable goalkeeper.

In that first season, in cup games against Lochee United he had been impressed by their keeper, Fraser Mann.  We could speculate that Fraser might have been tapped, but then again, would Baiker be involved in such a practice? We wouldn’t think so! But Fraser did sign for ‘Port at the end of that season. We’d to think it was because big brother Fergus had previously played for the Tayport Alliance team!

Fraser would be the team’s number 1 for the next eight seasons. His record was pretty phenomenal. 380 games. And no sore back problems for Fraser, as in 232 of these games, he kept a clean sheet.

Not much need for a reserve goalie either because in these eight seasons, Fraser hardly missed a game. Indeed for five and a half years, he missed out only twice in a run of 272 games.

 Signing for Tayport was literally a life changer for Fraser. When he signed for Tayport, he signed for life.  He bought a house in Tayport, started a business n Tayport and further boosted Fife’s council tax income by bringing his late in-laws across here to stay.

Posthumous Inductees

The club has suffered two great losses in the very recent past with the untimely deaths of club stalwarts, Andy Robertson, better known in football circles of course as Bunt, and John Aitken, the committeeman with more contacts than a fuseboard. Dedicated guys which any club would have difficulty replacing.

Andy Robertson

Andy was a football man through and through.  An ardent Dundee FC fan, Andy was a mere ten years old at Muirton Park, Perth when he saw Dundee beat St Johnstone to become Scottish Champions in 1962 for the one and only time.  [As, by the way, was Ian Mathers].

Several years further on, Andy’s enthusiasm for the game saw him and several contemporaries get involved with his beloved Tayport FC.  Andy was subsequently elected to the club’s committee at the AGM in 1973 and despite future working commitments at home and throughout the world, remained on the committee or was involved in a semi-official role with the club for the rest of his life.  Sponsor, consultant, grafter…you name it he would have done it. 

He was enthusiastic in pursuing the club’s efforts to re-locate to Canniepairt some 45 years ago and only a few months ago he was also calling the numbers at the club’s Bingo sessions. He was using his professional know-how to facilitate the re-location of the former Tayport Thistle changing accommodation from Shanwell Road to Canniepairt. Indeed, a mere two weeks prior to his death last summer, at his instigation, he led a club representation in a meeting with legal advisers with a view to taking the Canniepairt into ownership of the club for the dual benefit of club and community.

Although Andy didn’t get involved in the playing side…his only two appearances were games v Morgan FP in October 1973 and three years later a cameo appearance v Newport…he did enjoy taking part in training sessions. He was an ambassador for the club wherever he travelled and that was pretty much the four corners of the globe, but probably some of his most memorable were the trips to Belgium with the team and to Wembley with the committee.

John Aitken

There’s little doubt John would become involved in the local football club. After all, his dad played, as did his Uncle Andy (Johnstone). Not only that but he married Gillian, youngest daughter of the late Jim Rodger, who had received amateur international recognition by Scotland and who had played with Broughty Athletic and Wormit before ending his career with Tayport.

So, football was in the blood. John played for all three of the club’s sides Midlands, Fife and Alliance, chalking up over 150 appearances in the 1980s including all three matches in Belgium in 1987.

 At the club he was always known as big John to differentiate between himself and wee John (…John Anderson) although big John wasn’t that big and wee John wasn’t that wee. 

John made a load of contacts during his playing days and that stood him in good stead when he joined the committee. John always knew somebody who knew somebody who could give a hand here and give a hand there. Came in very handy.

As the years rolled on, several long serving committee retired in 2016. It was then John came into his own, stepping up to become a driving force on that committee to take the club forward. Tragically it wasn’t to last, John being struck down by cancer,  that dreadful disease which had also seen the club lose three other key committee during the previous few years. As we know, he didn’t give in easily and continued to make a sterling contribution to the club in his own inimitable fashion. Another worthy entry to the club’s Hall of Fame.

The Team Award for entry into the HoF

The significance of the club’s Bremner Cup win is that it was the first Cup that the club, as we know it today, won.

Bremner Cup Winners 1958/59

As we know, the club was founded and joined the Midlands AFA in 1947, following a breakaway from the soon to become defunct Tayport Violet.  In those early years, cup and league winning occasions for Tayport in the Midlands were as scarce as Sandy getting in the first round, therefore winning the Bremner Cup in 1959 after 11 barren years was a milestone event for Tayport FC. Even more so as they became the first club, and for many years, the only second division side to win the Bremner.   It would be exactly 20 years before the club would again get its name engraved on the trophy.

In an association dominated by the giants of the local amateur game at that time such as YM Anchorage, NCR and Broughty United, the cup win that season was an occasion which remained a fond lifetime memory for those involved. 

Tayport finished that season six points from the foot of league division 2 but Lady Luck was clearly shining on Tayport in the Bremner Cup. First round, a bye into the last 16. 2nd round a walkover as opponents Balgay scratched. Quarter final, a 6-3 win over fellow 2nd division side Monifieth.  When drawn at home to first division championship runners-up Broughty United in the semi-final, the run looked to have hit the buffers, particularly as Mrs Jellye, mother of legendary keeper Bill Jellye emerged through the Plowter from Linksfield on to the East Common  waving a green jersey calling …yoo hoo, Bill can’t play, here’s his jersey, he’s away to London.

Big John Payne, known to all as Champagne, had to play in goal. The locals played the game of their lives, winning 4-0 with goals from Ronnie Moyes (2), Kenny Keir and Bert Aitken.  It was later learned that the match referee had overheard three Broughty players in the train coming across from Dundee for the game discussing who they would be meeting in the final. Whether or not Broughty had a couple of goals ruled out for offside and several penalty claims turned down, is not recorded!

On to the final, played on a Friday night at Invergowrie and a 2-1 win over Morgan FP and then back to Tayport on the 11.15 train. Of course pubs closed early in those days but Bell Rock publican Dick Beattie kept the upstairs room in the pub open, telling the players and fans, “it’s ok, I’ve seen the Police and they won’t be bothering us”.  Many folk still worked on a Saturday in those days and some guys probably didn’t make their work next morning.

In these present times, Scottish clubs can have South Americans, Europeans, Africans and indeed players from all over the world in their side.  Tayport maybe didn’t have any foreign imports but they did have a couple of RAF imports playing for the cup winning team.  There are no club records from this era and 60 years is a long time so info is sketchy.

What we do know is that a guy called Bunting played at inside left and the right half back at No 4 was a ginger haired guy. The rest of the team was familiar though, John Payne, Ray Calder, Henry Philip, Jim Mathers, Jim Rae, alias the Fox, Ronnie Moyes, Kevin Harte, Kenny Keir and Bert Aitken. Most of the guys are now playing in that big stadium in the sky but we are delighted to have with us tonight, two surviving members of the team who carved out that first success for the club 60 years ago this year, Ray Calder and Bert Aitken.

Unfortunately Kevin Harte cannot be with us. We are also delighted to have with us tonight, sons and a nephew of members of that team, Angus Calder, Dave Aitken, Billy Moyes, and Ian Mathers.

The team certificate will now be displayed in the lounge at the club pavilion