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An Away Trip

I remember football.

(Just.)

I remember away games.

(Dimly.)

The reason for our visit up north via Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven and finally Aberdeen last January was for one such away game; Sons’ 4th Round Scottish Cup tie at Pittodrie on 18/1/20.

Ticket to Aberdeen - Dumbarton Scottish Cup Tie, January 2020

Before the game we met up with my younger son and his wife, who were making a day of it, in a pub in Aberdeen city centre for some lunch. The pub had also attracted other Sons fans:-

Dumbarton F C Fans in Aberdeen Pub

They don’t half make a fuss before a game at Pittodrie.

Razzmattazz prior to Scottish Cup tie, Aberdeen v Dumbarton, 18/1/20:-

Razzmattazz at Pittodrie, 18/1/20

More Razzmattazz, Pittodrie, 18/1/20

Teams coming out:-

Dumbarton F C at Pittodrie, 18/1/20

Sons players:-

Pittodrie, 18/1/20, Dumbarton F C Before Game

Teams line up, Pittodrie, 18/1/20

Apart from the result it was a good day out.

I wonder when I’ll be able to have another away day.

Suspended

I was looking forward to actually seeing a Sons game again tomorrow.

However today’s suspension of Scottish football below its top two tiers means that it will now not be until February 13th when the home game against Montrose is due – or just possibly the 9th if the Cup game against Huntly is scheduled for then – that I will have that pleasure.

With the coronavirus now spreading at a higher rate than ever I suppose this was an inevitable decision. People’s safety must be the main priority.

It’s still a blow to morale, though.

The Doc

So 2020 continued to be a miserable sod right till the end, when it took Tommy Docherty away from us.

The Doc was probably most famous for being manager of Manchester Uinted though he had previous spells at Chelsea and other clubs, plus as Scotland manager. After Man U he managed seven more clubs.

His senior playing career began at Celtic but he could not displace Parkhead legend Bobby Evans from the team and moved south to Preston North End and later Chelsea.

He played for Scotland 25 times including in the 1954 World Cup (but we’ll swiftly draw a veil over the 7-0 defeat to Uruguay – I read once of a player’s recollection that the Scotland team were in heavy woollen jerseys as if playing in winter rather than the heat of a Swiss summer and were shod in big old-fashioned boots – with the Uruguayans in more modern footwear he described as like slippers in comparison. We were lucky it was only seven was the verdict.)

It was as a manager that The Doc made the most impact, taking over a very declined Man United and not able to turn the club’s fortunes round till after a relegation but leading them to a swift – one season – return to the top flight and then to an FA Cup win against Liverpool (denying that club what would have been a first ever treble by any English side.) Who knows what might have transpired if The Doc had not had an affair with the wife of the club’s physio Laurie Brown and as a consequence got the sack? (I note from the obituaries that Docherty was still married to Mary Brown when he died.)

Despite plying his trade mostly in England Docherty, like most of his ilk, remained a proud Scot.

There was a tale told – I think it was of Joe Donnelly, Dumbarton’s perennial substitute in the 1971-1972 season (only one sub allowed in those days and that for injury) that the player had once been involved in an altercation with an English team mate who had called him a “Scottish b*****d.” Docherty, as their manager, took them into his office, got them to settle the matter reasonably amicably then let the Englishman leave the room. Whereon he immediately turned to Donnelly and said, “You didn’t hit him hard enough.”

A character, then.

Thomas Henderson (Tommy) Docherty (The Doc): 24/4/1928 – 31/12/2020. So it goes.

Dumbarton Rock, Dumbarton Football Club and Dumbarton Football Stadium

Someone on the football forum Pie & Bovril posted this video as seen on You Tube and made by a user called Footy Adventures.

It had great views of Dumbarton Rock and The Rock. Not to mention the town and surroundings.

The video does have an advert for a company selling replica shirts embedded in it though.

PS. I can confirm that from Annbank (over the River Clyde,) Dumbarton Rock does look like a recumbent elephant.

Dumbarton 0-1 Dunfermline Athletic

Scottish League Cup,* Group E, The Rock, 6/10/20.

Football!

It’s back!

At our level anyway.

It seems their goal was a dodgy penalty. Or at least a disputed one. Welcome back to the same old, same old.

*Betfred Cup if you must.

Sons New (Now Old) Away Strip, 2019-2020

As seen at Galabank, Annan Athletic FC.

A fairly boring thing really, all white with black trimmings:-

Dumbarton FC New Away Strip, 2019-2020

Galabank

Just in case you (and I) had forgotten what a football ground looked like, these are pictures taken at Sons’ first game of last season, the League Cup tie at Galabank, home of Annan Athletic FC.

Ground as seen from road from town centre:-

Galabank As seen From South

Entrance:-

Entrance to Galabank, Annan Athletic FC

Annan Athletic Club Logo on Galabank’s gates:-

Annan Athletic Club Logo

Galabank From North. Ground is in background beyond gates at the left of the picture:-

Galabank From North

Pitch at Galabank, from northeast:-

Pitch at Galabank, From Northeast

From northwest corner looking south, showing pitch-side stand:-

Galabank From Northwest Corner Looking South

Northwest corner:-

Galabank From Northwest Corner

From southeast:-

Galabank From Southeast

From southwest corner:-

Galabank From Southwest Corner

Looking north:-

Galabank Looking North

South enclosure:-

Galabank South Enclosure

Football. The Lost Game.

Normally at this time on a Saturday I’m composing a post on how well Sons have done that day. (Or not as the case may be.)

I wonder when I’ll do that again.

It’s not even like a close season (a normal close season) when you know exactly when you can go to a game again. Football (lower league football, with crowds; without crowds is a total non-starter) will be one of the last things to return to normal. The risk with even small numbers of people in anything resembling close proximity for 90 minutes plus added time is just too great.

Still, the club seems to be looking ahead as it’s already planning what next season’s home strip will be. (There might not be a next season, of course.) None of the choices is very appealing. If not a white strip with black and gold trimmings/bands/stripes I wish we could at least have a black and gold strip, instead of yellow; but at our level beggars can’t be choosers and we can only go with what strip manufacturers offer.

The crowd funding campaign has reached over £18,000 but is still about £6,500 short of its target.

Worrying times.

Crowdfunding Sons

In these dark days of no football and nothing to light up (or darken) Saturday afternoons, thoughts can easily turn to gloom.

This is especially so since there is a real prospect that without an income stream for what would have been the remainder of the season many clubs – Sons included – could struggle to survive.

In a generous gesture the staff and players have already agreed to defer half the wages they were due, which will go some way to ease the financial pressures on the club.

However that was always unlikely to be enough. To enable fans to play a part in (with hope) tiding the club over scary times, a crowdfunding page has been set up for them – and others – to contribute towards helping Dumbarton FC as a club through a difficult time.

Yes, I have already donated.

Aberdeen 1-0 Dumbarton

Scottish Cup* Fourth Round, Pittodrie Stadium, 18/1/20.

Once again, we wuz robbed.

After Sons had held out for 87 minutes Aberdeen’s striker Sam Cosgrove went over like a sack of spuds in the penalty box. (Well, he’d been falling over every time a Sons player came near him all game so why would he give up the habit with three minutes to go?) Once again the ref bought it. And Cosgrove put away the penalty.

So, despite not a shot on target and only one corner won in the whole game – and that almost into stoppage time – one of the best Sons displays in the last few years ended up without reward. Defensively we were brilliant. Okay maybe they had thirteen or so chances – but they only caused Conor Brennan in our goal to exert himself about three times.

This Aberdeen side was a pale shadow of the team we played in the Cup Quarter-Final (six years ago now,) ponderous, unimaginative, plodding, but we’re not even a patch on what we were back then (as I said to my son during the game we’re not even a darn on that side) so this was a magnificent performance. It deserved better reward than a dodgy penalty against with three minutes to go. But them’s the breaks when you’re a wee team.

Again the assembled Sons fans trotted out those old favourites “What a shitey home support,” “We forgot that you were here,” “SPL, you’re having a laugh,” (admittedly that one’s really out of date now) and “You only sing when you’re winning.” Instead of Jamie Langfield it was that same Sam Cosgrove who was told, “you’re a wanker, you’re a wanker.”

Notwithstanding the final result it was a great day out. That sense of togetherness in the away section and the support for the team were both superb.

*William Hill Scottish Cup,

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