Although they had been there or thereabouts for several years, Tayport had never won the Midlands AFA Championship. This would change in season 1981/82 when the club won its solitary top division title by the slimmest of margins, pipping SMT by virtue of a better goal difference.
As always, the season had been preceded by the club’s Annual General Meeting in June 1981 which had been held in the Small Gregory Hall with an attendance of 20. Apologies for absence had been received from five members of committee , all of whom had expressed a desire to be re-elected.
W Payne (pictured above) E Stewart, I Cougan, A J Oswald and R (Bobby) Wilson were unanimously re-elected to posts of Honorary President, Chairman, Vice-chairman, Secretary and Treasurer respectively. Elected to the committee were Eric Beat, Alastair Oswald, David Ayre, Kenny Coutts, Fred Bremner, Bobby Waddell, Stewart Ritchie, Jim Herd, Robert Watson, Ross Macmillan, Drew Herd, Alex Dargie, Peter Wilson and Alan Hart.
The Secretary’s Report for the season just finished noted that “disappointment was widespread over the club’s failure to annexe the [Midlands] title, despite leading the table from first game up to their last game.”
Tayport had led from first day up to the last day of the season but were pipped by Harris FP on goal difference after drawing their last game at home v Timex FC. Tayport had boasted the best defence in the league but Harris had scored 20 more goals in their 24 games
The Committee decided to dispense with the services of the team manager Mr Harry Pringle. It was also noted that the club were inaugural winners the North East Fife District Council Sports Council’s Super Team competition. The secretary also paid tribute to Messrs Partoncraig Transport for their financial help throughout the season.
The Treasurer reported an end of season credit balance of approx. £400. Main items of expenditure had been the dressing room extension, a new drain and match expenses, the latter being down to running a third team in the East Fife AFA.
The Chairman intimated that subject to the agreement of the meeting, Eric Sinclair, the Dundee FC player, be appointed club trainer for the Monday and Thursday sessions. This was unanimously agreed upon [no surprise there!]
The Chairman also intimated that the position of team manager would be discussed at the first meeting of the new committee.
Item 16 at the next committee meeting, after debate on 15 other items, such as appointment of Davie Hughes to the committee to take up the role of ‘social adviser’ [?], re-harling of pavilion, bingo rota, new club badge, club golf tournament, Golden Goals fundraiser, invitation to play in Belgium, Summer Dance, pitches, pitch side barrier, improvement of lighting for training, purchase of aluminium portable goals for £279, condition of pavilion roof, the meeting eventually got round to the vacant manager position.
The chairman explained there were two contenders, Peter Wilson and Drew Herd. “After a full discussion and after a proposal by D Ayre to postpone making a decision had failed, a vote was taken. Kenny Coutts, seconded by Alan Hart, proposed Peter Wilson but it was defeated by Iain Cougan’s proposal, seconded by Fred Bremner, to appoint Drew Herd. Drew Herd was thus appointed to the post of club manager.”
The Drew Herd / Eric Sinclair partnership (pictured above) was to prove a winner. Into the squad came a number of new faces such as youngsters Angus Charity, Philip Smith, Gus Malone, Kevin Murphy, Allan Harte, Jimmy Bissett and Micky McPherson.
Because of bad weather in December and January and 13 cup-ties prior to March, Tayport were required to play exactly half their league programme, 12 games, and also fit in a visit to Belgium during April and May.
Tayport went into their last game of the season v Dundee YMCA on the Canniepairt on Monday 24th May knowing that, such was their superior goal difference, they could afford to lose the game and still be crowned champions. And that was exactly what happened, YMCA won 2-0. One of the few times a club would celebrate a defeat! Venue for said celebrations was the Tayport Arms.
27 players pulled on a shirt for a league game that season with only centre half Bobby Wilson (above) playing in every game. Others playing in at least half the fixtures were Phil Smith (23), Ian Howe (23), Gus Malone (22), Ronnie Stewart (22), Angus Charity (20), Alan Hart (20), Kevin Murphy (19), Jim Bissett (16), Kenny Smith (14), Allan Harte (14), Jim Downie (12)
Gus Malone was top scorer with 12 of the 59 league goals followed by Ian Howe (11), Allan Harte (8) and Kenny Smith (8).
Three go Senior
Three of the side would go on to have successful Senior careers. Phil Smith (above) played 197 games for Forfar Athletic, Gus Malone 197 games for Brechin City and Cowdenbeath and Bobby Wilson, who also moved to Brechin City, played 60 games for the Glebe Park club.
The Secretary’s Report at the Annual General Meeting in June 1982 noted that it had been the club’s most successful season ever, winning the Midlands Championship for the first time, the International Trophy in Belgium and reaching the North of Tay Cup semi final for the first time. Manager Drew Herd and Coach Eric Sinclair were singled out for praise for their part in the club’s success.
Early season 1981/82 pic. Back (l-r) Bruce Burnett, Ronnie Stewart, Gus Malone, Alan Gray, Angus Charity, Brian Simpson, Alan Hart, Neil Downie. Front – Drew Herd, Ian Howe, Willie Smith, Bobby Wilson, Phil Smith and Peter Cuthill.
Back (l-r) Bruce Burnett, Rab Downie, Barry Toner, Bobby Wilson, Angus Charity, Phil Smith, Gus Malone, Alan Hart, Neil Downie. Front – Kevin Murphy, Kenny Smith, Colin Gray, Jimmy Bissett, Ian Howe, Allan Harte.
Phil Smith, Bobby Wilson and Gus Malone may not have got into Europe with Forfar Athletic, Brechin City or Cowdenbeath FC but here they are (above) in Liege in April 1982. with Tayport.
Tayport won the Ougree International Tournament with three wins against Belgian and Italian opponents. Tayport also picked up the award for the Tournament’s Best Defence while Allan Harte received the Player of the Tournament Award and Phil Smith the Young Player of the Tournament Award.
The team which won the league when losing 1-0 to YMCA on the Canniepairt on Monday 24th May 1982. Back (l-r) Eric Sinclair, Micky McPherson, Bobby Wilson, Gus Malone, Angus Charity, Phil Smith, Jim Downie, Ronnie Stewart, Alan Hart. Front – Rab Downie, Colin Gray, Jim Bissett, Kevin Murphy, Kenny Smith, Allan Harte, Ian Howe, Drew Herd.
Tayport FC – Midlands AFA Champions 1981-1982
Back (l-r) -Eddie Stewart, Alastair Oswald, David Ayre, Jimmy Herd, Ross McMillan, Abby Oswald, Iain Cougan, Eck Beat.
Middle – Kenny Coutts, Brian Simpson, Colin Gray, Jim Downie, Phil Smith, Angus Charity, Bobby Wilson, Ronnie Stewart, Neil Downie, Drew Herd
Front – Allan Harte, Kenny Smith, Gus Malone, Alan Hart, Ian Howe, Jim Bissett, Bruce Burnett, Rab Downie
Angus Charity. 33 games in season 1981/82
Post-match celebrations in full swing in Ponderosa. I -r Doug Paterson, Ian Howe, Alan Hart, Eric Sinclair and Gordon Fyfe
Ken Smith, Jim Bissett, Dougie Hill and Drew Herd
Goalie Angus Charity with chairman Eddie Stewart
1981-82 Presentation Evening
Phil Smith receives his Player of the Year Award from Dundee FC’s George McGeachie
1981/82 Presentation Evening
Auld Harty, the skipper , is presented with the League Shield by Dundee FC’s George McGeachie
1981/82 Presentation Evening
Jim Herd, the latest in line for the Toilet Seat Award
Rab Downie and Jim Bissett
Full back Ronnie Stewart 22 appearances and 1 – vital – goal
Overworked bar staff in Pondy as celebrations continue
Colin Gray… made debut 1st team start in crucial midweek win over YM Anchorage
Topped Tayport’s scoring chart for League goals in 1981-82 before going Senior with Brechin City and Cowdenbeath and then playing with a host of Junior clubs, before turning out again in Tayport colours, playing for the Juniors as late as 25 years later in season 2006/07
Tayport FC coach, Dundee FC legend Eric Sinclair, celebrates the title win in the Tayport Arms aka Ponderosa, with (from left) Ian Howe, Ken Smith, Phil Smith, Drew Herd and Alan Gray.
Committee with League Shield in Pondy bar. l-r Abby Oswald, Drew Herd, Jim Herd, Iain Cougan, Chas Anderson, David Ayre, Alastair (Hercs) Oswald, Jim Lindsay, Robert ‘Winker’ Watson.
A more formal 1981-82 committee pic
Back – Kenny Coutts, Eddie Stewart,D Ayre, Eck Beat, I Cougan.
Front – A J Oswald, J Herd, A D Oswald, Ross Macmillan.
Team Captain Alan Hart receives the 1981-82 Midlands AFA’s Championship Shield from MAFA General Secretary Russell Powrie