Throw Back Thursday
Another Saints Alumni looks back fondly on their time with the Football Club in this week’s greatest ever Saints 11. This time we hear from popular alumnus Charles “the cat” Devlin on who makes it into his team……and dugout!
While we’re all trapped in this modern day Elba, unable to grace the Auld Grey Toun this weekend, it seems fitting to be trawling the facebook of my peers, with the backdrops of the Raisin and Dundee buses the order of the day.
Nostalgia just ain’t what it used to be.
As the greatest lyricist of our age Oscar Foxley said of St. Andrews;
“I’m sorry if I reminisce all the time, forgive me that’s just who I am,
But right from the start there’s a place in my heart,
For the town that would make me a man”
Some huge names miss out. But what this side currently lacks in strength, depth, fitness and finesse, I’m sure it will be made up for by an unwavering dedication to the cause, pride in the jersey and some tough no nonsense talking and tackling. An entirely predictable and uncultured 4-5-1 the chosen formation, although none of these men are famous for following the rules. The number of caps on the table here is obscene, this correspondent estimates well in excess of 1,000 Saints’ caps for these 11 players.
Duncan Peter Monteith- Goalkeeper
Duncan flew into the club getting fully stuck into all things St Andrews in his first year. While he’s now making a career for himself outfield it was as goalkeeper that he received his first Scottish Unis call up. His later one was in centre midfield. His first game was away to Stirling. In a 5-4 thrilling victory for the Saints, Duncan saved 3 (THREE) penalties, given away by a defender for whom stay on your feet was very much seen as purely advisory (hiya!).
An amazing shot stopper, his distribution was superb and he was a great voice behind the defensive line. Definitely the first name on the team sheet.
Steve Deland- Right back (Captain)
If Gary Neville and Paolo Maldini had ever had a love child from down Tynecastle way, it would have been Steve Deland. A marauding right back, hard in the tackle although not as hard as he is on himself on a rare mistake. A pleasure to play with both in defense and attack, and an incredible administrator and motivator, hence why he takes the armband for this buccaneering rabble.
Nathan Meade- Centre Half
Fresh-faced but ready for the battle right from the off. A teetotaller on appearance in the East Neuk, he quickly became hooked on Quinns, a fermented fruit drink made only with natural juices. At £3.65 it was the most expensive item in the Raisin at the time and two of these 4.5% badboys were enough to get Nathan a bit wavey.
Unbelievable in the air and class on the deck, a cracking man to have at the heart of defence.
Pressley Orhue- Centre Half
While more famous further up the pitch, especially for those with Champ Man 03/04, where his stats at Cowdenbeath got him a transfer to clubs all around the globe in his pomp, Pressley’s no nonsense defending became a trademark of his latter years. One remarkable away day to Edinburgh, after a few shandies in Fat Sams the night before, it took us until half-time to realise that the reason Pres seemed somewhat disoriented was that he had been listening to music the entire time, on what was then the modern device, an ipod shuffle. Completely unphased by our suggestions that he take the music out, he continued for 6 minutes in the second half before being given an early bath by the referee. Happy hardcore took on a new meaning as Pres grinned while removing the left lung from their centre forward without anaesthetic. All this occurred after his centre back partner had not bothered returning after an attacking corner (hiya!) It was incredibly reassuring that last year, at the ball weekend, Pres and the Cloud were told in no uncertain terms at the door of the hallowed union that their lifetimes bans from 2005 were still active. While Covid stalks the land and prisoners are being let out on remand across the globe, it’s good to know that to the St Andrews Union, life truly does mean life.
Gregor “neebor” Smith- Left Back
Neebs arrived as a fresh-faced youth before St Andrews broke his gentle spirit and turned him into the man he is today. His first away game was back to his home town of Aberdeen with his Chartreuse coloured Toyota Starlet, boldly called the Green Machine. In the days before google maps became ubiquitous, neebs knew best. After we arrived at the same tesco car park for the 3rd time in half an hour, there was some panic in the ranks. But neebs cool head and neeborly ways got us out of trouble by asking the trolley attendant and off we went again. Truly a key worker that day.
Neebs cultured left peg and good football brain slots him into this team in the left back berth.
Sean “Pidge” Convery- Left Wing
After the inevitable double take on his name, pidge brings some footballing nouse and honest heart to the side on the flanks. Never afraid to take on a man on the outside, or just take a Fifer outside.
Confident on either wing or up top, a key man in any Saints team of this era.
John Barnabas Twaddle- Centre Midfield
Coach called him crazy legs. Launched, Bambi like, onto the smooth luxurious rink of St Leonards’ field for Freshers trials, and the results were outstanding. With his flatmate Jesse Mo, Twads was as comfortable in uni competitions as he was in the majesty of the Fife league, where his neeborly chat wasn’t always appreciated by Fife’s finest.
In the centre of the park his willingness to get stuck in and do a shift as well as being a quick mind who utilises the ball well make Twads a superb addition to any side in the centre of the park.
Fraser Graham- Centre Midfield
Heart and the jersey. Despite his Saints’ career being cruelly cut short by being a filthy medic, Fraz made up for it by being the heart and soul of all he did. Running games from the centre of the park, and happy to have a scrap with his own team as any passing Barrys, his long flowing locks became legendary round the fields of Fife, with Dalgety Bay being outraged that “goldilocks” scored a hat trick against them.
In the centre of this team as without him the lack of pace and fitness is a little too obvious. And what a gentleman and scholar to have in there.
Glenn Johnston- Right Wing
Club captain for a year, this assist-meister was comfortable on either wing. With a record 47,364 assists, all of which he can describe to you in detail, you just can’t leave him out. One of his “assists” for a goal in Aberdeen was from a corner. Did he take the corner? No. Did he flick it onto the eventual scorer? No. Did he even win the corner in the first place I hear you ask? Not so much. His “assist” on this occasion was to tell the eventual scorer (hiya!) to “go win it”. With his record number of assists, alongside being top of the Fife League division 1 for yellow cards, every single one for dissent, Glenn can’t be not be in this freewheeling piratical side.
James Fazackerley- Trequartista
Who could forget the glory days of 2008, when Faz was just delivering pure content on his faceyB with such unforgettable posts as , “if anyone wants to come to the Melville Christmas Ball tomorrow night let me know I have a spare wristbanddddd.” and “enjoyed getting his bead on in Dundee”. A legendarily free thinker who wears his heart on his sleeve.
Pure class in the centre of the park or up top, his enraged rants at his less able teammates (hiya!) were the stuff of legend, and he raised the game of all around him with his rangey passing and good nature. A natural fit for the famous “in the hole behind the striker”.
Scotty McLelland- Centre Forward
Scott “chance””cheeky””did he though” McLelland arrived in 2004 and took freshers trials by absolute storm. From day one he was clearly on a higher level and was assumed body and soul into the 1st team. Famous for his big trips over the bridge to Dundee, especially on a Tuesday as it was only half day lectures on a Wednesday for some strange reason, and for his Sunday league poisoned chalices, half bacardi half vodka in a 2 litre tesco water bottle, there was never a dull moment.
Absolutely rapid in his pomp and a deadly finisher, has to be up top in this kind of bandit outfit bringing class and flair.
The Turn- Utility Baller
Famous for his no nonsense attitude to, well, everything that didn’t come from Doncaster before the year 1987. A staunch and steadfast servant to the club both at home and abroad. Famous for his rapid pace with a port bottle on the Tay Bridge, the worry for his unsuspecting victims is that he was almost always in the driving seat while getting involved.
A flair player as an outfielder, and reliable to a fault keeper, you only need one man on the bench in this scenario.
Manager- Austin MacPhee
Part of the squad that took Prague by storm in 2007, his tenure at St Andrews was brief but not quickly forgotten. An iron focus that didn’t suffer fools lightly, with phrases such as “look at you you lanky streak of p*** that turns up hungover to every session” at a certain squad member who shall remain nameless (hiya)But a true gent and leader of men whether it’s on the pitch or when meeting some new “friends” in some of the less salubrious parts of the word- Cupar.