Fergie`s Hall of Fame - September 2007
Alex Ferguson returns to East End Park with minders Jim Leishman and John Grieve
Alex Ferguson ranks fifth in the table of all time scorers for Dunfermline Athletic. He scored 91 goals for the Pars including seven in Europe. He started off his address with some words for the current Dunfermline boss:
"I must apologise to Stephen, because being the present Manager of Dunfermline it can`t be easy to listen to the drivel of the past. I was explaining to him that what time does it gets glorious, more glorious as the years go on, those sunny days, all those goals I scored. I never missed a chance! I look back at my years at Dunfermline which was the greatest time in their history. I must tell you about history, it always repeats itself so nothing is beyond the possibilities in football so you keep at your job and I wish you well in that."
Sir Alex meets Stephen Kenny
Stressing the importance of loyalty to a club, Sir Alex had no hesitation in sending his Manchester United side to Fife to play in their pre season match on Wednesday 8th August:-
"We sent a team up to play just recently for Scott Thomson`s Testimonial and I was sent a brochure of Dunfermline in their selection of their greatest team ever, and was I angry - Charlie Dickson in front of me and Ian Westwater must be some goalie if he can keep out Jim Herriot and Eddie Connachan and goalkeepers like that! But that`s not the point, the point is loyalty - you were recognising a player with loyalty to your Club and I think that`s fantastic. To me that`s the most important factor in life, loyalty.
Bill Gilby with Chairman John Yorkston
"You were recognising Andy Stevenson and Bill Gilby, but me it`s a bit different, 3 years, I think it`s a contribution at an important time in Dunfermline`s history. That fantastic name of loyalty, never let it slip, its so important to a Club like Dunfermline, in the history they have got. You should always keep that as a rock of your own Club`s foundation.
"When I joined Dunfermline I was a toolmaker, had been part time at St Johnstone and it got to the point where I couldn`t decide if toolmaking was my life or football was my life and I took papers out to emigrate to Canada. Then I met my wife and it changed my life, my whole perspective and decided to stay in Scotland. Then we made the decision that I wouldn`t mind trying full time football.
"I got a phone call from my manager at St Johnstone, Bobby Brown, he said we`ve agreed a deal with Dunfermline, and I said Dunfermline, - that`ll do! It was the week after Jock Stein had left. I had one shilling to make a phone call to Bobby Brown that night to say whether I was going to go to Dunfermline or Muirton Park to meet Willie Cunningham. I borrowed £1 off my mother and got through to Dunfermline to meet Willie Cunningham in the old dressing room at Dunfermline and Dan McLindon was sitting there. Dan, who is here tonight, said `what`s it like at St Johnstone?` I wasn`t going to tell him the truth was I - so said it was fantastic, they look after you so well, don`t worry about a thing, its great. So they did a deal, I came to Dunfermline and Dan went to St Johnstone. A few months later we played against each other and he said - Thanks!
Alex Smith, Dan McLindon and Alex Ferguson
"I had been there a few weeks and my Dad said `how are you getting on?` I said `they`re a bit strange the Fifers, a bit clannish`. He said `don`t forget you`re from Glasgow, you`re sort of an alien to them` and it took time to get to know and to understand the Fifers and them to understand me of course. I must say on the point of loyalty you never lose a friendship, I made many friends here from Fife and they have remained friends for over 40 odd years now. And I thank them for that.
"Great team, great players at Dunfermline. It was just a fantastic period. You were actually a dominant force in Scotland at that time. That first year you lost the league by a point, if I had scored against St Johnstone you would have actually won the league. I did miss an odd chance, an odd chance, but it was great to be a part of it."
Fergie explained the very influential part that Willie Cunningham played:-
"Willie Cunningham brought me to Dunfermline. I had an interesting relationship with Willie, sometimes I loved him, sometimes I hated him, but I never lost my respect for him. He took me to Falkirk and then he recommended me for the St Mirren job. He phoned me up one day and said Alex `I`m fed up with football and I think you should manage St Mirren`. I said I wasn`t going there, I had a job at East Stirling and I was enjoying it. He said Alex take this job, so I did- went to St Mirren and the rest is history I suppose. I had a great respect for Willie."
Andy Stevenson at the Hall of Fame
Andy Stevenson, Fergie`s trainer at Dunfermline was also inducted into the Dunfermline Hall of Fame.
"How it came about that he brought Andy Stevenson to Dunfermline I don`t know.Andy was from a mining area just outside Glasgow,Kirkintilloch.He had been physio at Kirkintilloch Rob Roy. My brother played there. When I came to Dunfermline he was there.I must tell you, the players will remember this, we had a Tuesday training session, it wasn`t fair, it was cruel! He murdered us, he had this thing called 8 lap training. You may think that 8 laps was nothing, that`s not bad.It took an hour! Going round the track, touch left, touch right, header the ball. You were absolutely knackered. You went into that last lap and you thought please don`t say turn and you were into the last 50 yards, thinking nearly there, then "turn" and you had to sprint back again.
"We could have climbed Everest with our slippers on. We were as fit as butcher`s dogs, we could have ran all day. That was the fittest I ever was in my life, without question. I`ll never forget that part, it helped to make me a player. There were other things.
"It was a team that cared about their game. I`ll tell you about the times we used to sit in that Regal restaurant, sauce bottles and salt, peppers, playing 4-4-2. We were there for hours. We cared about the game and took responsibility to try and win football matches.
Roy Barry, Alex Edwards, Harry Melrose, Alex Smith, Alex Ferguson, Willie Renton, Jim Herriot and seated Paddy Wilson and Dan McLindon
"Teamwork was great, it was a fantastic period. The players are sitting there.It`s the first time I`ve seen Roy Barry for a long, long time and he hasn`t changed. He could play centre-half tomorrow." Fergie also commented on the effort that other players had made to be present. Singling out George Peebles (below) and Harry Melrose:-
"George and Harry were the old codgers in the team, all the rest of us were quite young." With some sensitivity, Sir Alex managed to mention his European debut with Dunfermline without mentioning Gothenburg and Ullevi Stadium "My first European tie was against Orgryte of Sweden away and big Willie decides I was to play up front on my own. I kept running between these two centre-backs, I was about crying. We had won the first game 4-2. I thought I was going to die at the end of the game, it was a mud heap. Alec Smith was sweeper that day, we got a 0-0 draw. They had this little frail player at outside left, looked as though he needed a good feed and it was Orjan Persson - he turned into a world beater, fantastic player. That was a period you never forget. Yes I wanted to go to Rangers, I was desperate to go to Rangers, but I believe my best days were here, absolutely without question.
"After the European games, the midweek games we would spend some time in the East Port Bar, the Pittsburgh Lounge. We had some good nights in there, we were quite disciplined though, we were back before 7. I either stayed at Barry`s house, Willie Callaghan`s, Alec Smiths, Grieve`s, Bertie Paton`s. I tried them all, I`m still looking for a good bed yet! It was a fantastic period, I enjoyed it.
"It`s great you`re doing things like this, it`s great listening to some of the projects you`ve got, but that`s what you have to do nowadays, you have to exercise all the opportunities you can to keep your club there. Running a football club is not easy. I applaud all the things you do to keep Dunfermline here.
"I said history repeats itself, I would love to see you back in a good respectable position in Scottish Football. You may think its impossible but if you think about what Aberdeen did, and Dundee United. There`s two periods in Scottish Football where the Old Firm were fourth or fifth, one was when Dundee United and Aberdeen were there and also when Dunfermline, Kilmarnock and Hearts were above Rangers and Celtic for two or three years.
"I thank you for inducting me into your Hall of Fame, I am proud of that. I`m proud of the relationship I had with the Club, and with the former players that are here tonight and I wish you success. I do look for your results and hope you come back into the Premier Division and do well. Thank you very very much."
Club shirt sponsor, Bob Purvis with Sir Alex
26 years club steward Bill Gilby
"One of the many deserved recipients to the Hall of Fame"- John Yorkston
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