Dunfermline Athletic

Norrie tributes from players

Friday, 8th Jan 2016

Over his fifteen seasons at East End Park, Norrie McCathie played with a huge number of players at Dunfermline. On the day of the 20th anniversary of his death we display tributes to the former Pars captain:-

In this article from the match day programme Black and Whitewe have pulled together a collection of tributes – some from his Testimonial Year in 1990, some from 1996 when his teammates were shocked to hear of his death, and some from the present day when his colleagues look back on that fateful day.

1990

“He’s been a great servant to a great club. He’s improved 100% since I was last here. After sharing a flat with him I can also tell you he’s got really smelly feet.”
Ian McCall in his second spell with the club

“I remember when I first went to Dunfermline he had the nickname ’Honk’ because of his performances at pre-season training. Joking apart, he was the club’s number one asset and his leadership was first class. That is one of the main reasons why the club is where it is today.”
Dave Young, Norrie’s partner at centre half, 1984-1987

“I always preferred to play with him rather than against him! What I remember most about Norrie were the Player of the year Dances – it was always a case of who was going to be second.”
Bobby Forrest, full back, 1981-1987

Above: Ian Westwater and Dave Young

1996

“I just feel gutted right now. It’s hard to know the right thing to say. It still hasn’t sunk in yet. I still expect him to come walking through the dressing room door as usual. It’s a disaster. For the club right now we just have to win the league and dedicate it to him, for all that he’s done for Dunfermline.”
Stewart Petrie, striker and midfield, 1993-2003, and scorer of the goal at Tannadice that helped secure the League title in 1996

“When I first came here he made me feel so welcome but he was like that with everyone. He was always the same to everyone and treated good times and bad times the same way. He had such a positive attitude and that seemed to rub off on so many of us.”
Hamish French, striker and midfield, 1992-2000

“The supporters always loved him because he led from the front. My abiding memory was for the way he burst through the dressing room door at the latest possible moment, nearly taking it off its hinges!”
Paul Smith, midfield, 1987-1991 and 1993-1995

Above: Craig Robertson, Hamish French, George O'Boyle and Stewart Petrie

PRESENT DAY

“I look back on happy times at Dunfermline and I’ll never forget them. During the time that I was there Norrie was the outstanding player. I think in the early stages there were problems with Norrie and training, but he grew into the role. He loved the banter of the dressing room and him and his mate John Watson got up to all sorts. But Norrie also knew when to be serious, and when he walked out of that dressing room on to the park he was completely switched on.”
Ross Jack, striker, 1987-1991, and currently manager of Turriff United

“It was strange for me on the day that we found out Norrie had died. Guido Van De Kamp was in the first team at the time so I didn’t play in his last game on the Saturday. Norrie wasn’t at training on the Monday morning but since by then he had a lot of business interests, nobody thought much about it. I came in for the Reserve match that night and it was then that information about his death began to filter through. I just felt shock and disbelief. Bert brought the players together the next morning and asked me to say a few words but I couldn’t. I wear my heart on my sleeve and all I could do was cry.”
Ian Westwater, goalkeeper, 1985-1991 and 1993-2000

“I went along to East End Park after Norrie’s death to look at all the tributes and it was only really then that it sunk in. Up till that point I just thought that it couldn’t be true that this young fit guy was gone. My favourite Norrie story was when St Johnstone were playing Dunfermline there in October 1994 and it was my first time back since the transfer. I got absolute pelters from the fans the whole match and Dunfermline won 3-0. After the match I met Norrie and he had a huge smile on his face so I asked him what he was smiling about. He said, ‘I hope you realise that you have cost me a fortune’, so I said, ‘how’s that?’ And I’ll never forget his reply – he said, ‘I told all our fans to boo the wee man today and if they did that they’d get a free pint. Now I’ve got a queue out the door!’”
George O’Boyle, striker, 1989-1994

"The whole thing was a huge shock to everybody and a terrible tragedy for Norrie's family and friends, and for those of Mandy Burns. It left us all numb. By this time Norrie had been at the club for fifteen years and the fans thought the world of him. It wasn't just that we had lost a player and captain, but also that the town had lost somebody who had become one of their own. It was sad beyond belief."
Craig Robertson, midfield, 1987-1989 and 1991-1998, and the man who took over the captaincy from Norrie in 1996

“It was a great time in the club’s history and Norrie had played an important part throughout, not just on the park but off it as well. In my time Norrie and John Watson used to do things off their own back to get the community involved with the football club. I was at Meadowbank at the time and I had a load of messages on my phone but all with different stories. It wasn’t till I received a call from a police officer friend that I realised it was true. I went home and sat up till three in the morning with Mary my wife talking about Norrie and the good times we’d had. Looking back on it today I’d say that if youngsters are looking for a hero then Norrie McCathie should be that man. Norrie led by example and always gave 100%, even if he wasn’t 100% himself.”
Jim Leishman, Player, Manager and Director, Dunfermline Athletic



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