AS I WRITE THIS OPINION ON SAINTS, PLEASE FEEL THE STRAIN OF SUPPORTING A TEAM LIKE THIS, FEEL THE JOY WHEN YOU WIN AND FEEL MY FRUSTRATION, OR READ IT AND FEEL NOTHING! A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON THE SAINTS St Mirren were founded in 1877 and have had limited success in their years. It is believed that St Mirren were the first team to win a European trophy, I don’t mean like the European Cup or even the UEFA Cup but the Barcelona cup, which was awarded to the winners of a mini tournament to open, Barcelona’s new ground. So that’s our first claim to fame, all those years ago. Secondly, we have had legends playing for us like Frank McGarvey, Paul Lambert and well YARDLEY! I know this is not the Owens, Gerrard’s and Beckhams of the world, but it’ll do for me. If you watch the last old firm game of the season, otherwise known as the Scottish Cup Final then you’ll know, with a few exceptions the Glasgow two win it every year, taking their turns. In the 124 years of our existence we have won this ‘major’ even only three times, 1926 which was against Celtic, 1959 saw St Mirren victor over Aberdeen in a 3-1 win. The most recent was 1987 when I was a young girl you could say, Hampden opened its door for St Mirren and Dundee United and saw a dramatic game unfold. The Arabs had a goal disallowed in the later stages of the game, and Iain Ferguson at the time a young lad, who went on to play for rangers and Dunfermline, well he went on a mazy run and Sent Saints the Cup! Although I was young, I have seen this goal so many times on the St. Mirren video, Marching in which was published to celebrate, 100 years of St Mirren! A FEW OF THE CLASSIC PLAYERS THAT FOUND THEMSELVES AT LOVE STREET Love Street or St Mirren Park is the name of St Mirrens’ ground. It has seen a few brilliant players in its time and maybe a few, okish players you could say. Here is my top Saints players from
the past, none of whom are in the current squad. PAUL LAMBERT – The youngest of all whom I am going to mention. I start with him, as he is player I’m sure you will all of heard of. Paul found himself start, what proved to be a prolific career at St Mirren. His time at Saints was not un noticed by the Paisley Buds anyway, he moved on to Motherwell to continue his success which was so high he saw himself off to Germany, to play with Borrusia Dortmund. At his time with the German Giants, Paul received a European Cup medal, a success anyone should e proud off. Again, after this success he was snapped up by Glasgow Celtic and still plays with them, hoping to earn another European Medal in this years competition. I have total respect for him and he is best friends with, mark Yardley, yeah the tall fat one every talks about, the one in which Craig Brown won’t let play for Scotland. Anyway, the last thing to be said on Paul is that he recently retired on the international front, though his service to the country for me will never be forgotten. The rest of the highlighted players, featured in the 1959 cup final, and were champs in every right. TOMMY GEMMELL – Tommy Gemmell signed for St Mirren in 1951 from Irvine Meadow, at the time that nearly every club in Britain was after him, including Liverpool. His success saw him go on to play for Celtic, and he was St Mirren major front man. GERRY BAKER – I’d say, apart from Ludovic Roy of the current team, this has to be one of the greatest ever players to put on the stripes. Gerry was an American citizen and signed from Motherwell. He was admired for his pace, agility and accuracy with head and foot. He holds the record for most goals scored in a match with St Mirren, this was against Glasgow University, when St Mirren recorded their biggest ever victory, 15-0. Gerry was on the end of 10 of the goals, and this saw nation-wide interest in him, and
saw him move down south of the border to continue his success. DAVIE LAPSLEY – Davie played right – back for St Mirren, after being a centre forward at Tranmere Rovers, the team he signed from. Davie was the captain when we won the cup in 59, and another legend. TOMMY BRYCELAND – The winger from Gourock Juniors was only 19, in the year of 1959 but his flair and agility had won him over a first team place. He was always raring to go and had a very successful spell with St Mirren. Right, so you now know a little about the past of Saints. Looking on to the present day, when the picture is all so different. In late 1998, St Mirren appointed, Tom Hendrie as manager, who had only previously worked at lower league teams in Scotland, however taking all of them to championship titles, he gave up his role as a principal maths teacher in Edinburgh, to become the gaffer. When he came, St Mirren were having a terrible season, Tony Fitzpatrick resigning after a 5-0 defeat of Airdrie. The fans could not see his influence, and Saints only just scraped relegation that season. You could say, we were wrong about this man, our first impressions must have been hidden by the effects of Fitzpatrick. In the pre-season, following 1999-2000, St Mirren were victorious over Glasgow Rangers. The game saw a boring first half, and I remember Jorg Albertz scoring say 15 minutes from time. A few defeated saints’ fans left the ground, and well saints won a penalty and young Steven McGarry easily converted this. Only minutes later, McGarry had scored again to hand us confidence in the manager and the team for the new season. This was again strengthened when we beat Kilmarnock, 1-0 in Norrie McWhirters’ testimonial. The season started and I was in Florida. However, I was astounded at the start we had made, a draw and then the 6-0 victory over Raith Rovers away at Kirkcaldy. Throughout the season, there were defeat
s and a spell when we saw 9 wins in a row. Hendrie had touchline bans and it was close at the top, Dunfermline also in the race. Two places were up for grabs, one as the victors and a play-off as the Scottish Premier league was expanding, to the 12-team format. No play off was needed, as third place Falkirk had a ground, which was seen as the equivalent of a rubbish tip, totally unsafe due to tragedies like, Hillsborough. Nevertheless, St Mirren took the title in what was Hendrie’s first full season in charge. The saints were back. The rest is history that we wouldn’t mind forgetting. The season in the Scottish Premier League, never went to plan. Long terms injuries were sustained and St Mirren just couldn’t find the flair they needed up front. St Mirren are therefore again playing first division football and to be honest are not spectacular. WHY HAVE WE NOT GOT MANY SUPPORTERS? As I said earlier, St Mirren are a team based in the town of Paisley. You may or may not know that Paisley is the largest town in Scotland with a population of over 100,000. It is also important to add here that it is situated 7 miles from Glasgow, and is the home of Glasgow Airport. I know you think I’m rambling on a little here, though with a town this size, should the football team not have quite a large support? They should, though the sad fact is they don’t. Love Street only has a capacity of around 10,000 and has never sold out. In the past, when there was terracing and more local pride around, there were a large amount of supporters, though where are they now? I know for a fact that the Paisley population, either go down to Ibrox or Parkhead on a Saturday afternoon or sit on their chair on a Saturday night, watching Sportscene or Scotsport to see the highlights of the Glasgow two. I say to many of my friends frequently, why don’t you support the Saints. The answer is always, they never win anything and are
n’t very good. I say so why support any team, I like either Rangers or Celtic because they are ‘brilliant’ and always win. I define them as Glory Hunters and I see Saints in financial trouble, the problem is a circle, we would be a batter team if we had the supporters, as we could get out of debt and buy better players. The glory hunter drag the Scottish game down to what it is, and then go off to the pub to complain about it and how the want out. What a bunch of hypocrites! THE CURRENT SQUAD St Mirren have an average squad. Here is a few of the better players: - LUDOVIC ROY – The French keeper is St Mirrens best player of late. He plays in Goals, and in the season 99/00, he was voted Scottish Goalkeeper of the year. His efforts in the SPL kept St Mirren from an even more embarrassing position. ‘Ludo’ has great agility and is a great influence on the team, he has resemblance’s in character to that of Barthez, his fellow Frenchman. A totally un-related piece of information is that his best mate is Maikel Silvestre of Manchester United and Rangers were once going to pay 1 million for him, though Saints refused. IAIN ROSS – The former Motherwell man, was a superb signing for St Mirren back in 1999. The left midfielder is such a key man to St Mirren game, and his surging runs down the wing are un stoppable. In the SPL season, Ross was injured and was out for over a year. He only made his comeback the other night, coming on a sub against Ross County in a 1-0 win. When he came on, he was given the loudest cheer of the game, it was a very warm welcome back. RICKY GILLIES – The Paisley midfielder came to St Mirren through the boy’s club ranks. The impact on the team was so huge, that he packed his bags and went up to Aberdeen. He was left destitute at Aberdeen, and Hendrie recalled him on loan during the Championship season, again his influence superb. H
is stay at Love Street was extended with a contract and he was top scorer last season, again emphasising how we lack goalscorers, though Ricky as a midfielder is good and he is the Beckham of the Scottish first division, with his free kicks. MARK YARDLEY – Although Yardley lacks pace and skill, the supporters love him with a passion, he scores a lot of goals and should be playing for Scotland. Do you think I’m joking. Yardley is very god in the air and his height helps. On a good day, yards can turn past a few players and then hit a powerful shot and on championship season, he took 19 goals to his name. Yardley is a key player and we would miss him if he went, to many people put the guy down and the criticism is at times, unjust. Yardley for Scotland! BARRY ‘TRIGGER’ MCLAUGHLIN – The Saints captain, following the retirement of Tommy Turner is yet another key man. Barry is a right-sided defender and a life long saint’s fan. That’s a god thing about this saints team, they are young and mainly, Paisley’s own. Trigger is a fans favourite and always seems to have a broken arm, though he does play through the pain barrier and also, broken his nose a few times. He is a rock in the St Mirren defence and a player I hope we can on too. Well, now all I can say is thanks for reading this opinion. I know it was quite long and I’ve spent a good few hours writing this. St Mirren are a team that will only prosper if the new generation of the Paisley People, walk down Love Street and don’t catch the train to Glasgow. St Mirren Till I Die.
Ah St. Mirren F.C. As far as I am concerned they are the greatest team by far. No bigotry for us, oh no, we leave that to the Old Firm. The mighty Buddies play in Paisley, in the shadow of Glasgow, so the fact we survive at all is amazing. The club has no money, but with Tom Hendrie we have a superb manager who makes excellent signings in the free transfer market. The stadium has just over 10,000 seats but is hardly ever anywhere near full. It seems too many of Paisley’s residents would rather make the short journey down the motorway to watch the Huns or the Tims in action, typical gloryhunters. This was proven when the Saints were winning the First Division in 1999/2000. Suddenly huge crowds, the people who probably couldn’t get into Ibrox or Parkhead so were instead coming to Love Street so they could avoid going to Halfords and the like with the wife. We’re back in Division one now, thanks to a couple of pillocks at St. Johnstone. One high spot of last season was the team getting to the semi finals of the CIS cup, only to perform terribly against Killie. Don’t worry though, this season will be a championship one again, and we’ll party like its 1999/2000 all over again.
St. Mirren, a small club lying as sleeping giants. In the town of Paisley. you would expect a huge club for the size of the town..but you have too many Gloryhunters to contend with and so St. Mirren lie only as Sleeping Giants!!! St. Mirren were formed in 1877 and have had an intersting history. It is believed that they were the first team to win a European Trophy..being the Barcelona Cup! The local rivals of the Saints were that of Abercorn who are no longer in existence and so current rivals, Greenock Morton now lie in liquadition...a problem caused by that off tycoon, Hugh Scott and the Influence of Glory Hunters. St. Mirren were fortunate enough to have Sir Alex Ferguson as a manager during the 70s. St. Mirren were recommended the young manager and took him in. Ferguson acheived 3rd place in the top division for Saints, an all time record!! However, Aberdeen had a keen eye on the man..to whom Saints would not let go, for free anyways, and so Aberdeen bribed ferguson into him getting the Sack from Saints..and so it is with this that we hold our head in Shame..WE SACKED THE WORLDS BEST MANAGER!! In recent seasons, we have been lucky enough to have yet another Rookie Maths teacher in Tom Hendrie, highly rated by ferguson, he won us the league and then we were relegated again. Now in the comming season..we are favourites to be promoted once again...and with the Best Football Mascot I ever saw..aka Paisley Panda with Junior P...and a good squad of players...we should have NO problem! Watch this space!!!
I am an exiled Buddy, I was born in Paisley and left the town when I was 23. For 13 seasons I was an AVID Saints fan, travelling all over the country watching them. I have been to most of the airts and pairts supporting the team. St. Mirren never changes, it has always been a yo-yo team. When the old Scottish first division had 18 teams in it with the bottom two getting relegated St. Mirren usually finished about 14th 15th or 16th. Now, you see, that's half the problem. The SPL now has 12 teams which means that a team like St.Mirren which is consistently placed somewhere between about 10th and 15th is always going to be playing around the margins of promotion and relegation. On a good year they go up, in a bad year they go down. Following St.Mirren has always been interesting, even from a distance. This year i watched one of their final relegation battles against Dundee Utd on Sky and it was typical Buddies, losing at home until the last 15 minutes and then scoring a winner in injury time. Life is never boring as a buddy, the football might be cr*p much of the time, but you just never know what will happen next. I remember one season we beat Rangers at Ibrox and lost 7-0 at home the next week to Stirling Albion. I rest my case. So, what is the future for St.Mirren? A town the size of Paisley should have a top team. They are going to find it tough next season unless they improve the squad, there are too many simply not good enough. I believe they will be back, but I am not sure it can be done in one season. Keep your eye on Paisley.
Can St Mirren stay up this season? This is a very good question and I think they might, just. They have a very good set up in place with good youngsters coming through and if they allowed to play the same way as they did last season and have a go at teams in the premiership they will do OK I think. They worse thing they can do is try and change their style of play as this takes time to do and they’ll end up struggling near the bottom of the table. There’s not too much difference from the top first division teams and teams in the bottom half of the premiership so they shouldn’t really have to change too much to compete with these teams. As only one team goes down this season it should give these teams a bit more time to express themselves and play their natural game. Just go out there and show the other teams you belong there and then if you stay up this season build on this and this can only be good for Scottish football.
The warm feeling that comes from being First division champions will not last long I fear. The Paisley club has failed to significantly improve upon their championship winning side and this will prove costly as the season wears on. Last season saw a young, enthusiastic side molded into an exciting freescoring side by former Maths teacher Tom Hendrie. Hendrie, considered by some to be the next big thing in Scottish management, is the key to the buddies’ success. His team is built round tactics and structure. If this team is to achieve it will be by working as a unit. Unfortunately Saint Mirren appear to be a team ill equipped to survive in the newly expanded SPL. Despite having a 37-year-old centre half in the shape of Tommy Turner, there is a real lack of experience in the side. Remove Turner and the average age drops dramatically. These young guys are talented but not yet ready for this level. Steve McGarry will not find defences as accommodating as last year. Sergie Baltacha is not the finished article despite rave reviews in the press. He is an able player – nothing more. Saint Mirren fans believe that he gets more attention than the others due to his famous father. Hugh Murray appears capable of making the step up but he will require the experienced midfielder Tom Brown to protect him in this rougher, tougher league. The loss of forward Junior Mendes to relegation rivals Dunfermline is more of a blow to the ego than a significant loss to the team. The Angolan Jose Quitongo has been brought in to replace him. The former Hamilton Accies and Hearts man does have experience but he is a luxury player who will not, in my opinion, put in the work rate that Hendrie will demand. It’s a curious signing and it will be interesting to see how it works out. Hendrie does seem to be a manager with good ideas – unfortunately it does not seem likely that his players have the ability to carry those ideas out. This team will be hea
ding back into the first division. Player to watch: Tommy Turner – at 37 years of age it will be an achievement for him to survive a season in the SPL Prediction: 12th.