Continued from Part 6….
By the 1960’s, Vics again had a very healthy supporters Club, especially on away games. The home support continued to keep the club solvent.
A few of the Vics Committee members would visit card holding members and collect their £2 subscriptions in both Glasgow Road and Main Street shops and pubs. The money collected enabled Vics to sign up the Football team for the following season. The only other income was Bingo, which was run successfully in the Community Hall and the Co-op Hall.
It is fair to say that the income at the “Gates” at home games were very much better than they are today. Hundreds of people poured in, by comparison to dozens today. There were also a number of very generous patrons. Amongst them, Wullie McClelland (Publican), Andy McVey (Bookie), Willie Johnston (Publican), George Ferguson (Engineering Works) being the main contributors. Those were people who helped keep Vics alive.
At that time Blantyre Celtic were a popular and active team nearby and the local derbies brought out large crowds, although it is said Vics had the largest support. During this time Committee members and certain individuals are worthy of thanks. Matt Borland, Jimmy Graham, John Hosie, William Howat, Willie Murray, Sammy Walsh, Jim Reynolds, Adam Pollock, George Black and Peter Baird on the committee. Also Alex Dale, Jock Scott and Johnny Gough from the very active Supporters Club.
Due to different changes in the game, Vics have competed in 6 different leagues and have won honours in all worthwhile trophies they entered for. Once looked upon as a breeding ground for the Seniors, Vics have excelled themselves in this department. The number of players who stepped up to Seniors are too numerous too mention. Many of them went on to represent their country and be capped from Junior Scotland.
Between 1965 and 1971, Vics had a good run of success under the guidance of Hughie Smith.
In season 1969 / 1970, Vics won the Scottish Junior Cup for a second time, twenty years after their first success. They defeated Penicuik Juniors 1-0 in a replay at Hampden Park after the first match had ended in a 1-1 draw. Lynn, who played on the left wing, scored the winning goal. The team was Watson, Thomson, Moore, Brodie, Douglas, Cunningham, McGrain, Billy Gallacher, Lawson, Pickering and Lynn.
The win of 1970 needed something of a celebration and the Social Club was opened that year celebrating that success. It is worth mentioning the hard work that the ladies in the social club took upon themselves. These events were shadowed by sadness when in the following season Mr. Smith suffered stroke. (Every possible help was given to him but he died later in 1975 after a second stroke.)
At the end of Season 1967, the Lanarkshire League was reformed. Their 3 trophies namely the Hozier Cup, the Central Cup and Challenge Cup were played for the last time. Winners were to keep the cups. Vics entered all 3, they were beaten Semi finalists in the Hozier Cup, beaten Finalists in the Central Cup and outright winners of the Challenege cup.
Joe Jordan joined Vics in 1967, aged 16 coming from Clelland Boys Guild. At the end of 1968 he signed for Morton, then moved on to Leeds United, Manchester United and AC Milan. He was capped 52 times and played in 3 World cups.
In 1969 whilst aged 16 years , Danny McGrain signed for Vics. The following season he was capped for Junior Scotland – won a Scottish Juniors Cup Medal and signed Senior with Clyde while only 17 years old. A feat unlikely to be repeated.
Continued on Part 8
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016
Thanks to Bill McCreadie for some of these photos and to A Duncan for historical detail.
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Gerry Walker Played with the the Vics 77-78. We had some S- Forms from Celtic and Rangers that season