Links Park Legends - Martin Allan
Martin Allan, a young midfielder from Banks O' Dee, was signed for Montrose by manager Denis D'Arcy. He played a few games before Denis left and admits that he struggled to convince new manager Ian Stewart that he deserved a regular place in the team.
Under Ian Stewart he says his own game certainly improved and he eventually became a fixture in the side. He was certainly one of the mainstays of the Championship winning side in 1984-85. During his time at Montrose Martin reckons that he contributed a few assists while playing up front, even if his personal goal tally was not huge.
He remembers his time at Links Park with affection. Even training, although tough under Ian who he admits was a hard taskmaster, normally had a bit of fun about it. There was always a good atmosphere and the Championship winning side, despite coming from Dundee, Aberdeen, East Kilbride and Fife, had no cliques and bonded well.
Martin was one of the group of players that went out for a drink in Dumfries the night before an away game against Queen of the South. They found a quiet pub down a back street but Ian Stewart's radar was obviously working. They had just raised glasses to their lips when he walked in. Poor Martin laughingly says that he got the blame and that he was relegated to the bench the following day for the group's 'indiscretion'.
Another of Martin's memories is of the dispute between Ian Stewart and Neil Forbes about whether Neil had defended properly when the Gable Endies had conceded a goal. This resulted in an angry Neil pursuing the Boss around the treatment table. The point, Martin says, is that the manager was right.
Training on a Monday night was always particularly tough and Martin recalls that they very rarely saw a ball on those nights. Mondays were all about fitness. But he agrees that the hard training helped them lift the Second Division Championship and also enabled them to survive for two seasons in the First Division. Their level of fitness was also a factor in the Gable Endies seeing off Hearts at Tynecastle, a result that Martin still takes some pride in even today.
Playing for Montrose meant three trips a week to Montrose, two for training and another journey on match days. This was tiring enough in itself when the weather was good but could be difficult to say the least in the middle of winter.
One snowy night, with the roads in the north in a horrendous state, Alex Wright, Neil Forbes and Martin decided that they would give training a miss. In Martin's words the manager went 'ballistic' about the Aberdeen contingent missing training.
Martin confesses that his eyesight was not good and he really needed to wear glasses. On another night he was driving to training in Montrose with Neil Forbes as his only passenger. It was a really windy night and there was a lot of debris on the road.
Suddenly Neil shouted, "Watch out for that tree."
"What tree? replied Martin, although he did manage to stop in time.
According to Martin, Neil has still not recovered from the experience.
© Forbes Inglis 2004