Links Park Legends - Jimmy Campbell
Jimmy Campbell was a regular fixture in the emerging Montrose team of the early sixties when George Hill was building a team that had given the Club, and the Town, a bit of credibility in footballing terms, moulding players such as Willie Nicoll, Jimmy Kilgannon, Frank Sandeman, Billy Birse, Ronnie Cross and Tony Gregal into a more than useful side.
After he stopped playing, Jimmy spent over 20 years involved in youth football in the West. He has now retired from coaching but he still likes to keep himself fit by running a number of times a week.
Jimmy was one of the first players to make contact with the Club about its 125th anniversary celebrations writing; 'I played in the sixties with the Club and was very proud of the fact. I thought the harmony in the team and committee was tremendous. The reputation Montrose had as the "friendly town" was certainly lived up to by the people in Montrose. I looked forward to heading to Montrose every two weeks and it gave me some great memories to look back on.'
He joined the Gable Endies in 1961 and spent three seasons at Links Park before leaving with the intention of emigrating to Australia and playing there. Events conspired against the move and he never made it but he was responsible for sending a number of players to play football 'down under.'
Asked about his playing memories at Montrose he particularly remembers centre forward Billy Birse who was the supreme wind up merchant. Billy would call loudly to his team mates to play the ball to the defenders left, adding that the centre half was useless with his left leg. The intention of course was to wind up the opposing player and Jimmy says it worked on several occasions and caused many a central defender to lose the plot.
Jimmy tells other stories where he believes it is better if the identity of the player in question remains a secret. For example, one of the players who went to Australia had a bit of a reputation for wild living. He was involved in a car crash and the onlookers were horrified to see what appeared to be blood pouring from the vehicle. In fact, Jimmy says, the liquid wasn't blood at all but the contents of a case of wine that had been in the car.
Another of Jimmy's team mates had double vision and, although he was good player, he used to admit that when the ball was played in the air he only had a 50 - 50 chance of heading the right one. Whether that was true or not Jimmy says he seemed to get it right more often than not.
One year, at the start of the festive season, Chairman Willie Johnston was chatting to the players, asking them what they were getting their wives for Christmas. One of them replied, "A broom."
"A broom," repeated the Chairman, slightly taken aback.
"Aye," said the player, "My wife's a witch!".
© Forbes Inglis 2004