John Paton - Longstanding Contribution
TIME TUNNEL INTERVIEW - JOHN PATON
In the Time Tunnel today is John Paton who is our Honorary President. John has been connected with Montrose Football Club for most of his life, in fact longer than I gave him credit for in The Journey so far which was published a couple of years ago. Time Tunnel is keen to get such club stalwarts into the spotlight to search their memories from long ago and particularly of the golden days they have experienced watching the mighty Mo the length and breadth of the country. As such a person the Tunnel is absolutely delighted to have John Paton in here today.
John, tell us a bit about yourself e.g, are you a Montrosian or how long have you been here and if not where are you from originally?
I am Montrose born, bred and educated.
I guess you are retired now but what did you do for a living when you worked?
I worked for RBS initially in the various towns in Angus and also had spells in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. I spent the last 13 years in Glasgow as an Assistant General Manager UK Banking.
What do you do in your leisure time away from football?
Don’t seem to have much leisure time. I still have Directorships in business and Charities but I also enjoy a game of bowls and attending Rotary.
Tell us about how and when you first started coming down to Links Park.
My father introduced me to Links Park when I was quite young and as a message boy with a local grocer I used to prop the bike up against the corrugated iron wall on Union Row to sneak a free view of the match.
Tell us about how you came to be involved with MFC and what your involvement has been over the years.
In 1959 I was asked to supervise the turnstiles at Links Park but not long afterwards I was persuaded to take on the role of Secretary under the Chairmanship of Willie Johnston, a position I undertook until 1966 when my Bank situation changed. I then had a five year period as Managing Director of St Mirren and was therefore prohibited from having a relationship with another club. I have always had a connection with Montrose FC though and I was appointed Chairman from 1997 to 2007. In that year I had the honour of becoming Hon President and I am still a Director of the Club.
Tell us about some of your favourite memories both on and off the pitch.
I have many but probably the building of the new Grandstand in 1992 must rank among the most memorable as far as off field memories are concerned.
Are there a few games which immediately come to mind for all the right reasons?
As a boy the cup tie against Queen of the South who were then among the leaders in the First Division and we won 2-1 at Links Park before a crowd of 4000 is my earliest memory. There are many others like winning promotion and of course the cup ties against Hibs and Hearts where we put up really good performances.
We’ve had some golden eras but which players stick out in your mind as being truly great servants of this football club?
Too many to mention but in the early years the Kemps, Frank Sandeman, Willie Nicoll then later Bobby Livingston, Ray Charles, Les Barr, Dennis D’Arcy, Dave Larter. The goal machine of McGlashan, Kennedy, Martin Allan, Colin Maver, Gary Murray, John Sheran …. the list goes on.
Have you any memories of our C Division days?
I have no outstanding memories of the first years in C Division although I think the quality of the football was better in view of the ‘Premier’ League Reserve teams being fielded – although some of the defeats may have been heavier.
Which other teams result is the first you look for?
The other scores I look out for are those of our competitors and of course St Mirren.
You’ve seen quite a few Managers come and go – who sticks out as the best?
Norman Christie, Alex Stuart, Ian Stewart and I have hopes that Stewart Petrie will join that list.
Can you recall a moment or time when you feared for the very future of this football club – and why?
A rollercoaster financially has always been the experience of Montrose FC and over the years very difficult situations have been overcome through the efforts and generosity of the Supporters Club and the fans in general. We now have a very good Board who will do their utmost to ensure survival and success.
Apart from yourself who else in your time has been a true servant of MFC off the pitch – an unsung hero perhaps?
It has to be Willie Johnston but I would also include Brian Leiper, Ronnie Marquis and Malcolm Watters… would say that they are not necessarily ‘unsung’ heroes but certainly worthy of mention.
Over the last few years we have had many great ‘MFC’ people in the Time Tunnel, mainly fans young and old, ex players, ex Managers and so on. More recently we have had some of our club officials including Directors but today to have our Club President John Paton is the perfect way to wrap up this season – unless of course we sneak into the play-offs. We were never able to include an interview with ‘Mr MFC’ Willie Johnston but John Paton’s contribution to this football club is also immense as will be the contributions of others in the future. Carry on the good work John with the rest of the Board and of course the footballing staff side of things.