Time Tunnel - Andrew Stephen
In the tunnel today is Andrew Stephen
Andrew is nowadays a director at Montrose FC as well as being the matchday programme editor. If you sit in the main stand at Links Park you will also get the idea that he does a heck of a lot more at the club as he is usually seen scurrying around all the game as if he can’t sit still for long! So, I thought it would be a good idea to put Andrew in the Time Tunnel today to find out a bit more about him.
Andrew, I understand you started to edit the Montrose matchday programme when you were just 14 years old. Is that right and how did it come about?
It all started I suppose when I was at Southesk Primary School and the deputy head teacher at the school was Bill Coull. He was Montrose FC club secretary at the time and that’s what got me started with the Montrose FC bug! I went along one summer to Links Park in 1981 and helped tidy up the ground with the junior supporters club with commercial manager Jim Webster. He then got me to put together a hand written programme for the match against Albion Rovers in September 1981 and programmes continued until Jim left. I got together with a few school friends in 1983/84 to get the programme started again and I have edited every issue since!
Did you go straight into the printing business when you left school, if not what else did you do?
I started as an apprentice in Forfar before then going back to college in Dundee and Perth. After leaving college with an HND in computing in 1994 I started work at a printers in Brechin. After the owner retired in 1999 I set up my own business City Press Printers with a work colleague and we haven’t looked back.
Your business prints programmes for other football clubs, can you tell us which ones?
At the moment we print for Alloa Athletic and Dumbarton and have done so for a number of years. We also print for local junior sides Montrose Roselea and Carnoustie Panmure. In the past we have printed for Hamilton Accies, Brechin City, Forfar West End and Lochee United.
Apart from being a Director and editing and producing the programme what else do you do at the club and particularly when I see you scurrying around during a game?
I am in charge of the club office on a match days doing the teamlines for the referee etc as well as teamlines for the lounges and boardroom. It also involves keeping in touch with the referee, playing the music and announcing the teams etc. I am also the person who signs all the players for the club first team and youth sides. So it does take up a bit of time.
Have you kept a personal collection of every programme you have produced and does the club have an ‘official’ collection?
I have kept a copy of every programme I have produced. I suppose the club doesn’t have an official collection but I know myself and kitman Robert Ogg do have a lot of Montrose programmes between us. (added by Sassmo – my wife says I do as well, and she’s right!)
Have you always lived in the Montrose area and how did you start supporting Montrose?
Yes I have always lived in Montrose. I suppose my first answer explains why Montrose FC. I went along to my first match in April 1979 against Stirling Albion (2 – 0 Stirling, two goals from Kerr McGibbon) and haven’t stopped coming. Went a spell between March 1988 and September 1997 (when my cousin got married) without missing a match. Not so easy to go to all the matches now with having a family but I do try my best!
I know you go to lots of away games, which are your favourite trips out?
Favourite trips would probably be the local derbies as you get home quickly. I do also like trips to Elgin City, Ross County and Inverness.
You’ll remember the days when crowds of 2000+ were common at LP but now with much lower crowds, how difficult is it to get voluntary help with things now?
I don’t really remember crowds that big personally but it would be great if crowds like that happened again. We have a lot of good volunteers at Montrose but the more the merrier.
Is there anything in particular that more volunteer support could do during the week or on matchdays?
Man the turnstiles, help sell Montrose Lucky Numbers, sell match programmes, basically anything to help the club raise more money.
Pick a highlight or two from your past Mo watching.
Winning the league in 1984/85. I was still at school and I still remember it to this day. It was such a brilliant season. Seven 1 – 0 wins in a row and just such a good set of players who loved the club and where managed superbly by Ian Stewart. I didn’t think I would have to wait so long to see another championship win!
The victory over Hearts at Tynecastle in August 2006 was also an amazing night. School the next day was just a great feeling.
Winning promotion to the first division in May 1991 was also brilliant at Dumfries, what a day. The following season we beat Dundee at Dens 2 – 1 on the final day of the season after they were crowned champions in front of 8,000 fans that was good.
Beating Arbroath 5 – 0 at Links Park a few years back was also a great way to start the year.
More recently the 8 – 1 win against Clyde was a highlight!
Is there a ‘lowlight’ you care to mention – can understand if you prefer to skip this one.
The seasons when we have finished bottom of the pile. The heavy derby defeats. The untimely death of Allan Kennedy these have all been low points.
Which other teams’ result is the first one you look out for?
Nottingham Forest, Montrose Roselea and Fort William.
With the benefit of hindsight is there anything you might have done differently in your time at MFC?
Not gone to so many away games when I have missed weddings, family functions etc!
Finally, who in your opinion was the greatest ever servant of Montrose FC – name more than one if you wish?
Les Barr – a true legend. With Gary Murray, John Sheran, Mark Craib and Ian Stewart not far behind.
Anything else you want to mention?
Please come and support your LOCAL team and please bring a friend or two.
I’ve deliberately not asked Andrew for his thoughts and aspirations for the coming season as he will be just as optimistic as the rest of us fans and even if he wasn’t it would be unwise to tell us. Clubs like ours need lads like Andrew and time will no doubt record him as one of the clubs greatest servants.