Training at Raith was usually on a Tuesday night, I would be nineteen year old, if we didn’t train at Starks Park we would train on the links at Kirkcaldy, I would go straight from work, foot rule, dungarees and all I would carry my training gear with me too.
Musselburgh to Edinburgh to Kirkcaldy by train, I’d leave Musselburgh after work about 4.30 pm get in to Kirkcaldy at 7.00 pm then I would walk to the Raith Rovers Stadium we would either train in the ground or on the public park.
After training I’d get the 10.15 pm train back home to Edinburgh, Musselburgh then the bus or the tram to Delta Crescent, one night on arriving at the ground I was told by the coaches that training had been cancelled.
Because I had travelled to Starks Park that night the trainers, coaches thought that I might as well do some training they told me to do twenty laps of the track and twenty by twenty yard sprints. Unknown to me the trainers were watching me doing my stint, they were counting the laps and sprints off as I did them, they were in the grandstand in the dark.
I wasn’t aware that they were there, I’m pleased to say I did as I was told, twenty arduous laps and twenty sprints. Several months later we had what is known in the game as the dreaded frees and retained lists. At the end of the season the frees and retained lists would be put up on the home dressing room notice board, it was what happened traditionally. I couldn’t bring myself to look at the names on the lists in case I was on the wrong list. Fortunately for me I had been retained, I found that out because one of the lads shouted out and congratulated me.
Very soon after the lists had been put up I caught the eye of one of the trainers who had been at Starks Park on the night that the training had been cancelled. He came over to me and he told me that they had been spying on me up in the stand that night and because I had done the number of laps and sprints that I had been asked to do, that it hadn’t done me any harm at al. In fact it had been a big plus for me when the club was making it’s decision whether to keep me or not. They made the club aware of what I had done on the night.
Even if I had been released I would still have done the training that they had set, it was in-built I’ve always tried to do my best, thank goodness my ethics and genre were up to scratch.
You never know what goes on in life, players are scrutinised on a daily basis, the supporters and the public are not aware of what goes on and can only relate to the size of a players wage packet, considerable though they may be it is still a privileged life. In relation to present day players my best wage was £45 pound plus bonuses per week. I received that amount whilst playing for Blackpool, it was still a top wage but insignificant to what the lads are paid today.
I have no hang ups regarding the players wages, I am sure that had I been playing today, my wages would have been on a par, cella vie.