Homeage to Gala Fairydean Rovers

By HWS 17th March 2023

Sometimes nostalgia and wistful reflection take you back to places that carry heritage. I believe that the loss of personal bohemia causes nostalgia. Although it can be mentally draining it’s what attracts the next generations.

“The Dean” is what it was – what it is and will forever be. The names the same.

You can sense the history in the ground and even more so in the club room. Families of generations have had functions here from the ‘60s rock n roll through to ‘70s Tony Christie and later dance music DJs including some renowned names such as Andy Weatherall, Danny Rampling and Slam. It seems like everything starts and finishes here. The stand here shown above is not just “the stand” it is a major player in the town of Galashiels. I have had family and neighbourhood links at the club since I was born, from Les Cossar right through to Kenny Nicol and onwards. I can still hear Wullie Noble saying: “hold it kid … coo on the line” and ” smashing fellie one of the all-time greats”. Those memories are vivid.

The all-time greats

The local football club Gala Fairydean merged with Gala Rovers back in 2013. I had affection for both. However, they were always connected and in fact, the Gala Fairydean Rovers was first formed in 1894. In 1907 the club was separated into two teams, known as Gala Fairydean and Gala Rovers. It had been suggested that the Rovers were the Fairydean’s feeder team or reserve team in days gone by. Nevertheless, they are back as one.

The Tremendous Main Stand is a Grade A-listed building

The stand is a topic which in recent times has had many discussions. Personally, I am more than happy to know it has been maintained and saved. However, it had fallen into disrepair recently and had to shut down on safety grounds in 2018. Major repairs were approved on this football stand described as an “outstanding” example of the work of modernist architect Peter Womers designed the structure here at Gala Fairydean Rovers’ Netherdale ground in the 1960s. Scottish Borders Council granted planning permission for a £1.45m overhaul and upgrade. This construction has always felt quite unique to me, I have always viewed it as something well ahead of its time, very much a construct you would see in a continental football ground.

The Club is being run extremely well and I was welcomed along by Debi, Ryan and Coco they are family as is Paul Bertram who has been around the club all his life from being a young ball boy and is now considered a pillar of the club. Adam McGlory is still here and has also been involved in the club for decades. Then there’s Bruce Noble, the Wilsons, Tam Cass and not mention Jim Gray, I managed to get a chat with him in the VIP room at half-time.

That’s the beauty of this heritage it is very much community and family-based. As the saying goes “the more things change, the more they stay the same” but that’s how I like this.

Among all of this, the club has progressed very well. There has been a state-of-the-art pitch recently laid and new floodlights the facilities are one of the best in the lowland league – if not thee best. I must mention the pies! Much like Walters in the ’70s, they are magic.

The most humorous part of the afternoon was Ryzo phoning Debi to switch the floodlights on and then naming it “the big light”

As we always used to say “get Yersel doon!” and of course “Get involved”

Article dedicated to Ian Frizzel

2 thoughts on “Homeage to Gala Fairydean Rovers

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