Over 200 people packed out the Volunteer Hall in Galashiels last weekend to witness the star-studded launch of the Gala Fairydean Rovers Hall of Fame.
Former Scottish international stars John Collins and Alfie Conn joined John ‘Yogi’ Hughes, Braw Lad Greg Robertson, and dozens of local footballing greats at the sold-out event.
The club used the awards ceremony, sponsored by The Trophy Guy, to recognise sporting heroes from the past, reward the current crop of players at the club, and outline its vision for the future.
Local footballing legends such as John Collins, Davie Watkins, Kevin Matheson and Ronne Frizzel were inducted into the inaugural Hall of Fame while members of the club’s community engagement programme and Lowland League first team were also recognised for their efforts during the season.
Former favourites from both the Fairydean and the Rovers, including Tam Cornwall and Alan Jack, joined sponsors, supporters and current players at the ceremony.
Host Graeme McIver, Gala FR’s secretary, hailed the event a great triumph which exceeded the club’s expectations.
He said: “We are delighted that the inaugural Hall of Fame Awards was such a great success. Over 200 tickets for the event sold out and the evening proved to be a celebration of all that has been achieved at the club in recent years, while recognising the role of local footballing legends of the past.
“I thank those members of the public who contacted the club and myself to suggest nominations and to provide us with a wealth of information about players and teams from the past. ”
The evening began with awards to members of the club’s Community Engagement Programme. The GFR Disability Squad was rewarded for a superb season which saw them finish runners-up in the Scottish PAN National Disability League last year, while this term they sit in second place in the table having performed well at a number of tournaments throughout the past year.
The Gala Fairydean Rovers Walking Football team selected their Players of the Year at a time where they sit proudly on top of the newly-launched Scottish National League, having enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season.
There was also recognition for members of the newly formed GFR Ladies squad, who are in the process of completing the registration process with the Scottish Women’s FA.
The club confirmed that, next season, they will be re-entering a Development Side into the Border Amateur League, bringing the total number of players at the club to well over 300 when members of the club’s junior and youth sections are taken into account. The club is now one of the biggest sporting organisations in the region.
Steven Noble’s first team finished as the top Borders side in the Lowland League for the third season in succession and selected a number of players to receive an award.
On-loan Glasgow Rangers goalkeeper Kieran Wright won Player’s Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year, while former Airdrie star Darren Smith won the Player of the Year Award. Ex-Fulham striker Stuart Noble finished as the club’s top scorer for the fourth season in succession.
Former Hibernian, Celtic, Everton, Monaco, Fulham and Scotland star John Collins became the first person to be inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame. The current Ambassador of Football at the club recalled his youth where he watched both the Fairydean and the Rovers and the special place the new club had in his heart.
He encouraged the club to continue its hard work in youth and junior development and praised the new club for uniting the majority of the footballing community in Gala under a single entity.
Former Rangers, Celtic, Tottenham Hotspur and Scotland star Alfie Conn picked up an award for his latefather Alfie Snr, presented by Braw Lad Greg Robertson, and implored the current crop of players at the club to try and emulate the legends being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
He spoke fondly of his trips to Galashiels as a youngster to watch his father both play for and manage the highly successful side in the early ‘60s.
David ‘Dusty’ Miller, Ronnie Frizzel, Jim ‘Jabo’ Gray and Davie ‘Watkins’ were inducted for their success with Gala Fairydean, while Jimmy Tyson, Kevin Matheson and Bryan Templeton were rewarded for glittering careers with Gala Rovers. Architect of the Historic Scotland A-listed stand at Netherdale, Peter Womersley, was inducted, along with former chairman of the Fairydean Matty Hall.
The invincible Gala Rovers side from the 1953-53 season became the first team in the Hall of Fame, along with the Fairydean team of 1961-62.
In addition, Alan Allison, George McGill and Alan Jack were awarded life membership of the club in recognition of their contributions to the club and its predecessors.
Chairman Kevin Temple thanked a number of local businesses including the club’s main sponsor, 5 Star Taxis; major club sponsors Ostles Tyres, Zest Blinds and Border Pharmacy, event sponsor Trophy Guy, supporter of the Community Awards Live Borders, Rox Jewellery, MD Weddings and Events, The Auld Mill and a number of other local companies who had helped in preparations for the evening.
The event will now be an annual celebration with new members being inducted into the Hall of Fame each year.
List of 2017 Award Winners:
Gala Fairydean Rovers Borders Disability Squad Award (presented by John Collins).
Gala Fairydean Rovers Walking Football Team: Player of the Year – Jim Watters, young player of the year – Ali Patterson.
Gala Fairydean Rovers Women’s Team: Player’s player of the year – Annette Bell, coaches’ player of the Year – Mellissa Gordon.
Gala Fairydean Rovers Lowland League team: Player of the year – Darren Smith, player’s player of the Year and young player of the year: Kieran Wright.
Top scorer: Stuart Noble (presented by John Collins and John Hughes).
Life Membership Awards – Alan Allison, George McGill, Alan Jack.