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Fri Jul 25 7:25 am  #11

Re: Tommy Douglas

david wrote:

The first time the Tommy Douglas and Benburb names came together was at Saracen Park in early 1953 in a Scottish Junior Cup match. Benburb had knocked out Bo'ness at Tinto Park 1-0 in front of a record crowd of 20,000.  An even bigger crowd was at Saracen Park when a huge support from Govan descended on the ground. Tommy Douglas had an inspired game on the wing for Ashfield and broke his fellow Govanites hearts when the 'field won 3-1. Ashfield were hot favourites to win the cup to add to their league title and after beating Clydebank in front of a 20,000 plus crowd went to Ibrox Park for a semi final with Vale of Leven. Cassidy scored a hat trick for the Vale in a 3-0 win and Tommy was deprived of a trip to Hampden Park. Tommy would always quip with a smile  that he played in front of 100,000; that being the aggregate of the Cup run attendances.

Stirling Albion put in a bid for Tommy and the winger joined the Annfield Park club. Unfortunately Tommy was unable to break into the first team on a consistant basis and elected to accept re-instatement into the Juniors. Tommy Douglas arrived at Tinto Park at the start of season 1954-55 and was a popular signing. On the opposite wing was Scottish Junior International Dunky Rae and between them they terrorised defenders with their speed, skill and goalscoring. The league campaign started slow for the Bens as they found their. feet. However a memorable day beckoned. The giant covered enclosure was built and the first match was a Scottish Junior Cup game with strong opponents Shotts Bon Accord. The match was a classic and for years afterwards was in Govan folklore.

A large attendance saw Bens win despite playing in the pre substitute  days with 10 men. The player carried off was Alex Forsyth the goalkeeper and he was replaced by the small stature Geordie Logie who had just scored for the Bens, Shott equalised on half time but Bain against the run of play restored the Bens lead, Tommy Douglas cut in and scored a superb third goal for the Bens who hung on for a 3-2 win. Many said the first match under the cover was the best for years after.

Bens had another huge attendance for the next round against Petershill and a 4-2 win with Tommy Douglas amongst the goals set the Bens up against Ashfield sadly lost after a 3-3 draw at Tinto Park. At the end of the season Tommy Douglas was on the move this time to Kilsyth Rangers. but within a season he was back at the Bens and as popular as ever. The following season it was a surprise that Benburb released Tommy Douglas. Most were puzzled and many fans dismayed.

However it transpired that Tommy was carrying a nasty injury which was threatening his career. He had spells at Petershill and Dalry Thistle before calling it a day with frequent spells out injured.  When he was out injured with his clubs he would arrive at Tinto Park and usually operating as linesman. This was nothing to do with his spotting the ball going out but the Bens were using him to coach some of the younger players from the line. He would often have banter with his many friends in the crowd and his smile showed he loved the company.

Committee work and coaching beckoned at Tinto Park and some bleak years were endured on and off the pitch. Soon after the start of season 1979-80 that was to change. Tommy Douglas took over as manager and the Bens went on a remarkble Scottish Junior Cup run. Yoker, Craigie,Glenrothes,
Carluke and Bonnyrigg Rose were all defeated to set up a semi final with Lochee United at Dundee FC's ground. 5,000 Bens supporters made thwe trip to swell the crowd to over 13,000.

A Stevie Whitehead header settled the issue and the Bens were going to Hampden Park with a 1-0 win. Tommy Douglas had taken Benburb to the Scottish Junior Cup Final. A fantastic match with Bailleston at Hampden Park ended 2-2 and sadly Benburb lost 2-0 to a good Bailleston side after extra time. 

Tommy Douglas was to return to committee duties and eventually to President.  The events of 2002-2003 were traumatic for the club. At the end of the season financial problems beset the club and the 'Mission Impossible' committee were left to keep the club afloat. They had no money,no players and even worse no ground with vandal inflicted wounds including ruts all over the pitch. The early season matches were played away and the committee did well to restore the pitch and get home matches on again at Tinto Park.

To help I offered my services to start a website and programmes and was soon meeting a famous man from my childhood days Tommy Douglas. We had long chats over the years and he told me countless stories. I always found it amusing when I took my elderly uncle to the Bens games and he talked to Tommy. 50 years had elapsed since Tommy played and my uncle Jimmy spectated but the stories were like a week before. 

Tommy told me from re-collection that he was born into a large family and lived around the Kinning Park, Plantation area's initially. He subsequently moved around Govan and I believe he became settled in Linthouse. He told me with a smile that one of sons once signed for the Ants. I sent a programme to Sir Alex Ferguson. Immediately he recognised the name of Tommy Douglas as the President and was full of praise. He sent some of his re-collections to put in the programme and vowed to help the club. He kept his promise in so many ways and in November 2011 came up to meet his boyhood hero Tommy. 

Tommy Douglas brought happiness to so many people's lives. It is doubtful he had enemies and always took the time to communicate and engage with people. A loyalty of 60 years to one club is remarkable in any walk of life. Of all the people I have ever met I cannot think of a man you could put up as a legend.  Tommy Douglas was one.


David, would it be okay if I used this insight into Tommy for our readers on our main website? Well put together David thanks for the insight of Tommy from your good self.


Haste ye back.
             Jimmy. (

Fri Jul 25 7:55 am  #12

Re: Tommy Douglas


You are more than welcome to use anything you want from what I put on the forum or facebook. You do not have to ask. In respect to the 'A Time in Govan' you will almost certainly be welcome to post isolated passges. However please ask beforehand just in case I may have offended someone or their family when I wrote it (a couple of Govan High teachers spring to mind !).
I will sort out more stuff on Tommy including pictures.  You are welcome to use the Govan Press article in the book about Tommy and Tommy Dearie at Hampden park before the 1980 Scottish Junior Cup Final. It is near the end of the book.


Last edited by david (Fri Jul 25 7:56 am)

     Thread Starter

Fri Jul 25 10:35 am  #13

Re: Tommy Douglas

Hi David, that's very kind of you. It helps a lot as you knew Tommy much better than I did. I haven't finished A Time in Govan yet as I've been working my wee sock off these past few months and I thought I was retiring?? Some hope! As to more stuff about Tommy and more pictures. That would be fantastic as I think people need to know how special Tommy really was. Thank you for all your help and all the time you put on this forum. I couldn't do it all without you mate because, you take a lot of the forum work off my shoulders. Many thanks.

Haste ye back.
             Jimmy. (

Sat Jul 26 11:59 am  #14

Re: Tommy Douglas

Hi Jimmy,

My contribution is small compared to the efforts you have put in on the site. Like the other Govan sites including AcumfaeGovan, Sunny Govan and Lady Govan  I think it is good that we have people dedicateding time to provide enjoyment and interest to Govanites and ex Govanites.. Govan was and is an interesting place with many smashing people with lots scattered all over the world.
Over the weekend I will look out stuff on Tommy Douglas and put it on the Facebook pages. I am still a novice on these things so feel free to cut/paste between facebooks as you see fit.

Thank you,


     Thread Starter

Sat Jul 26 2:19 pm  #15

Re: Tommy Douglas

You are too kind David but thank you very much for your comments.

I thought I would add some more to the main website about Tommy and the Bens. So, anything you have, pictures, text anything all all really, would be gratefully received. I know your are a busy man so just when you have some free time David. Can you please send it to my email address and I can sort it all out and include it on the main website. Hope you don't mind me asking? Or like you said I can cut and past from your Facebook posts. That would be easier for yourself.

I saw your posts on the Bens website. Nice one! You always put so much effort into everything you do. Shame the Bens didn't appreciate you more. Right enough said.
Kindest regards my friend,

Haste ye back.
             Jimmy. (

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