Time Tunnel - John Paton
In the Time Tunnel today is John Paton who is Honorary President of Montrose Football Club. John has been involved in this club for a long time but we thought it would be useful to put him in The Tunnel so he could tell us a bit more about himself and his role at our football club.
John, tell us a bit about yourself e.g. are you a Montrosian or how long have you been here and if not where are you from originally?
I am a Montrosian born bred and educated.
What do you do for a living or what did you do if now retired?
I worked for RBS in various areas of the country culminating in the post of Assistant General Manager UK Banking. Now retired I have several Company Directorships.
Can you remember when you first started coming down to Links Park?
Went to Links Park as a schoolboy. The first memorable match was the cup win over QoS in the
Cook, Calder, Costello, Wotherspoon, Jolly, Cabrelli era.
Tell us about how you came to be involved with MFC and what your involvement has been over the years.
I was first asked to take charge of the turnstiles in 1959 but soon afterwards became Club Secretary a post which I held until 1967 when I was transferred to Edinburgh. I maintained my connection through the reign of Willie Johnston and re joined the Board from time to time. I had to relinquish my connection with Montrose when I undertook the role of Managing Director of St Mirren FC in 1992. I was at Love Street until 1997 when after completing a new Share Issue I considered my work there done. I returned to my first football love in 1997 and became Chairman until the arrival of the Blacks in 2007.
What is your main role at Links Park nowadays?
I was pleased to accept the honour of Hon President in 2007 and have continued as a Director. I am now the “old fart” on the Board offering counsel on a variety of issues but I have to say that the present Board which consists of enthusiastic and hard working Directors led by Derek is one of the best in which I have been involved. I also supervise the running of the weekly lottery.
Tell us about some of your favourite memories of coming down to Links Park.
Each decade holds great memories for me. Cup ties against the bigger Clubs which we won and the matches in which we won promotion.
What do you do in your leisure time away from football?
I am a past President of the Rotary Club and currently President of the Hope Paton Bowling Club and a member of several organisations in the town. I also consider my involvement with several companies as semi leisure.
I see you at most games home and away. Which away grounds/clubs do you enjoy going to best?
I think that our visits to Hampden Park to play Queens Park is my favourite venue but I have to say that most Clubs we visit are very hospitable.
Which other teams result is the first you look for?
Probably Rangers and St Mirren and the other Angus Clubs.
Which Mo players from the past do you most recall and why?
Really too many to mention. The entire team of the early sixties and Alex Stuart's team of the seventies spring to mind together with Bryan Keith's promotion winning team in the nineties
I would also mention the various Managers who put successful teams together e.g. Norman Christie, Alex Stuart and Ian Stewart. There were of course others and I mean no disrespect to them.
Recall a magic moment or a game you will always remember, and why.
Without being nostalgic I think that David Gray's goal against Rangers at Ibrox giving us a draw with only a few minutes to go was magic for me.
Tell us about some of the great away games you’ve been to.
In view of my long standing relationship with the Club I have witnessed many great games. Probably the recent two games at Ibrox mainly in view of the close results and the size of the crowd at 47000 or so. The other game in which I took great pride was the defeat of Hearts in the Scottish Cup bearing in mind that Hearts had not suffered a home defeat for over a year.
Do you think the pyramid system is good for Scottish football or do you think the SPFL should admit a few more progressive clubs and have bigger divisions?
I think that the concept of the pyramid is desirable but apart from a very few most Clubs in the Highland and Lowland leagues and especially those in the junior ranks do not have grounds which are up to standard and don't have the resources to remedy this failing. Furthermore the cost of travel would be exceptionally expensive....indeed one or two Highland League Clubs have indicated that they would decline the opportunity. The problem we have in Scotland is that we do not have the population to support football's financial requirements.
Looking away from Links Park can you see Scottish football ever competing well again on a bigger stage?
As matters stand the TV payments by way of sponsorship etc is only a fraction of what is paid in England even to Clubs in Leagues 1 and 2 and this makes it difficult for Scottish Clubs to hold on to players. Again population is a factor with only Rangers and Celtic able to attract regular crowds of 40000/50000. For instance Inverness CT sit at the top of the League and can only attract crowds of less than 5000. What does the future hold? Well as long as the massive amounts continue to be paid to English Clubs which enables them to attract foreign players the former steady drift of Scots players to England has reduced. How many in the Scotland squad play in the English Premiership
When you have read this I’m sure, like me, you will know a lot more about our Hon. President John Paton. Clearly his love of this club comes through in his words. Some of those words take us back to 1959 and the early 1960’s which is a long time ago but nevertheless a pivotal part of our history just as the more successful mid 1970’s were. History is always worth remembering as we ponder just what the future might hold in store for us. Thanks John.