The first full season without the Dons season ticket. It was chucked during the 2018/19 season after Wee Man’s admission to liking “little games”. This plus mediocrity acceptance of the club and supporters which was really grinding at the time. 2019/20 was cut short for obvious reasons. This meaning my last game came in the February in Arnhem as I was away with work when the season was curtailed. Incidentally the first game off in Scotland being Aberdeen’s trip to Motherwell on Friday the 13th of March as well as Queen of the South v Ayr United. 2020/21 was sans fans for a chunk and even saw illegal viewing by us on a couple of occasions. This meaning 2021/22 saw a record number of games in one season at 74 (not bad for someone who works away for long spells).
Between game one at Lochore Welfare in Crosshill to the AFC Trophy final at the Immoral Stadium in Cove, 332 days elapsed. A mammoth season which was not even finished by the time I left for work on June 28th. This due to the AAFA Association Cup Final still to be played between Echt and Tarves (4 v 1 Echt it finished). There were many highs throughout the season with some of the best games I have ever seen in my entire career of watching fitba. Deveronvale 4 v 5 Nairn County and Tarves 4 v 3 Woodside were both incredible and both had last minute winners. There was finally ticking off the 42 at Stranraer for me. (Down to 41 again with Bonnyrigg Rose coming up). There was Wee Man’s chase for his 100th ground which was achieved at Pollok. This was his choice of venue and that alone gave me a sense of pride as it shows the type of fitba he appreciates. It was a great day too and we were allowed a kick about on the Newlandsfield pitch pre-game and met with some fantastic welcomes from fans and committee alike. To say Wee Man was elated was an understatement. Dipping into the amateurs threw up some excellent games too. We usually worked from Juniors up and I see my failings in that now. It really was blood bloody good to watch at times. On the amateurs, it has a reputation where it gets knocked for being rough. That’s a total injustice to a set-up where there are some very good players and some cracking fitba played. It needs to lose the tag. One red card is all we saw. This was brandished for a tired mistimed tackle from behind. A lack of bookings too, most of which were handed out were dissent related. There was stumbling across some cracking grounds, with recently visited Villa Park of Aberlour Villa both Wee Man and I’s favourite for the season. But there were also Newburgh Juniors and their East Shore Park, Castletown’s fantastic surface at Back Park, Moorside Park of Dundonald Bluebell which is a hidden gem, then getting the chance to watch a game at the seldom used Broomfield in Montrose was an experience. Even the biblical rain couldn’t dampen how great this wee ground is. Then the fantastically old school Palmerston in Dumfries. The overall trip to Queen of the South was possibly the best of the season as a whole day experience. This was inclusive of a kick about and picnic at Cathkin Park and seeing all the Hampdens on the way down, throwing sticks and stones into the River Nith for ages once in Dumfries, the brilliant people at Palmerston and just being in such a fantastic relic of a ground in general. It was ace. The chance to see not one but two Aberdeenshire Cup finals on the doorstep was never going to be passed by, and neither was the cracking encounter between Huntly and Banks o’ Dee in the Aberdeenshire Shield final, which was a brilliant game, not so much weather wise with the icy rain battering in from the north but the 3 v 3 into pens was a great watch. All these finals were played at Harlaw Park five miles from home. On the Dee, seeing them win three of their five trophies in their final year as a Junior side, and watching a few games in the run to the title was good to see. One of the finals was a tri-generational affair with my Dad also in attendance, this never goes a miss. Wee Man and I did find ourselves cheering for them and it came as no surprise that they were the most watched team throughout the season. I will take great interest in how they fair in their maiden season in the best league in the world and no doubt go and watch too.
With highs there will always be lows. But to be honest there were not many, two that I can think of. As delighted as I was to get the 42 ticked off at Stair Park, the game was awful and gave us the only 0 v 0 of the season. This is not a dig at either Stranraer or Albion Rovers, the game was just ruined by the wind. Rubbish conditions to try and play in. All that way for a 0 v 0. The other low came watching Carnoustie Panmure destroy Lochee Harp 15 v 0. I don’t want to see that happen to any team, well I say any team there are two I can think of. But goings on at New Beechwood was not good to watch and never will be, the score could have been well into the 20s if not for the Harp keeper.
The season also threw up a few surprises. For example, the fact I set foot in the Balmoral Stadium three times despite claiming I would never go back a few years ago surprised even myself. However, it gave us game of the season. Anyway, it’s the team that’s the issue not the ground. Then there was also the fact that despite an aversion to them we watched Formartine on four separate occasions throughout the campaign. Only once at North Lodge and this was to watch Cumnock on Wee Man’s birthday weekend as we both have a soft spot.
Away from the ninety minutes itself, there were also highs. First of all the steak pie at Jeanfield Swifts. The closest I have come to as good a pie as my well bigged up Forres Mechanics effort, but just not quite. Amazing fitba cuisine none the less and worth the visit, as is the ground and club as a whole. There was also getting fitba related stuff published off the back of my ramblings on this site. This has always been a bonus and will continue to be hopefully. Then there was all the great folk we came across, at clubs such as, off the top of my head Turriff United, Queen of the South, Rothie Rovers, Lochore Welfare, Easthouses Lily, Dunbar United, Fraserburgh, East Craigie, Banks o’ Dee, Lossiemouth, Echt, Tarves and Pollok. There was also the seeing of the sites all across the country, whether it was Crovie before Deveronvale, Cathkin Park en route to Queen of the South or just throwing stones into Loch Ryan from the beach at Stranraer for a couple of hours. It was all magic. Then of course there was Wee Man and me getting our mugs on the telly. Something which without trying to sound too biased encapsulated what we do perfectly. I couldn’t have been happier with the way it turned out. But most of all, and it always is, it’s what drew AVFTT to us, it is the hanging out with my sidekick and best mate on earth. You really cannot beat it.
Fitba is just a game some say, I beg to differ.
Games – 74
Goals – 345 (4.7 GPG)
Teams Viewed – 105
New Teams Viewed – 61
Team Most Viewed – Banks o’ Dee x 8
Games With Wee Man – 63 (52 new grounds for him)
Mileage – 10369
Tournaments – 40
Tournament Most Watched -7 Highland League
Red Cards – 19
Penalties – 27 (5 missed)
Home – 27
Away – 29
Draw – 10 (minus neutral games)
Neutral Games – 8
Cup Finals – 6
Best Game – Tarves 4 v 3 Woodside, AFC Cup Final
Highest Scoring – Lochee Harp 0 v 15 Carnoustie Panmure
Goalless – 1 , Stranraer v Albion Rovers
Countries – 1 (Scotland)
First Ground Visits – 42- Lochore Welfare, Rothie Rovers, Stoneywood-Parkvale, Lochee Harp, Easthouses Lily, Methlick, Bo’ness Athletic, Ardallie, New Deer, Dundee North End, Forres Thistle, St Peters, Newtongrange Star, Tynecastle, Rossvale, Dunbar United, Bridge of Don Thistle, Aberdeen University, Queen of the South, Irvine Victoria, East Craigie, Clydebank, Montrose Roselea, Livingston, Rutherglen Glencairn, Broughty Athletic, Benburb, St Mirren, Hamilton Academical, Stranraer, Dundonald Bluebell, New Elgin, Dundee St James, Tarves, Jeanfield Swifts, Newburgh Juniors, Echt, Elizabethan Link Up, Alford, Mormond Thistle, Castletown, Aberlour Villa
Ground Revisits – 32- Inverurie Locos x 4, Maud, Longside x 2 , Fraserburgh, Formartine United, Keith, Turriff United x 2, Brechin City, Deveronvale, Deveronside, Lossiemouth, Banks o’ Dee x 3, Arbroath, Elgin City, Pollok, Lochee Harp, Strathspey Thistle, Rothes, Culter, Ellon United, Buckie Thistle, Newburgh Thistle, Cove rangers x 3
Most Visited – Harlaw Park, Inverurie Locos x 4
Watched Illegally – 0 thankfully
Social Clubs/Club Bars Drank In – 17
Best Social Club/Club Bar- Queen of the South(for the people alone. Top folk)
Favourite Ground – Villa Park, Aberlour Villa
Wee Man Favourite Ground – Villa Park, Aberlour Villa
Best Fans – Kilbirnie Ladeside (away to Pollok)
Best Pie – Jeanfield Swifts (Steak)
Half Time Draws Won – 2, Jeanfield Swifts and Rutherglen Glencairn
Games Weathered Off – 3 -Nairn St Ninian v Banks o’ Dee, Bonnyrigg Rose v Cumbernauld Colts, Preston Athletic v Kinnoul,
Games Coronad Off – Brechin Victoria v Blairgowrie
Turds in a Urinal – None this season
Favourite Pre-game Point of Interest – Cathkin Park. Non-fitba, the Moray Motor Museum, Elgin
Telly Appearances – 1, A View From The Terrace, February 2022
Best Moment – A View From The Terrace filming day. Great people. Great day.
Favourite Photo – Joint – Wee Man at Elgin City v Annan Athletic and Wee Man with the Aberdeenshire Shield and Aberdeenshire Cup double at Banks o’ Dee