THIS MONTHS MESSAGES
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31st December 1999ROBIN LIVINGSTONE
In Perthshire Advertiser of 31/12/99.

"Allan Preston looks likely to resume a loan period with Queen of the South next month when he recovers from his cracked rib."

Lets hope 2000 will be better than the last half of 1999. Happy New Year.
31st December 1999IAN SHARPE
Alex Bomphray and all Queens Fans.

Here's wishing for a turn round in fortunes for QOS in the next millenium.

May the good times roll back to Palmerston. All the best.
29th December 1999GORDON ORR
Re Ewan Lithgow 27/12/99

Yes, without a shadow of a doubt that team you stated would win the second division championship by the end of February. Derek Townsley is probably the most talented player to come out of the lower leagues of Scottish Football in the last 5 years or so, and I would bet my life that Andy T would score 25 plus. After I submitted my own article on 23/12/99, I remembered about Chris Doig. How could I forget. If anyone observes the Nottingham Forest team sheet these days they will see the (31) Doig,is a Forest regular. On a hypothetical basis, if the young but very talented Chris Doig went onto be sold for say 5,000,000, in 3 years time or so, how much would Queens get? Surely they had the foresight to have a sell on clause. Does anyone know? Anyway good to see that Queens oldboys are doing the business.
28th December 1999GEOFF LEONARD
Further to Ewan Lithgow's comments concerning current footballing Doonhamers, it's worth pointing out that Kilmarnock's Gary McCutcheon barely really counts. Gary and his family are from Stranraer where the player still lives. Like many Clay-holers, he was simply born here in the absence of such things as electricity and running water in his home town.
27th December 1999EWAN LITHGOW
re Gordon Orr's comments of 23rd. A couple of points to add to this subject.

Firstly, in terms of the current squad, both David Mathieson and Andy Aitken were born in Dumfries. I know they live in Kirkcudbright and Annan respectively but I think we should be allowed to consider them local. Neither signed "directly" for Queens but then neither did Leslie who was at both Stoke City and Annan Athletic prior to us.

Secondly, and looking into the issue a little deeper, it's also worth pointing out that it's not as if we're missing out on a lot of players either. Gordon's comments got me trawling through the new Scottish League Review book to see how many Dumfries born players there actually are. By my count, there are 15 Dumfries born pros in Scotland plus 5 in England, making 20 in all. Of that 20, 7 are at Queens now and another 4 (Mark Adams of Stranraer, Chris Doig of Nott'm Forest, and Craig Flannigan and Graeme Robertson of Albion Rovers) have played for us. The other 9 are the 5 Gordon mentions plus Ian McCall at Clydebank, Gary McCutcheon at Kilmarnock, Greg Shaw at Berwick and Andrew Stewart at East Fife. Given the ages of most of these players, apart from Gordon's 4 (I'm not counting Matteo who was very young when he left Dumfries) we've only really missed out on McCutcheon and Stewart who are still prospects (I confess I don't know much about McCutcheon other than seeing him score against us while on loan to Stenhousemuir so I don't know if his family left Dumfries or if they're still here). Perhaps the bigger question is why there aren't more pros from Dumfries. Is there a dearth of local talent or are they just not being picked up?

Anyway, changing the subject slightly, whilst looking through the Review Book, it struck me that there are now a lot of former Queens players plying their trade elsewhere in senior football. This is much in contrast to the the last decade or so when very few Queens players left us to do anything other than drop to Juniors, retire or play Southern Counties. I would like to think this is an indication that we have had a better standard of player recently and that we've have developed good players ourselves rather than that we've lost our best players.

By my count there are 20 former Queens players with other Scottish clubs (plus 3 who played for us on loan) as well as Chris Doig and Andy Thomson in England. (I'm not counting Nesovic who's left Albion Rovers since the Review was printed). So how's this for a team of ex-Queens stars playing elsewhere :-

Goalkeeper - Jim Butter (East Stirling)
Left Back - Des McKeown (Partick Thistle)
Right Back - David Lilley (Aberdeen)
Centre Back - Chris Doig (Nott'm Forest)
Centre Back - Jim Thomson (Arbroath)
Left Mid - Jamie McAllister (Aberdeen)
Centre Mid - Tommy Bryce (Arbroath)
Centre Mid - Derek Townsley (Motherwell)
Right Mid - Paul Harvey (Motherwell)
Forward - Andy Thomson (Gillingham)
Forward - Darren Henderson (Hamilton Accies)

If you want to keep it just to Scotland then Colin Campbell (Berwick) or Graeme Love (East Fife) could replace Doig and Willie Watters (Stenhousemuir) or Craig Flannigan (Albion Rovers) could replace Andy Thomson.

(NB - I know Jim Butter was poor for us but there are no other ex-Queens keepers now that Rab McColm is back at Annan).

Just a bit of fun but I reckon that team would walk the present Second Division. What do you all think?
24th December 1999ALEX BOMPHRAY
Re Man of the Match-I think Ewan's suggestion No 2 has good potential.Things must be quiet in the accountancy business just now!

Have you all read the Arbroath unofficial web site report on Saturday's game. I wasn't at the game but was it the same one as reported on the Queens site.It's always good for a laugh anyway-even if just for the mention of Stevie former Arbroath signing target' Mallan.
23rd December 1999DAVID CLARK (SLUGGER)
hi to all QOS fans !!

xmas has came early for your team with the GREAT capture of WARREN HAWKE !!! what a player i wish warren all the best at QOS for this season and the seasons ahead as i will miss him not playing for the MIGHTY MORTON !! i also wish your team all the very very best from now on as i will be watching out for your results and checking up on how the HAWKE man is getting on .

hope you's all a very very very xmas and a great new year !!!

p.s. lets's hope we draw each other in the scottish cup !!!!
23rd December 1999GORDON ORR
I was speaking to one of my friends yesterday and we got onto the conversation about the lack of local talent that signs directly to Queen of the South. The only current regular (if you can call him that!) that is from Dumfries that plays in the Queens team is Steven Leslie. I'm not counting Kevin Robison or Geoff Paterson. What a welcome addition these boys from the town would make to the current Queens team (1) Barry Nicholson (Rangers) (2) Dominic Matteo (Liverpool) (I know you cannot entirely call him a Doonhamer) (3) Peter Handyside (Grimsby Town) (4) Jamie Paterson (Halifax - Who is an absolute god down there)(5) David Kerr (Mansfield Town)

Who knows maybe one day!
23rd December 1999EWAN LITHGOW
Interested to see the subject of Internet Man of the Match / Player of the Year being debated again. I have been thinking about this lately myself.

There are inherent problems with all the suggestions so far. The current method of using Total Points is flawed because it is heavily biased towards home performances due to the number of votes cast. I note Alex's suggestion of an average system but this too has two major flaws. Firstly, it would still be biased towards the home games and, secondly, it is entirely dependent on how you define an appearance. Take Saturday's game for example, Kevin Robison played for about one minute and, presumably, as a result totalled few points. If this counts as an appearance for averaging purposes then he has suffered for getting on the field. He would be better off not playing at all. Alan Preston started the game but was substituted injured after half an hour or so. Does this constitute an appearance? Where should we draw the line?

Colin's Suggestions :-

1 - Separate Vote for Player of the Year The problem here is that the system would favour those who produce a late season run of form. Derek Townsley and Jamie McAllister won the Doonhamers Travel Club Player and Young Player Awards last season despite hardly playing a game prior to Rowan's dismissal. Whilst I am not saying that they didn't deserve their awards, there can be little doubt that the freshness of their performances gave them an advantage over those who played well all season such as Aitken and Lilley.

This method also leaves the problem of home performance bias untouched.

2 - Bonus Points for MoM Winners There are two problems with this method. As above, it is still biased in favour of home performances and, in situations where two players might dominate the votes for a match, one will gain far more points than the other because he shades the MoM Award.

3 - Fantasy League Based System I don't like any system which takes bookings and sendings-off into account because they are dependent on the referee getting decisions right. Think about Lilley against Arbroath this season or any of the victims of Darren Murray's antics last season and consider if it is fair to reflect these decisions in the year end award. Also, any method which takes bookings into account is inherently biased against defenders and central midfielders as they do most of the tackling.

I have two suggestions to make regarding possible alternatives.

1 - After all votes are cast, place the players in order and award points per match from ten down to one to the best ten players. (The rest of the players used in the match would score zero). The advantage of this system is that it removes the home bias by awarding the same points to each match. However, it still doesn't reflect average performances. You could simply divide the total points using this method by appearances to give an average but this brings us back to the question of what constitutes an appearance. (The official Fantasy League consider an appearance to be at least 45 minutes). You would also have to decide on a minimum number of games to be considered for an award which would remove the Paul Harvey problem. (I would suggest at least 20 games, being half the fixtures).

2 - Slightly more complex than Suggestion 1 but based on the same idea. 100 points would be awarded for each match played. After all votes are received, each player receives points based on his percentage of votes cast. ie. If 500 votes are cast for a game and Andy Aitken gets 100 of them then he would get 20% of the available points = 20. If John Hillcoat gets 80 votes then he receives 16% of the points = 16, etc. This method removes any home bias and also means that a player who has a sensational performance and grabs a big proportion of the votes cast earns the points his performance deserves. If averaging is felt necessary, it can still be done as above once a basis for defining an appearance is arrived at.

I think this second suggestion is the best so far but then I would say that. What do the rest of you think?

One further point of note for Colin. After all the MoM votes are received, would it be possible to attach the result to the Match Report? At present, the votes are added to the previous totals, making it difficult to see what a player got for any particular game.
21st December 1999SIKKE VISSER
Hi There Collin and all QOS people

I am glad QOS made it to 3 points this weekend. Still have to read the match report. Checked on internet 15.30 and it was allready 1 - 0 Came back at home past 6 and stille here was the 1 - 0

Good for you all.

It was a great weekend for me because all my favorit clubs did win there game.

Villa finaly won, QOS did win there game and on saturday evening my homeside Heerenveen, I am a season ticket holder, did win ther awaygame at PSV Einhoven ( leaque leaders in Holland) by 0 - 1 and are now 2nd in the table.

I HOPE ALL OF YOU HAVE A GREAT CHRISTMAS TIME AND A VERY SUCCESSFULL YEAR 2000

GREETZZ FROM THE NETHERLANDS

Sikke, Gelbrigje and the kids Thomas and Sybren
21st December 1999DAVID DAWSON
Hard to judge the new signings on Saturday but a welcome three points. Hopefully Warren Hawke can put last season at morton behind him (3 goals only in 27 starts & 4 subs) and fire us up the league. Sorry to hear of the demise of "Queens Scene". The replacement (tiny) report even got the Stirling score wrong, as did the Standard on Wednesday. But more professionalism needed by both papers' staff i think.

I found plenty Queens fans in the little bar near Palmerston called the devorgilla but only yards away the Spread Eagle was full of Celtic supportes. I had a lovely lunch in the Globe, High St, where there were some QOS diehards but nearby the Fleshers Arms seemed to be a pro-Rangers place. Still we cannot all be perfect!
21st December 1999SANDY ORR
Just a quick reply about Saturdays attendance, when I entered the ground just a few minutes before kick off the ground was extremely empty. I don't think I've ever seen so few at Palmerston. However, as the first half went on there was quite a number of latecomers coming in. I think this boosted the attendance by quite a bit.

I think many folk were waiting to see if the match would be on, whilst others may have seen that we were winning on the teletext and decided to go along!

I hope it snows every Saturday from now to May!!!
21st December 1999COLIN JOHNSTONE
Alex, I would like to make the scoring of points for the MoM and thus Player of the Season a bit fairier and to recognise players such as Peter Dickson and the impact that they can make. Any suggestions would be welcome, the difficulty I've found is producing an average score for the games played, if we do it that way then Paul Harvey will probably win it on the basis of one match and eighty points. There are a few other ways that spring to mind:

1. Make the final award of Player of the Year subject to the results of a separate vote plus his MoM league points.

2. Award an extra twenty or thirty points for each Man of the Match award.

3. Change the scoring system to something like the fantasy football leagues run in the Sun and other daily papers, so players get points for MoM, lose points for bookings etc and sometimes don't score if their average rating from all those voting isn't high enough.

Any comments on this would be more than welcome.
21st December 1999ALEX WILSON
While I was looking at the Man of the Match awards this week, it occurred to me that there should be an award at the end of the season for the player with the highest average points collected, for example, if we had a player that came in and saved our season much like Peter Dickson did in the mid 70's, someone who had played a lot less games than someone from the start of the season then their performance should be recognised.
21st December 1999KEITH MULLEN
Re Gordon Orr 19 12 99

As well as Dick Malone playing for Queens and appearing in an English cup final-as did Warren Hawke-another Queens player achieved the honour, and that player was George Farm. George appeared in one of the most famous of wembley finals for Blackpool 1953 when they beat Bolton 4-3 in what is remembered as the "Mathews Final". He signed for Queens on 4-2-1960 from Blackpool as player/manager and as there until January1964, when he left to manage Raith and later Dunfirmline. He was also to lead the team back to the 1st division in 1962 after 3 seasons in the 2nd. After leaving the club he was replaced in goal by Allan Ball who holds the record for the most appearances. Along with Roy Henderson and Allan Ball, George (from what I have read) must be considerd one of the great keepers of palmerston.
20th December 1999EWAN McNAUGHT
That's more like it. I'm sure Warren Hawke will prove to be an excellent signing and is a good example of the quality of player we should be bringing to Palmerston if we wish to stay in the second division this season and challenge for promotion next season. Hopefully a couple more new faces will follow soon, particularly a creative midfielder. The other Sunderland player who appeared in an F.A.Cup Final and later appeared for Queen's was full back Dick Malone.
20th December 1999KEITH MULLEN
I totally agree with the comments of gordon orr concerning the signing of warren hawke.Warren did indeed play in the English cup final against Liverpool(92)unfortunatly on the losing side as a substitute(I think)-correct me if I'am wrong.Dick Malone played a couple of seasons for Queens in the early 80's and was a regular in the 1980/81 promotion winning side playing at right back.He won the cup in 1973 with Sunderland beating Leeds 1-0 in one of the greatest upsets of alltime,andI was fortunate to get a ticket and witness it !.I also saw Dick play for the Queens when I visited palmerston for the first time-Aug 27 1980 v Ayr lost 1-2 in the league cup.My brother met him earlier this year and he spoke with great affection of his time at the club,and that it was the travlling from the north east of England that prompted him to retire.George Herd was the manager who pesuaded Dick to play for the south and he to was an ex Sunderland player.

Trivial matters from Dick's 73 final ..4 of the winning team were Scots,one of whome was the captain (Bobby Kerr) and another who scored the winning goal (Ian Porterfield).

Good Luck to Warren and well done the board .It was also good to see ex chairman Norman at Saturdays game.

Finally best wishes to all at Palmerston and a Merry Christmas and all the best for the comming year.
20th December 1999CALLUM WATSON
In reply to the poser in the report and to another fan on the message board, Dick Malone plyed for Queens having played for Sunderland in their cup final upset against The String Beads (Leeds)in 1973. Possibly the slowest player I ever witnessed for QOS with the obvious exception of Chris Balderstone.

I told you things could only get better!!
20th December 1999JOHN WILSON
Can anyone at Palmerston tell me and many other Queens fans how the crowd attendance is arrived at. If there were over 800 at the game versus Arbroath, someone must have been seeing double.
20th December 1999ALEX WILSON
To Gordon Orr, the first I remember who played for Queens and had been in an English Cup Final was George Farm, the goalie for Blackpool in the Stanley Matthews Final in 1953. He was also the best goalie I have ever seen playing for Queens, but it's so long ago your not allowed to vote for him in the local best ever Queen's team!
19th December 1999GORDON ORR
Well done Queens on a spirited perfprmance on a day that was only fit for the eskimos. Surely now we can start to think in a positive manner and get the points to survive and not to drop into the depths of Scottish Football. Credit where credit is due, well done to the board of Directors for putting their hands in their pockets and financing a deal for Warren Hawke. He will be a good signing for Queens and even on Yesterday's performance he showed that he will score goals in the Scottish Second Division. (Incidently is this the first Queens player to have appeared in an English FA Cup final, Liverpool V Sunderland 1992) Another Defender and a strong midfielder would improve the squad no end. What about Paddy Flannery of Dumbarton?

P.S Is John Lambie right in the head for paying a reported 45,00 for Scott McLean???
19th December 1999MARTIN COPE
Congratulations to Queens for a win at last! Unfortunately, having driven up from S.E. Cumbria, I met snow at Gretna, travelled on to Dumfries in worsening conditions, and decided to turn back about 2:15 p.m. Therefore, mixed emotions at news of victory! However, as I was present at Queen's last victory against Hamilton, I would like to think that my presence, albeit fleeting, in Dumfries made all the difference!! Hoping that this victory will be the start of something better in the 21st Century, may I send best wishes to everyone connected with Q.o.S., and their supporters, for the New Year.
18th December 1999ROBIN LIVINGSTONE
Have lived in Perth for many years now but still follow Queens.Even made the 3-0 defeat from Clyde.

My mother still stays in Dumfries and I have to admit to scouring the local papers she has - to read the reports when I visit. - thats apart from visiting the website regularly.

Well done Queens for the best Xmas present. Lets hope for lots more before the season ends.

My hats off to the supporters who go every week - especially having to watch the games recently.

I hope the Arbroath game was enjoyable and you all make it home before Sunday!!!

Maybe see you at an away game up nearer here.
18th December 1999WILLIE POOL
The New Bazaar, you must be joking!!!

Last time I went in there most od the real ales were stale and I tried most of them!!!

For a pre-match pint I would suggest the TOS as mentioned earlier for real ales or indeed try one of the hotels such as the Birkhill or Edenbank, maybe not real ales but they make you feel really welcome
17th December 1999DAVID DAWSON
With many photos of Queens on it's walls, one of the best pubs in town to visit before a game at Palmerston is undoubtably the "New Bazaar" on the whitesands. An addad bonus is the superb selection of real ales and guest beers. No football colours allowed though, so take your scarf off!

P.S. season 90-91 we only won 9 out of 39 games and finished in 36th place out of the 38 Scottish teams.
16th December 1999CALLUM WATSON
As a Queens fan exiled in the South it is frustrating to see the team struggling at the bottom of the table. It is clear that mistakes have been made throughout the club and the result will almost inevitably be third division football next season. On the eve of a new century a fresh approach and channge of attitude throughout the club is obviously required.

Living down South for the last 16 years I have followed Wimbledon FC who are living proof that a small team can compete at the highest level. To all loyal Queens fans keep the faith, things can only improve and at least you are not one of the sheep who supports the old firm.

Merry Christmas and a more succesful New Year!!
16th December 1999PAUL SANKEY
Thanx everyone..think i'll leave a message on here before we come , & you can take us on the "tour".....But whats the best game in feb/march? Oh yeah....is it left or right ??!!!!

p.s..sorry , i cant find me boots anywhere !!!!!
15th December 1999SIMON MILLAGE
Sandy - are you trying to get Paul lost?

" to find it you should Leave "the Hole i' the Wa' by the rear exit, turn left and the Tammy is only about 100 yards along on the right hand side." or do you just not know your left from your right?

Maybe you normally do too much research in the hole before you usually go there.

Merry christmas to everyone.

(I think we should hang up the QOS stockings and hopefully santa will come and fill them with some good players)
15th December 1999IAN RAFFEL
I second Sandy's self-nomination for liquid refreshment correspondent. I can testify to his capacity in that direction and I've not known him that long! Trouble is, his guided tours will become more popular than the matches!

Merry Christmas everyone!
13th December 1999STEVE BAXTER
What's the lowest number of points Queens have ever amassed in a season? What's the longest run of defeats Queens have ever had? What's the most number of goals Queens have let in over a season?

I'm only asking from the viewpoint that Queens may be on the verge of a statistically record breaking season here, one in which we may look back on and regard the Kilnockie match as a good result! By the way, we may be getting an inkling of what next season's news coverage is going to be like with almost no coverage in the Sunday papers, and what appears to be the demise of "Queens Scene" in the Courier thanks to the character assassination of their correspondent. I personally used to enjoy "Queens Scene", at least it was amusing sometimes and God knows we need a laugh now.
12th December 1999SANDY ORR
Paul Sankey, I think it is always great when people who support other teams, especially from other countries show interest in Queens. I can see why you have shown interest in Queens as there are some similarities. Apart from playing in similar colours, I think Millwall are another team who on paper should be playing at a higher level.

I'm sure Colin will have e-mailed you with details of how to get to the ground, and it isn't too far from the Dumfries railway station.

In terms of watering holes, which for some reason I seem to be fairly knowledgeable, there are plenty good ones to choose from. However I would recommend that you visit the Palmerston Bar (under the main stand) before the game. The prices are reasonable and the staff and clientele are very friendly. On your way to Palmerston there are a couple of favourites of mine in the town centre, and they are almost side by side. The Hole i' the Wa' is must visit. Reasonable food at very good prices, and a large selection of ales - lovely! The Tam O' Shanter is quite close to the Hole i' the Wa', though I would suggest to find it you should Leave the Hole i' the Wa' by the rear exit, turn left and the Tammy is only about 100 yards along on the right hand side. Although a very small pub, it is very friendly and has a great atmosphere. But best of all another large selection of fine ales from all over Britain!

Colin, I have just had a thought as I write this message. If you are ever looking for someone to give a guide to away grounds, especially the local hostelries, I'm your man! Of course any alcohol comsumption along the way would only be for research purposes!

Merry Christmas everbody!
12th December 1999STEVE BAXTER
To Paul Sankey,

What time would you like the game to start? You'll probably be the only one there!

P.S. - Bring your boots!
11th December 1999PAUL SANKEY
Not too sure how well this is going to go down , but i'm a Millwall supporter from London(anyone heard of them?!).Anyway , since i was about 7 i've always looked out for qos's results..not really sure why , but i have. So i've decided to come sometime in the new year to watch a home game..what would be a good match for atmosphere etc (around Feb/March) , best pub for pre-match beer & nearest rail station ??? Sorry to see the club in a bit of a mess at the moment , but i think with smaller clubs (here at least) youth policies are the way to go , both financially & for league success...unless you're Man Utd & can afford to "buy it". Best of luck for the rest of the season ...
11th December 1999P SAUNDERS
Ewan, when I last posted a message I did,nt mention any names, but I and other people I know that read the messages where getting sick of the cat fighting that you and others where having on this site.
10th December 1999SIMON MILLAGE
If Neso was still here we would be winning.

& Mark Weir is crap
9th December 1999COLIN JOHNSTONE
Steve, your comments need to be clarified as you are obviously unaware of what the message board is or how the site is operated.

Firstly every message that has been submitted with a name has been published, there have only been a couple of messages that have been slightly edited and by slightly I mean the swear words have been taken out!

Secondly there is absolutely no editorial control from anyone at Palmerston. This site is run from at least twenty miles away from Palmerston and it is left up to my discretion as to what is published or what is not and as I say above so far everything is published. You should note that I also requested that people change the thread I did not say that messages would not be printed.

Thirdly, there is no official line from Palmerston, people have opinions, no official from Queens has so far submitted a message to be published.

Finally, the entire site is run on behalf of Queens but on a totally voluntary basis by myself, I am neither a shareholder nor an employee, just like you, I think, I am a fan. So feel free to imagine a conspiracy theory but it just doesn't exist.
9th December 1999STEVE BAXTER
Careful Jim Stewart! Your information on the message board is getting away from the original intention of the message board which is to promote nothing but good news and no disagreement with the official "line" from Palmerston particularly from the fountainhead of all inside information at Palmerston Ewan Lithgow. The man who at first went along with the story that Queens got a hundred thousand for Harvey, then when the Courier revealed otherwise, said "I suppose I can now reveal that Queens got twenty -odd thousand" for Harvey. However, I suppose this won't be printed either for going against the "original" intention of the message board, so here is a typical "new" entry -

I think Queens are wonderful and anybody who says we are bottom of the league must be mistaken and obviously a troublemaker with nothing better to do than try and disturb the wonderful setup we have at Palmerston, I think Ewan is wonderful with his insights into the difficulties of running a team at Palmerston and is there any news when he will be getting co-opted onto the Board?
9th December 1999SIMON MILLAGE
Andy Cowan:

That is all very well and good, but the league is measured on team performance not youth system. The way we are being managed at the moment is going to get us relegated.
9th December 1999EWAN LITHGOW
re Jim Stewart

I stand corrected Mr Stewart. It would seem that I have fallen into the trap of presuming, from the media coverage of St Mirren's youth set up over the last few years (under Tony Fitzpatrick), that it was this policy that was bearing fruit and we constantly hear of young Sergei Baltacha and the two guys who went to Blackburn Rovers at the end of last season. If it's not the case so be it but I still think our best chance of staying in the division above, should we get there, is developing our own players.

I agree with you that Townsley and Lilley (and McAllister for that matter) have been replaced by lesser players but that stands to reason. All three are now playing every week in the SPL (and not looking out of place!). If Aberdeen and Motherwell couldn't find any alternative players how are we going to? We can't. We have to start again and develop new players to fill their shoes and that takes time I'm afraid.

To Messrs Saunders, Dawson and Baxter.

I make no apologies for my postings to the site. I am opinionated, I don't deny it. Football is a game of opinions. None of us ever pick the same eleven when asked. I believe the Message Board is exactly the forum for such debates. If it bores you the solution is simple. Don't read it. If my postings are seen as the "official" line from Palmerston so be it. I can live with the accusation (though it isn't actually true). The Board and Management of Queens are big enough to speak for themselves if they want to. I write what I do because it's my opinion, no other reason. I do however, on re-reading it, find that I regret the tone (but not the content) of my first reply to Andy Murray.
9th December 1999STUART KING
It seems that the heart has got up and gone!!
6th December 1999KIRK DOBIE
Come on Queens, where is the 1-nil up on hearts at half time spirit gone?
6th December 1999SCOTT MacKAY
On Saturday the Scottish Daily Mirror quoted Ken Eadie as saying "We have a good record against Stirling Albion". This is a load of cobblers Kenny boy. In the 1990's alone we have only won 5 of 20 games played versus the Beanos
6th December 1999JIM STEWART
The statement by Ewan Lithgow that my home team St Mirren's success is based on a great youth system is a myth! Of the 11 who played against Clydebank only 2 came through the youth team at Love Street. We have 2 twenty year olds but the rest are from 23 - 36. As I now reside in Dumfries I sometimes watch queens and in my opinion they are throwing in far too many "boys" against men. Boyle, Caldwell, Weir, Paterson, Robison are just teenagers and I fear it will be very hard to escape the drop now though I wish the club good luck. However, it would be nice if someone (be it management or board) stood up and admitted that mega mistakes have been made this season, especially in the replacement of players like Townsley and Lilley with substandard personnel.
6th December 1999P SAUNDERS
This is just a short message on the board. We are all entitled to post a message on this page, but it seems we have lost sight of what this page is actually about. It is a site so we can give views on Queen of the South football team, not a message board to slag of people who dare post a message. We all support the same team and are all bored with the same people who,s egos take over when they start typing. GIVE IT A REST!. I am not going to mention names as then I would just be as bad, but it seems unpossible for anyone to say something without certain people attacking them.

We dont all have the same views but we all want Queens to get out of this slump we are in and be up there contending for that extra promotion spot this season. Come on stop acting like children or take your petty arguments elsewhere.
6th December 1999ANDY COWAN
Well done, CJ for making a necessary stand against the cat fighting and points scoring that has been going on between certain parties lately.

In reply to all those who are berating the clubs youth policy, ask yourselves how many other second division teams have young players playing in the Premier Division or the English first. To be splitting haris over where the young players currently in the squad came from is juvenile and irrelavent. Is anyone out there really saying that just because Dennis Boyle signed for Queens from a different clu that he cannot be counted as a product of the youth system? For Gods sake, the guy is only 18 years old. HE IS STILL A YOUTH! Just because Queens didnt sign him as an embrio does not make him any less of a product of the youth system. The same must go for Andy Aitken and to a lesser extent David Mathieson. OK both were signed from other teams, but both were still very young at the time and surely would not have come on as much if they had been signed by a club of similar size. I doubt there fore that thier current position cannot be attributed to Queens youth policy

Perhaps more worrying though is the questioning of the current crop of players. Im talking about the likess of McGuffie, Moffat, McCaig, Paterson and Uriarte. Does it matter how many games they have played for the first team? Do the people posting these messages actually know how old these players are? In case anyone is in any doubts, the idea of a youth policy is to produce players for the future. Now we have been pretty unlucky in the past in that the majority of quality players who have come through have now left the club, but we have to persevere. Dont forget that neither David Lilley or Jamie MacAllister were first team regulars when they first came into the first team squad. In fact I remember them both being in and out of the team for a long time before thay both proved themselves. Despite this, what good does putting down the youngsters do? OK so they have limited first team experience, but does that mean we should be slagging off them and the whole youth policy. I dont think so.

And as for bringing in so-called "journey-men" pros, what an absolute load of pointless nonsense. Yes we do need to strengthen the squad, but as Ewan says, the last thing we should do as a club is inest heavlily in journeymen for short term gains, IT DOES NOT WORK. I defy anyone to come up with a club that has had success bringing in journeymen pros, that hasnt had substantial financial clout behind, the like of which Queens simply cannot match, until of course one of the fans wins the lottery!!!

My last point (thank god I hear you cry) is that I have yet to see anyone who clambers so much for the club to buy players to put forward any names of possible signings. Are we really all that niave that we think the managment can just go out and buy a left back, or a striker when they fee like it? It is one thing having some money to spend, which apparently we have, and another entirely finding the right players at the right price to actually sign. It has been well discussed on this page that almost every other club in Scotland is in financial difficulties, therefore every other club is trying to get as much for its players as possible, therefore we may be forced into a position of paying over the odds for a player. This doesnt make financial sense and sois something we shouldnt do, yes?

The next time someome feels the need to post a message crying for the club to buy players, or journeymen pros, perhaps they would like to do a little research first and find out just which players are available at the right price and that are willing to come to the club (another fact which most people seem to forget, we have a major disadvantage, geographically, and now also because we are bottom of the league. How many quality players want to travel so far out of the central belt to play for a team bottom of the league?). I have made this point before, but how many fans out there actually think that the club is not looking for players. What most fans dont realise is that is isnt that easy to convince players to come to a club in such a postion as Queens. In fact, the easiest players to enitce are probably the youngsters, as they have probalby heard of or youth system and the success it has enjoyed. Ironic then that this is the target of so much criticism from fans at the moment.

As has already been said, the only thing we can bank on in the long term is a succesful youth scheme. Journeymen pros will not bring long term success and surely this is what we shouold be looking towards.
6th December 1999IAN RAFFEL
To Steve Baxter - I DO understand about following Queens home and away, as when I lived in Dumfries, I was one of the fans who followed the club when there were half a dozen of us going to the likes of Montrose and Arbroath by train, leaving at 6am and getting back after midnight. I would never describe it as "pain and suffering", even when we finished second bottom of the old Second Division to Queens Park in the 1979-80 season (I think). We might have been daft, but we were proud, and wouldn't have done it otherwise.

I'm not claiming to be the oracle of recent goings-on at Palmerston, I just wish more people would stand up and be counted at the games. I only wish I could make it more often!

I wish all supporters a speedy recovery to the season! Let's not get at each other, let's get behind the team!
3rd December 1999COLIN JOHNSTONE
I would like to thank everyone for their contributions over the past few days, however as a number of messages today point out, we are getting away from the original intention of the Message Board.

With the response from Mark Blount below I think that it is an appropriate time to conclude the present thread and would ask that we look to the future rather than where we have come from.

Thank you.
3rd December 1999MARK BLOUNT
FIRSTLY I WOULD LIKE TO SAY HOW GOOD AN IDEA THE MESSAGE BOARD IS.IT IS GREAT TO GET EVERYBODY'S OPINIONS ON THE DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF THE CLUB.THE REFRESHING PART IS HOW MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLE CARE ABOUT THE WELFARE OF THE CLUB.WHILE I DON'T ALWAYS AGREE WITH THEIR OPINION'S THE DIFFERENT VIEW'S OF THE SUPPORTER ARE WHAT THIS VEHICLE IS ALL ABOUT.

I HAVE NOT POSTED A MESSAGE OVER THE LAST FEW MONTHS AFRAID OF BEING ACCUSED OF NEPOTISM BUT I NOW FEEL AFTER WHAT HAS HAPPENED THAT I MUST POST A LETTER.

EWAN LITHGOW OBVIOUSLY PUTS A GREAT DEAL OF THOUGHT INTO HIS LETTERS TO THE MESSAGE BOARD.HE HAS AGAIN WRITTEN A SUPER REPLY.EWAN BEING A SHAREHOLDER AND AN ACCOUNTANT OBVIOUSLY KNOWS HOW A FOOTBALL CLUB RUNS AND TALKS VERY SENSIBLY FROM A FOOTBALL POINT OF VIEW AND A FINANCIAL POINT.IT IS A PITY OTHER PEOPLE DON'T FORK OUT 15 TO GET A COPY OF THE BALANCE SHEET AND OTHER FINANCES TO AT LEAST PUT A BIT OF BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE TO THEIR ARGUMENT.HAVING SAID THAT IF YOU DON'T FORK OUT FOR A SEASON TICKET TO SUPPORT THE CLUB WHY SPEND 15 TO BECOME A SHAREHOLDER.

I SHALL CUT TO THE "CHASE".

THE REASON I AM WRITING THIS IS IN REPLY TO WHAT I SEE AS A PERSONAL ATTACK ON MY FATHER BY ANDY MURRAY.I THEREFORE WOULD LIKE TO GO OVER SOME OF HIS POINTS.

FIRST OF ALL HE INSINUATES THAT MY FATHER SHOWED A LETTER THAT THE CLUB RECEIVED FROM DAVIE HEWITT TO GIANCARLO RINALDI.

MY FATHER RETURNED TO DUMFRIES ON THE THURSDAY FROM HIS HOLIDAYS.HE INFORMED HIS OTHER DIRECTORS OF HIS DECISION TO RESIGN ON THE THURSDAY AFTERNOON.HE CARRIED OUT HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES AT THE SCOTLAND - ENGLAND SCHOOLBOY INTERNATIONAL NOT TELLING ANYBODY OF HIS DECISION.HE THEN RELEASED HIS DECISION TO THE PRESS THE FOLLOWING DAY.DAVIE HEWITT'S LETTER AND OTHER MAIL RECEIVED BY THE CLUB WAS GIVEN TO MY FATHER,HE WAS NOW NOT IN ANY OFFICIAL CAPACITY AT QUEEN OF THE SOUTH THEREFORE HE FELT HE DID NOT HAVE TO ANSWER TO THIS LETTER.THE LETTER WAS DISCARDED WITHOUT ANYBODY ELSE READING IT.MR HEWITT HAD ALSO RETURNED HIS SEASON TICKET WITH THE LETTER ,INCIDENTALLY, MR HEWITT DOES NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR HIS SEASON TICKET AS HE "DID" DO SOME WORK FOR THE PROGRAMME.I WONDER IF HE WOULD HAVE BEEN SO QUICK TO RETURN IT, IF HE HAD ACTUALLY PAID FOR IT, LIKE ANY OTHER "REAL" FAN WHO WOULD WANT TO "SUPPORT" THE CLUB.DID WE SEE ANYTHING IN THE STORY IN THE PRESS ABOUT HIM RECEIVING A FREE SEASON TICKET-I DON'T THINK SO.

THE NEXT POINT THAT HE MAKES WAS THAT" MR BLOUNT HARDLY EVER ATTENDED PALMERSTON BEFORE 1994".

MY FATHER HAS BEEN A SHAREHOLDER FOR 35 YEARS.HE STARTED ATTENDING QUEENS MATCHES WHEN HE WAS 8.MY GRANDFATHER WHO INTRODUCED QUEENS TO MY FATHER WAS A GUARANTOR FOR THE CURRENT MAIN STAND WHEN THE OLD ONE HAD BURNT DOWN.

MY FATHER WAS AT THE HEARTS GAME WHEN THERE WAS THE RECORD ATTENDANCE AT PALMERSTON,HE PLAYED FOR QUEENS IN THE RESERVES IN THE COMBINED RESERVE LEAGUE.

HE WILL HAVE SEEN MORE QUEENS GAMES HOME AND AWAY THAN MR MURRAY AND HEWITT TOGETHER(NOT THAT MR MURRAY'S WILL HELP THE AGGREGATE SCORE MUCH) OVER THE LAST 49 YEARS.

IT IS NOT THAT HE NEEDS ME TO QUANTIFY THIS TO ANYBODY BUT THESE ARE HARD FACTS AND HARD FACTS ARE WHAT MR MURRAY DOESN'T SEEM TO KNOW MUCH ABOUT.

THIS LEADS ME TO MY NEXT POINT.

THE 17000 FINE WAS ACTUALLY 12000.ANDY MURRAY WANTED SOMEONE DISMISSED OVER THIS.UNFORTUNATELY OR FORTUNATELY WHATEVER WAY YOU LOOK AT IT, THIS HAS NOT BEEN MY FATHER'S POLICY. WHEN BEING IN BUSINESS OVER THE LAST FEW DECADES,HE NEVER SACKED ANYONE,NEVER MIND SOMEBODY FOR ONE UNINTENTIONAL MISTAKE,AND THIS POLICY HAS HARDLY HELD HIM BACK IN HIS BUSINESS INTERESTS OVER THE YEARS.

HE IS THEN ACCUSED OF JUMPING SHIP.THIS WAS NOT A DECISION HE TOOK LIGHTLY.HE HAS STOOD UP AND ADMITTED HE HAS FAILED IN WHAT HE WANTED TO ACHIEVE.HE HAS HAD THE GUTS TO SAY THE TIME WAS RIGHT TO ADMIT DEFEAT.IT WAS SOME EXPENSIVE LIGHTBOAT FOR HIM AND IF YOU EXCUSE THE PUN THAT WAS ONLY THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG.

ANOTHER OF THE INACCURACIES IN QUEEN'S SCENE COLUMN RECENTLY WAS THAT QUEENS WERE HEADING FOR THERE LOWEST POSITION EVER IN SCOTTISH FOOTBALL.OBVIOUSLY,HE NEVER GOT A "WEE RED BOOK" AS YOU COULD SEE FROM THIS,WE HAVE UNFORTUNATELY BEEN IN LOWER POSITION'S IN OUR HISTORY.SIMILARLY, HE COULD HAVE BOUGHT THE BOOK CHRONICLING QUEEN'S HISTORY OVER THE 75 YEARS BUT WHY BREAK THE HABIT OF ACTUALLY INVESTING IN THE CLUB.

AS THEY SAY THOUGH,SAVE THE BEST FOR LAST,THE PIECE DE RESISTANCE

ANDY MURRAY WONDER'S WHY HE NEVER GET'S ANYTHING FROM PALMERSTON IN THE PUBLIC RELATION'S DEPARTMENT AND IS OBVIOUSLY IRKED BY THE FACT THAT GIANCARLO RINALDI DOES.

IT IS BECAUSE HE HAS NO CREDIBILITY THERE.

THIS IS DUE TO WHEN WE SIGNED JIM THOMSON FROM STENHOUSEMUIR 3 YEARS AGO.THE USUAL PHONE CALLS FROM THE PRESS CAME TO OUR PHARMACY IN THE MORNING.ONE PHONE CALL IS FROM OUR "KNOWLEDGEABLE" SCRIBE ANDY MURRAY.

"GREAT SIGNING NORMAN"-AM

"I THINK IT WILL BE AS BIG JIM WAS ALWAYS A THORN IN OUR FLESH WHEN WE PLAYED AGAINST HIM"-NGB

"JUST IN TIME FOR THE 2ND ROUND OF THE CUP"-AM

"WELL,NO ANDY IN FACT HE IS CUP-TIED"-NGB

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT,WHAT'S CUP-TIED ?"-AM

THIS IS WHERE THE INTRIGUE SETS IN.HERE IS OUR SCRIBE WHO WRITES A LOCAL FOOTBALL COLUMN IN THE LOCAL PRESS AND HE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT CUP-TIED MEANS.THE CUP-TIED RULE IS THEN EXPLAINED TO HIM.

"I DIDN'T KNOW THOSE RULES EXISTED, WHEN DID THEY COME IN ?"-AM

THIS IS WHEN ALL CREDIBILITY FLEW OUT THE WINDOW AND I AND OTHERS WHO WITNESSED THIS, PICKED OURSELVES OFF THE FLOOR, QUEEN SCENE WAS NEVER QUITE THE SAME AGAIN TO US.

MY FATHER HAS KEPT THIS UNDER WRAPS FOR 3 YEARS BUT I FELT IT WAS TIME NOW TO EDUCATE SOME OF OUR OTHER SUPPORTERS THAT WHAT ALL THEY READ IN QUEENS SCENE MIGHT NOT BE WHAT IT IS.

FOR EXAMPLE WHEN OUR SCRIBE GOES ON ABOUT COACHES,MATCH ANALYSTS ETC HE FORGETS TO ADD THAT THESE PEOPLE DON'T GET PAID FOR WHAT THE ARE DOING.

THERE IS A SAYING

IF YOU DON'T PLAY THE GAME,DON'T MAKE THE RULES

IN YOUR CASE SCRIBE

IF YOU DON'T KNOW THE RULES,DON'T PLAY THE GAME

FINALLY,I HOPE ANY FURTHER DIALOGUE ABOUT NORMAN BLOUNT CAN BE PUT TO REST AND WE CAN ALL GET BEHIND MR BRADFORD,THE NEW BOARD,THE MANAGEMENT TEAM AND THE PLAYERS AND WISH THEM EVERY SUCCESS AND HOPEFULLY WE CAN GET OUT OF THIS CURRENT PREDICAMENT

(AS THERE'S MORE)

I HAVE JUST READ THE OTHER LETTERS THAT HAVE BEEN POSTED ON THE LETTER BOARD.I FIND IT ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE THAT ANDY MURRAY CAN EVEN QUESTION THE FINANCES THAT MY FATHER HAS PUT INTO THE CLUB.IT IS THERE IN BLACK AND WHITE IN THE ACCOUNTS.SORRY I ALMOST FORGOT YOU DON'T SEE THE ACCOUNT'S AS YOU WILL NOT INVEST 15 INTO THE CLUB YOU LOVE SO MUCH.IF YOU SO WANT I WILL ANSWER THE QUESTION FOR YOU,IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT ME.THE NUMBERS IN THE BOOK.

IN REPLY TO J KERRY

AT LEAST GET THE LAD'S NAME RIGHT,IT IS CHRIS DOIG.I THOUGHT BEING THE YOUNGEST PLAYER TO TURN OUT FOR THE QUEEN'S FIRST TEAM MAY HAVE GOT THE LAD SOME RECOGNITION WITH THE SUPPORTERS,HE MUST HAVE MADE A GREAT IMPRESSION ON YOU.

HIS EXPLOITS CAN BE CHECKED OUT ON THE OFFICIAL NOTTINGHAM FOREST WEB-SITE.HE HAS JUST RECOVERED FROM INJURY AND SHOULD BE BACK IN THE FIRST-TEAM THIS WEEK.

THESE BOY'S THAT DISAPPEAR IN THE SO-CALLED PALMERSTON TRIANGLE,IF THEY WERE YOUR SON'S AND HAD THE CHANCE OF PLAYING FULL-TIME FOOTBALL WITH A PREMIERSHIP SIDE I'M SURE YOU WOULD BE DELIGHTED IF QUEENS HAD HELD ONTO THEM.THERE IS AMONGST THE PLAYERS A GRAPEVINE BELIEVE IT OR NOT,AND SO HOW DO YOU THINK ANY YOUNG PLAYER IS GOING TO COME TO PALMERSTON IF THEY KNOW THEY WILL NOT BE GIVEN THE CHANCE TO MOVE ONTO BETTER THINGS IF THEY ARE GOOD ENOUGH.IF ANYONE WHO CARED TO GO AND SEE THE YOUTH'S IN ACTION THEY COULD SEE WE ARE COMPETING WITH THE RANGER'S AND CELTIC'S AT THIS LEVEL.

I SUPPOSE YOU WOULD SUBSCRIBE TO OUR LOCAL QUEEN'S SCENE'S IDEA THAT WE SHOULD BE HOLDING ONTO THESE PLAYERS LIKE BIG DEGSY BY OFFERING HIM MORE MONEY AS STATED IN A RECENT COLUMN.WHAT WAS HE GOING TO DO IF HE WAS OFFERED FULL-TIME FOOTBALL ?

TRAIN WITH HIM SELF,VERY PRACTICAL.
3rd December 1999JOHN CRAWFORD
I'm sorry to see that the message board has turned into a bit of a ding dong for personal slagging and intellectual point scoring. For everyone not directly involved it actually makes quite boring reading. Can I make a plea for everyone to lay off the handbags at dawn stuff and start making constructive suggestions as to how we can get away from the bottom of the league. We need to get 35 points from the remaining 20 matches to stay up which involves say; 10 wins 5 draws and 5 defeats. We did it last year from a seemingly hopeless situation and we can do it again if the team gets a couple of back to back results and the players (most of whom are capable of seeing off the other teams in the league, all of which are beatable) regain their confidence. Look at Partick Thistle; they were worse than us at the start of the season but the players have regained their confidence after putting a couple of results together.

Queens supporters also have a role to play to stay behind the team and not give the players so much abuse at games. I know it's a totally crap feeling when you're on the receiving end of a five goal gubbing but for those of you who are bad losers and are going to start calling for the heads of everyone at the club for two hours on a Saturday afternoon I'd say stay away rather than come and make a bad situation even worse. Our input into the club is limited but we can have an important role in either chosing to make things a little better or a whole lot worse by asking for everyone to resign. It's not the end of the world so don't let's all over-react and lose sight of the good work done so far in recent years to turn the club around.

As an aside, it made me proud to be at George Rowe's testimonial dinner the other night and sit amongst the 200 or so fellow players who were there to pay tribute. I even won the top prize in the raffle of a signed and framed scotland top from the scotland-norway world cup game so at least someone associated with queens has won something recently.
3rd December 1999DAVID DAWSON
It is time the Queens web site pulled the plug on the pathetic messages from local journalists (along with the opinionated Ewan Lithgow) messers Archibald, Murray and Rinaldi. It has become a slagging off, points scoring exercise and is boring the ass off everyone.

If the truth be known none of them are Queens fans in the REAL sense, although Lithgow and Murray do attend the games unlike Murray's newspaper colleagues who seem frightened to criticise Queens in any way.
3rd December 1999STEVE BAXTER
To J.Kerry, well said! A good point in retaliation to the "official" line put out by certain parties.

To Simon Millage, yes Dougie was there on Saturday, and as I watched him dancing about, I wondered what he was on? It certainly could not have been WIN-A-LOT!

To Doug Archibald, the point is that the Standard are obviously running a censorship system in favour of the Board, or at least up until the ex-chairman resigned, we'll have to wait and see what the reaction is from the Standard to the new Board. It is a well known fact among the supporters who take the time to express themselves hopefully to the Standard that a great deal of censorship takes place, if not the whole rejection of the letter, obviously bedfellows!
3rd December 1999STEVE BAXTER
I am so glad that a hornet's nest appears to have been stirred up in the last few days, it's about time that some other opinions have been expressed apart from the official line slipped into the system via the usual "unofficial" lines which permeate the internet. To Ian Raffel, how dare he complain about fans who have to watch the rubbish dished up week after week, 5 games in 2 seasons?

What the hell does he know about the pain and suffering and the extortionate cost it takes to watch and support Queens home and away every week?
3rd December 1999EWAN LITHGOW
Andy Murray

So it takes a sad case to post messages on a website does it? Why then do you post your letter on it when the Standard don't print it if you have better things to do? Do you not realise your audience are exactly the people you've insulted? Anyway, I feel another attack of sad casedness coming on so here goes.

Small-town number crunchers can indeed read, some of them aren't even offended by the description and this one is humbled by your portfolio of articles but they can write too. That is not the exclusive preserve of those paid to do it and I reserve the right to disagree with you in print where I feel your opinions are flawed and your facts wrong. This is the democracy you mention in action. I never said you had no right to an opinion, I disagreed with it and set out some of the reasons why. I apologise for describing you as small-time but you annoyed me by either ignoring three players playing at the top level now or condemning them as "journeymen", it is not clear from your original letter which it is.

My dictionery defines a local scribe as a writer who lives or works in the vicinity. This is what you are, is it not?

The business relationship between myself and a painter is not the same as the one between yourself and QoS. You are not paid by them to do your job. I know the press are entitled to free entry but you are WORKING not supporting. Excuse me if I continue to view your claim to immeasurable support sceptically.

Strangely, one attribute we small-town number crunchers have is an ability to crunch numbers. I'd be interested to know how 5 years under Norman's leadership multiplied by 150,000 per year spent on youth development (your figure, not mine) leads to a "seven-figure sum". What do you mean by "how much money Mr Blount lost"? Do you mean how much of his own cash did he inject? If you do, then yes I do know, and so does everyone else who can read a set of published accounts. I'll leave that particular piece of investigative journalism to you. His future intentions regarding that loan are a matter for him and the Board, on behalf of the shareholders, to discuss. They are none of your business.

There are a small number of non-SPL clubs with no immediate financial problems (Livingston and Queens Park spring to mind) but I can't see your point. Are you suggesting that we should spend, spend, spend because everyone else has financial problems too and we may as well join them? That sort of view will soon see the creditors close us down.

I am not particularly a zealot for youth development but I do think Norman was right to have a go at it. Journeymen pros will only lead at best to a Stranraer / Clydebank / Hamilton up one year, down the next scenario as we have never had the major cash of a Livingston behind us. Youth developmant was the best chance of getting up and STAYING there. It hasn't worked yet and may never do for us but I used the St Mirren example to show that it COULD work.

I stand by what I said regarding signing fees. Players talk amongst each other and there can be nothing more disruptive than two (fringe?) players receiving a large fee while the rest get nothing. What does that do for team spirit? Anyway, based on performances last season, they were worth nothing. I don't deny both could help us now but it's easy to be wise in hindsight.

In conclusion Andy (or should I call you Murray as that seems to be the way widely published professionals refer to people) there cannot be much doubt that it was Davie Hewitt's friendship with you which led to the Courier article, not any tenuous newsworthiness in the story. I am not for one second criticising his vocal support for the team, merely disagreeing with his current protest and contending that it is not newsworthy. I don't think it's very relevant how many people know either of us but I'll be sure not to pop round to yours for coffee in the near future.

re J Kerry

Points noted Mr Kerry but I was aware of all this when I first wrote what I did. Although Aitken and Boyle were previously registered for other clubs, they were spotted, scouted, signed and developed through our Skillseekers system. I therefore contend that, regardless of previous registration, they ARE products of our system. McGuffie, Moffat, McCaig, Paterson and Uriarte have very few games behind them but that's not really the point. They are in the squad Andy Murray referred to and everyone has to start somewhere.

However,you have missed the point on Doig. The Doig I was referring to was not Kevin, the rather ropey centre-half from last season (not a youth anyway) but Chris, the Dumfries born Scotland u18 captain now playing for Nottingham Forest (7 1st team appearances so far this season). He came up through various age groups of the Queens set up before departing three years ago, having become Queens youngest ever senior player.
3rd December 1999ANDY MURRAY
Cuckoo! Cuckoo, calling! I have known Doug Archibald as a professional acquaintance for nearly 20 years, and I have always held him in the utmost regard, both as an honest man of some warmth, and as a colleague in the Press. He is not the "journeyman journalist" he states he is. He has given good service to the "Standard" for the last two decades. We have wined and dined together, even shared too many goldies together at the Bank of Scotland press awards in 1989; oh, and played golf together, though not in recent years. I like the guy, even if he thinks I am becoming a prima donna and someone who ridicules colleagues; oh, and someone of the Oor Wullie school of journalism.

Jings! I am quite humbled that Doug rates my journalistic talents so highly. He may well have been talking about what I achieved some years ago, before a series of intolerable knocks (financial, emotional, health-wise, and finally and most devastatingly - marital) all but broke me. Crivens! There may well come a time when I will again be a "first-class journalist" (Doug's words). As a chief reporter of the "Standard", if he rates me, he may even commission a few pieces from me from time to time. If I do bounce back from four years of setback, then I will never consider myself to be important. I never have. Those who have known me personally over the years would dispute any such claim. In fact, they would contend that I have always been self-effacing; and that I have constantly under sold myself, maybe to my detriment. Umpteen supporters have approached me over the last few seasons and suggested that Queens Scene told the truth. This has made me feel like shrinking back into the wallflowers, rather than wallowing in it all and agreeing with them.

I am intrigued that Doug sees a miracle in the decision I took, four or so years ago, to take up Dumfriesshire Newspapers' offer to write humorously and honestly about the affairs of the club I had long followed in my heart. I see no value in reckoning that anyone who has followed a team for 60-odd years is any more or less a fan than someone who has followed a team for 60-odd years is any more or less of a fan than someone who has taken up a new paying hobby. People do that every day in life. Yes, I am a "Johnny Come Lately", but I have NEVER considered myself a lifelong supporter, although Norman Blount has been described as such by Giancarlo Rinaldi, the son of one of Norman's close friends.

If I attacked Giancarlo personally, then that was certainly not my intention. I certainly did NOT ridicule a colleague. I was criticising the fact that he used two pages of the "Standard" to commend Norman and to attack and belittle certain passionate fans for their "myopia" and their residency of some kind of Cloud Cuckoo Land. Doug berates me for a "sad, don't adopt a different point of view attack" on Giancarlo. Is that not what he himself was doing by accusing some people of having "ill informed opinions".

Doug, somewhat surprisingly, employs Manchester United, Newcastle and Rangers as successful footballing businesses. I think that he thinks that I think that Queens should be playing in the Scottish Premier League. I don't. He may recall that Norman was the man that floated that possibility in his original "five year plan" as published in the local newspapers when he was appointed to the chair of the board. Doug, you have to look to the Gayfields and the Recreation Parks and the Stair Parks of the world. With very, very little outlay, the teams that play on those parks have achieved more in the past few seasons than Queen of the South has. Arbroath, a club under good management, has signed journeyman professionals to rise from the worst team in Scotland to a position where they are challenging for the first division. Alloa just won the Challenge Cup and are in a similarly optimistic position. Good management; seasoned players. Stranraer have won promotion twice during the last few seasons. They have won the Challenge Cup and trounced Queens a few weeks ago. Where are all these mythical 40-year-olds, Doug?

Doug accuses me of suggesting that 200,000 would put Queens back in the promotion frame. First of all, it was Giancarlo who first floated that figure; not I. Second; yes, I believe that kind of outlay would have helped in the slog.

Finally, Doug, you have every right to praise Ewan Lithgow's stance on the Internet. If you agree wholeheartedly, with his assertion that Queens are, somehow, lucky to have a youth development system that has churned out Aitken, Boyle, Caldwell, McGuffie, Moffat, McCaig, Paterson, Uriarte and Weir, then why are we sitting bottom of the league? What contribution to our campaign has any of the aforementioned players made this season, other than Andy Aitken, who was signed form Annan Athletic?

Keep your head below the parapet, Doug. Stick to treating "Standard" readers to reviewing the voluminous Scottichronicon. I don't mind putting my head up there because of the insight I have gathered from my "intrepid home and away days". My opinions are honestly held. If I am opinionated, then I have met very few supporters who are not.
3rd December 1999BRUCE WRIGHT
I would like to congratulate Queens on their appointment of Craig Paterson to the board of directors. While Craig has no football experience at any level he comes from a family of fervent Queens supporters and is a life long real fan. His financial background as an accountant will prove invaluable as some of the money thrown at youth development in the last few years is, in my humble opinion, way beyond a club of Queens status. As Mr Blount finally admitted after he resigned, at the end of the day the majority of Queens hard-core support are not interested in anything else but a successful first team. C'est la vie!
2nd December 1999J KERRY
Your argument for the youth policy has a couple of slight flaws Mr Lithgow. If you look in the programme (The thing you told Andy Murray to look up) then you will see that Andy Aitken and Dennis Boyle were not brought through our all-singing all-dancing youth system but arrived from Annan Athletic and Keadue Youths. I will agree with you on Bryan Caldwell and Mark Weir, although Mark's face seems to have become a rarity of late. As for McGuffie, Moffat, McCaig, Paterson and Uriarte, how many games for the first team have these wonder kids played for the first team. And yes I am sure we could claim credit for Kevin Doig had he played more than a handful of games before disappearing like so many others into the Palmerston triangle.
2nd December 1999ANDY MURRAY
It takes a sad case to fire letters off into cyberspace every night. That sentiment initially deterred me from dignifying Lithgow's recent web-sited-based attack on me with a reply. I have better things to do than rant on the Internet. However, Lithgow made a few assumptions that ought to be blown out of the water. The most galling was to dismiss me as "a small-time reporter for a local paper". In truth, Lithgow I have written two books and I have several letters of commendation from far afield. I possess, too, a huge portfolio of articles written over an 18-year period for every leading broadsheet newspaper in the U.K., for many magazines, and for several publications in Australia, the United States of America, Canada and Sweden. I can supply cuttings if Lithgow would be interested in reading them. I assume that small-town number crunchers can read.

I am humbled to know that Lithgow has in the past enjoyed my articles in the small-time local rag. Many people have commended me for the passion I always inject into my work, although I am not cocky or bumptious about it. I leave arrogance to other people. Not too long ago Norman Blount was quoted as saying that I had greatly enhanced the profile of Queen of the South in the locality. He did, of course, later dismiss me - at the local AGM - as "a local scribe".

Lithgow may not relish it but we live in a democracy and everybody is entitled to an opinion, even me. As far as my gaining free admittance to Queen of the South matches is concerned, that is common practice. If a painter and decorator comes to paint your house, you do not charge him to get in the door. Lithgow, although my financial input to Queen of the South has been minimal, I could obtain umpteen affidavits to the fact that I have made up for that immeasurably in other ways.

Lithgow suggests that there is no 200,000 available for strengthening Queen of the South's first team, although George Rowe and Ronnie Bradford are both on record as saying that there is plenty of cash available. Who is kidding? At any rate, had we not squandered so much on "developing" youth, there would certainly be money available, a reported 150,000 a year. Anyway, show me a non-SPL club in Scotland, Lithgow, which does not have financial problems. Another poser: does Lithgow know how much money Mr Blount "lost" during his tenure of a sinking ship. Or did he recover all his outlay?

Lithgow is obviously a zealot for youth development. Okay if the system has been beneficial, why have we shelled out a seven-figure sum too be sitting at the bottom of the second division? What is the measure of success? And why should Lithgow offer St Mirren as a good example when they are running away with the first division and we are almost certainly relegated? What is his point?

Lithgow accused me of naivety in suggesting that Tommy Bryce and Jim Thomson could have been retained for 15,000 apiece. He says a similar sum would have had to be given to the whole team. Nonsense! What ever happened to performance-related pay?

Lithgow asks me what criteria I am using to judge the respective records of the present management and their predecessors. I have not brought that particular subject at all. In fact, I consider it academic anyway, given that we are bottom of the league. If Lithgow believes that managers of a team in that position are doing their jobs well, then that's his prerogative.

I conclude by defending my friend, Davie Hewitt, a honourable and decent man, and a fervent Queens supporter. It was Davie's very vocal support that made the article in the courier newsworthy. Everybody knows him, although few people know you, Lithgow. I certainly don't, nor do I want to.
2nd December 1999SIMON MILLAGE
Andy Murray: Dougie the doonhamer was at the game on saturday.

I agree that we need some journeyman pro.s it is all well us playing teh fruits of a successful youth development team, but we do need experienced players to mould these youths into real players.

I also agree that Geordie Rowe should not get a full game, the last 3 games in particular he has seemed as much of a week link as Sandy Hodge. Rowe should be saved for the last 15-20 minutes as we all know he can come on and stick one away with his head. Sandy Hodge has tried, and failed he needs binned, and i am glad to see that Rowe and Eadie have eventually worked out that Mark Weir is pants.

As for the rest of team i think that we look all right the new players have added a bit more depth to the team, and it seems to be them that are the only ones who are playing well. Dickson i believe is the man to watch with his runs and touches creating most of the cances for Queens. A win or two is not far away as long as Queens learn that it is a game of two halves and put as much effort into the second half as they do in the first. This along with my reccommedations should secure QOS in the second division next season.
2nd December 1999STEVE BAXTER
I thank Andy Cowan for his comments and I can understand the position that he is taking up, that is why I said that it pained me to suggest that George and Ken should consider the option of relinquishing their coaching position, but I think a change may be beneficial, particularly in George's case, I think his form is suffering due to the strain of playing, being responsible for coaching, and now also Captain of the team as well.

George and Ken inherited a team as Andy Cowan said, a team that had something to prove, and a team with the ability to prove it. However that squad was destined to be split up and the "cherries" picked up by other teams. Nobody would stand in the way of players bettering themselves going to the Premier League but somebody has to take responsibility to replace them. Now it's patently obvious that somebody got it wrong, I am not saying that the failure is George and Ken's, for all I know they may just have been carrying out the policy of the Board, but I do think that the pressure on George is definately affecting his performance and this is affecting the defence.

It is a bit of a red herring to throw in the analogy of Man Utd. Everybody knows they are a law unto themselves and anyway I recall them sacking several managers before Alex Ferguson when things were not going right for them!
2nd December 1999IAN RAFFEL
Sandy Orr and Ewan Lithgow I salute you! The voices of reason at Palmerston Park! I AM one of those fans who live 75+ miles from Dumfries, but I am not so blinkered or short-sighted, as to start bleating about heaping the blame onto present management or very recently past chairmen!

The voices of the fans who travel far and wide supporting their club are the ones who should be listened to. It makes such a refreshing change to hear from people who follow their club for proper reasons, and not because their team is in the national media every other week as happens down here in England.

The bad old days of Harkness are gone, we DO now have a degree of stability, the like of which we've never known for such a long time, and with the support of true fans who travel through thick and thin, we'll survive. People in Dumfries really need to get behind the club and stop moaning at the results on Teletext every week, or on the way back from Ibrox or Celtic Park.

I've managed about 5 games in the last couple of seasons, woefully down on my Dumfries days, but probably more than some of the stay away moaners!

Incidentally, the D & G Standard does have a webpage which carries local news, but it is very scant and you can't have articles e-mailed to addresses (or you couldn't when I last asked. I agree with Sandy that some sort of reproduction on this site would be useful.

Come on folks - our attendances are still holding up - let's beat this thing together!
2nd December 1999DOUG ARCHIBALD
As a "journeyman journalist" (not a REAL Queens fan so to speak) I felt compelled to say how much I enjoyed Ewan Lithgow's contribution to your messages. I agree wholeheartedly with his points, even the criticism of Queens away reports carried by the Standard, my paper. I've known Andy Murray for a number of years now, certainly far longer than his miraculous "Road to Damascus" conversion to "Home and Away Queens Fan". Make no mistake Andy is a first class journalist whose ability to write features especially is second to none.

Unfortunately, he seems to have fallen into the prima donna trap which can catch journalists who start writing opinionated columns unaware. In short they get a false sense of their own importance. The point, I believe, was emphasised by his rather sad - don't adopt a different point of view from me - attack on my colleague Giancarlo Rinaldi. At this stage I point out I am not leaping to Giancarlo's defence. He would not wish me to and he is certainly big enough journalistically speaking to defend himself.

Queens' fans are long suffering. They have selected a small time Scottish Club. OK in the heady days of late Forties and early Fifties Queens were in the First Division and regularly played Rangers and Celtic. But in those days Queens pulled in 20,000 fans. There was a maximum wage for players. Even small clubs could make profits. Those days have gone. Whether fans like it or not Queens will almost certainly remain a side in the lower echelons of Scottish football.

The reality is that successful football teams are products of successful football businesses, ie football clubs. That means a massive commerical organisation backed by thousands and thousands of bums on seats. Only sides like Manchester United, Newcastle and, almost, Rangers have the sort of turnover which generates enough profit to buy players of top quality. David Murray got into Rangers at the right time before the cash free for all really got going. Ask poor Stewart Milne at Pittodrie what trying to create a championship side involves. Was it 2 million of your readies, Stewart? Still not made it, huh! Only the arrival of a sugar daddy with an open cheque book could create a premiership side at Palmerston Park and even then it's likely there would still be a weekly loss on the gate.

Andy Murray's view that 200,000 and a journeyman team would take Queens forward smacks of one of those 'good idea at the time' suggestions. Had Andy's intrepid 'Home and Away' days stretched back to the time of Willie Harkness I doubt he would have ventured forth with the idea. Norman Blount, and, if truth be told, Billy McLaren knew exactly what they were doing setting up a youth policy. OK it may have got a bit too ambitious but had it not been for that policy where would the side be now - full of 40-year-old has beens doing the circuit of the lower divisions in search of unrealistic sign on fees? Norman was the right man at the right time for Queens. He has now stepped aside and in Ronnie Bradford the club has a chairman who has his own and, hopefully, fresh ideas. Only time will tell the direction the Doonhamers take from here on.

Andy, by all means continue your Jings Crivens Help Ma Boab Queens Scene in your own inimitable style saying what you want. But please don't try to ridicule others because they don't agree with you. Remember, stick your head over the parapet and it's likely to be shot at.

And by the way 1919 from 1999 makes Queens 80 year...no, never mind! Doug Archibald.
1st December 1999ANDY COWAN
RE Steve Baxter,

Doesnt this smack of de ja vu to you? This time last season everyone was calling for Rowan Alexanders head after he took us to the Challenge cup final.

Now after Rowe and Eadie save us from relagation, with the squad Alexander built, we want their heads too. Am I the only one to who remembers the bad old days when Willie Harkness changed managers more often than he changed his socks?

Im sure Im not, so I find it really difficult to understand why year after year, so-called fans, are calling for the managers head(s). Surely if the management have proven themselves once they should be given at least a fighting chance to prove themselves next season. Given the plays that have been lost to the club and the lack of quality replacements, is it really productive to blame the management. Even given the players we have lost, we still have a squad who are underachieving to an unbelievable extent, now you could argue that this is down to the management, but just perhaps we should be focusoing our attention on the players, all of whom have proved in the past that they can play and play well. Doesnt this strike you as substantially more worrying and important than slagging off the management.

In fact the very fact that Norman BLount resigned, which I do not believe was in the best interests of the club, goes a long way to supporting that the present position was not down to the management team.

I haave to say that as a long time fan I am getting very, very bored with calls from so-called fans for the management to be sacked. It never worked in the past, so why should it work now. Alex Fergusons' job was under threat at Man Utd. early on but the board shwoed faith and in the end it all worked out. Now this may be a little bit of a false simile but I think it proves a point, that no club will progress withouot stability at all levels. This is something Queens have been lacking for years.

In rely to Andy Murray,

I cannot believe that such an educated and long-term fan could come up with such a narrow minded view of the state of the club. Do you really believe that we can really achieve any sort of success by bringing in journeymen pros. Surely Paul Harvey would fall into that category, and what did he do for us? He turned it on when he thought someone better was watching, rather than showing any commitment to the club. Is this what we want? OK we all want success for the club, but surely we should all try to be a bit more long sighted and stop looking for quikc fixes.

I have to say that I am very dissapointed as I would have expected so much more from Mr Murray. Maybe I was wrong, maybe he is a knee jerk fan just like the rest.
1st December 1999EWAN LITHGOW
It's good to see that Andy Murray has owned up to residency of Cloud Cuckoo Land. It's a shame then, that he has felt the need to spend a further six paragraphs proving it.

May I say up front that over the last few seasons I've quite enjoyed his match reports in the Courier. They tended to be witty and at least written from a Queens point of view, unlike the Standard's often inaccurate away reports bought in from equivalent local press. Unfortunately, of late his column has contained less match facts and more uncensored rantings.

Mr Murray, 200,000 may very well "buy the bones of a promotion winning team" IF you choose to go down that route but where is this 200k to come from? Like most vocal fans you seem incapable of working out that because we may (or may not) have sold two players for that sum does not mean it's lying around gathering interest. Our club was heavily overdrawn prior to those sales. It was only the injection of loan capital and personal guarantees from Mr Blount, the man you wrongly castigate despite having "a lot of time for him as a man", which kept the club alive at our current level. We simply do not have big money to blow on players. This is not a hot revelation, a quick glance at a set of Club Accounts shows the fact, but then apparently neither you nor Mr Hewitt can afford 15 for a share in the club you support "far and wide" despite your gaining free entry to games on a "Press Pass" ; not a lot of tangible support there then!

You accuse Mr Rinaldi of naivety yet display stunning naivety yourself within two sentences. Do you really think we could have paid Messrs Bryce and Thomson 15,000 each (if indeed that was the sum required) without having to pay the same to the rest of the squad? So that's all your 200,000 gone just to keep two players for an extra couple of years, one of whom is 40 years old and had NO influence for us last year and the other of whom, whilst undeniably capable, played so poorly last year that despite his popularity no-one bemoaned his absence after Xmas from the first team and who, though excellent against us, has still only played half a dozen or so games for Arbroath this season.

You say that "most of the young men we do have come from other clubs, not through the over-trumpeted development system". Well according to Saturday's programme (that's the thing you've withdrawn your column from) we have a first team pool of 26 players, of which 17 could be considered youths. Of these, 9 have come through our own system, namely Aitken, Boyle, Caldwell, McGuffie, Moffat, McCaig, Paterson, Uriarte and Weir, and the other 8 include Mathieson, Cleeland and Leslie who have all benefited from our system since coming in from elsewhere. In addition, we can take credit for Messrs McAllister, Lilley and Doig who will all no doubt be delighted to be condemned as "journeymen not long out of short trousers" by you, a small-time reporter for a local paper.

You say that "Mr Blount hardly ever attended Palmerston before 1994, yet is hailed as a Queens fan through and through" and ask why? Funny then that Davie Hewitt is a REAL Queens fan despite having rarely travelled to away games in the last decade until the last couple of years. I can think of a certain journalist whose "far and wide" support is an equally recent attribute. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones Mr Murray. I don't profess to know how often Norman could be found at Palmerston prior to 1994 and I don't care. I do know that since he stepped in he has improved ALL aspects of the club immeasurably and backed his beliefs with his own cash. If you seriously feel public relations have not improved at Palmerston since his arrival then you clearly never dealt with Messrs Harkness and Alcorn in the past.

Returning to the subject of Mr Hewitt, and what a fine example he is to us less REAL fans sitting at home because the team have lost more games than we'd all like, I'm sure that hundreds of fans of teams all over the country announce every week that they won't return until something changes. It's not unusual and neither is it especially commendable to put one's own name on a letter. After all, if you don't have the courage to put your name to a letter then you obviously don't feel you have a strong enough arguement in the first place. What is unusual is for that fan to end up as a back page story in a large circulation newspaper which really ought to have better things to write about than "Man Not Going To Football" stories. Will these umpteen fans you've spoken to also be featuring in the Courier? If I fall out with my local publican because I don't rate the quality of some of his staff and declare that I won't be back until they're changed, will you write a story about me?

With regard to crowd statistics, the facts of the matter are that crowds prior to Norman's arrival averaged around the 700 mark under Bill Jardine and around 400 - 500 under Willie Harkness. The big picture is that gates have more or less doubled during his tenure. It's not difficult or clever to show a drop over two seasons when the earlier point saw us involved on the fringes of a promotion battle and the later one sees us bottom of the league.

If you look at a copy of the Partick Thistle programme you'll find that Bruce has filled some of your vacant space with an analysis of the last ten managers results. In fact, the current management have a better record than Rowan even now (I presume Bruce's facts are right, I haven't checked them!). What criteria are you using to judge their respective records?

You'll also find that four of the Challenge Cup Final team have played for us this season (Rowe, Aitken, Cleeland and Mallan) and it would undoubtedly be five but for Mathieson's unfortunate injury but I'm not sure what your point is here anyway. Are you suggesting that that team should still be together? That is just not practical. Of the other nine players involved that great day, McAllister and Townsley moved up to the Premier League, McKeown, Bryce and Thomson took the silver dollars offered by Thistle and Arbroath (both in Bryce's case), David Kennedy and Craig Flannigan, both virtually permanently injured, were freed as was the ineffective Craig Irving and, finally, Ken Eadie is our co-manager having effectively retired from playing.

In truth Andy, Norman himself now admits that he probably went too far down the youth route and that in hindsight one or two older heads might have been brought in and helped us but don't tell me youth development can't work and is wasted effort and money. Where exactly are St Mirren now? Their young side, bolstered by the likes of Tommy Turner and Mark Yardley are running away with the First Division.

Maybe Mr Rinaldi accused some supporters of being myopic because he did indeed do some investigative journalism and found out that they are. It's very easy to shout off about spending money being the solution to all problems when it's not your money that's being spent and you are not the one having to raise it.
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