It’s the Cup they all want to win.
Known by our two Spanish readers as “La Gran Copa” it’s more commonly called the “JDC” by people too lazy to say the words in full which is just another malaise which has crept in amongst the youth of today, but that’s for another time.
Judging by the amount of cars in the Fortress’ car park the JDC, sorry, John Drennan Cup can still draw single figure crowds and such is its popularity that we even had to turn down all the teams who wanted an invite, apart from Coasters and Ormond Saints.
Throughout its long and successful history it has been a four team tournament but we settled on three this year as familiarity can breed contempt and all that nonsense.
With the dust flying off the tractor wheels Ormond Saints arrived first after making the long journey from the City of Perth and they had brought what could modestly be described as a “threadbare squad”.
There had been turmoil in Perth in the week prior to the tournament when long standing, and much loved, by himself, Manager Gav “The Special One” Stewart had resigned during a very emotional, ken, press conference.
The impact could be felt all round Perth as player after player made themselves available for the trip to Glasgow.
After a puff of blue smoke had appeared over the Gulidtown jannie’s hoose charismatic midfielder Andy “Muiry” Muir was installed as the new Player/Manager and our best wishes and sympathy go to Andy in his new role.
Ormonds were playing in the first game against Our Heroes and the home side hadn’t had their troubles to seek leading up to the tournament.
Influential midfielder Craig Crosbie had hurted his leg and couldn’t play (aw) and his not so influential pal Sean, who is normally a shoe in, had been struck down with a mystery injury, possibly a size nine.
There was a further blow when young Adam also had to pull out after he failed a late fitness test at the Dougie Lyden Sports Clinic.
Even worser veteran left back Wee Al had come down with a mystery virus after smoking something that didn’t agree with him.
Luckily two of our very old squad players, Jake and Johnny, were persuaded to come along and make up the numbers which was just as well as The Neville Brothers were not at their best after an exhilarating night watching the multi talented One Direction in concert.
The time was fast approaching noon as Queen’s and Ormonds made their way onto the Fortress for the big kick off.
The Perth side were down to the bare eleven and Queen’s had fourteen including two drunks and their talismanic Manager Andy Boss who had bravely shrugged off a long term injury so he could make an appearance in the Cup named after his all time footballing hero.
The occasion seemed to have gotten to Andy Boss as he picked a side that had Johnny at right back and Leonard Lenny in attack but as ever he knew what he was doing.
The game had barely gone ten minutes when young Leonard had scored twice with the Legendary Olympian Oscar Pistorius’s defence looking less shaky than Saintees.
Incidentally I hear Oscar is already in training for the Modern Pentathlon in Rio in 2016, good luck with that Ossie.
Skipper Andy D, playing outfield as he had a sore thumb, then skipped through the visiting defence to score a third as Queen’s threatened to run away with the game.
As Manager Muir went to get his phone so he lambast his agent Lewis Hepburn pulled a goal back for the visitors before Leonard incredibly completed his hat trick just before the break.
Such was the ease of the first half Andy Boss could afford to put the Neville Brothers on at half time with Mad Boab being withdrawn so he could take photos.
Surprisingly there were no goals in the second period and the Boss himself came on to a smattering of applause and proceeded to deliberately hog the touchline next to Mad Boab so he could get in the photies.
An impressive start for the home side, and our biggest ever win against Ormonds, but the next game would be a lot harder against the mighty Coasters from Oban.
It had been a clear day but suddenly a dark cloud appeared over The Fortress as the Coasters side entered proceedings.
“We’re only going for the crack and the drink on the journey home”, said Legendary Manager John “Scotty” Scott in an exclusive interview with the Oban Times as he stood beside the enormous trophy cabinet which adorns the Coasters Bar.
It was Coasters second visit to the Football Capital of Western Europe and an even stronger squad than usual had been assembled/bought for this most prestigious event.
The build up to the trip hadn’t all been rosy for Scotty Scott though as he had found himself without a goalkeeper as Oban Saints refused to realise any of their Scottish Internationals.
In an act of foolish compulsion Scotty had announced that not only would he play in goals but he would also drive the minibus as well.
This caused consternation in the ranks as the team rushed to update their Life Insurance and also left them wondering how the authorities would identify the mystery “Trialist”, who would be coming along to ensure they took the silverware home, when the bus inevitably ended up in a ditch.
[A wee aside about journeys from the Oban area. One of the times Appin came to Glasgow the late Rab MacDonald was driving the minibus through Loch Lomond when Jim Weir, who to be fair had been drinking, put both hands over Rab’s eyes and said, “guess who ?” You can take the boy out of Appin…………]
Anyway, to save his team mates a fate worse than Scotty’s goalkeeping, Co-Founder and Legend Mugsi volunteered to save the day and drive the minbus and put on the gloves.
All was set for the big game, Boab and Johnny had been benched, Coasters had had their final rub down, Gav Hill had put down his can, and we were off.
The victory over Ormonds had given us confidence but we couldn’t get the ball off Coasters who displayed a silky touch that Cardinal Keith O’Brien would have been proud of.
Newboy Grant in the middle of the park was playing like a young Malky Croarkin and he continually sliced open our defence as Coasters racked up four goals in the first half.
Andy D scored again though as he got on the end of a Leonard cut back but it was to be our only consolation before the interval.
In a sporting manner Coasters decided to take off two of their better players plus Gav and it allowed us some more possession.
Mugsi had to look unusually smart on a couple of occasions but we couldn’t get the ball past him and, at the other end, Safehands surprisingly got beaten by a high shot before Coasters notched a sixth to run out easy winners.
Only a miracle, or a rejigging of the rules, could stop Coasters winning the Cup but Ormonds took up the challenge and borrowed our Johnny and Psycho to play for them.
Johnny had come on as a sub against Our Heroes for Saintees and now sits at eleventh in Ormonds All Time Appearance list, just behind the Legendary Kenny Teckle who used to be a formidable opponent, ken.
The teams looked evenly matched, if you were David Blunkett, and Coasters were like a landslide at the Rest and Be Thankful as they swept Ormonds aside in a one sided first half.
The Oban side were four ahead at the break after some sparkling football which included a pure rocket of a goal from Weegie based Billy Henderson.
Again to even things up Coasters changed things about for the second half and they put Mugsi up front which made both goals more secure.
In an unbelievably open half of football there were chances galore and Lewis Hepburn again scored for Ormonds with Coasters getting two more to make the final score six one.
The home side could only look on and admire the Coasters play, from their seat in The Langside where they watched the live action on the big screen after heading to the pub after our second game finished.
Soon everyone arrived in the Langside for pizza, chips and cheap booze and there was a good turn out from the three teams.
Sadly there was no sign of the main man himself, Mister Drennan, so Mister C made the presentations with each team’s Player of the day (voted for by the respective Managers) being given a bottle of wine.
Ormond Saints winner was Brian Campbell, QP’s was Andy Dick and Grant Addison, to much appreciation, won Coasters bottle.
Mugsi MacGregor then came forward to collect the John Drennan Cup and filled it with a concoction of spirits which went down well.
Finally our two visiting teams headed for home after an excellent day out and thanks to Coasters and Ormonds for taking part and making the journey to Glasgow.
But, what happened to John Drennan, nothing serious one hopes ?
Well, eh, it turns out that it was a simple misunderstanding and as the great man said in an exclusive phone call, “well………eh………I forgot…………eh”
They don’t make characters like him anymore. Did I ever tell you about his hat trick against Dumbarton ? Well. It was Sunday 13th December and myself and………….zzzzzzzzzzzz