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Blether: Some great players came from the Dundee St Mary’s scheme

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The latest Canadian resident to join the BwB family is a former Elmwood player.

And he sent in a photo of the team from the early 1970s, one which I hadn’t come across before.

Jimmy Kelly spend eight years with Elmwood and, from his home in Toronto, he said: “There were some outstanding players in the team.

“Eddie Innes was a prolific centre-forward with Lochee United and he played a significant role in Elmwood’s rise to compete in the junior league.

“John Fairbairn was one of the best goalkeepers I ever played with, and Pat Healy and Alex Baxter controlled our midfield, along with Alec McCarle.

“McCarle was very skilful — a fabulous ‘tanner ba’ player.

“In defence, we had a very strong back four in Roy Smith, Kenny Costello, Ricky ‘Tich’ Mulvey and myself.”

“Jimmy Westwater and myself always led the training.

Jimmy Kelly and wife Rita

“We were the fittest and the fastest in the team, and Gibby Crowe always told us to push everyone to get them fitter.”

In his younger days, Jimmy was brought up in St Mary’s, and he recalls some great local football personalities coming from the estate.

He continued: “In St Mary’s we bred some outstanding players.

“Jed Reilly, Ian Bertram and Sy Thompson were three superb goalkeepers, although Jed will probably tell you he was the best!

“There was also Dennis Elder, who has featured many times in BwB.

“Jed’s brother Danny Reilly was another, along with outstanding winger Alex Fox (Violet).

“Both Danny and Alex are currently residing in Vancouver, along with Dode Watt (ex-Lochee United).”

Jimmy gave a rundown of his early years, and revealed: “I went to Lawside Academy with Alex Fox, then, in 1965, served my apprenticeship with BT.

“I went on to university with them in 1970, then emigrated to South Africa in 1974, where I played with Boksburg under Charlie Gough, who was Richard Gough’s dad.

“Richard was just 12 at the time and used to train with us on Sunday mornings.

“Another Dundonian Billy McLardy, formerly Dunfermline, Brechin and Carnoustie, joined us, along with former Jeanfield Swifts pair Billy Harris and Billy McLeish.

“McLeish and McLardy were brilliant in midfield and Harris was top scorer every year.

“I played left-back behind McLardy.

“For one game, we flew to Windhoek in SW Africa.

“They kicked off, and one of their players beat McLardy before I brought him down.

“As both of us got to our feet, we looked at each other . . . it was George ‘Pud’ Hill, son of the Dundee legend of the same name.

“We hugged each other, as we hadn’t seen each other for 10 years and didn’t know we each had left Scotland.

“Everyone thought we were fighting and the referee stopped the game. We then told everyone we were pals from Scotland. What a night we had afterwards in the German Social Club. I can’t remember getting back to the hotel!”

Jimmy came back to Dundee after four years, but emigrated to Canada 12 months later.

He went on: “I’m still here to this day, but love coming back to Dundee to meet up with all my old buddies.

“Jed Reilly and Jim Donnelly are great pals and we golf together and chat about our youth.

“It’s the same with Billy McLardy and Dennis Elder.

“We played with Craigmore U/16 and U/18 against the unbelievable St Francis team with Jed, Jim Henry, Dougie Clark and Ian Johnstone.”

Jimmy, who, despite being in his late 60s, still competes in an Over-45 League, and, with wife Rita (Donaldson) will be back in Dundee for a holiday in mid-July and would love to meet up with old friends.

Jimmy is also very much into golf and still has a membership at St Andrews.

He has also been a walking scorer and marshalled at several big events such as Champions Tour in Naples (Florida), the LPGA CME Race to the Globe, The Dunhill and the Ladies British Open.

Above (left) is a photo of Jimmy in the aforementioned Elmwood JFC side of the early 1970s.

Back row — Alec McGregor (coach), Ian Cook, Roy Smith, Kenny Costello, John Fairbairn, Tich Mulvey, Jimmy Kelly, Alec Baxter, Unknown, Gibby Crowe (manager). Front row (from left) — Norrie Gallazzi, Alec McCarle, Eddie Innes, Pat Healy, Jimmy Westwater, Alec McDonald, possibly John Strachan.

This article originally appeared on the Evening Telegraph website. For more information, read about our new combined website.