St Andrews United Football Club has paid tribute to former groundsman David Leitch who died aged 85.
His passing came after a short illness but his impact, says club secretary Donald Gellatly, will be felt for much longer.
Better known as Dave or Davie, he worked for Fife Council Water Services until he took early retirement in 1996.
He also set up a small fencing and paving business building fencing and paving.
However his life’s passion was football.
Dave played as a goalkeeper for Lomond Victoria in Falkland and Guildtown, Perthshire before suffering a serious leg break.
He then moved to the small village of Star in 1960.
Dave thus founded Star Hearts Amateur FC two years later and his love of football continued for another six decades!
It didn’t all go his own way though.
Despite being a Hibs fan Star chose to name their team Hearts leaving Dave to adapt – with fondness after a time – to the maroon strips.
Under his watchful eye Star Hearts quickly became one of the best amateur teams in Scotland with Dave’ boys reaching their first Scottish Cup Final in 1973.
Although they lost to Knockentiber the men in maroon lifted the Scottish Amateur Cup in 1975 by beating Morriston YMCA at Hampden Park.
Donald said: “Star Hearts also won 45 trophies during Davie’s tenure as a leading committee member, manager and head groundsman at Treaton Park.
“This included seven Fife Amateur Cup final victories between 1968 and 1976.”
The club attributes part of that success to the fact the playing surface at Treaton Park was always immaculate thanks to Dave’s hard work.
His services to football were acknowledged by the Scottish Football Association in January 2008.
Kenny Dalglish and George Burley presented him with the SFA / Sunday Mail Grassroots Award for services to the sport at a Hampden Park dinner.
Davie said he was delighted to receive official recognition for his work, though the approval of the lads in the team was sufficient.
Leitch eventually stepped back from official duties at Star Hearts around six years ago as well as downing his fencing tools.
But he was always looking for projects to keep himself busy.
As such, he agreed to act as head groundsman for Cupar Hearts, Leven United and St Andrews United in 2016.
Leitch consequently kept the playing surface at The Rec in top-notch condition until the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He was even featured in the background of a BBC television documentary about Hearts when the Edinburgh side trained at St Andrews under Austin MacPhee.
He’s so missed
“Dave continued to visit The Rec several times a week before handing over the lawnmower keys to Scott Mackintosh.
“Yet his presence around the old ground will be missed,” added Donald.
The St Andrews United Committee learned of Dave’s death through his daughter Dawn and son-in-law Keith Maskell – a notable referee in local football circles.
“Everybody at The Rec would like to pass on sincere condolences to Dave’s entire family.
“He loved talking about football plus his beloved Star Hearts wherever he went in the world.
“David Leitch will be remembered with fondness throughout the footballing community in Fife and beyond.”