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BLETHER: John was part of great Lawside team which swept the board

Lawside U/13 (1968-69). Back row – Peter Markie, Freddy Gray, John Gourlay, Pete Laing, Jimmy Coates, Danny Anderson, Kenny Murphy, Paul Boyle.
Lawside U/13 (1968-69). Back row – Peter Markie, Freddy Gray, John Gourlay, Pete Laing, Jimmy Coates, Danny Anderson, Kenny Murphy, Paul Boyle.

A well-known Dundee referee had a friend visit him recently over the New Year.

Gerry Cavanagh, a well-respected official among the amateur and youth leagues in Dundee, welcomed his great buddy John Gourlay to the city.

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Lawside U/13 (1968-69). Back row – Peter Markie, Freddy Gray, John Gourlay, Pete Laing, Jimmy Coates, Danny Anderson, Kenny Murphy, Paul Boyle.<br />Front row – Duncan Trueland, Kenny Brown, Mike McManus, Jimmy Mudie, Billy McColl.<br />Markie, Gourlay, Coates, Murphy, Boyle and Brown also played for Dundee Catholic Schoolboys, who thrashed Glasgow Catholic Schoolboys 15-2 in May 1969

Said Gerry: “John brought with him a couple of photos of Lawside Academy football teams from the late 1960s, in which he is featured (they can be seen in our main photo slots).

“The Lawside U/13 team in the 1968-69 term was run by manager Joe Hart, and, in achieving the league and Urquhart Cup double, they won all but one game all season.

“That was a 1-0 defeat by St John’s, a loss that was subsequently ‘avenged’ by successive 5-0 and 4-1 victories.

“Six of this team went on to represent the Dundee Catholic Schoolboys Select who beat Glasgow Catholic Schoolboys 15-2.

“John was in devastating form on that May day at Glenesk Park, Dundee, netting eight of the goals.

“His strike partner Jimmy Coates helped himself to a ‘mere’ double hat-trick.”

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Lawside U/14 (1968-69). Back row (from left) – Boyle, Coates, Gray, Brown, Martin, Donnelly.<br />Front row – Anderson, Thompson, Gourlay, Henderson, McManus, Clark

One year on, it was success again for the Lawside U/14 team, again with Joe Hart as team boss, this time going undefeated through the whole season and ending up with the league title and Sports Cup in the trophy cabinet.

Gerry, of Baxter Park Terrace in Dundee, has been on the SFAR list for 30 years, and continued: “John’s Lawside team side were also runners-up to St John’s in the U/15 Dundee Secondary Schools League, winning all but one league game all season – a 3-2 defeat to St John’s.

“They were beaten semi-finalists in the Dundee United Cup competition, losing 3-2 to Stobswell, who they beat 6-1 in a league game the following week. It’s worth noting that Stobswell were surprisingly beaten 6-2 in the final by Kirkton High School, who lost every game they played against Lawside over the aforementioned three years.”

Gerry concluded: “At that time, Lawside’s record over these three years was the best-ever recorded in Dundee’s Secondary Schools football.

“John had schoolboy trials at Liverpool, and went on to play for St Columba’s and St Patrick’s before moving to Wimbledon, aged 18 years.

“He still lives in Wimbledon, working for the National Union Of Teachers.”

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