Sunday, 24 January 2010

Fan of the week

This is a regular feature in Sons View. My questionnaire appeared in the joint issue for the Alloa and Stenhousemuir home games in December 2009, but, since they were both postponed, was actually issued along with the Cowedenbeath programme on 23/01/01.


Name: Simon Barrow

Age: 51 and a half (or better still, a pint).

Hometown: London. For the last six years I’ve lived in Exeter. Now I’m in Birmingham – so getting closer to the SHS Promised Land…

Profession: Hack, occasional academic, joint owner of a think-tank.

How long have you supported Dumbarton? 40 years last month (I saw the light on 13 December 1969).

Why do you support Dumbarton? My mother had distant relatives in Ayrshire, and I followed the Scottish results because I liked the team names. Then, aged eleven, I suddenly decided to throw my lot in with Sons, after they’d lost 6-1 to Stranraer. My parents thought I was bonkers – which only confirmed the rightness of my choice! The rest is history.

Best thing about supporting Dumbarton: The fans, the Trust, and the sheer confusion it causes my fellow Sassenachs.

Do you support any other teams and if so why? Sons have my sole abiding loyalty, but I maintain an interest in local sides, most recently Exeter City. I also want Burnley to thrive because of Owen Coyle and their defiance of the EPL establishment. (1) My late mother and I supported Scotland, my father England. I’ve maintained that tradition. My favourite numbers are therefore 3, 2 and 1967.

Who do you usually go to games with? Tim, Margot and Toby Rhead when they are around. I get to three or four Sons games a season. If I was richer and nearer it would be many more.

Where do you see the Sons in five years time? Saying “thanks, but no thanks” to the SPL, having won the Division One championship, turned down a madcap ground relocation, and secured a regular attendance of 1,700 at SHS.

First game you went to: Frustratingly, I can’t recall. It was very early 80s, after I stopped being a broke student and got a proper(ish) job.

Favourite game you’ve been at: Inseparable joint favourites – the 6-0 win against Elgin last season, and then the trip to Galabank to claim the Third Division Championship. (I’m the ugly fella to the right of my “programme dealer”, Tommy Hughes, in this picture from Annan.)

Favourite goal you’ve watched Sons score: Easy. Peter Houston on 5 September 1987 against Hamilton. We lost, but it was the first time I’d seen Dumbarton hit the net after numerous trips. I went nuts and people on the terrace thought I was mad. They were right, but did I care?

Favourite player (past): Laurie Williams – a goalkeeping legend, plus he bought me a drink recently. So I’m hoping this citation will turn out to be a voucher.

Favourite player (present): Cheating again, it’s a dead heat between Ben Gordon, because I’m sponsoring his away shirt, and Jan Vojacek, because I want him to stay.

With an unlimited budget, which player would you sign for Sons: Thierry Henry, ’cos the lad’s not just useful with both feet…

Favourite away ground to visit: Is there more fun to be had anywhere than Methil?

How many of the 40 other Scottish senior grounds have you visited? About a dozen. I conserve my travel budget (and my wife’s tolerance) for SHS.

Strathclyde Homes Stadium or Boghead Park? Boghead will live in my heart forever (and needs a plaque on that housing estate), but I’ve come to love the Rock. It’s the most picturesque ground setting in the country.

A feature you would like to see added to the Strathclyde Homes Stadium: Many more additional home fans… and Community Suite bar access for visiting supporters.

(1) For those who might not know, Owen Coyle started his professional playing career at Dumbarton, scoring 36 goals in 103 appearances with the Sons between 1985 and 1988. His two brothers also appeared for us. Obviously this was written before Owen switched to Bolton. I still hope Burnley survive.

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