Andy Dornan Interview.

Andy Dornan was born on August 19th, 1961 in Scotland.  Following some years playing in Scotland with Aberdeen and Motherwell he came down south to try his luck in England and following a successful spell with Walsall in which he played his part in helping The Saddlers to gain promotion to the old Second Division, for the first time in 25 years, he returned north of the border to embark on a coaching and managerial career.


"I played a bit of football at primary school but when I moved up to grammar school it was rugby they played there.  I joined a boys club called King Street I was playing rugby in the morning and football in the afternoon.  I was selected to play football for Aberdeen schools.  I played for Scotland schoolboys team and one game for them was at Wembley I had the misfortune to be up against  against Mark Rees in March, 1977."


"At 16 years of age I signed for Aberdeen then managed by Ally MacLeod.  Then came along Billy Mc Neill for a short spell however my life changed totally when Alex Fergusson arrived in 1978.  He was determined to make the club successful  again and he was ruthless. I was in the first team squad but not a regular starter, deputising for Stuart Kennedy.  It was fantastic to think that I was capped for Scotland at Youth and U21 level as up to the age of 15 I had only really played rugby." 


"With Scotland I'd travelled  to places like Monte Carlo, Los Palmos and Holland all sorts of places whereas travelling usually meant going to the Highlands on a caravan holiday!  The manager Andy Roxburgh told me he was going to play me out of position wide right as I was quick and I would win the game for us. We drew with Italy 0-0 then beat the U17 world champions Yugoslavia 2-0, I scored both goals then  next game we beat Sweden 1-0 and I scored again. For the next game against France I was back to full back. Fergie  picked me up from the airport not too impressed, 'There's no way you'll be a striker for me.' He soon brought me back to earth. 


I was in and out of the team at Aberdeen.  They won the Scottish League for the first time in 25 years. 1980-1 started with Kennedy Injured and Fergie told me, 'There's a chance to play.' We beat Airdrie 4-0.  Then on the Tuesday night I played against Liverpool at  Anfield in the European Cup up against Alan Hansen, Kenny Dalglish, Phil Thompson and winger Sammy Lee etc.  I was only 18 and what an experience that was. We played Celtic at Parkhead in which 16 year-old Neale Cooper made his debut and we won 2-0.  I felt spoilt as an awful lot had happened."


"Fergie wanted me to sign a four year deal but I wasn't playing enough."  Then came some advice from Fergie that got him away to play regular football..."Jock Wallace - speak to him (Motherwell manager). "I found him very imposing, a mountain of a man with a really aggressive voice and said, 'I wanted to sign you for Leicester when you was 16. Sign for me and you'll play every week and I'll even make you captain.' I said okay.. The three of us went for a meal, Fergie, Jock Wallace and myself and it went well.  Fergie and I used to fight like hell at Aberdeen. I told him reserve team football is no good for me, I want to play every week. I signed for Motherwell on a two year contract and was their highest paid player."


" My first game for them was on New Year's Day.  We beat Kilmarnock  2-0  and then we beat Celtic 2-0.  Jock Wallace moved on to Rangers.  Motherwell manager Tommy Mc Lean said, 'Jock Wallace has come in for you.'  The idea was a player swap involving Billy Davies to go the other way with a cash adjustment going to Motherwell. I had pen in hand ready to sign Then Jock said Billy is not going so the deal fell through. My contract was up and I didn't want to re-sign,"


"There was a call from Tommy Coakley, the Walsall manager.  I thought Walsall? Who are they?! But I remembered Mark Rees was there! I drove down to meet Tommy who said new owner Terry Ramsden had taken over and things were going to take off.  To be honest I wasn't over impressed with set up but Mark Rees and Kenny Mower made me welcome.  I also knew Ken Armstrong from his Kilmarnock days and I'd played against him.  The pay structure wasn't as much as Motherwell with the terms offered and I'd have been better off to stay there but within  a week or two of signing for Walsall I knew I'd made the right decision."


"Tommy wanted to strengthen the squad and asked if I knew a centre half.  I suggested Forbesy who we signed about three weeks later. In that first season after about two months we gradually settled and although I was played out of position a few times  results improved.  The cup games against Watford were fantastic.  When you look at the quality we had in that team like Nicky Cross, Phil Hawker, Mark Rees, Peter Hart, Fred Barber, Willie Naughton, David Kelly, Craig Shakespeare, Trevor Christie etc. the 4-4 draw away at Watford was a fantastic game to play in and the fans were fantastic too. Walsall fans were always kind to me and we had  a great relationship with each other."

"There was a good relationship between the players and management too. We tried to play entertaining football and our mentality was we won together and lost together.  There was a core of us who drank together especially after home games in the Saddlers Club.  A few beers and some good laughs. We always tried to play entertaining football and Tommy's win ratio was pretty good after those first couple of months.  As for that own goal I scored against Watford, it was just one of those things. John Barnes swung the ball over, I tried to clear but the ball skimmed off my boot and into the net."


"There was a long rehabilitation period at Lilleshall but in those days the sports science wasn't like it is today and it took a long time. John Barnwell came in.  That wasn't the best decision ever and it put the club back, to be honest.  Paul Taylor was a lovely guy, but oh my goodness! I made my comeback and was playing well and I scored the last ever goal by a Walsall player at Fellows Park in the final game of that 89-90 season against Rotherham.  The Peter Hart testimonial game against West Brom don't count! "


"What disgusted me was the contract talks there happened without a an actual manager in charge as Kenny Hibbitt was not party to such decisions being made, he wasn't in the job as such. Paul Taylor did the job for himself.  He wanted the wage bill cut down and making all the decisions, letting the likes of Phil Hawker go.  I wanted to stay at Walsall and could have carried on for a few more seasons..  I was almost 30 and disillusioned. After Walsall I had six months at Worcester City.  I was promised good money with them but I never saw it. So I returned to Scotland, looking for a a career away from football."


"Doug Rougvie, who I played with at Aberdeen, got in touch and asked me if I wanted to coach the young boys at Montrose.  I was by now working for an insurance company and Doug said if I could get fit I could play along side him in the back four and we won promotion to Division 1 in 1991. So I was up a division but Doug lost his job.  Doug never held back and he told the chairman exactly what he thought of him! I carried on for a bit under John Leishman then I became manager there. We gained promotion with the highest scoring team in Scotland that year. But I saw it wasn't for me and told him  I was by now 33 years of age but later I had a call to return  as  youth team manager  and I ended up as assistant to  John Holt. as well as looking after the kids.  It was turning out to be a full time job in a part time situation and as it was no longer a hobby so I said I cant do that.  They wanted me to sign a three year contract but there was no money for players.". 

"I joined Ross County part time and started working at the Edinburgh Centre of AFC's youth programme.  Whilst there I helped develop Scott Bain who went on to play for CeItic and got Scotland caps. I lived in Aberdeen so it was perfect but then it closed down. I have also worked as accounts manager for Vodaphone and I work for Aberdeen on the corporate side on match days." 


"I have heard about the brilliant  work that ISSA do and enjoyed my pre-match visit to the Railway Club this season." Andy also attended the quiz night fund raiser at Bentley Moor club that raised a decent amount. He, like all those present, was perplexed by the trick question set as to who scored that last goal at Fellows Park!




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