Scottish Football League
The town; dominated by Dumbarton Castle locally known as The Rock, was the capital of the Kingdom of Strathclyde in the 8th and 9th centuries, and became a Royal Burgh in 1222. For the next 600 years, much of the history of the town is reflected in the history of Dumbarton Castle. Once described by King Henry Vlll of England as the key to the realm, the Castle saw the departure for France of the six-year old Mary, Queen of Scots. The Castle officially remains a Scottish Royal Fortress along with Edinburgh and Stirling, and the reigning monarch, on his or her coronation, comes to the Castle for the ceremony of handing over the keys.
We ventured north of the border, courtesy of Ryanair from Stansted via Prestwick. The Pieman was well into anOrak mode at the time, having a desire to visit Dumbarton's Boghead Park. When challenged on this he would always claim that it was the name that was pulling him there. Having checked into our lodgings in Glasgow's West End, we made the relatively short journey to Dumbarton East station (above) by train.
However, this routine league fixture against Clyde suddenly took on a greater significance earning media attention. This had nothing to do with the arrival of the Pieman but involved the return of Ian Wallace as manager of Dumbarton. Once Britain's most expensive footballer, Wallace was going back to his roots.
|Ian Wallace and that Coventry brown strip|
At the time Boghead Park was the oldest of Scotland's football stadiums, having opened in 1879. A crowd of 724 was present on this occasion to witness a Dumbarton performance that began and finished well. The problem was the 85 minutes in between Billy Wilson's debut goal and Colin McKinnon's equaliser. The Bully Wee, the only team that the struggling 'Sons' had beaten in the previous 13 months, dominated after drawing level through Miller Mathieson. Paul Brownlie (son of John) then put Clyde ahead with a 30 yard volley which looked like winning the match until Mckinnon's late strike lit up a misty Boghead Park.
It was bitterly cold on the railway station after the match and the investment in cups of coffee from the shop downstairs was welcome indeed.
The Pieman's subsequent visit to the Strathclyde Homes Stadium