Hawick Waverley AFC’s first class annual dinner ensured any lingering disappointment over the team’s fruitless season was dispelled as the club came together for another memorable night.
The 34th staging of the event, which was held in the Bridge Function Rooms last Friday, saw the club’s hard-working committee securing the services of Scotland football legend Archie Gemmill, who took part in a revealing and, at times, hilarious question-and-answer session, as well as two top-notch entertainers in the shape of Peter C. Brown and John Gahagan, the latter making his fourth , and surely not his last, appearance at the dinner.
MC for the evening was Waverley stalwart Ian Hope, who was in great form, and he introduced outgoing club manager Bruce Hughes whose three-year stint in the hot seat was drawing to a close due to work commitments.
Hughes, who is staying on with Waverley as a coach, said he had “loved every minute” of his 102 games as team boss, and praised the “best squad of players” he had worked with during his six-year association with the club. Hughes also hailed the committee’s “wholehearted” contribution in keeping the club going.
Fantastic memories of Archie Gemmill’s wonder goal against Holland at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina were then evoked as the diminutive ex-Derby County and Nottingham Forest ace impressed with his candour and wit during the question-and-answer spot.
Gemmill pulled no punches when describing his anger at Forest manager Brian Clough who dropped him from the team for the 1979 European Cup final against Malmo, and revealed he almost joined Glasgow Rangers as a 16-year-old, before taking his parents’ advice and opting for St Mirren with whom he had a better chance of breaking into the first team.
The former midfield maestro also said the best player he had played with was Forest teammate John McGovern, and when quizzed on his salary as a footballer, replied that he started off on £12 a week with St Mirren and finished his career on £600 a week with Derby County.
Gemmill also presented the player of the year awards, with Darren Munro picking up the Craig Deans Memorial Cup as the club’s top scorer with 19 goals in 20 games, while Neal McConnell, who has been a revelation since his move from Hawick Legion, landed a notable double with the players’ player of the year and commitee’s player of the year gongs.
The entertainers for the evening brought the house down, with Peter C. Brown’s deadpan humour raising laughs galore, while the inimitable John Gahagan’s animated performance was, as always, a huge hit.
The Waverley may not have lifted any cups this season, but their dinner was a real winner.