Queen’s Park turn 150 years old today and the fan who has seen more of their 4,846 games than any other reckons he would stop watching them if they ever gave up their legendary amateur status.
Keith McAllister has watched the Hampden club, who shaped football as a passing game and helped form the SFA and the Scottish Cup competition, play almost 1,900 times since 1963 and reckons it’s the club’s approach of Ludere Causa Ludendi – “to play for the sake of playing”– that makes Queen’s Park special. If that ever went they would become just another football club and McAllister said: “It is quite a strange record to hold but looking back at the number of games I have watched since I started going when I was seven they have fair mounted up.”
“Queen’s have a fantastic history and of course have the tradition of being amateur that is still in place. I would never wish to see them turn professional as we would really lose something special. We would become just another football team as opposed to being a special club.”
“There are other traditions like the players all wearing their jerseys outside of their shorts that have come and gone but if we ever turned professional then there is nothing special about us.”
Such a move would see McAllister having to make the heart-breaking decision to not watch black and white hooped players picking up money and he said: “That would end things for me. Ironically I only started following the team because I lived just around the corner, however I last missed a game in 1979. Since 1973 I have missed only three games and that was because of work commitments in London. No combination of planes or trains was going to get me to them.”
“Watching Queen’s is what I do on a Saturday.” Those Saturday’s have seen title wins, promotions and relegations as well as a host of players take a step towards fame and fortune with McAllister saying: “Sometimes it has been a labour but most of the time it has been love. I thoroughly enjoy it even in the bad times and we have had some bad times.”
Players have come and gone during McAllister’s time and he said: “It would be hard to pick out one who stands out but John McGregor from the late seventies is the most complete player I have seen. He went on to Liverpool and they were the best side in Europe at that time.”