St Andrews United mourn stalwart ex-chairman

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A STALWART member and former chairman of St Andrews United Football Club has died.

John ‘Jock’ Scambler Wilson passed away on Sunday at the age of 89 after a long illness.

He had been in the St Andrews Community Hospital for the past few months.

He started his working career as a motor mechanic with the former Johnston’s garage in Market Street, latterly being employed by the University of St Andrews as a heating engineer.

Jock will be best remembered for his time as chairman of St Andrews United FC.

He joined the committee in 1953 and was elected chairman in 1958, a position he held for nearly 25 years.

There were many highs and lows during that period, the undoubted highlight being May 21, 1960, when St Andrews United defeated Greenock Juniors 3-1 in the final of the Scottish Junior Cup at Hampden Park, Glasgow before a crowd of over 35,000.

United came very close to folding in 1973 when Jock decided to make one last effort to keep the club afloat. He approached ex player Brian Cook to run the team and the club’s fortunes started to improve.

However, they were not out of the woods and the club made the front page of the St Andrews Citizen on December 16, 1977, under the headline: ‘United face cash crisis — Junior Chairman warns — we need help or club will fold.’

With Jock’s help, and a great deal of hard work by a small committee, the club moved quickly forward, with new changing rooms built in 1981 and their Social Club opening on October 15, 1982.

Jock was a lifelong supporter of United and made a life member of both the football club and the social club many years ago.

He and his late wife, Jessie, and their close friends were regular socialisers on Saturday evenings.

A club spokesman told the Citizen: ‘He always gave himself a treat with the number of extra nips based on the number of goals the team had scored that afternoon!

‘‘Jock managed to attend the 50th reunion to celebrate the winning of the Scottish Junior Cup in the Social Club on May 21, 2010, accompanied by his son-in-law, Alex Scott, andhad a most enjoyable evening meeting up with a number of ex players.’’

Jessie died in February 2009, and Jock is survived by his daughter, Mary, son-in-law and grandsons, Rory and Calum.

A funeral service was held yesterday (Thursday) at St Leonard’s Parish Church.