Tributes as lifelong Fife Flyers’ fan Margaret Stenhouse dies at 84

Tributes have been paid following the death of Margaret Stenhouse, one of Fife Flyers’ lifelong supporters - a remarkable and instantly recognisable figure rinkside for decades.

Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 6:15 pm

The retired schoolteacher from Methil, who passed away at the age of 84, occupied the same seat season after season, right above the tunnel that led to the home and away dressing-rooms.

A stalwart of many incarnations of the Supporters Clubs across the decades, she travelled the length and breadth of the country to support the team and was there to saviour their great league title victories and British championship triumphs.

Margaret knew the sport inside out, and more than a few imports felt the cutting edge of her tongue as they left the ice after a poor defeat, but they also got to know the person and loved her passion for the sport. She was a constant face in an ever-changing sea of blue, white and gold on match nights.

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Margaret Stenhouse with players, Matt Sisca, Shayne Stockton, Justin Fox and Phillipe Pacquet

Margaret had arguably one of the best seats in the house.

It had been hers since she swapped dancing at the Burma for ice hockey.

And it all started with a walk into an empty dance hall in Kirkcaldy.

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Fife Flyers fan, Margaret Stenhouse on ice with the team, mid 1970s

“Sunday nights at the Burma were always busy,” she said when we chatted back in 2018 to mark the club’s 80th anniversary.

“When I got in there were two other couples on the floor. I asked what was going on, and was told the ice hockey had started.

“I lived in Methil and didn’t know about the rink or the sport, so the chap I was with told me to come the next week, get off the bus at the Gallatown, and he’d take me to a match.

“He sat beside me and explained what was going on, and that was me hooked. I never went back to the Burma!’’

Her hockey favourites included Flyers’ Perth Line – Sammy McDonald, Eeny Forbes and Jimmy Spence – as well as Bert Smith and Les Lovell, and then, more recently Danny Brown, one third of the Plumb Line which led the club to the 1985 British championship title.

“When I started going the crowds weren’t always huge, but it still had a great atmosphere,’’ Margaret recalled.

“The Perth Line were something else- they just clicked. “They were also lovely guys.

“If it was raining after a game, Sam would drop me off in Methil on his way home. He knew my mother was an invalid so he’d always pop in and bring some biscuits with him.

“They’d come to watch East Fife playing, and would pop in as we stayed just at the end of the road.”

The same friendships were forged with the fans who sat in the same section, and the creation of a supporters club led to many great social nights and memorable journeys to watch the team on the road.

“You got to know so many people. You’d enjoy a blether with folk you met at rinks around the league.

“When Flyers went down to Southampton for the British Championship finals, the fans were superb. They laid on a spread of food, and we did the same when they came up here.

“It was 12 hours in a bus to get there, but the trip flew past – I remember one fan looking for his sandwiches when we’d barely left the rink car park!

“Back then we always got the same Alexanders’ bus and the same driver - his son played, so he’d juggle his shifts to get to the hockey games.

“If there was space on the team bus, we’d get on that too, and often helped to carry the kit in to the rink in return for a free ticket!”

The 80s brought star imports and full houses, and Margaret followed the team as it made regular journeys to Wembley.

The ever popular Danny Brown remains one of her favourites from that era.

“He came to my school along with Ron Plumb and the kids just loved them,” she recalled.

“They left tickets for the next game - the kids went nuts when any player went to hit Danny! He’d become their hero.

“At least half a dozen of them begged their parents to take them to more Flyers’ games. They loved their hockey.”

In the 1990s, the arrival of Doug Smail, direct from the NHL, created a similar stir, and added another page to Margaret’s memories, and then came the EIHL era and a new generation of star imports. She has been a stalwart sponsor of many of them.

“He was absolutely phenomenal - I liked him even more when he made an idiot out of Tony Hand!”

Margaret will be missed by all she chatted to and acknowledged rinkside as she made her way to her seat in Section B.

And the chair in the front row above the tunnel, will also belong to Miss Stenhouse …