John Methven, 87, will keep going to Kirkcaldy Rugby Club games despite quitting as Fife Free Press's match reporter

John Methven wrote Kirkcaldy Rugby Club reports for 63 years (Pic by Fife Photo Agency)John Methven wrote Kirkcaldy Rugby Club reports for 63 years (Pic by Fife Photo Agency)
John Methven wrote Kirkcaldy Rugby Club reports for 63 years (Pic by Fife Photo Agency)
Despite recently quitting writing Kirkcaldy Rugby Club match reports after 63 years due to failing eyesight and suffering a transient ischaemic attack or ‘mini stroke’, dedicated 87-year-old club stalwart John Methven will continue going to all the Blues’ games as a fan.

Kirkcaldy-born Methven, who was raised in Leslie, was educated at St Andrews University for five years and later became a geography teacher, also taking on a variety of roles at his home town’s rugby club including president, secretary and fixtures convener.

Although never having played rugby at any level of note, so taken with it was Methven after giving it a go in his younger days at St Andrews University and Kirkcaldy, that he developed a great passion for writing about it over more than six decades while sharing these words of wisdom with Fife Free Press readers.

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But the veteran scribe finally called time on his long standing reporting duties when he covered Kirkcaldy’s 28-31 home National League Division 2 loss to Falkirk on October 28, an article which adorned our sports pages on November 2.

Then club president Methven (back, centre) with Kirkcaldy sevens team in 1987Then club president Methven (back, centre) with Kirkcaldy sevens team in 1987
Then club president Methven (back, centre) with Kirkcaldy sevens team in 1987

Despite no longer doing reports, there is no way that Methven is going to blow the final whistle yet on his long standing association with the Beveridge Park outfit.

For, just before we speak to him, the man who will turn 88 in early is preparing to be driven almost 150 miles by car to Kirkcaldy’s latest league game against Newton Stewart in Dumfries and Galloway on Saturday by team manager Calum McKenzie, although it proved to be a painful trip for Blues fans as Quintan Sanft’s side went down by 41 points to 17.

"I’ll keep going to all the games as long as I’m able,” said Methven, who remains the club’s honorary vice president. “It's just a routine.

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"There’s nothing on on a Saturday and I hate watching television. So I get a bit edgy and grumpy if I’m doing nothing on a Saturday afternoon.

"It’s been a bit of a miss on Monday mornings not writing the rugby reports having done it for so long.

“I used to sit down after breakfast at my computer and got my bits of paper together.

"It had been continuous since 1989 and off and on from 1960 to 1989, usually filling in when somebody was absent for whatever reason. It’s a long time.

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"I always liked writing essays and so on when I was at school, writing letters and then my interest in rugby grew over the years.

"I wasn’t all that interested in it when I started. I wrote the first one in 1960 because the guy who normally did it was off for some reason and he asked me to step in.

"I did the odd one through the 1960s and 70s and then from 1973 I was almost at every league game. I was match secretary at that time and I knew what was happening, I knew the players.

"By that time the league games were relatively local, going to places like Edinburgh and with the odd one in the Borders and the odd one in Aberdeen.

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"I was going to most of the home and away games for many years.”

But in recent times Methven – who has also stopped writing the match programme having done his first one in 1967 – Ian Gray is continuing this, had to stop driving a car so getting to matches became more problematic.

He said: "I don’t want to go to games by bus because they take ages. Going to Newton Stewart I’d have had to leave at 9am then there would be a long wait post match while they’re warming down and having something to eat afterwards.

"I’ll still be attending matches as much as I can. My family are not desperately keen on me going to all these places as I’ll be 88 in a couple of months’ time.

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“It’s usually a friend, club treasurer Don Burns, who drives me to away matches, but he couldn’t take me to Newton Stewart because he was at a rugby tournament in Bermuda.

“I’m doing not too badly. I’ve had my eyes tested twice. Basically I need to be looking into a bright light to see very much. I’m ok, I could be a lot worse. I still get around with my stick.

"I’ve actually got three pairs of glasses – one for reading, one for the computer and ordinary ones for everyday wear.

"The main reason I had to give up writing the rugby reports was the failing eyesight.

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"Especially with winter coming and floodlit games. The floodlights are OK for club rugby but they’re not outstanding and seeing folk on the far side of the field is difficult.

"Last Saturday I could hardly read the advertising boards on the far side so I think I made the right decision.

"At least there was always somebody there in the crowd I could ask who scored a try."

Methven, who married Claire in 1969, has two daughters – one of whom, Ann Oliver - is Kirkcaldy Rugby Club’s current president.

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Ann’s older son Murray, who is 6ft 6’ and weighs almost 18 stones, is affiliated to Glasgow Warriors, although he has undergone two shoulder operations and has been prevented from playing rugby since late in 2022. The up and coming referee has also excelled at rowing, having once been a British under-16 rowing champion. Methven’s other grandson, Euan, is Ann’s younger boy.

Methven’s other daughter, Jane, lives in Livingston. Her daughter Anna is an excellent golfer who has won trophies at under-15 and under-16 level.

The new era of writing means that Methven’s immediate replacement as Blues’ match reporter for the Fife Free Press is Dave Hamilton, whose son Craig plays at hooker in the 1st XV.

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