An unofficial Cowdenbeath Football Club site



Players from the past

Throughout the history of the Cowdenbeath Football Club, there have been some great names that have turned out for The Blue Brazil. There are also some players who have never achieved greatness, whether it be for footballing ability or for a mad moment on the park which is constantly remembered by supporters of all ages. We got our intrepid reporter, The Rampant Ballboy, to track these legends down and share a few memories.

When The Sun Shines


The Rampant Ballboy Interviews - billy steele

Billy, who originally hails from Oakley, spent seven seasons at Central park and is still fondly remembered by all Cowden fans. Billy now runs BS Bookmakers in Inverkeithing so if you're ever in the area and fancy a flutter pop in and you might see him. Unfortunately Billy can't offer tax free bets to Cowden fans.

I believe you started your playing career at Ibrox.
I signed as an apprentice with Rangers when I left school at 16. During my four years or so at Ibrox I played mainly reserve team football but I did play for the first team in some tour matches. I was also farmed out to Benburb Juniors for a while.

What was your next club after Rangers ?
I signed for Dundee United in 1975. I played first team football there for one and a half seasons but ran into problems with Jim McLean because I wasn't prepared to move to Dundee from Fife. Andy Rolland had the same problem with McLean.

Was it this that led you to sign for Cowden?
No, Dumbarton signed me from Dundee United but I only lasted six weeks with them. There was too much travelling involved and I hated the place also. Dumbarton kept me on till the end of season 1977/78 when I then signed for Cowdenbeath.

How did your signing for Cowden come about ?
I was approached by Paddy Wilson who was assistant to Frank Connor at the time. I played under a few managers during my time at Central Park. I had respect for all of them. They carried out their jobs in a professional way given the lack of resources and lack of ambition that the directors seemed to have. They seemed to be more interested in getting guttered on match days. I remember when Andy Rolland was manager being at Arbroath for an important promotion match. Andy had been psyching up the players in the dressing room prior to the start of the game. When we went out for our warm up session there were the directors half pissed playing shooting-in in one of the goals. It hardly inspired the team.

What kind of wages were being paid at Central Park ?
We were on 15 a week plus 15 a point and 6 appearance money so you could earn 51 some weeks. This never changed throughout the seven years I was with the club. Whilst the money wasn't great there were times when the directors were prepared to put their hands in their pockets. I remember that it was decided to stay overnight Friday at Stranraer prior to a big match with them on the Saturday. We were let out from the hotel for an hour only but one hour turned into two and so on. Some of the players ended up being locked out of the hotel and had to climb over a gate to get back in. Unfortunately a Police patrol car spotted them and the Police woke the hotel proprietor in the early hours of the morning in case there had been a break in. When the directors heard this they went berserk and wanted the Police to have an ID parade at breakfast to finger the culprits but they eventually gave up on the idea. Surprisingly enough we went on to beat Stranraer 4-2 so the pomagne was flowing in the bus on the way home.

Any other printable amusing stories from your Cowden days ?
An old drinking buddy of mine Davie Cooper played in goals for Cowden for a while, The Coop had just been done for housebreaking and we had a home game the following Saturday. The opposition had a corner which when swung in was completely missed by Coop. This prompted some wag in the crowd to shout "If that had been a window-ledge you'd have caught it". I also remember a game against Forfar in the middle of winter when the late Davie Fair had sold three first half goals. Paddy Wilson uncharacteristically got tore into Davie and told him he was being substituted. Davie took his clothes off and stormed off heading for the bath. About five minutes later he returned frozen to the bone and sheepishly said "There's no water in the bath". He got ribbed about that for weeks after.

What games stick in your mind most?
Obviously the 1-1 draw with Queens Park which cost us promotion in 1981 is still vivid. I'm sure that if Andy Rolland's had scored with that penalty we would have gone on to win the game. I think that the team we had then would have good enough to stay up in the First Division. I also remember playing Partick Thistle in the cup on a Sunday the day after we had to play Stenhousemuir in the league. We should have won at Firhill that day but weary legs late in the game cost us and we lost by the odd goal.

Was there not a spate of silly perms about at one time ?
The year that I had a perm, Black & White whisky were doing a promotion whereby any player scoring a hat-trick received a case of whisky. I think I scored six hat-tricks that year but I don't remember seeing all the whisky - I think most of it ended up in the boardroom.

What frustrated you most at Cowdenbeath ?
Probably the club's lack of ambition. Whilst as I've said before the managers were sound enough the directors did not seem football orientated. Another story that springs to mind which bears this out was about one of the directors handing Raymie Allan a magazine just before a game and saying "I think you should read this it's all about goalkeeping". Anyone who knows Raymie will be aware of his bad temper. Raymie went beetroot, I thought he was going to strangle the director. I'm sure he was only joking but it hardly put the team's goalie in the best frame of mind for the match. Whilst there were frustrating times at Central Park I enjoyed the whole time I was there. Most of the teams I played in had a family type atmosphere about them especially in Andy Rolland's time.

What prompted you to leave Central Park ?
I left when Hugh Wilson arrived as manager. He had been at Alloa when my brother Tommy was there and I didn't think I'd get on with him. I went to Arbroath although I had the chance to join Dunfermline. The money was actually better at Arbroath than it would have been at Dunfermline because no money changed hands as I was swapped for two Arbroath players. I was on double the money I had been receiving at Cowdenbeath.

Any clubs after Arbroath ?
No. I was at Arbroath three seasons then I went into the bookies business in Edinburgh before eventually ending up in the shop I have now in Inverkeithing.

Thanks for the interview Billy. We look forward to seeing you at a Cowden game in the near future. I'm sure your business will do well particularly if your punters went to the same school of picking winners as I obviously did.

We're always on the lookout for Blue Brazilians from yesteryear. If you should know of anyone who is worthy of a mention, drop an email to webmaster@blue-brazil.co.uk



This articles was originally published in the When The Sun Shines fanzine


When The Sun Shines is an independent magazine written by the supporters, for the supporters.
Any opinions expressed in this page is not the opinion of any players or officials directly or indirectly connected to Cowdenbeath Football Club.