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Gordon McDougall 2005/06
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Gordon McDougall 2005/06

Did you ever play football?

Yes, not professionally but only for fun

What team did you support as a boy?

Hibs and still do as well as Cowden.

Who are the best players you have ever watched?

There are many like Zidane, Ronaldino but I'll keep it to Scottish players. Gordon Smith, Willie Hamilton, Joe Baker, Jimmy Johnston, and Dave Mackay.

Tell us about your career as a stock car driver?

I started in 1965 with 3 meetings at Coatbridge (Cliftonhill). I raced here at Cowdenbeath in August 1965 when destiny took a hand. I drove here till 1980 then opened a circuit at Newtowngrange before returning to Cowdenbeath in 1990.

Did you ever come near to serious injury?

I've had many bumps and scrapes, broken my wrists, had other crashes and fractures, I have back problems. It goes with the game.

What made you decide to become to take over at Cowdenbeath FC?

It's no secret. I took over the stock car tenancy in 1989. It soon became obvious to me that the cash position at Central Park was extremely serious with creditors piling up. As a result, the stock car business was also in jeopardy. I contacted the shareholders and did a lot of background work. I then decided to buy out the shares but was shocked to discover that the Clubs outstanding debts were £350,000 rather than the £150,000 previously quoted. It took 10 years of scrimping and saving with the football team bumping along near the bottom of the league. The club is now in a sound financial position. I agree that Central Park is less than salubrious . So what - I would much rather pay for what I can afford i.e. on the youth development programmes, on facilities for the players, that kind of thing.

What have been your highest points as chairman?

High points - beating Partick Thistle in the Cup, beating the Pars to keep them down, nearly beating Hibs (we were denied a stonewall penalty). More generally, seeing the youth system prosper and young players gaining real recognition.

What have been the lowest points?

Low points - the fire, the first few years in general. You don't appreciate the highs until you have experienced the lows.

Why would anyone in their right mind want to be a football club chairman?

There is no answer to that. I didn't set out to be a Football Chairman. I find it to be very enjoyable. It is a challenge each day. I've always got to be doing something. Certainly it is not for financial reward. I enjoy football despite the current ills in the Scottish game. You are always learning something.

If you could turn the clock back, is there anything you would change?

Not really, I don't think so. Things have panned out for the best.

What are you most proud of?

Our youth policy and youth development system. How we manage to provide the opportunities and structure to give youngsters from the age of 12 a method of going forward in football.

You saw long ago that youth development was the only way ahead for Cowden. Are you pleased with the progress this youth policy has made?

Absolutely delighted although it still has a long way to go. I'm sure the system will continue to produce young players we can all be proud of.

Do you think we'll go up in this special season?

We've got every chance although so do a couple of others - that's football. We are aiming for the Championship and direct promotion but if it doesn't happen this year I consider we have the manager and players to do it soon.

Is it financially risky to be promoted?

No. Next year could see a good league depending on the playoffs. There would be no financial risks in the Second Division although the higher leagues might be different.

How highly do you rate this Cowdenbeath team compared to previous years?

The current team is doing very well and are well organised. Mixu is doing a great job. The team is very capable of going up and play in a style which makes them very difficult to beat. The previous promotion team played in a different style with excellent players but it took Craig Levein 3 years to accomplish. The current team is not Mixu's team but is better organised. It has been a magnificent achievement by Mixu to take over and achieve results so quickly.

What has the club got planned to celebrate the 125th year?

We are planning several things. We are awaiting a Council decision [ on the future of Central Park ] but expect to arrange some things early in the New Year. It would be especially great to celebrate by winning promotion.

Tell us about the plans for a new stadium?

Everything is to be financed without incurring any overdraft. We are awaiting a Council decision on the sale of Central Park. We want to have appropriate facilities for games and training. We are hiring facilities at present but we really need to have everything under one roof. We are planning for 2 separate stadiums for Football and Stock Cars sharing only common car parking.

What are your future ambitions for the club?

Promotion this season. A new stadium if it happens. Continue to promote Youth Development.

When do you plan to retire and what will this mean for Cowdenbeath FC?

Not yet,absolutely no plans to retire. I believe we have big big problems in Scottish Football over the next five years and we have work to do to get through that rough patch.

You are one of the longest serving and youngest looking chairmen in Scottish football. What is your secret?

Hard work! I never really think about it and just get on with the job. Time just seems to pass so quickly.

You are one of the most successful chairmen in the club’s history overseeing promotion twice. Do you feel your work and commitment to football in the town is appreciated?

Yes, by the people who understand the working of the Club and by our hard core supporters. By the town? I have to say no at present. It is hard to understand. There is considerably better entertainment value supporting Cowden at present rather than paying high prices to watch SPL or First Division football.

What is your view about the small number of troublemakers who have tarnished the good name of the club in recent years?

Sadly we have it at the Stock Cars as well. It's a major problem but it is not isolated. It seems to be a problem involving society and the community at present. Football matches and other events where crowds congregate gives some elements the chance to carry out their nonsense and hide. I would ask our core supporters to help in identifying the troublemakers.

How important are the loyal hardcore of fans to Cowdenbeath?

Very very important. It is what the game is all about. The common denominator is the supporters who constitute the life blood of the game.

How have you managed to put up with Tam Ogilvie all these years (only joking Tam!)?

Tam does a great job. Some boy, Tam - a real character with his heart totally in Cowdenbeath and football. He hates referees and loves his job. We do have our ups and downs but I could do with many more like him.

Have you got a message for the fans?

Enjoy the moment with Mixu and the good team we have on the park.