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2018/19 Season News

Roger Sugden

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Roger Sugden

PostedJuly 10, 2018

Today we received the very sad news of the passing of another former Cowdenbeath FC favourite, Roger Sugden. His wife Margaret has been in touch on behalf of the family to advise that Roger passed away on Friday morning after a brave recent battle against Motor Neurone Disease. Roger will be forever remembered as member of our legendary 1970 promotion winning side. His goals, speed and artistry left an indelible impression at Central Park.

Roger was born at Stanningley near Leeds but lived in Musselburgh from an early age. His father was a cricket professional with Yorkshire and came to Scotland to take up a post as cricket coach at Loretto’s School. Roger played cricket alongside his brother Malcolm for Musselburgh Cricket Club – Malcolm was 5 times Scottish table tennis champion. Roger though was the footballer in the family. He played for Musselburgh Windsor before joining Haddington Athletic. In 1963, Cowdenbeath visited Haddington for a match which they had agreed to pay as part of the deal which took Stan Vincent to Central Park. Roger shone in that game and Cowdenbeath signed him just before Hearts made him an offer.

Roger made an early impact as a fast raiding winger; a real flying machine with an eye for goal. He was soon taken on trial by Aston Villa. A leg break in a game with Hamilton Accies though was a setback in 1964. Once fit again he benefited from the innovative coaching of Archie Robertson (who himself was also to be a victim of Motor Neurone Disease).

Roger’s senior career was spent entirely at Central Park and he was to score 43 goals in 229 games for Cowden in an 8 year spell. Roger warmly recollected playing in that fine 1969/70 promotion-winning team under Andy Matthew – ‘We had a strong team spirit. In fact, all the time I was with Cowdenbeath there were never any cliques and the players all got on well. We used to have lunch at the Commercial Hotel and go for a few pints at Wee Jimmies. I recall at one time I used to regularly play snooker with Ronnie Sharp, Davy Ross, and young Dick Campbell who I seem to remember was nicknamed ‘Spook’ back then’.

Roger ended the promotion season in plaster after breaking his leg in a Fife Cup tie v Dunfermline. Cowdenbeath rewarded the promotion winning side with a holiday in Majorca and Roger spent the whole trip in a wheelchair. He recalled, ‘It was a great trip and we had a wonderful time – enjoying the sun and a few drinks! When we flew home I acted as a Trojan horse. I was going through customs in my wheelchair covered in a big blanket. The blanket though was mainly to cover the fags and booze the lads were smuggling through customs’.

Unfortunately, Roger never played another first team game for Cowden after this injury. He back junior in 1971 with Dalkeith and later played with Preston Athletic, Haddington and Musselburgh. Subsequently, he coached Musselburgh Windsor under-14’s who reached the Scottish Cup final whilst Roger was involved. Roger worked in construction – at one time he was working on the new Scottish Parliament building. We were delighted to welcome Roger back to Cowdenbeath in 2010 when a reunion of the 1970 side was held at Broad Street Bowling Club and Roger had a fine time meeting up again with his old playing colleagues.

Roger Sugden thus was a great servant to our football club and we thank him for all the joy, excitement and memories he provided at Central Park – he is still warmly remembered. On behalf of everyone at Central Park, all our fans and indeed all those who cheered on Roger from the Central Park terraces we send our sincere condolences to Margaret and all the Sugden family. We hope it is some comfort to them to know how highly we all regarded Roger.

Roger’s funeral takes place in Musselburgh on 18th July and Cowdenbeath FC will of course be represented as we say a last farewell to one of our football heroes.

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