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Scottish Cup aspirations still alive for commentator

Sunday, 12 February 2017


In each round of the William Hill Scottish Cup this season, the Scottish FA has had a guest blogger attend a match to document their experience.

 

Yesterday Ayr United drew 1-1 with Clyde in an end-to-end match at Somerset Park, meaning the sides will have to do it all again on Tuesday with a Valentine’s Day replay at Broadwood Stadium.

 

As has been the case for more than 60 years, hospital radio commentator Willie Shields was housed in the studio above the Ayr United gymnasium watching on.

 

The 86-year-old has supported The Honest Men for 79 years and commentated on home matches for Ayr Hospital Radio since 1954.

 

Broadcasting stalwart’s Honest Men set for third Scottish Cup replay in-a-row

 

Yesterday was similar to every Ayr United home game over the last 60 years or so with me commentating on the action.

 

For a home match, I usually head to Somerset Park around 2 o’clock to set-up the broadcasting studio for the 90 minutes ahead.

 

During the week I swot up on my facts and knowledge around the team by buying both local papers and reading what Ian McCall has to say.

 

I feel he has done a good job with Ayr since taking over, especially with the budget he has to play with.

 

Our broadcasting studio is situated in the away end of the stadium which has presented it’s own challenges through the years. 

 

We had to put up a sign stating that we worked for the hospital radio as we often received abuse from travelling supporters mistaking us for national broadcasters.

 

Because we’re in the corner it can be quite difficult to view the action at times but we’re very close to the play. Thankfully a ball has yet to hit the window, although the roof has taken a battering thanks to some wayward passing down the years.

 

One of the best things about our spot is the fact we have a heater and oven for cooking the half-time pies. The heating certainly came in handy yesterday with a bitterly cold wind freezing the 1,500 fans that turned out.

 

In my 79 years supporting Ayr United, the best game was on 13 September 1969 when we beat Rangers 2-1. A record 25,225 people literally crammed themselves into Somerset Park that day.

 

There were people everywhere and some fans even climbed onto our studio and sat on the roof! Their legs were hanging in front of our window and we had to view the game through a sea of legs.

 

Cutty Young scored for Ayr and when he returned to his parent’s house in Drongan, he couldn’t get in.

His Dad was of a Rangers persuasion and had locked the door, opening his window to tell Cutty ‘you’re not getting in here, no son of mine scores against the Rangers.’

 

A couple of years later Cutty signed with them which I’m sure would have cheered his father up.

 

Yesterday’s game wasn’t quite as memorable with another replay on the horizon for The Honest Men, having been forced to play second matches against Brechin City and Queen’s Park in previous rounds.

 

We started the game well and had a lot of chances but Clyde’s goalkeeper Connor Quinn, who had signed on Friday from Livingston, played a blinder.

 

He pulled off a number of saves and then Clyde scored through David Gormley early in the second half. The away fans were happy with that and gave them a chance to hold their inflatable Scottish Cup aloft.

 

Paul Cairney managed to score through a ruck of bodies for Ayr and had another chance late on but it wasn’t to be and we play them again on Tuesday.

 

I’m looking forward to the draw later today and can’t decide whether I want one of the bigger teams for some much needed funds in our kitty or a smaller club, giving us a better chance of reaching Hampden.

 

I suppose I can’t be too choosy as it’s just good to be in the hat at this stage of the competition.

 

Willie Shields

 

Click here to read Willie's preview of the game where he explained how he was introduced into the world of commentary.

 


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