FORRES Mechanics are celebrating more than a decade of service from a local loon.
Left back, Simon Allan (31), is enjoying his eleventh season, having already hosted a fundraising golf game ... with a dinner and celebrity speakers, and a testimonial match at Mosset Park still to come.
He said: “The golf event was superb – I couldn’t have asked for a better day. I particularly appreciated the help of experienced heads Albert Duffus and James ‘Flicker’ Duncan in organising it.
“The testimonial is yet to be organised but I am hoping to have one against Elgin as everyone loves a derby. It will probably be in midweek as it would be difficult to squeeze it in on a weekend – the details will be confirmed fairly soon.
“I am also looking forward to the dinner and enjoying a night out with friends and family. The speakers will add a few laughs too.”
Allan is still learning his trade at Springfield Homes. Having left his job at Royal Mail after ten years, he is now in his third year of a HND in Civil Engineering.
“(Apart from signing for Mechanics) It’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” he said.
Having spent most of his life in Forres, the former Applegrove Primary and Forres Academy pupil was destined to play for the Can-cans.
He said: “I’ve been kicking a football since I could walk. As a kid, I played football at Torridon in 20-a-side games from morning till night!” Allan played at primary school level in Forres and Aberdeen before his family moved to England where he joined Wittering Harriers from under-eight to under-16 levels.
On his return to Forres in his teens, he had spells at Mechanics, Elgin City and Lossiemouth. He then spent a season with Forres Thistle before moving back to the Cans in 2006.
He said: “My first spell at Mosset Park was at youth level when Graeme Sutherland coached us.
“Winning the cup with Thistle was a high – we beat New Elgin 4-3 in the final and I got a hat-trick!”
The Rangers fan added: “The highlights of my playing career were winning the league for Forres, closely followed by playing Rangers.
“I’m very proud to play for the Mechanics, especially for the amount of time I have. Winning all three trophies has been a huge bonus too!”
Allan plans to play for another two years before retiring to spend more time with his fiancée Cheryl and son Charlie (5).
He said: “I want to be able to watch Charlie playing and get involved with his football.
“However, Forres Mechanics is run by a great group of people who do a huge amount of unnoticed work but a few younger folk with fresh ideas wouldn’t go a miss. At the very least, I’ll be down to watch every week!”
Allan has been lucky to play alongside a few of the same teammates at Mechanics throughout his career.
Midfielder Ross ‘Chucky’ Macpherson is one who shares great memories with him.
He said: “His testimonial is well deserved. Simon is a massive player for the club and has bags of talent. His commitment is second to none, apart from a monthly text to the gaffer to say he can’t make training because he is ill!
“Simon is a dead ball specialist and his deliveries are first class, I’ve scored a few goals this season from his crosses but I tell him it’s all about the run!”
Striker, and fellow Rangers fan, Scotty Moore, also looks back on their playing careers with pride.
He said: “It’s been a privilege playing alongside Simon and we have fantastic memories including the league winning season and playing Rangers.
“He has been a fantastic servant and a great personality to have around the club. Simon’s long throws and set pieces are up there with the best in the league.”
Moore also remembers a few comedy moments from Simon ‘Superman’ Allan.
He said: “The funniest would have to be one winter when we were training in the local boxing hall one Saturday when a game was called off due to snow. Simon likes to think he can hold his own and was asking everyone to go in the ring with him.
“Charlie Brown finally agreed to an ‘exhibition’ with him which ended with Grapies throwing in the towel when Simon copped one too many jabs and ended up with a burst lip!”
Cans manager Charlie Rowley confirmed everyone at the club appreciates players and staff with such long and distinctive service.
“Simon is one of a number of our players due a testimonial,” he said. “But he’s not finished yet!
“He will be remembered, particularly, for his set-piece delivery. He has the record for the most assists in the Highland League by a considerable distance and I certainly haven’t seen anyone with a better delivery in my own career.”
Club chairman, James ‘Doc’ Anderson, is also full of praise for the left back.
He said: “Simon denies that with each year that goes by, we have had to order an ever-increasing size of shorts for him!
However, he is one player that is genuinely dedicated to the club and I hope that in years to come, when he has stopped playing, there will be another roll for him here.
“Simon has made a huge contribution on the playing side and I would be very surprised if he was not involved in one way or another.
“If he can instil the same level of dedication and application in our youngsters as he has shown himself then he will be doing the club a huge favour.”
Simon’s dad Keith Allan remembers he always had a ball at his feet.
“We made many a walk round to Torridon park to shout him in for his tea and when we were on holiday, it was easy to find him, we just followed the sound of the ball being kicked!
“Simon’s distant relative Jock Mackenzie played for the Cans in 1908 before joining Rangers.
“His own first taste of organised football was at Forres Soccer Sevens before he trained with Aberdeen under Neil Simpson.
“He won the league with Wittering Harriers boy’s club which lead to trials with Norwich City but they were looking for taller youngsters.
“On our return to Moray he played for Elgin City under-18s with Stuart Knight before his Highland League debut at Borough Briggs against East Fife in 2003.”