Just a quick wee blog before I go away for a few days. Tranent’s not that far from me but I’ve only been to see The Belters a handful of times. Back in the mists of time I managed to find Foresters Park (tucked away down a wee lane off the High Street) for a Scottish Cup tie against Auchinleck. Hordes of well-oiled Ayrshiremen packed out the shed opposite the old pavilion and sang their team to victory. Only later did I realise you can approach it from Lindores Drive.
The photo below is from May 1993 when Bonnyrigg Rose won 3-0. The Rose manager at the time was Jim Sinnet and I remember him shaking his head as a Rose player went over the touchline trying to clear the ball and one of the Tranent oldies was wanting a foul awarded for leaving the pitch… 🙂
Surprising that I had to search for the park all those years ago. My work used to take me to Tranent once a week and one of my clients was Eric Beber who had the garage near the entrance to the park. I think he was German. There was a Pakistani man who ran the car sales business on the corner but I can’t remember his name. He once talked me into giving him a pound as business was poor, he was absolutely broke and he needed it to buy his lunch, and I didn’t realise he was winding me up.
I got very pally with the guys who ran McNeill’s Garage up the road in Ormiston, Ben Watson and his son Jimmy, and the mechanic Gus. Apparently his name was Angus Angus. So much so that I came away with presents every week, like tatties, bridies, jars of honey. If I timed my visit right I got a pint. Twice a day somebody would take a tray and 3 empty pint glasses round the corner to the Coalgate Inn and get refills. If I was there they just made it 4 pints.
On one memorable occasion I was getting my MOT done so I’m sitting in my car, 6 feet up on a ramp, with a pint in my hand, and they’re telling me to press the brake pedal etc. Happy days.
More recently I got pally with Gary Amos who did a good job with us at Whitehill Welfare but left as the famous bully nicknamed ‘Sir Peter’ managed to chase yet another good volunteer away from the club.
Gary’s now at Tranent and invited me along to see how the club were progressing. In April this year they were on the point of clinching the South League title and promotion to the Premier if they could beat rivals Whitburn.
Tranent are members of the exclusive club that has lifted the Scottish Junior Cup, although that was way back in 1935, when they beat Petershill 6-1 at Ibrox in front of 22000. However since the new set-up began in 2002 they have never been in the Superleague and as far as I remember they have been stuck in the South League all that time. The current manager is Gary Small.
I saw that a lot was happening at the club befitting their proud motto “Lie Forrit”. The old pavilion was gone and was replaced by a modern block away down at the far corner. The wall round the pitch was replaced by a modern barrier too. The Shed might have been replaced too but I couldn’t tell. In keeping with pitch improvements everywhere, The Belters now boasted a well-kept grass surface. A decent crowd was in for this league decider.
As the players warmed up, I saw Ryan Mackenzie who had left Whitehill the previous season, and had a quick chat. Ryzo was never a shrinking violet and picked up a booking as Tranent battled their way to a hard-fought 2-1 win over their table-top rivals, and reversed the 4-3 defeat they had suffered at Central Park.
Understandably there was much celebration at the end and I even got invited into the boardroom for a small refreshment. I look forward to seeing The Belters in the Premier this season. They began last week with a 1-1 draw away at newly relegated Tayport.