Sean Graham


As football clubs go, Queen of the South have the distinction of being the only club named in the Bible. In footballing terms however, it is no miracle to see that the club has just reached it’s 90th Birthday, and on the day that the club started its celebrations to mark this wonderful achievement, the team played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Livingston.

Fans and players, young and old, all had come to Palmerston on that day to celebrate with their current heroes. Heroes from Queens teams of the past also turned out and came not only to pay tribute to their club and what it had achieved over the past 90 years, but also to look forward to the future. Surely good times lie ahead for this magnificent club.

Among the returning heroes were Bobby Black, Andy Thomson and Jim Patterson.
The three top goalscorers in the history of the club back together, legends from different eras but heroes to many, what would their cost be in today’s market?

Former player and now respected football pundit, Des McKeown still has and always will have a special place in his heart for his former club.

“Queens was a wonderful time in my career because the club really knew how to take care of their players. The whole set up was professionally run from the first time I joined up with the squad.”

“The club still mean a huge amount to me and I still really enjoy visiting Palmerston,
where I generally get a warm welcome from the fans. I think that they appreciate that every time I pulled on a Queens strip I gave 100%!”

Queens supporters seem like generally passionate football people, which was shown in their Scottish Cup run, Des has fond memories of them and of another cup final.

“The highlight of my time there was undoubtedly the Challenge Cup final in 1997, to see so many fans from Dumfries make the trip to Fir Park was incredible and the only disappointment was we didn’t win!”

In a time where clubs are facing all sorts of financial problems, and indeed that has seen the end of Gretna Football Club, once rivals to the Palmerston club, chairman Davie Rae must be commended with the way that he has run the club. Rae has allowed manager Gordon Chisholm and assistant Billy Dodds to run the team their way, and by not panicking when Queens could not buy a win. Even though they have so far not quite hit the heights of last season, that is what makes a chairman, his loyalty and refusing to show his manager the door when things are not going too well.

Under Gordon Chisholm, this Queen of the South squad gave the supporters a season that will live long in the memory when they had a fantastic double trip to Hampden in the Scottish Cup.

As they took to the field in the semi-final against Aberdeen, they knew that they were rank outsiders and what followed must have given every underdog hope for the future!

In one of the most amazing semi-finals ever witnessed, this so called little First Division club, outplayed and out muscled an SPL side, as they defeated Aberdeen by four goals to three and booked their place in the Scottish Cup final.

The attention that followed the club from that moment on must have been something that neither club nor support had ever witnessed before.

The fact that the game was live on Sky Sports on a Saturday lunchtime, and was the first live broadcast, may just have made it all the sweeter. Now fans from outside of Scotland would know all about the giant killers called Queen of the South.

As the Scottish Cup final goes, it will go down in the record books as a 3-2 win for Rangers, and their fans will remember it as part of a cup double that they wished was a quadruple. But for one Queen of the South fan it will be remembered for the rest of her days.

Sandra Brown has been going to watch her beloved team since 1976 when she was only five years-old. It is a long time family tradition for the Brown family as her Great Grandpa, Grandpa, Father, Mother, Brothers and Nephews have all gone over the years to watch the Doonhamers play at their home ground of Palmerston Park.

The Scottish Cup final has seen Sandra complete 20 seasons of league and cup matches, indeed she even booked her holiday after the cup final just in case Queens reached it.

She has seen the good times and the bad times with Queens over the years, including: Second Division runners-up, Second Division champions, Challenge Cup runners-up and Challenge Cup winners.

That season’s Scottish Cup run was a mixture of emotions for Sandra as earlier in the year, before the semi-final with Aberdeen, she lost her beloved father through illness.

On the day of the semi-final epic win over Aberdeen, Sandra wore two scarves, her own one and her Dad’s.

She very bravely spoke on radio not long after her team’s great win over Aberdeen, one of the greatest semi-finals seen in recent years as the Doonhamers defeated their Premier League opponents 4-3.

She felt that win came from above and after Queens performance on that day very few would argue with her!

Sandra and her family watched as their team lost the Scottish Cup final against Rangers, but they looked on with pride as their team pushed the mighty SPL side all the way only to lose 3-2. Queens gave a fantastic account of themselves and would have gained a few more admirers as they were a credit to their club and their division. They were also able to look forward to European football as they had qualified for the UEFA Cup.

Queens entered the competition in the second qualification round of the 2008/09 UEFA Cup and were drawn against Danish side FC Nordsjaelland. However, because of UEFA restrictions they had to play their home tie at the Excelsior Stadium, the home of Airdrie United FC.

The European dream was over before it even started, but the club did not disgrace themselves in the competition, losing both matches by the slender margin of 2-1. Sean O’Connor scored for the club in the first leg and Bob Harris gave the club the lead in the second leg with a rasping 30 yard free kick, but they were caught by two late goals to end their European dream. Even though the adventure had ended the players and fans were applauded and hailed as a credit to their country.

This adventure onto European soil and so many others that the club have been involved in throughout the years show just why this club has reached this landmark 90 years. Queens must be applauded for their staying power were others have failed, and certainly they now have their eyes on the next 90 years.

But what is it the makes the Doonhamers so special to people like Sandra and Des?

Well perhaps it is best to leave the last words to a man who is never short on opinion when it comes to the beautiful game, former player Des McKeown tells us just what his old club mean to him.

“The club is so special because it is one of the great community clubs and this was no more evident than last year during the run to the Scottish Cup final.”

The focus on the First Division is even greater now with BBC ALBA starting to show more First Division matches, so maybe, just maybe, Queens will have an even greater following from far and wide as their popularity and the age of this great old team grows. As the old saying goes-“Yer Ain Team, Is Yer Hame Team” and for Sandra Brown and the many other who have followed Queen of the South in their 90 years history, this statement is so true.

With thanks to
Bill Goldie
Des McKeown
Sandra Brown and family


Related Articles: