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Stewart McPherson tracks Down Vale players of the days gone by
upload image w=200 h=185
Name Darren Nicol
Date of Birth 16 Sept. 1975
Occupation Account Manager
Briefly outline your football career prior to joining Deveronvale.
 Inverurie loon so played for Colony Park Boys Club, then Aberdeen Lads Club in the juveniles before joining Inverurie Locos in the junior ranks. Then Jimmy Wilson in the Highland League came calling for Cove Rangers. 

I had some great trips in the Scottish Junior Cup with Locos. I played with some good players at Cove including big Doug Rougvie and John Hewitt.
Which year(s) did you play for Deveronvale? Who signed you for the club, and what attracted you to join ?
I canna right mind which year, my football years were a bit rock and roll and the memory is slightly fuzzy due to the Banff moonshine. It was Malcolm Murray who signed me, the attraction being that the Vale was a club with huge potential and some solid players and I thought they would, come time, become major contenders which, to everyone’s credit they did. 
What are your fondest memories of your time with the club?
Lots of good memories of the club, team mates, fans and management.

Every trip was good banter, it was a great team spirit, plenty characters such as Yogie, Broon, Chiz, Cadger, Nige, Dippy, I could list the whole team, everyone was up for a laugh.

There are a few stories for sure, at one point Deveronvale made the headlines for all the wrong reasons, when it was reported that a petrol station in Keith had been held up with a plastic gun. The only clue to the assailant’s identity was a Deveronvale tie wrapped around his forehead! Fortunately the matter was dropped when apologies were made and the loot of 3 ciders was repaid. But it did lead to Mr Banff releasing a press statement saying Deveronvale did not condone their players participating in robberies whilst undertaking away games.

I guess one other story that stuck out, was when being out on a Friday night, it lead to a charity auction in the local clothes optional clubs. Needless to say an undergarment that Stringfellow would be proud of, was purchased. It found its way into the Vale change room’s pre-kick off, being around about the time Victoria Beckham had revealed that a one Mr Beckham often wore her Pete Tong, one o the Vale players thought ‘why nay’. It was obvious there was huge discomfort and when presented with an open goal from 3 yards……..the ball was screwed wide, so we got knocked out o the Scottish thanks to….Victoria’s secret!
What is the most memorable game(s) you played in for Vale, and why?
Must be between the Rangers game when the new stand was opened and the Partick Thistle game down there in the Scottish Cup.

The Rangers game as it was my first and I played against Charlie Millar and Derek McInnes in front of a great local support. I was skipper as well…..I know I don’t know why either.

The Partick Game because it was the romance of the Scottish Cup, and Banff really got behind the team. There was a great turnout and it really was an unforgettable weekend.
Who were the characters at the club ?
Everyone was a character, that was what made the club as success. As soon as anyone got out of hand then they were quickly brought down to earth, I got called in front o the committee for taking the bus for a wee spin, which I thought was harmless enough, but what I didn’t know was the driver was in over the back getting the bags out……thankfully he wasn’t badly injured. So the reprimand was justified.

On the pitch, Nige lead from the front or sorry from the back, years of experience and knew how it should be played. Nothing had changed the last time we played at Chiz’s testimonial, still pinging the passes. Dippy must be coming up to his second testimonial and could still grace any Highland league club. Everyone weighed in, and although you can’t rate everyone, and it sounds stereotypical but it really was a team effort. I learned this early on when playing Keith at home I got hooked for, lets call him Ian fay Lossie, needless to say I wasnay happy and sat on the bench sticking the knifes in…….‘Gregg, fits the craic…..Ian does feck all! Look he canna trap a bag o cement and his first touch is like a pass…and you hook me for that!’……..needless to say bang he rifles a thing into the top corner and proceeds to score a hatrick to clinch the three points! So everyone was there for the same reason to try be a success and for a bit of fun.

Off the pitch, there was Gregg Carrol, who was as passionate as they come. I’m sure in a past life he was Seb Coe’s coach and his favorite phrase was ‘I’ll run ya’s!’. But his methods worked and his record speaks for itself. He was backed by Eddie’s fantastic board who were willing to contribute to the cause, and they also liked a bit of fun.

There is also Lenny, who was just a good lad to be aroon, he always had a sneaky hip flask so if it was a call day we could get warmed up without going outside!
Who were the best players you played with at the Vale and why?
Yogie was a great player, Inniesta like! Always busy. Cadger was the Potterton Fabrizio Ravanelli! Matty Kinghorn, who I really can’t compare to anyone, he had his own style, and was capable of a mayzee that left abody speechless.

I guess I also have to mention Jamie Watt as well as he beat some record, my ears would bleed if I didna mention it! Also Chiz he could heid the ba nearly as good as that lad fay Partick that beat him…..twice.
And who were the best players you played against, and why?
If you hated playing against someone it means you rate them. I hated anyone fast cause my wooden legs turned slower than milk. Mike Stephen was one and why I ended up out wide against him was tactical madness. Skill wise Levi Stephen, he had a great touch and in the end I hate to admit it, but all I could do was hoof him and hope he retaliated. 
What have you done in a football sense since you left the Vale ?
I joined Huntly, Formartine, brief spell at Locos, Kintore amateurs then a wee kick about with a five-a-side team called the Nine Inchers, this is due to the fact most of the team has been blessed with having roots……..in Insch!

All enjoyable, but unfortunately I developed a habit of leaving a club just before they won anything, and there was a running joke with Yogie and gang that teams just sign me to get rid o me to bring success. So aye my trophy cabinet doesn’t dominate the front room but lots of good memories.
What does a normal Saturday afternoon entail for you these days ?
I’m making up for lost time so I headed back to University………most folk say ‘fit are you the janny!’ So with that and work its more than enough to keep me occupied. I do miss the banter though and might get back into it at some point.

Anyways, it was good times and I wish Scott and his team the same for 2011.