Lucky 13 for David as he calls time on long career

Blantyre Vics midfielder David Gumley is set to bring the curtain down on an anything but unlucky 13-year Junior career tomorrow.

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Blantyre Vics' David Gumley will hang up his boots after this weekend
Blantyre Vics' David Gumley will hang up his boots after this weekend

He can't think of a more appropriate stage to take his final bow as Vics face a New Coin Holdings Cup clash against Ashfield, with whom David arguably enjoyed the best times of his career.

The twin pressures of family and work commitments as a financial services sales director have finally told on the still relatively young 34-year-old who first caught the eye playing for Campsie Black Watch Under- 21s under their renowned manager, Gerry Marley.

A number of Junior clubs were on his case, but David was enticed into joining Rob Roy by the persuasive tongue of then gaffer Mick Oliver, recently Scotland scout under Craig Levein.

The mercurial Franny Loughrin skippered that Rabs team that also included Michael McBrearty and later-to-be Junior Scotland goalkeeper Stuart Robertson.

However, a lack of playing opportunities led to a young Gumley opting to join Ashfield.

He recalls: "Stevie Rankin was building a team from scratch following the fire that almost wiped out the club. It was our second season together, when Stevie signed Mark Thomson, Darren O'Donnell and Tony Chalmers, that we really took off and won the Second Division title.

"After a consolidation season at First Division level we again won promotion into the Super First Division behind a Rutherglen Glencairn side managed by Willie Patterson and Scott Smith.

"Unfortunately, around that time I had a falling out with Stevie and decided it was for the best to move to Cumbernauld United where John Queen was manager."

David joked: "I just thought to myself that it would be a whole lot easier playing for Queenie rather than against him.

"He is one tough and highly competitive opponent, but he also possesses a great knowledge of the game and that unsung Cumbernauld side went on to be Central First Division champions.

"One great season in the higher league later and I was off again, firstly to Cambuslang Rangers for a brief spell that was followed by a couple of seasons under Brian Heron at Maryhill.

"That was before Davie Greig persuaded me to go to St Roch's for what proved to be their most successful season in over 50 years."

The Garngad men won promotion to the Central First Division, reached the Emirates Junior Cup last 16 and lost out in the New Coin Cup quarter-finals ... to Ashfield.

The break-up of that team had David enticed away to sign for the Brian Crawford-steered Vics, but within a matter of weeks the boss quit his post and was replaced by the effervescent Greig.

Asking for his abiding memories of the past 13 years brought a wry smile to Gumley's face as he continued.

"I've been part and parcel of great dressing rooms, particularly at Saracen Park where there was rarely a dull moment with characters like McBrearty and Paul McDougall around.

"I remember one November game when Michael turned up wearing a Hugo Boss suit and tie only for McDougall to pilfer the tie and attach it to a rocket, which he proceeded to send skyward from the centre circle while the rest of us fell about laughing.

"They were great days and I'll certainly miss them."

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