Football Reunion Brings Back 50-Year-Old Memories

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Football Reunion Brings Back 50-Year-Old Memories
2024-01-10

It may be almost 50 years since David Henderson graduated from the University of Aberdeen but the passion he expresses for his time at the University has certainly not diminished.

Much of this passion is focused on his time playing both football and cricket for the University. A third football team reunion took place on 18 and 19 August last year at Crieff Hydro with friends and fellow players, spanning the 1968-76 era, taking part in activities and celebrations and sharing special memories.

Here, David tells us more about football at the University, past and present reunions, and the friends with whom he has shared these memories over the years.

“There was a strong sporting setup at the University which included an excellent standard of football. Players including Evan Sutherland, Robin Mitchell, Duncan Glennie, Colin Hutchison, Norman Stuart, Tommy Baxter, Jim Mcdonagh, John Smith, Andy Smith and Willie Donald gained their blues. Many progressed their football careers with Highland and Lowland league clubs.

“We played football, and indeed cricket, at King’s College until 1971 and the adjacent King’s Pavilion ensured healthy crowds and a great atmosphere on Wednesday and Saturday match days.

“One central figure and dear friend was Willie Donald who was awarded full blues for both football and cricket. Willie’s impressive football career was possibly trumped by his outstanding contribution to Scottish cricket as the only person to have represented his country and to have also held the posts of Chief Executive and President thereafter. Willie sadly passed away in November 2022 and sixteen former AUAFC players attended his funeral in Edinburgh. The occasion didn’t pass without us singing “Songs of the Seas” and it was while there that it was suggested that we once again meet up, this time at Crieff Hydro.

“This was our third reunion with earlier events taking place at The Atholl Hotel in Aberdeen in 1988 and at Ballathie House Hotel in Perthshire in 2014. Most attendees now live in Scotland with a few who travelled from England and two others from as far afield as Spain and New Zealand. Once again our wives were there, many of whom were also at the University back in the day.

“We enjoyed a great couple of days involving a range of activities, culminating in a dinner with 49 in attendance. It’s testament to our level of friendship and camaraderie that our gatherings continue to be so well supported.”

David and his friends have now agreed to meet every 3rd Thursday in September annually and this year are planning a pub lunch at Howies Waterloo Place in Edinburgh on 19 September. If you were involved with football at the University between the years of 1968 and 1976 and would like to attend, email alumni@abdn.ac.uk and we’ll put you in touch with David.

Published by Alumni Relations, University of Aberdeen

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