David Dickson, TACC Ambassador and author of “We’ll Always Have Paris – The Fans Stories” came up with an epic idea to raise money for TACC. After a lot of miles and even more leg work David finally reached his goal (pun intended), here’s his story in his own words:
“”The idea of having every player (plus the manager, I’m too superstitious to have 13 signatures on it)who played in our win over France in 2007 sign a shirt to be sold for the Tartan Army Children’s Charity first came to me whilst I was compiling the stories for “We’ll Always Have Paris”and so after picking up one of the shirts from eBay I decided to start formulating a plan for how it could be done.
The first signatures I obtained were that of Stephen McManus and James McFadden. I waited outside Tynecastle to catch them as they went in to play Hearts in January. This started the collecting off at an excellent 15mps (miles per signature).
Then I began pestering club representatives from the teams down South which had some of the players on their books. David Lloyd, the fan liaison officer from Bristol City, was the first to get back to me and so the shirt was packaged up and sent to him for Stephen Pearson to sign it (264mps). This was quickly followed up with a reply from Tony Collier, the finance co-ordinator at Fleetwood town, who took it upon himself to have Graham Alexander sign the shirt for me. This brought my average up to 297mps.
It was then Anne-Marie Bannon of the Scotland Supporter’s Club turn to help me out. I met her in Warsaw before Scotland’s friendly victory in March to hand over the shirts to be signed by the three members of the squad who played in the Parc Des Princes: Alan Hutton, Scott Brown and Darren Fletcher. This jumped my miles per signature up to 342.
I followed this up almost immediately with a trip to Almondvale to catch Paul Hartley as he led his Dundee side into the stadium. My son must have been wondering how many other football stadia in Scotland I would be taking him a tour of seeing he had also kept me company outside Tynecastle. The short trip for this signature brought me back down to 306mps.
At this point I had eight of the 14 signatures I was looking for and, it could be said, I start dicing with the possibility of restraining orders against me. I managed to get in touch with Craig Gordon’s parents whilst compiling “We’ll Always Have Paris”and luckily for me they were willing to help me out again by getting Craig to sign the shirt for me (277mps) and Garry O’Connor’s mum is a former work of my wife and was more than happy to have him sign (249mps).
After managing to get in touch with David Weir through a business partner of his, the shirts were posted off to Brentford where he currently coaching. After a good run of short journeys to amass signatures this bumped me up to 302mps.
Then came an abortive trip to Easter Road to try and obtain the signature of Lee McCulloch. After hanging about outside the entrance to the stadium for about half an hour (my son was spared this trip), the team bus arrived and duly parked in a secured parking area to which the fans couldn’t gain access. This meant I had to resort to plan B, my wife’s cousin is friends with a Rangers player and I passed the shirt onto him to have McCulloch sign them at the Rangers training complex. Including the trip to Easter Road this dragged my average back to 288mps.
Once again, the contacts developed during the compiling of “We’ll Always Have Paris”came to my aid when it came to contacting Alex McLeish who was kind enough to write the foreword for us. The shirts were sent off for him to sign and with penultimate signature now collected the miles per signature stood at 316.
The good news was I only had one signature left to collect, that of the man who captained us to that famous victory, Barry Ferguson. The bad news however was that the off season was fast approaching and he was wrapped up in a relegation battle as player/manager at Blackpool. The season was over by the time they club replied to my request and they were unsure whether he would be returning so sending them the shirts wasn’t really an option. However I was happy then see he took up the position of player/manager at Clyde so another afternoon of waiting outside a stadium was an option (“Booooooo!”said my son).
But I got lucky when Gary Ballantyne, the Commercial Director at Clyde, took my phone call and offered to have me through to meet Barry before their home match against Berwick Rangers and then sit and enjoy the match in the directors area (with Dougie Donnelly as well). Not only did I get the final signature on the shirts but I also got to enjoy a barnstormer of a match which finished as a 3-3 draw.
And the final miles per signature? 301mps, but worth every one!””
A huge well done to David from TACC in achieving this. We’re sure you’ll agree it’s not an easy task and we think this is just fantastic. It’s through our supporters and folks like David doing extraordinary things that enables us to carry on helping disadvantaged children.
So after the top's epic journey to get all the signatures, what's next? Stay tuned for incoming news regarding the auction for the shirt and how you could get your hands on it.
David's book, with proceeds going towards TACC, is still available from the TACC Shop, it's brilliant and would make a great Christmas present. "We'll Always Have Paris"