THE BIGGEST BLACK COUNTRY TEAM IN GLASGOW.
Introducing the Tally Vic’s (November 2013)
We’re delighted to have been asked to do a regular piece for @awaycolours and we’re look forward to sharing the crack cocaine highs and the horse tranquilizer lows of life with a grassroots team on the wind and rain swept parks of the West of Scotland.
Formed in 2009, we started out as a bunch of mates who wanted to play competitive football in a well organised league having played supporters’ football for a Queen’s Park FC team. None of us were Spiders fans but we had some good times on away days and enjoyed the camaraderie of being part of a club. Our own wee club was born in The Sports Cafe, Sauchiehall Street on the 31st of January 2009 when we got together and decided who to get involved and what kind of team we wanted to have. We applied to join the Strathclyde Saturday Morning League – an amateur league with an excellent reputation – and were invited to play friendlies against existing member clubs to let us see how we got on and let the league see what kind of team we were.
Playing friendlies meant we needed a name. We were told we could use anything for the moment and change it if we chose to prior to being accepted into Division 2 of the set up. I had 15 minutes to come up with something. At the time we were training in Queen’s Park in the Shawlands/Govanhill area of Glasgow. I think I’d been playing lower league management on Champ Manager at the time and Northwich Victoria was rattling about in my head. So I took Tantallon Road in Shawlands and Victoria Road in Govanhill and put the two together to make Tantallon Victoria. One of our original players, Darren O’Neill, coined the nickname “The Tally Vic” and it stuck with most people calling us that or “Tally Vics” or more recently “The Tally”.
We played our first game against Blairdardie United (now sadly folded) in March of the same year. Our first friendly ended in a 2-1 defeat and we think our current assistant manager Mark Thompson played and scored against us in this game. We played a few more friendlies and embarked on our first season in the August.
We were just another team in the public parks of Glasgow until we discovered Twitter. One of the boys started a feed and at the time I couldn’t see who would be interested in bunch of guys playing in a public park. The player left shortly after and the idea was forgotten until around Christmas time of 2010. I started another feed after mucking about with Twitter myself and we began making links with teams and people all over the UK and beyond.
The most important of these links was with a club in The Black Country – Gornal Athletic – specifically with Dave Brook now of Castlecroft Rangers and Mat Danks now of Tipton Town @tiptontownfc. These two guys not only showed us what was possible for a grassroots football club to do with social media but also triggered off relationships that pretty much changed the course of my life.
Through these guys we met many, many people in the West Midlands most of whom are West Bromwich Albion supporters. Over time, we adopted their humour and a bit of their culture and little by little it became a fabric of our club, even getting to the level that some of our players, who have never been to The Black Country, use some of the local dialect. Things like “Scowering on your dayboo” a la @StevieBull (TWITTER LEGEND) have become club in jokes and traditions. In Scotland we’re probably known as “that club of nutters that supports West Brom”. In truth it’s really only me that’s the 100% Albion fan although our longest serving player and my best friend, Mo Morrison, has caught the Baggies bug now and it’s starting to look like a terminal case. Sorry Mo.
Over the last eight months thanks to dear friends of ours and mine, and me trying to sell them our record goalscorer, Richie McQuade on Twitter (for a fair price I think), The Albion themselves have become aware of our existence and we’ve twice been welcomed to The Hawthorns over the tannoy when I’ve been there for matches. People in Scotland have been hugely impressed with Albion for this – just like us West Brom started out as a group of guys buying some strips and finding somewhere to play – and they’ve treated us with respect and fondness. There are hundreds of Albion fans who follow and support us on Twitter and we pay tribute to them and the club with our away kit – green and yellow stripes – green shorts – yellow socks – the same as the iconic Baggies kit of the late 70’s. It was of course highly amusing that by chance they picked something that looks like our home kit as their away colours this season – red and black stripes.
As soon as our game finishes this weekend four of us will be travelling to watch West Brom at Newcastle proudly wearing our colours. We can’t say enough good things about the club, the WBA fans and the people who work there and we hope that our feed and links to them bring them new support from north of the border. I have a stupid dream that one day we might play at The Hawthorns. Maybe a dream too far!
Our manager Jan Lewicki is leading a revolution at the club just now and we’ve gone from being a team that was well liked but rubbish at football, to fighting in the top half of the table and reaching our first ever semi final. We are just a group of friends playing the game cos we love it and trying to be the best team we possibly can. Our players pay to play and we play in local parks and on school pitches all across the West of Scotland. Sometimes I think people outside of Scotland don’t realise how small we are – nothing more than two kit bags – some balls and cones.
We’re looking forward to showing you what life is like for grassroots footballers of which there are thousands more than professionals. The boys who play for us and teams like us have the same passion and dreams as the guys earning millions and to me are real football heroes who play for clubs they love through thick and thin. We don’t take ourselves seriously, in fact we’re the butt of all our jokes, and we respect everyone who works hard to keep their clubs alive like we do.
This Saturday we play Petershall Villa in the league in the first ever #GlasgowMidlandsDerby – we’ll be representing The Black Country – as we are proud to do so every week.