Sunday 1st February 2015

TRUE fans always remain starry eyed at being involved officially with ‘their’ team. That is certainly true of retiring DFC secretary David Prophet.

Proph is a Sons man, through and through, of that there is no doubt.

When he came on-board as assistant to then secretary Colin Hosie in 1996, he was a member of the foot soldiers who follow Dumbarton all over the country, and when the call came to become an official, he jumped at the chance.

He said : “It’s every football fan’s dream to play for the club they support.

“For me however, that was never going to happen. I have two left feet and have the ability to trap a pass further than most players can launch a bye-kick.

“So when Colin asked me to help him out, it felt as if I’d signed for the first team!”

The pitch belonged entirely to Proph in 2002 as Mr Hosie had received a higher calling, elevated to board level leaving David flying solo.

“My first game as Secretary was a friendly against Wycombe Wanders on 27th July 2002.

“It was a case of two debuts on the same day.

“David Winnie took charge at the then Strathclyde Homes Stadium as manager when we played Wycombe Wanderers.

“But the real stuff started on Saturday 3rd August 2002 against Stenhousemuir at Ochilview which finished in a 2-2 draw.

“Paddy Flannery rescued a point with a 90th minute equaliser and he proceeded to celebrate with a Klinsman-style dive! Spotting the large support behind the goal, he jumped on top of a couple of Sons fans – followed by half the team!”

A youthful Proph and an even younger Colin Hosie!

His 19-year career has had its fair share of moments that will live long in the memory banks.

None more so than a trip to Elgin when Gerry McCabe was the gaffer.

“Aye, there have been a few funny periods right enough,” said David.

“The incident that still makes me laugh out loud was when wee Gerry (McCabe) put on a DVD on the team bus.

“It was ‘Angels With Dirty Faces’ starring James Cagney.

“Cagney is a hero of Gerry’s.

“We were on a trip to Elgin, and the Cagney DVD was shown much to the bewilderment of the players who had brought their own selection of DVD’s for the bus.

“He made them sit through the whole movie with the threat of watching it again on the way home if we lost the game. Luckily we didn’t!

“The comments that were coming from the back of the bus were priceless!”

Picking out a manager that could be termed as a favourite would be unfair. When Proph started his DFC career Jim Fallon was in charge and throughout his period in office, he has worked with eleven gaffers.

“I never really got any trouble from any of the managers I’ve worked with.

“Sure they all like a moan and a groan, but that’s not unique to football people,” continued David.

“We had one assistant manager, who has to remain nameless, who would take constant notes during games. During a game at Boghead he suddenly stopped writing and looked up toeards the pitch when a voice from the crowd shouted ‘What’s the matter? Can ye no’ spell sh**e!?’”

Whilst he has no preferences, Proph has high regard for Ian Murray.

He said: “Ian has worked wonders for us.

“Not only did he keep us in the first division when relegation looked a certainty and we had been written off, he almost achieved taking us to a Premiership promotion play-off slot last season.

“It’s been difficult this campaign because of the high profile teams in the league, but we are still battling away and I have every confidence that we will still be in the Championship at the end of the season.”

Confident words then from the ever optimistic David.

Braving the cold …

Special recollections like winning the third division title under Jim Chapman in 2009 are high on his list of moments to treasure, but there is one occasion that Proph puts on top of the pile.

“The play-off final against Airdrie United at their place when we won 4-1 to complete a 6-2 aggregate victory and secure a place in the second tier of Scottish football for the first time since the 95/96 season is a particular fond memory.

“Standing on the pitch at the Excelsior watching our fans celebrate was a tear inducing moment and one that I’ll never forget.

“Situations like that are what makes supporting your club worthwhile and at Dumbarton where success is relative compared to clubs with more resources, we have to enjoy and appreciate each one we get.

“As I recall, vaguely, the after-match party at our stadium was great too!”

Having signed many players on the club’s behalf, choosing a favourite was difficult.

“It’s like having to pick out one of your kids against the others,” said Proph.

“If I had to choose then it would be Johnny Graham who remains the best player I’ve seen playing for Dumbarton. A genius.

“Craig Brittain is a real gentleman and was joy to work with during his career at Dumbarton.

“I’ve seen many characters mind you, and again to keep the peace it would be unfair to name him, not least cos’ he knows where I live, but there was one incident when a player stormed into see the gaffer at the time, who I think was Jimmy Brown, demanding to know why he’s been dropped to the reserves.

“The answer was unforgettable. ‘Because we don’t have a third team, now, get oot!’ Priceless.

“We had one player too who loved pizza. On a team night out he ordered a 12” cheese and onion effort. Asked by the waitress whether he wanted his pizza cut up into eighths, he replied, “Nah, I’m not that hungry – just cut it into four.””

“Aye, we have had a lot of players at the club who could potentially owe me money with the stories I’ve yet to tell!”

Away days for officials can be an antidote to the duties that have to be performed when playing at home, and Proph has nominated two clubs that have shown excellent hospitality and friendliness.

He said: “Visits to both Glebe Park and Station Park are always special days.

“I’m not being disrespecting other clubs here as each one has been great, however the lads at Brechin and Forfar show great hospitality and I’ll miss this part of the job.”

So, the end of an era then. Proph’s passion for the game is undiminished and his love affair with Dumbarton FC will continue unabated.

All the very best Proph.

A heartfelt thanks from everyone at the Sons. Happy secretarial retirement.

The club will honour David with a celebratory dinner in the near future where he will become a life member of Dumbarton FC.

Alan Findlay

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