Thursday 4th August 2016

TOMMY HUGHES has now reached the stage where no Dumbarton away game would be complete without a clipboard.

And a sheet of supporters’ names. And money, and a football card.

After running the best part of 200 Sons Supporters Trust buses to away fixtures since 2007, it has now become a habit.

Lifelong Sons fan Tommy first started running buses with a trip to Elgin in season 2006/07, and since then has organised the transport to some momentous matches.

These include two promotion successes, cup ties at SPFL Premiership grounds, and numerous key clashes at both ends of the league table.

The Balloch man said: “Running the buses has been a challenge, but as a home and away fan of many years, it’s a pleasure to help as many supporters as possible get to games.

“There have been very few away fixtures since 2007 when we haven’t run transport. I would say that you could probably count those games on one hand, certainly no more than two.

“Over the past two seasons we have not run buses to Ibrox, as we found that with the ground being so close to home, people preferred to stay in Glasgow and make a day of it.

“But with Rangers now in the Premiership, the intention is to run a bus to every away match this season.

“That, though, is dependent on how many fans want to travel. We keep saying it, but it’s true – use it or lose it.

“Last season we had to cancel a bus to Dumfries, which although disappointing, was the only decision possible.

“As long as there is interest we will continue to plan buses, but they will only run if there is ENOUGH interest.”

Although Tommy has run all those buses to away games over the years, he is in no doubt about which one stands out as the best.

He added: “Annan in 2009. No contest.

“We ran six full buses that day, one of which was put out of action before we travelled home due to a burst airbag.

“That and the number of travellers probably added the most grey hairs to my head. But it was an occasion no Sons fan would want to miss and the post-match celebrations meant it was all worth it.

“Airdrie in 2012 was special as well, but with only a one-goal advantage from the first leg, there was still a small amount of uncertainty beforehand. Annan was a day-long celebration.

“I have favourite grounds at all levels of Scottish football, some of which we haven’t been to for many years. But for now, all away fans are enjoying the chance to see their team at places like Tannadice and Easter Road.

“Who’d have thought we’d be going those sort of places when the buses started running?

“Let’s hope that, depending on the continued participation of the fans, the buses can continue going for many years yet.”

Join the debate @dumbartonfc and #sons24

Andy Galloway

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