Worst XI: Alloa Athletic

November 28, 2013

Sticking with the Fife-to-central round trip – examining the Raith Rovers’ regrets in our last edition – we cross the Clackmannanshire Bridge to find the worst from Alloa. On this occasion we’re thankful for Alloa 1878 Supporters Club leader Brian Roach for recalling the worst select XI of players from his time following the Wasps.

Goalkeeper – Gary McGlynn

Had a disastrous spell at the club in season 05/06. It was a time when Alloa were so vulnerable in the goalkeeping position that manager Tom Hendrie would chop and change his goalkeepers on a weekly basis – as the team experienced defeat after defeat. In his final nine games at the club, McGlynn conceded 35 goals. His “crowning moment” at the club was careering out of his area to foul a Raith Rovers attacker in a blatant, yet amusing, straight red card. In his final game he was subbed off at half-time having dished out abuse and gestures to the Alloa support and was never seen again.


Right Back – Billy Gibson

Joined the club from Division One side Ayr United in 2010 with a decent pedigree. In fact during that pre season we had heard Gibson would only sign with Alloa if he couldn’t pick up a full time contract with a bigger club. Although not exactly assisted by others around him, all too often he was a total daydreamer in defence as Alloa lurched towards relegation, having started the season as one of the favourites for the Second Division championship. Admittedly he came onto a bit of game at the tail end of the season but it was too little, too late by that point. He was actually mystifyingly bad at times, and such a disappointing signing.


Centre Back – Stuart Malcolm

Signed for Alloa in 2006, and appearance-wise looked a decent addition – a physically imposing centre half. However, it was quickly apparent he was a bit of a slow carthorse. In what must rank as some kind of club record, he was red carded three times in four months – two of which were when he was hideously caught out for pace, and one of which occurred against rivals Stirling Albion after only three minutes (Alloa lost 5-0). He was quickly farmed out to Montrose at the turn of the year after enough was enough. To be fair to the big man, he became something of an asset at Arbroath later in his career, and looked to have cut out the mistakes. Ironically, he even netted against Alloa last season.


Centre Back – Sandy Hodge

Despite discarding Malcolm in January 2007, it appears some missed his attributes as we signed a carbon copy of him for the following campaign. Hodge was given the unfortunate nickname of Sandra by some of the fans – clumsy and cumbersome, he made up the numbers and not much else. Apparently played for Hamilton and Partick Thistle earlier in his career too. After inevitably being released, he joined Cowdenbeath for a brief spell and that was it with regards to his senior career.


Left Back – Marc McCafferty

I feel quite bad about this one, because he was a young player and seemed a lovely fella off the park. Marc came through the youth ranks at Alloa and had a couple of matches at the end of 08/09, looking like a fairly decent prospect, but probably not ready to be the clubs first choice left back in the following season’s promotion push. It was painful to watch as opponents pinpointed him as the obvious weak link, and despite centre half Scott Walker’s best efforts to cover him, his confidence was completely shot to bits. The culmination of which was in the play-off semi final against Cowdenbeath, when he attempted to clear the ball, booted it directly upwards instead of forwards, and completely missed the header as it dropped back down. Felt sorry for him, and he should have been either introduced more gradually into the first team, or taken out for his own good when it was glaringly apparent he needed a spell on the sidelines.


Midfield – Don Sullivan

One from yesteryear, only included because of a fun story. The ex-Celtic and Killie man played as a trialist for the club in 1985, and after the game he was chatting to some Alloa supporters about his performance – he said to them “you think that was good, wait till I get fit”. Well 28 years later, those Alloa fans are still waiting for Dom to get fit. Had a completely uninspiring season as player-manager at the club in 86/87


Midfield – Nathan Taggart

As things were nosediving spectacularly in 2010/11, the manager decided to delve into the January transfer window in an attempt to salvage our season. Winger Nathan Taggart was signed from rivals Stirling to try and give the team some width and creativity. Alas, young Nathan found himself unavailable on a lot of Saturdays. Not because of injury, and certainly not because he couldn’t force his way into the side, but because he was generally having to work shifts on matchdays. Made rare appearances from the bench when his boss granted his annual leave requests, did nothing of note, and Alloa were relegated. A shambles of a signing.


Midfield – Scott Crabbe

Scott Crabbe was signed as an experienced head (and no doubt paid pretty handsomely) to help Alloa consolidate in Division One for season 02/03. Other than a good double in one game against Cowdenbeath, the ex Dundee United, Hearts and Falkirk man was a massive disappointment and left the club the following season. A couple of seasons later Crabbe was at Raith Rovers as Alloa faced them in a game at Starks. At an early Raith corner with the Alloa support behind the goals, Crabbe trotted up smiling away and seemed quite perplexed and bewildered by the torrents of abuse he received – I think he was expecting a hero’s welcome.


Forward – Chris Mackie

The target man arrived at the club on the back of a good reputation in the juniors where he scored lots of goals, but after a few games we were left convinced that there were no goalkeepers in junior football (perhaps they use the “any man save” rule). Missed so many one on ones you eventually just accepted the inevitable when he was through on goal. After being dropped following one bad performance too many, he fell out with the manager after deciding he was too good to be on the bench. Back to the juniors in no time at all, where he seems to still do fairly well.


Forward – Adam Coaxley

Tried his heart out, but just didn’t have it – a non scoring striker from 07/08. Manager Allan Maitland tried to talk up Adams merits by saying he would bring others into play by positioning himself high up the pitch. To most, he looked completely out of his depth, and struggled to make any kind of impact in a lot of games. He did score from a long range shot in a play-off semi final against Clyde, but in reality it was a trundler from which the Clyde goalkeeper hideously misjudged. Last seen at Clyde a few years back.


Forward – Michael Hazeldine

Alloa looked to have pulled off a coup and a half when they signed young Michael Hazeldine in 2006. He had been a substitute on numerous occasions for Premiership side Wigan! He had come to Scotland to continue his studies as a doctor, and as a seeker of further education he was forced to look for part time football. Alloa stepped in to sign him up. It sounded like a masterstroke – images of prolific Kenny Deuchar like numbers were conjured up in the minds of Alloa supporters. With his longish tousled blonde hair, he looked the part as well. In his home debut at The Recs, he came on, and as he received a quick first touch, promptly fell over. Then fell over again. And again. Disappeared as quickly as he arrived, joining Edinburgh’s University team. And because we had a recurring match programme cover that season, we had to look at his face until the following May, and remember how bad he was.


Manager – Pat MacAulay

Oversaw one of the worst seasons in Alloas history in 1995/96, where Alloa avoided becoming the worst team in Scotland on goal difference. Even the ‘Shire finished a good bit above us that season, that’s how bad Alloa were!


If you’d like to hear more from Brian, be sure to follow him on twitter.

If you’ve enjoyed the blogs then make sure to listen to the podcast. The latest episode was entitled I Wanna Be Morton Manager With Flowers In My Hair