A fond farewell

Neill Wilson
Neill Wilson

FORMER Forfar Athletic chairman Neill Wilson has wished the club all the best as he retires from the board (writes Sarah McLean).

Last week Neill announced his resignation after 16 years as a director of the club and five years as chairman - the post he took up in May 2007.

Although he will no longer be chairman of the club, Neill will still be involved in bringing the artificial pitch to Station Park over the close season.

Of his resignation he said: “I’ve been coming to Station Park for the last 60 years and I’m not going to stop now.

“I’ve left on the very best of terms and I wish the board and the club all the best for the future. I am sure they will manage and they will do just fine without me.

“I’ll still be at all the games and I will still be involved if they need me for anything.”

Neill made history when he became the first chairman in the Loons history to have also played for the club.

He signed for Forfar Athletic back in 1966 from Forfar East End and he stayed there for a couple of seasons. Neill said: “My ambition was always to play for Forfar and I did it for a short time.

“It was the only senior club I ever played for and it was tremendous to do it.

“It was hard going too and I got a lot of stick from the home fans but it was always my ambition as I had always supported them.”

Of handing over the chairmanship to his successor, local businessman Alastair Donald, Neill said: “I’ve ran my race.

“I had major surgery about three years ago and now I’m 66 I’m no longer as fit as I used to be so I thought now is the time to hand over the reins.

“I will be back though and helping on an ad hoc basis.”

Like all clubs, Forfar has seen good times and bad times. Neill remembers the times Forfar have been drawn to play against Rangers as particularly high moments for the club. He said: “Playing Rangers gave us a tremendous financial boost and we even got to play them away from home at Ibrox which gave us a good insight.

“Over my time here there have been various improvements and it was myself who initiated the sportsman’s dinners 17 years ago.”

Of course, being chairman also brought some challenges to both Neill and the club, keeping on top of the money being one of the main issues. Neill said: “Trying to keep on top of the finances and keeping a balance between ambition and reality isn’t easy but you always try and do as much as you can for the supporters.”