GAME ON: Station Park stalwart Martyn Fotheringham wants to finish career with Forfar Athletic

Pic - Chris Coutts.
Pic - Chris Coutts.

Forfar Athletic’s longest-serving player says there’s no way he’ll play for another club again in his career - so long as he’s wanted.

Martyn Fotheringham is going into his ninth season with the Loons, and while no other player has been with the club that long - Chris Templeman is next with six years played - Fotheringham believes the length of his tenure speaks volumes about the treatment players receive at the club he says is by far the best part-time outfit in the country.

“You’re treated with so much respect here, all you really need to worry about is playing football,” said Martyn. “You’re looked after with the kit and stuff, you’re always fed and watered.

“The board are at every training session, every game, and they’re all approachable.

“Because you get a nucleus of a team that hangs around it does make it much more enjoyable, because you know each other so well. I’ve known Gavin Swankie since I was 11 for example. You’re playing with your mates and it makes it better.

“I would love to stay on for a testimonial year. Obviously it depends if I’m booted out the door or anything but I can’t see me playing for another team in my career.

“If Forfar wanted to keep me there as long as I kept playing I wouldn’t go anywhere else. If you get where you’re happy there’s no point leaving.

“The grass isn’t greener, I’ve seen the other side of part-time football and this is by far the best part-time club in Scotland.

Foxy joined the Loons in 2007 and the side finished bottom of the Third Division that year.

Fast forward to last May and Forfar were minutes away from promotion to the Championship.

The fans’ favourite praised manager Dick Campbell and chairman Alastair Donald for their part in turning the clubs’ fortunes around so significantly in a relatively short space of time.

“A lot of the good atmosphere is down to the manager,” he continued. “There were a few boys there when Dick signed that weren’t really good guys to have around, and he wasn’t long in shifting them along.

“In my first season we finished bottom of the Third Division, so when you look at it when we just missed out on going up to the Championship last season, that’s a pretty big difference in eight years.

“The chairman has made it a much better place. He’s been very proactive since he came in. When he was thinking about giving it up at the end of the season, a lot of boys took him aside and told him how much we wanted him to stay and I think that meant a lot to him. He’s the most approachable chairman I’ve ever known. That kind of thing is what makes you so comfortable at Forfar.”

The Loons chairman is thrilled to hear of his club’s reputation, but added there’s no concerted effort on the part of the staff to conduct themselves in certain way, because it just comes naturally to them.

Donald said: “It’s not a proactive attempt, it’s just what we do as a club. It’s not a false, contrived thing we do to look good or get players to come to us. It’s just a natural thing for the staff.

“It’s really rewarding when you hear players speak so well of the club.”

Both Donald and Fotheringham admitted that a repeat of last year’s sensational campaign will be a big ask.

Fotheringham said: “It’ll be difficult to repeat last season. We’ve lost a few good players and we haven’t brought in like-for-like replacements, though we have brought in good players.

“We’ve got good enough players, it’s just dealing with the pressure of maybe being one of the league favourites after last year. We’re a younger squad this year but the ability is definitely there.”

The chairman added: “The hardest thing this season is managing expectation levels. I heard from a supporter recently that anything other than top three is unacceptable. We were in the bottom tier seven years ago, now anything other than top three is perceived as unacceptable.

“My priority is still to get to Christmas and be able to say we’re only a few wins away from safety.”