COURT OF KING KENNY; Record special on the kids who chased fame with a Scottish superstar.
Kenny Dalglish poses with Possil YM's squad in 1963 - on the threshold of a glittering playing and managerial career.
King Kenny (circled) is a Scotland, Celtic and Liverpool legend - but what of the team-mates he left behind.
The line-up includes former Arsenal player Eddie Kelly, Hibs and Rangers star John `Dinghy' Hamilton and Kenny's best man Jim `Paddy' Donald, who played for Queen of the South.
The nostalgic snap also shows former St Johnstone keeper Derek Robertson, who last year admitted taking bribes to throw a game.
A few others became pros, most gave up on the dream - but every one of them remembers the fair- haired teenager whose drive and ambition set him apart from the rest.
Schoolboy pal Abie Monaghan went to Hibs at the time Kenny signed for Celtic.
But the dad-of-three admits he lacked Kenny's determination - and he gave up at 19 to become a steel erector.
Abie, of Possilpark, Glasgow, joked: "Kenny would have jumped on top of his granny to score a goal.
"If we were beating a team 10-0, he'd want to make it 20.
"That's why he got where he is today and I didn't - I played to enjoy myself without worrying to much about the score."
Painter and decorator John Murdoch of Drumchapel minded Dalglish on the park.
He revealed: "Kenny was a great player, but he was a bit soft really.
"If anyone touched him, he'd run up to me and ask me to go and sort it out.
"I'd have to go and tackle a couple of them for him.
"I never made it, but I'm not going to greet about it - I'm quite happy just to play golf these days."
Council worker Gordon Speirs, of Balornock, Glasgow tried out for Arsenal's youth team with Kenny.
Gordon - who quit the junior ranks at 22 - said: "Arsenal thought Kenny was no good because he was too small.
"He was really blonde with rosy cheeks and didn't like hard tackles.
"He was only 13 then. They ended up telling him to come back in a few years
Robbie McMahon, from Wormit, Fife, spent a season with St Rochs Juniors - but he quit at 21 when he realised he'd never play for Celtic.
He now works on the rigs and said: "I wanted to play for Celtic - no- one else.
"I waited long enough for them and then I decided they weren't coming.
"But I was never surprised Kenny made it. He was daft about the game and always had a football under his arm."
Jim Erroll of Cumbernauld played for Possil YM with his twin brother George.
Jim - who quit the game at 21 and now supplies the building trade - said: "I realised I wouldn't play professionally.
"But I'm very happy with the way things have worked out.
"Kenny was a home loving lad who didn't have any bad habits at all.
"But he was brilliant and it was obvious he was going to make it."
John Pullar of Bishopbriggs played for Ayr United and Hibs before hanging up his boots at 28.
He recalled: "I was a year older than Kenny so I played in the A team and he was in the B team.
"But I tell everyone it was because I was better than him!"
Eugene McDonald's 47 and a former pro with Albion Rovers and Bury.
But the Glaswegian now gets by on a disability allowance after arthritis forced him to stop working 10 years ago.
He said: "Sometimes I do think about how things could have been - but I'm delighted for Kenny.
"The last time I saw him was when he visited Possil YM last year.
"He was always a nice, friendly guy with time for everybody and it was great to see that he hadn't changed a bit."
Jerry O'Brien of Duntocher played for Hibs until arthritis forced him to give up at 32.
His career took in Clydebank, Southampton, Swindon Town, Bristol Rovers and Hibs.
He's spent the last 15 years working as a brickie, and he said: "I had a good life, although the money wasn't there that there is these days.
"I met up with Kenny during the course of my career and he was always just the same.
"Possil produced a lot of good footballers, but Kenny was undoubtedly the best."
Ian McCreath of Haggs played junior and now works as a taxi driver.
He said: "Kenny's dad used to drive us to football practice in his works van.
"Kenny never had a bad word to say about anybody and I think he's still like that."
Dougie Eadie's playing career took him to England, America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia
The 47-year-old - who had a spell at Celtic - is now an actor, with upcoming roles in Taggart and High Road.
He said: "Kenny and I went down to West Ham together, but he didn't want to sign and came back and went to Celtic instead.
"Neither of us drank, so I think we spent the five nights going to the pictures!
"I had a great time playing in England and abroad and now I'm acting - it's amazing the things you do for a coin."
Jim McGill left Glasgow at 18 and played for Arsenal, Huddersfield, Hull and Halifax.
Now a welder, he said: "Some of us were lucky and got the breaks.
"But there were a lot of people who were good players and never got picked up.
"It's amazing the amount of players that club has produced down the years.
"But Kenny Dalglish is the name that people will never forget."
Big star who said he was a joiner
Michael Haney revealed that down-to-earth Kenny was embarrassed to admit he'd made it big with Celtic.
Michael - who missed the Possil pic because of flu - said: "He was a modest guy and didn't like to say he played for Celtic.
"We used to go to the dancing together and he told everyone he was a joiner.
"Kenny's dad Bill was desperate for him to play for Rangers.
"They were very keen on him and he was expected to sign for them at any time - three days later Jock Stein saw him play and Celtic snapped him up.
"He told me years later if he had gone to Rangers he would have gone down the pan."
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|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Nov 29, 1996|
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