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Lanark United's Tam Anderson - Big Shoes To Fill

Tam Anderson

Tam Anderson- Big Shoes To Fill by George Reid, President of Lanark United Football Club

Tam passed away on the same day as Sean Connery and Nobby Stiles, and we all know that Tam didn’t look out of place and would have held his own on any level against such illustrious company. Tam devoted 43 years of his life to running Lanark United, 42 years as match secretary. In that incredible time he signed over 1000 players for the Yowes and boy did we all on the committee get some laughs. On Monday nights regular committee meetings were held in the Moor Park Pavilion. The boys would be out the house for hours and the meetings would take 20 minutes. The rest of the time was spent ranting and raving over bad performances, waxing lyrical about magical cup wins or telling jokes and reminiscing about things that happened in the past. Meaning a 20 minute meeting became an hour and a half every night.

One such meeting involved Tam reporting to the committee that to get a player, Martin Brown, to sign he had to go to Coatbridge on the Friday afternoon to the boys work to sign him. It was worth it because on the Saturday Martin Brown had scored a hat-trick against Glencairn and I don’t think many of the 1000’s of players managed that. “Where does Bruno work Tam” came a voice from the Committee. “He’s a lifeguard in the time capsule” Tam replied to which came back the comment “was there any truth in the rumour you had to put your trunks on and go into the water with the form to get him to sign”

Laughs like this were common place. Tam would tell stories of his life and I for one always listened intently. Little did he or I know some of it would finish up in an obituary tribute to him penned by me.

Tam started work in the pit after leaving school but was lucky enough to get accepted by the Police Force. Tam was a bobby on the beat stationed in Carmyle in the East End of Glasgow. If anybody needed directions to go to a match V Vale of Clyde, Cambuslang, Shettleston,, St Rochs etc. Tam could tell them because he used to cycle these streets and “that’s me beat” he would say.

Tams police career took him to Carnwath. Lanark United’s committee have lived through the Carstairs breakout that Tam relayed to us often. In November 1976 Tam was first on the scene to find the murdered body of his friend and colleague PC George Taylor. George was brutally murdered in the Carstairs State Hospital break out by Robert Mone and Thomas McCulloch.

If you had signed 1000 players it’s fair to say you have seen a few managers come and go, but I will tell you this, Tam supported every manager and agonised like we all did. If changes were to be made, one manager who will remain nameless, after being fired by the club went public in the Gazette saying that the Lanark committee should hand their heads in shame as nobody had the bottle to tell me to my face that I was sacked. To which Tam replied, “I spent 30 years in the Polis, I’m pretty sure I have the bottle”

Tam sacked his great pal Peter Miller as manager and everyone knew he would do it because if it was best for the club, Tam always did it.

On a personal level, it was character building working with Tam, Duncan Elder and Gerry Cowan. They all knew what to do, they provided wise council but boy it could get heated. I like to think I have learned from the best but I have some shoes to fill in that committee room now.

Tams funeral is on Tuesday 10th November at Holytown Crematorium at 11.30. Attendance to the crematorium will be by invitation only due to the current covid-19 restrictions. Therefore the family have agreed that the hearse will leave tams home in Wellwood Avenue at 10.30 and go via Moor Park to let people pay their respects to Mr Lanark, Tam Anderson.

BIG shoes to fill - George Reid, President, Lanark United Football Club.