Chairman's delight as Fraserburgh celebrate first Highland League title in 20 years

In front of over 1700 spectators, Fraserburgh clinched the Breedon Highland League with a 5-0 home victory over Forres Mechanics at a bouncing Bellslea Park on Saturday.

By Craig Goldthorp
Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 3:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 3:23 pm
Ecstatic Fraserburgh players celebrate their Breedon Highland League title triumph (Pics by Barry Walker)

The Broch’s first title win in 20 years – their previous trumphs came in 1933, 1938 and 2002 – saw kick-off delayed by 15 minutes to let the bumper crowd in and the home supporters were to be treated to a performance befitting of champions.

After a tense opening the hosts took a 1-0 first half advantage thanks to Paul Campbell’s penalty, before second half goals by Paul Young, Grant Campbell, Sean Butcher and Willie West secured glory for Mark Cowie’s side.

Delighted Fraserburgh chairman Finlay Noble, who has held this role for 14 years, told The Fraserburgh Herald: "I’m absolutely the proudest man on the planet just now.

Fraserburgh ace Scott Barbour receives Highland League trophy

"But it’s not just me it’s a collective effort, the board of directors, management, committee and players.

"There is one big team from top to bottom at the club and that’s the way we like it to be. And we’re all very proud to be in this position.

“The stadium was almost at full capacity so it was a good occasion to lift the league table.

"The first half was quite tight, albeit Forres Mechanics had the wind advantage.

What a special day it was on Saturday

"But we went in at half-time with a 1-0 lead so it was sort of comfortable in the second half with the wind at our backs.

"Once we scored the second goal I think the players looked a bit better, got to grips with the conditions and from that point onwards it was quite comfortable.

"The nerves and stress levels came down a bit and it was a nice way to end the game.

"We were well aware of the fact that we were going to be champions before the end of the game so it wasn’t a nail-biter.”

There were joyous smiles all around

Under the astute leadership of gaffer Cowie and his backroom staff, Fraserburgh have won 30, drawn two and lost two of their 34 league games to end on 92 points.

This was enough to win the title by three points from second placed Buckie Thistle who pushed them all the way.

Noble added: “The management and the players have done superbly. We have played well, the games have been managed well.

"Obviously there were one or two small blips along the way. But if you play 34 games and you win 30 it suggests that something is going right.

Stadium was packed to see championship being won

"The manager is very attacking minded. He tends to go for things as opposed to sitting back.

"Each game is different and comes with the same pressures. Unfortunately the last two or three months have been very windy.

"You could say it’s always windy in Fraserburgh but it’s been more windy and that’s kind of spoiled some of the games.

"That’s been a different path for players to cope with but they’ve handled it well enough. The football we play is normally quite easy on the eye.”

Speaking to the club’s Facebook page, boss Cowie said that for his side to only have two draws and two defeats this season was “immense”.

He added: “I have to congratulate Buckie. In any other season it probably would have been done a couple of weeks ago with the way we were going.

"But they have pushed us all the way to take it to the last game. They have had an incredible run.

"I think if you look at the table, the stats between the two of us – even the goal differences – are pretty close.

"It shows you how good we have been but also how good they have been.

"When I got this job seven years ago I said to the guys: ‘We will win the league’ and I firmly believed it because I had a nucleus of guys that were capable and then we’ve added good quality.

"We’ve had a couple of knocks this season but how we’ve reacted has been unbelievable.”