COVE’S JACK AND VICTOR ARE STILL GAME FOR IMPORTANT ROLES AT BALMORAL STADIUM
GOLDEN OLDIES: Former policemen Bill Ogilvie, left, and John Morgan are now in charge of safety and security at Balmoral Stadium.
JOHN Morgan and Bill Ogilvie are two of the army of unsung heroes who work behind the scenes to ensure fans who come to Balmoral Stadium can watch games in safety and comfort.
Both retired police detectives - John is the safety officer and Bill his deputy, as well as the club’s security officer.
“We are more Jack and Victor than The Sweeney now but still really enjoy what we do,” said Bill, the younger of the pair at 61, to John’s 75.
“John and I obviously got to know each other well in our previous lives.
“It’s great that we now work and socialise together, even though I feel like more of a carer than a colleague at times.
“But he does not too bad a job for such an old fella!”
Cove’s dynamic duo are in charge of all security and safety matters connected to the club.
On match days, they supervise the eight stewards who will be situated around the stadium with Bill, who does a briefing with those staff prior to kick off, usually in charge of security around the area of the tunnel in the Alan McRae Stand.
“Everything we do is aimed at ensuring everyone who comes to the stadium can enjoy their day out without any hassle,” said Bill.
There are also times when it’s more than just the spectators who have been grateful to have the club’s safety staff on hand.
During the recent home clash with Cowdenbeath visiting striker David Cox was sent-off for allegedly striking a spectator who was at the front of the small stands opposite the main one at Balmoral Stadium.
But a quick check with the stewards, who spoke to the fans in the vicinity of the incident, confirmed Cox had done nothing more than kick one of the advertising boards in frustration.
Bill said: “We were able to pass that information on to the match officials because it’s important everyone who comes here is treated fairly.
“Cox had the red card overturned on appeal and I like to think our staff played a part in that.”
Cove were particularly delighted to get John on board ahead of actually moving into Balmoral Stadium before the start of last season.
He came with a wealth of experience, having spent the previous 21 years, after retiring from the police force, as the operations manager for Aberdeen FC.
John was the ideal man to turn to for advice about what was needed at Balmoral in terms of security and spectator safety.
“I was happy to help because I’ve always described myself as a Cove supporter,” said John.
“My work at Pittodrie restricted the amount of games I could get too, but I was there when the old social club at Allan Park opened and became chairman of that.
“I’ve also stayed in Cove for the last 38 years so it was easy for me to pop along when they had games that didn’t clash with Aberdeen ones.
“It was always my intention to go more regularly to see Cove once I stepped down from my role at Pittodrie.
“I was delighted when Cove chairman Keith Moorhouse asked me to become more involved than that, I’ve never been one to sit about and just do nothing.
“Bill agreed to come on board too which was great because he’s more handy than I am when it comes to using computers!
“The first task was to ensure the new stadium met all the requirements to get a safety certificate.
“Since then, we have as good as followed the procedures that were in place at Aberdeen.
“If you are doing a job you are as well doing it right from the off.”
The fact John is also honorary vice-president of the Football Safety Officer’s Association, having previously served as secretary and chairman, meant Cove were always going to be expected to match up to high standards.
“I have been involved since the Association was formed in 1977 and it’s something I’m very passionate about,” said John.
“Aberdeen had to follow the regulations covering Premiership clubs and I feel it’s important we try to adhere to the same ones with Cove.
“I would like to think Cove will be playing at even higher levels in the years ahead and what we are doing now will ensure we are ready for that.”
THE jobs John Morgan and Bill Ogilvie do for Cove Rangers are clearly serious stuff.
But there were a few amusing incidents during John’s 21 years working at Pittodrie.
One that caught the headlines was when Aberdeen sacked manager Steve ‘Pele’ Paterson - and he demanded to be driven out of Pittodrie in the boot of a car.
“That was probably the most unusual request I had to deal with,” said John.
“Pele said he didn’t want his children to see newspaper pictures of him walking out the stadium that day.
“Peter Simpson, my colleague at the time, put him in the boot of his car and I drove Pele’s one down to the car park at a supermarket near Aberdeen Beach.
“There was a youngster doing wheelies on his bike nearby.
“When the boot popped open and Pele jumped out the poor lad fell off his bike!”
There is also the story about John being so efficient he once caught two lads climbing over the perimeter wall at Pittodrie.
After grabbing them John said: “Now, now, get back inside there and watch the second half like the rest of us!”
John added: “There was also a time when the Dons were in Egypt and fans of the local team we beat were trying to break into the dressing rooms to get at their manager and players.
“They were armed with guns and all sorts of other weapons so we got out of there pretty quickly!”