‘HOUSE’ THAT FOR MAKING A LASTING IMPRESSION AS GOTHENBURG GREAT DOUG LOOKS BACK ON HIS TIME AT COVE
ABERDEEN Legend Doug Rougvie admits he finds it amusing his time as Cove Rangers manager was marked by having one of the apartments built on the site of our former home named after him.
Scotland international Doug, who also played for Chelsea, Dunfermline and Montrose, succeeded Dave Cormie as boss in November 1997.
His reign lasted a little short of a year, so the now 63-year-old confessed he was more than a little surprised when he was chosen as one of the five with Cove Rangers connections who had one of the 48 homes erected where Allan Park once stood named in their honour.
“I never even got a cut of the proceeds from the sale of the flat,” joked Doug, who made his first visit to Balmoral Stadium to watch our recent 2-0 victory over Annan Athletic in Ladbrokes League Two.
“I had a raincoat named after me at Pittodrie - although I don’t know how many Rougvie Raincoats were ever sold.
“I suppose a flat is better than a raincoat, so I’m not complaining.
“I’m grateful that someone felt there was a need to acknowledge my spell at Cove in that way.
“Even though it was brief, I have a lot of fond memories of my time working at Allan Park.”
Just for the record, the other four who had properties named after them are chairman Keith Moorhouse, vice-chairman Graeme Reid, Director of Football John Sheran, honorary club president Alan McRae and long serving secretary Duncan Little.
Doug is one of a trio from the Pittodrie club’s Gothenburg Greats - the name given to the Dons team that beat Real Madrid 2-1 in the 1983 European Cup Winners’ Cup final in Sweden - to find their way to Cove towards the end of their careers.
Neil Simpson, the hard tackling midfielder of that famous side that was managed by Alex Ferguson, played and also became our first commercial manager, in 1993, before eventually returning to Pittodrie as their head of youth development.
Striker John Hewitt, who scored the winning goal that rainy night in Gothenburg, arrived with Doug, to take up the role of player/assistant manager.
Doug said: “It’s no surprise so many from Pittodrie come to Cove Rangers, the club has always been highly regarded by everyone at Aberdeen.
“Like Simmy, John and I were keen to continue playing at as high a level as possible and we were grateful that Cove gave us that chance.
“The original plan was for me to come in only as a player.
“I had enjoyed a great spell playing and managing up at Huntly but things changed when Forbes Shand stepped down as chairman at Christie Park.
“Forbes was the best chairman I ever worked for but my relationship with his successor wasn’t so good so we eventually parted ways.
“I still loved to play though and was looking forward to doing that with Cove but the manager then left within a week and that opened the door for me to do that job too.
“I asked John to join me and we were both eager to see if we could bring success to the club.”
At that time, Cove were far from the force we eventually became in the Highland League - it would be another two years before Doug’s successor Bob Summers led us to our first league title - although he and John did their best to compete with a small squad and restricted budget.
“We had a good bunch of lads, some really talented players, at the club and we all gave it our best shot,” said Doug.
“I’ve often been asked if it was hard to adjust to working with part-time players after having been at the top levels with Aberdeen, Chelsea and Dunfermline.
“But dressing rooms are all the same, no matter the level.
“They contain people who are passionate about the game who want to be the best they possibly can be, and that was certainly the case at Allan Park.
“I really enjoyed my job at Cove and would probably have stayed there longer if my personal circumstances hadn’t changed.”
What brought his spell with Cove to a premature end was the fact Doug had gone back to college, when in his mid-forties, to complete his studies for an NHC in electrical engineering.
“It was clear I had to fully commit to that and I knew I would also have to start working off shore and abroad if I qualified,” he said.
“There was no fall-out it was just a change that had to be made because, having played as a professional for most of my adult life, I had nothing to fall back on.
“It was a tough decision to have to make because I still loved chasing a football, but it was the right one.
“I encouraged John to take over and still think he should have but he decided to leave too.
“It’s a pity we weren’t there long enough to really make an impact but I always tell people I’m proud to be able to include Cove among the list of clubs I played for.”
Doug actually made a brief return to playing after leaving Cove, with Buckie Thistle and Aberdeenshire Amateur side Kincorth, before finally hanging his boots up at the age of 45.
“It was a great way to stay fit but I had to accept if I stayed in the game I might end up getting divorced,” he said.
“It led me into a wonderful career in engineering, which I really enjoyed, and I could also spend more time with my family.
“I finally got my life back because when you are involved in football, even part-time, it’s all consuming, it’s with you day and night.”
Doug has been happily retired for the last five years and shares his time between a holiday home in Spain and going on driving tours around Scotland.
“It means I don’t get to see too many football games now,” he said.
“But I really enjoyed the chance to see what Cove are up to and what they’ve built at Balmoral.
“It’s great they now have top class facilities and the players are able to train on the same pitch they also compete on.
“That has helped them make a great start at SPFL level and I would love to see them climb even higher over the next few years.”