Contented Dick Campbell riding high at Forfar

At 60 years of age, and having survived cancer a few years ago, Forfar manager Dick Campbell, sporting his famous bunnet, is intent on enjoying life. Picture: SNS
At 60 years of age, and having survived cancer a few years ago, Forfar manager Dick Campbell, sporting his famous bunnet, is intent on enjoying life. Picture: SNS
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FORFAR manager Dick Campbell watched close up last weekend at Gleneagles as Europe triumphed over the United States in the Ryder Cup and he noticed that, while he was having one of the most enjoyable weekends of his life, the American captain Tom Watson was miserable.

In the unlikely event that Watson would telephone Station Park looking for advice he would be told by Campbell to enjoy his sport as it is really not a matter of life or death.

Campbell said: “Last weekend was amazing as, not only was I watching the Ryder Cup, Forfar had won on the Saturday to go to the top of the league. East Fife, where my son Ross plays, won and Cowdenbeath, where another of my sons, Iain, is, also won.

“It was a fabulous weekend but it was fabulous for other reasons as I spent every day from the practice days onward, apart from the Saturday, with my family. Whether it was my wife, my brother Ian, my sons, their wives or the grandchildren, everyone was around and about.”

While Campbell beamed with joy, Watson’s side lost by five points and the discord in the American camp was seen at the post-event press conference, with Campbell saying: “The Ryder Cup is the second biggest watched sporting event in the world and it was great to sit in the members lounge and be part of it. I saw Tom Watson and he never looked like he was enjoying it.

“I thought ‘that is a shame’ and while people live and die by results I have learned to enjoy life.”

Campbell’s approach to contentment is directly linked to being told he had cancer in March 2011 and although he is now fully recovered, he said: “Cancer is never far from my mind but I find it easy to talk about. It was three years ago and I was told that I had no chance and supposedly only had a few months left.

“The surgeon, Gordon Brown, not the prime minister mind, took a slice out of my kidney during a seven-hour operation. He said that he thought he had caught everything. That operation has made a huge difference to my life. I have never had a cigarette since and I used to have 40 a day.

“I do sometimes get tired but I am 60 now and still work every day with my brother at Avenue Recruitment. I came in seven years ago to do two or three mornings a week and now I am full time as the general manager looking after hundreds of people.”

The owner of the most famous bunnet in football management said: “Working takes up a lot of time so football is an escape. To be honest I am not the type of guy who will be going to Dobbies at the weekend.”

Many fans have seen the bunnet thrown down in disgust over the years but Campbell reckons touchline tantrums are a thing of the past.

He said: “It is years since I have been in trouble with a referee. Everyone views me as a gregarious character but I just tend now to get my head down and get on with things.

“I am still capable of having a rant as I did at Airdrie on Saturday but I will shrug things off far quicker now. In fact, if the players are doing well I do not even go in at half-time. I just pop my head through and say ‘you are looking beautiful, keep it going’.”

Forfar is now almost a Campbell-free zone after sons Ross and Iain left for new clubs in the summer while brother Ian stepped away.

Manager Campbell said: “Ian was my assistant but the business needed him more a few months ago and he has taken a step back from football. I miss him, mind you. John Young is still working with me after nearly 40 years.

“I have younger coaches coming through in Barry Sellars, Stewart Petrie and Ewan Greenhill but it would be good to have my brother involved again in some capacity.”

Life with the Loons is also providing the former Cowdenbeath, Dunfermline Athletic, Brechin City, Partick Thistle and Ross County manager with great contentment. “I am extremely lucky as the board have backed me tremendously,” he said.

“We have brought in six players that were full-timers last season and I don’t know any club that has done that. They opted to turn down better money elsewhere to be part of the Forfar set-up which says a lot about them. It is a great club and not just for new signings as it helps to keep players playing.

“I have a goalkeeper in Rab Douglas and a back four of Mark Baxter, Stuart Malcolm, Darren Dods and Jim Paterson who must be close to 200 years old between them. They enjoy playing at Forfar and want to keep being part of it.

“Enjoying being here is fantastic but they would still like to win a championship and so would I.

“It would be great to take this team up and we will have a go at doing that.”