One of the oldest football fans in UK passes away aged 108

James Crombie, one of the oldest football fans in the UK, who credited his long life to a "wee bit of brandy" and mince pies, has sadly passed away at the age of 108. Picture: SWNS
James Crombie, one of the oldest football fans in the UK, who credited his long life to a "wee bit of brandy" and mince pies, has sadly passed away at the age of 108. Picture: SWNS
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One of the oldest football fans in the UK, who credited his long life to a “wee bit of brandy” and mince pies, has sadly passed away at the age of 108.

James Crombie was thought to be the third oldest person in the UK and one of the oldest fans of the beautiful game.

The centenarian lived through both World Wars and served as with the Royal Marines in WWII.

He was an avid follower of his local club, Dunfermline Athletic, and fondly recalled seeing his team lift the Scottish Cup in 1961.

The Fife club were managed by Scottish football legend Jock Stein at the time and defeated his future team Celtic 2-0 in a replay at Hampden in front of 87,866 people.

James married his wife Mary in 1934 and the couple gave birth to their daughter Mabel two years later.

He has two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

In a tribute, his family called him a “level-headed and very clever man” who provided them with “inspiration” and “happiness”.

William Wightman, whose wife Coreen is one of James’ grandchildren, said: “He lived a colourful but straight life.

“We are grateful for the time we had with him; he was an inspiration in our lives.

“He was level-headed and a very clever man and who passed on so much happiness and knowledge.”

Speaking of the cup final on his 106th birthday, James said it was one of the best days of his life.

He said: “I was there at the replay when we beat Celtic to lift the cup. I was sitting in the North Stand at Hampden. I was over the moon.

“That was probably the best day of life apart from the day I got married.”

He had been going to his local bakers, Stephens, in Dunfermline, for over 90 years and claims they serve the “best pies around”.

Born in Dunfermline in 1909, he attended Pittencrief School during the First World War and in 1922 was a league winner with their football team when he played in goal.

He started delivering pints of milk when he was eight years old, earning five shillings a week.

He then joined the Co-operative in the town, serving and delivering groceries using a wheelbarrow at the age of 14.

And aside from a spell in the Royal Marines during the Second World War, he worked for the firm until 1968, during which time he had been promoted to manage 23

branches.

James was mainly based at the Stonehouse Barracks in Plymouth and served in the Royal Marine’s for six years during the war.

His father died in World War one when he was eight, leaving his mother to bring up him and his two sisters.