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east end jag

What do you remember about...Benny Rooney

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Season 1983/84 ends with Peter Cormac resigning as the Board decide that a part-time, rather than full time, manager is required to meet the season coming up.

Into the managers position, and the financial uncertainty which surrounds the club, comes ex-player Benny Rooney. Staying for two seasons, Rooney's time in charge is predominantly characterised as a struggle to stay in the division. Thistle fans at this time are getting pretty used to what now (and probably back then) felt like the wilderness years.

But it was more than that. Benny, and erstwhile assistant Mike Jackson, must have a special place in the treasure trove of memories. Did Benny loan you a quid one Saturday before the game which you've never paid him back? During a chance meeting with him on Woodlands Road, did he tell a bewildered young you that we were two wins off going on a Liverpool-esq period of European football domination? Or did you watch opened mouthed as Benny, one grim November night, argued with a taxi driver while getting out his cab about the financial policies of Margaret Thatcher's Tory Government.

Thank you to those who contributed to the Peter Cormac thread. It's now time to air your indifference on the guy who followed him.

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Bumping into him in st Enoch car park, short chat and he told me we were signing Gordon Dalzell. I thought it would be a great signing.... unfortunately it wasn’t ..

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4 hours ago, JAG1970 said:

Bumping into him in st Enoch car park, short chat and he told me we were signing Gordon Dalzell. I thought it would be a great signing.... unfortunately it wasn’t ..

I saw the said Gordon Dalziel at The Skids & Big Country gig last night

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Watching thistle under Rooney was horrible. Whilst the previous 2 season under Peter Cormack hadn't provided the return to the premier league we had hoped for we were still winning more than we were losing and going to frihill meant watching some decent players such as Mo Johnston, Kenny McDowall, Buckley, Jardine and Watson.

Rooney came in and all of a sudden we were a club struggling to stay in the league and the playing squad just got worse and worse. My first thistle game was in 1981 so this was the first time in my thistle supporting experience that going to firhill became a chore.

In 1985 I was a mascot for a thistle v Hamilton game. The thistle players (Alan Mackin in particular) went out their way to make the day special, the manager of Hamilton (J Lambie esquire) went out of his way to say hello, the referee (Brian McGinlay) chatted away and gave me the 10p he flipped at the start of the game. Rooney shouted over to one of his backroom staff to get me the f*** off the pitch as my Dad and I were too close to his dugout.

I don't remember a single positive thing from Rooney's time in charge. By the time he left the squad was sporting a standard of player that surpassed the worst of Dick Campbell and Tommy Bryce's signings . Thankfully Bertie Auld came back, pulled of a miracle and kept us in the league. Relegation at that point could have been terminal for the club and at best lead to us becoming like Clyde.

At the end of season 85/86 with Auld in charge it looked like a dark cloud had been lifted from firhill and 86/87 might the season we started to turn things around. Unfortunately the temporary spurt of optomism was washed away as Ken Bates bought the club and installed Derek Johnstone as manager.

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The lack of responses on this thread rather sums up Benny Rooney's time at Firhill but Laukat's assessment is spot on.  The decline in the standard of player which started towards the end of Bertie Auld's time and which Peter Cormack was unable to address went downhill sharply under Rooney - journeymen professionals towards the end of their careers were given contracts and Rooney's time in charge marked the change from Thistle being a top flight Club or at least striving to be one to an underachieving Club which habitually struggled to stay in the Second Tier. I lost enthusiasm for going to Firhill - all this has echoes of what has happened under Caldwell.

Rooney had been an unpopular player as the mandatory old-head in Bertie Auld's very good side which ran away with the First Division.  In the decisive game against Kilmarnock, he went down injured to great cheers from some Thistle fans...he struggled to his feet just as the ball landed in front of him...he lashed a 25 yard rocket into the net, turned to give a GIRUY gesture in the direction of the Shed, then collapsed in a heap to be carried off to the double delight of the Thistle Support.  It was his only memorable contribution at Firhill.

Edited by Winter of '63

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