Whatever happened to Gretna FC?
It is only little four years ago that a football team situated in a tiny town right between England and Scotland, were proving to be a far more romantic prospect than actually getting married.
The story of Gretna is one of the biggest modern day farces in British Football. Switch back nearly four years to May 2006 and a sun bathed Hampden Park, and you had the tiny town take on Heart of Midlothian, in a final full of epic proportions.
It was also the story of the two entrepreneurs from both teams, Mileson and Romanov. Gretna are now of course, extinct and Hearts a long way from those glory days.
The match ended 1-1 between both sides with Hearts winning the match on penalties.
The question is whatever happened to the Gretna team that is now so forgotten, swept away in the madness that was living the dream.
Gretna 2006 Team:
Alan Main (age 42, at St Johnstone) The goalkeeper who has been well playing for over twenty years now, just can’t stop going. Left Gretna after a much publicised fall out with manager, Rowan Alexander during the First Division championship winning season in 2007. He is now back at his first love, St Johnstone in the SPL and has already played eleven matches this season, but looks likely to retire at the end of the campaign.
Mark Birch (age 33, free agent) – Solid full back was a key feature of the Scottish Cup finalists team. Arguably the highlight of his career, after having an uncomprising career in the lower scale of the English Football league, having started his career at Stoke. Released by Conference North side, Northwhich Victoria at the start of 2009, Birch is still currently a free agent.
Derek Townsley (age 36, Annan Athletic) – Experienced campaigner in Scottish Football, Townsley was one of the fans favourites at Gretna. However he was banished from the first team for the entire doomed SPL campaign in 07-08 despite his popularity status, and thus signed for the new Scottish league team that had taken over from Gretna, Annan Athletic. He is currently a squad player at the club.
Chris Innes (age 33, St Mirren) – Another experienced campaigner in Scottish Football. Innes is back playing top flight football again, and is set for his first cup appearance since the Gretna game with St Mirren, this weekend, in the Scottish League Cup Final. This will be his third cup appearance in his career.
David Nicholls (37, retired) – Retired at the end of last season with East Stirlingshire.
Ryan McGuffie (age 29, Morton) – Scored in the Cup Final in the 1-1 draw which Gretna lost on penalties. He is still playing in the Scottish Leagues, and has proven to be a decent player for his club Morton. The club are still pushing for a top flight place in the SPL with a huge fan base. Made well over 150 appearances for Gretna.
Steven Tosh (age 36, Livingston) – Popular midfielder, with Gretna once again forced to leave the club in a cost cutting exercise. Signed for Gretna’s rivals in 2007, Queen of the South. He is now playing on loan at Livingston in the Third Division, hoping to win yet another championship medal. Looks set to play on for a while yet.
John O’Neil (age 38, retired) – Scotland cap, ended his career with East Stirlingshire last season, after being signed his former Dundee United teammate, Jim McInally. A veteran of three cup finals, but lost with three different clubs.
Gavin Skelton (age 28, Kilmarnock) – Without doubt, a Gretna veteran with 200 appearances. Skelton had the honour of scoring the team’s last ever goal as a club ironically against Hearts. He is now a squad player at Kilmarnock, a team fighting against relegation in SPL.
James Grady (age 38, player/manager Morton) – Scored the goal that took Gretna to the SPL. Popular striker who always gave his all, Grady is now the manager of Greenock Morton.
Kenny Deuchar (age 29, St Johnstone) – Quite simply, a remarkable striker for Gretna with 63 goals in 90 games for the club. Also equalled the number of hat-tricks in a season to Jimmy Greaves in 05-05. After a spell in America, and Hamilton, he is now playing for St Johnstone, and has not been able to reach the spectacular heights of his Gretna days since.
David Graham (age 26, Dunfermline) – Forward, now playing in the Scottish first division for Dunfermline.
James McQuilken (age 35, Queen of the South) – Signed for Gretna’s rivals, Queen of the South with Steven Tosh after the pair were forced to seek pastures new. Played in his new teams Scottish Cup Final in 2008, and also played in their UEFA Cup matches in 08-09. Looks set to his wind his career down now, having not played since November.