Fraserburgh FC’s chairman has revealed how he worked his way up from the club’s 50p-a-week boot cleaner to ensuring the team’s biggest ever match was kept in the town.
Finlay Noble has risen up through the ranks over the decades at Bellsea Park, home of the Broch.
And now, as the chairman prepares for the biggest match in the club’s 108-year history, Finlay has looked back over his journey.
It all began, as it did for most football fans, with a trip to their local ground.
Finlay, who has been the club’s chief for the last decade, said: “I just came to a game as a young kid. It was my local team.
“The guys that played in that team, I still class them as my heroes, but quite a number of them are my good friends now.
“I was coming to the games and I got invited onto the team bus. An opportunity arose for somebody to clean the boots. I thought it was a great honour and I jumped at the chance.
“I got 50p a week to clean their boots.”
From there the 12-year-old boot boy was promoted to being in charge of the players’ kits, and then took on some secretarial duties.
He was eventually handed the reins of the full secretary job in 2000.
That was a springboard that led to Finlay earning a place on the board at the club, as well as being involved with the Scottish FA and becoming president of the Scottish Football Highland League.
Finlay said: “When the chairman died in 2008 there was an opportunity to be chairman.
“By that time I was on the board, and the rest of the board asked me. Every day I feel like pinching myself.
“I was in the right place at the right time and doors opened up for me.”
Now the 48-year-old is the proud chairman who will welcome Rangers to the 1,800-capacity Bellslea Park.
Finlay, who works for Score in Peterhead, said there was never any chance the game would have been played at a bigger ground.
He said: “We said right from the beginning that this is where we wanted it to be played.
“We didn’t even consider moving it. I just hope that the day goes well and everybody leaves with a good impression of the club.”
Meanwhile, the local schools have caught cup fever, with pupils and teachers wanting to get involved.
St Andrews Primary pupils have penned letters of support, which have been sent to the club.
Eilidh Shand, a student on placement at the school who has been working with the P6 class, said: “They’re really quite excited.
“A few of them are going so we thought it would be a lovely idea to see how the pupils could get involved.
“Everybody got involved and wrote a letter and we wrote one as a class.
“They all enjoyed it. They had a wee discussion about what was important and what they wanted to write about.
“A lot of people in the school are getting quite excited about it and talking about it at break and lunch times.”
One letter from Eva, 10, said: “I hope that you score as much goals as you can and save as much goals as you can.”
Another from Nyomi, also 10, said: “It would be great if you won as it will be the biggest game in Fraserburgh’s history.”
Pupils at Fraserburgh South Park Primary have also been getting into the spirit of things by creating banners and making up songs, which the children then voted on to pick a favourite.
Joel Norrie, Ethan Mitchell, Lewis Gerrie, Logan Purdie and Kian Raza had their song, to the tune of Sugar Sugar by The Archies, voted the winner.
Teacher Nicola Harvey said: “They made a wee song up for the game and they’ve been making banners. They’re all really excited. Everybody seems to be buzzing for it.
“They looked up the Fraserburgh team and put all their names in the song.”
Fraserburgh North School was involved too, with pupils decorating windows at the school.
Head teacher Wendy Simpson said her pupils are very excited about the match and planning report writing activities on the impact of the event on the town.