Dunfermline Athletic

Exclusive DAFC.net interview with Grant Jenkins, (Part I).

Author: Neil Farrell Date: Thursday, 3rd Apr 2003

This is the first installment of the three-part serialisation on former Pars cult-hero Grant �Shaggy� Jenkins, and is the first of many exclusive interviews that will be done on DAFC.net in the coming years.

This is the first squad that Shaggy featured in at The Pars. Shaggy can be seen 4th from the right in the middle row.

Several interviews have already been arranged and if there�s a player whose story you�d particularly like to hear then contact me on neil@DAFC.net

If Osama Bin Laden is looking for a place where no-one shall find him then the area around where Grant Jenkins lives would have been a safer bet than the Boroa caves in deepest, darkest Afghanistan.

It took me a whole weekend just to find out where the guy lived, and thankfully he was happy to be interviewed!

As I drew up to his house after constant communication with my mobile for the last 3 miles,(hands-free of course), I assumed the Dream Machine was parked behind the house whilst Fred had taken Daphne and Thelma to the woods to look for some �clues�. Scooby Doo was probably asleep in his kennel outside after a massive binge on scooby-snacks.

I was welcomed warmly by Grant and was stunned to see that he had hardly changed a day since he played for the sons of God.

His story is a fascinating one and brought out a lot of things of interest to Pars fans.
He was very frank and honest and you could sense he enjoyed his time at the club immensely. A nicer guy you will never meet and it was probably his popularity with the locals that helped me find him in the first case as many of the people I spoke to were his friends.

Grant Jenkins AKA �Shaggy� started his amazing football career at the age of 16 with his local amateur club Crieff Earngrove.

He recalls growing up fast in those early years of his football career, �When you played in those days, there were no u-14�s or u-16�s teams like you have today�, said Shaggy.
�There was just �the team� and you basically had to toughen up fast, otherwise you would get just get pushed around and would never be any use to the team�.
�You were playing against men twice your size and it was a tough league to play in�.

So toughen up he did and before long he was soon making his mark for them. Shaggy played for Crieff Earngrove for six seasons and his goal scoring exploits caught the eye of his local junior side Jeanfield Swifts who swiftly signed him.

Despite scoring 23 goals for them in a season, it was not a happy time for Oor� Shaggy, and he felt capable that he could play at a higher level. Above all, he desperately wanted to play for St. Johnstone, the team he supported as a boy.

Shaggy admitted, �Like most boys who like football, you naturally want to play for your favourite team and I was no exception.

�I supported my local team, St. Johnstone, and of course I would have loved to have played for them.

�When I was at Jeanfield Swifts, the St. Johnstone scouts were watching me whilst I was scoring nearly every week�but they did nothing about it which disappointed me.�

Their loss was to be the Pars gain, because around the same time the Pars scout at the time Ned McGeachie noted his goal scoring achievements, and after watching the great bearded one in action for himself, recommended Shaggy to the then Pars manager Pat Stanton.

After featuring against local side Burntisland Shipyard in a game at East End Park, Shaggy was signed on the 19th February 1981 at the age of 22.

At the time he had almost given up hope of ever playing for a senior club, because he thought the opportunity had passed him by. When he signed for the Pars he admitted that he didn�t know a great deal about the Pars or have any love for them at the time. This would be a total opposite to when he left!

Within 2 weeks he was playing in the first-team and he made his first full debut against Hibernian in the league on the 28th January 1981. An article on the actual match programme, under the headline �New signing� stated: �New signing Grant Jenkins missed the chance of his first official game for the club when the Reserve League fixture against Dundee last Saturday was called off because of ground conditions, but indications are that the 22-year-old will get the chance early.

In a couple of midweek friendly matches behind closed doors, most recently against Eyemouth United on Tuesday at East End, Grant played in what was virtually the first team and impressed Manager Pat Stanton.�

Unlike a lot of Pars strikers in recent years, Shaggy took only 4 weeks to score his first goal and that was in the league against Motherwell on the 28th March 1981.

Shaggy�s first manager was Pat Stanton and Shaggy had the impression that Pat was working as manager of the club to use it as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. This turned out to be true, as eventually Stanton was to depart East End Park for the bigger stage of Easter Road with Hibernian, where Stanton formerly served as a player.

The next manager that Shaggy played for was Tom Forsyth, and Shaggy recalled those days with a great deal of disappointment. He recalled how Forsyth destroyed the confidence of the younger players by continually giving them a hard time if they made an error. So much so that they didn�t want the ball and the whole team suffered as a consequence. He also said that Forsyth was a great guy off the pitch and was a good laugh at nights out and outings�but didn�t seem to have a clue about managing a football team.

This paved the way for Jim Leishman, (Messiah for our younger readers), and soon the clubs fortunes were about to change for the better in a remarkably short space of time�

In the second part of the �Shaggy� Trilogy, find out about the time when Shaggy went AWOL from the club, how his house was paid for almost entirely from win bonuses in the seasons 1985-1987, when we leapt from the second to the premier divisions in successive seasons and how captain Norrie got his nickname of Honk.

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