Exclusive DAFC.net interview with Grant Jenkins, (Part II).Author: Neil Farrell Date: Sunday, 27th Apr 2003
This is the second installment of the three-part serialisation on former Pars cult-hero Grant “Shaggy” Jenkins, and is the first of many excusive interviews that will be done on DAFC.net in the coming years. 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
Despite the continuing success of the club and all its benefits accompanying it, all was not well for Shaggy.
It was a midweek game away to Stranraer, (what a thought now), 3rd April 1985 and Shaggy asked if he was going to be in the first 11, so that he could finish his work early to get down to the ground for the team bus to depart for the lengthy trip.
When he got on the bus he noticed a new face which he didn’t recognise, and not only that, he found that Jim Leishman had sat next to him on the bus. Jim explained that he had signed a new player that day (Ian Campbell, twin brother of Dick), and that it was him that was going to start the match and that Shaggy was going to be on the bench instead, despite the promise.
Needless to say, mild-mannered Shaggy was livid, and told Leishman that there was no way he was travelling all that way and back just to sit on a bench. He said to Leishman that if he didn’t start then he was going to walk out on the club.
Leishman refused to change his mind, and so Shaggy sat on the bench for about 80 odd minutes before eventually coming on for a token period.
So that was it for Shaggy. He failed to turn up for the training all week and was supposed to be playing against East Stirlingshire the following Saturday but he never turned up for that as well.
After the game Norrie phoned him up at his house to ask what was wrong with him for not turning up for the game and when Shaggy told him what had happened Norrie said, “You cannae dae that, you’ll have to come back!”
Shaggy was unrepentant and said that there was no way that he was coming back, so then Norrie phoned Leishman to tell him to apologise to Shaggy which he did, and so Shaggy returned to the club.
And so the Phoenix that was the Pars started its rise from the flames of the second division to the top of the Premier League in just over two years.
A lot has been written about that rise before and will be continued to be written for many a year to come. Several books were written on the subject and became best sellers, (albeit it, in John Menzies, High St. Dunfermline). Grant “Shaggy” Jenkins was a key figure in that famous team and he confessed it was true that the team practically picked itself in those fantastic days for a Pars fan.
I asked him if he found it a chore to drive a two hour round trip for training and for matches. He said, “It was never a chore as I loved playing for the Pars during that time. We were winning almost every week and I loved travelling down there for the training as well as the games.
That period of success Shaggy experienced, with all his win bonuses also meant a lot to his lovely wife Jean, (thanks for the lovely cuppa in the Pars mug).
When he got in after a match and walked in with his muddy football boots, instead of asking him if he had won or drawn a game, she asked him how many bricks he had earned!
This was because during the mid-late eighties, the family Jenkins had bought a plot of land for their dream home near Crieff. Jean’s father was a builder, and so all Shaggy and Jean had to provide was the cost for the materials for building the house whilst they stayed at Jean’s parent’s house during the period.
Fortunately, due to the success of the Pars, the house was assembled a lot quicker than expected and during the time Shaggy’s other nickname at the club was Petrocheli.
(For our younger readers Petrocheli was a series based on an American Lawyer who built his house a few bricks every week whilst he lived in a pick-up truck).
Another nickname was formed around the same time…this time for the central defender Norrie McCathie who later became one of the best captains the club has ever had.
It was pre-season training in the mid-late eighties, and the Pars at that time went to the Lothian coast to run up and down the steep sand-dunes to build up stamina. After going up and down for about the hundredth time, a few of the players had noticed that Norrie was missing, so they arranged for the whole squad to search for him. After a short period one of the players looked over the dune to see Norrie squatting in the sand “producing a batch”. Apparently the stench from the dune was unbearable for the players who had assembled at the top after the screams of the unfortunate player who found him. After this “incident” Norrie was thereafter called Honk by the players.
In next weeks final instalment of the “Shaggy” Trilogy we find out how the strain of combining full time training with his business engineered his move to the club he supported as a boy. The relationship with Totten that ended with him being frozen out of the game, and his life these days away from football.