THE identity of the mystery Gala Fairydean Rovers ‘Ladder Man’ has finally been revealed.

Acclaimed writer Daniel Gray mentioned the fan in his book ‘Silence of the Stands’ after visiting Netherdale during the pandemic, when games were played behind closed doors.

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The Yorkshireman brought his unique blend of humour and sporting observation to the club as part of the Book Week Scotland 2023 programme at an event entitled Concrete Dreams, celebrating the listed stand at Netherdale.

Peeblesshire News: Concrete Dreams event at Netherdale

He said: “When I saw Netherdale, it was love at first sight as it’s just such a beautiful and unique venue to watch football, and I’ve had so many good afternoons and evenings at the club since then.

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“When I visited as a journalist to cover a game during COVID restrictions I was amazed to see a man who had brought a ladder so he could see over the fence to cheer on the team. And I was equally amazed to find out he was in the audience.”

Dave Chirnside, 64, who is originally from Portobello in Edinburgh, has been following the fortunes of Gala Fairydean Rovers since moving to the town five years ago.

Peeblesshire News: Concrete Dreams event at Netherdale

He said: “During COVID I never missed a game and used to take my ladder to look over the fence and cheer the boys on.

“I wasn’t doing anything wrong but some passers by would call me a tight-fisted so-and-so for not paying to get in and others asked if I was barred.

“I had no idea that I’d been mentioned in Daniel’s book until a couple of weeks ago when Debi (Ritchie) asked if it had been me and invited me along to the event.

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“Daniel was marvellous and he promised to send me a copy of the book and I’m really looking forward to reading it.”

Dave is a regular at Netherdale and goes to the games with Danny Galbraith’s grandfather.

Daniel was joined by Galashiels man and Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award winner Craig Aitchison, who entertained the audience with some of his poems inspired by the years he has spent watching and coaching football at Netherdale.

These included ‘Men Against Boys’, ‘The Lights’, ‘Tuesday Night Kick Abouts’, ‘Surface Tension’, ‘Worth’ and ‘Stand’.

The event was organised by football equalities charity Nil by Mouth and Gala Fairydean Rovers Community Trust.

Nil by Mouth director Dave Scott said: "It was magic to see a full house enjoy Daniel and Craig’s work. Football is such a big part of so many lives and both the guys writing comes right from the heart of their love of the game.

"I’ll always cherish the look on Daniel’s face as he realised we had found ‘Ladder Man’ and big thanks to the Border Telegraph for helping Identify Dave Chirnside – he stole the show!

"We’d like to thank to Tam, Debi and Sheree at the club and community trust, as well as the Scottish Book Trust, for supporting the event and proving that towns, teams and tales are a great mix."