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14

*JAGGY THISTLE

Ken Bates peered out from behind his thick, tinted glasses and it was impossible to tell his expression. Knowing him, it was probably devilment. It was a muggy June afternoon in 1986.

My playing days had ended the month before when Graeme


Souness brought the curtain down on life at Ibrox and, as I

approached my thirty-third birthday, I had been cut loose from


the only life I had ever known.

This meeting in a Glasgow hotel had been arranged during


an intriguing call from Bates, the colourful and controversial former chairman of Chelsea. I had got to know him during my short stint at Stamford Bridge. He had just taken control of

Partick Thistle and he had a proposition for me. His arrival had predictably sparked fears for the future of the Firhill club. The press suggested he would use Thistle as a feeder club for Chelsea, while he countered that he had big plans and claimed that the third team in Glasgow would soon be challenging the big two. It would be interesting to hear what
he had to say. 'How do you fancy joining Partick Thistle as a player-coach?' Bates had wanted to know on the phone. 'You are a legend, at

Rangers, you have a great profile and I think you can help with
the plans I have for the club.'

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