Gordon Whitelaw and Henry Hall make befriending calls in the community

Since January, St Johnstone FC historians, Alastair Blair and Brian Doyle, have volunteered their time to support Saints in the Community by making befriending calls to those experiencing loneliness and social isolation during this lockdown period.

As part of our 'Give & Go: Community Support' initiative, a project set-up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Trust are facilitating calls to provide a morale boost to vulnerable members of the community or those who would simply benefit from a chat.

Alastair and Brian have a vast knowledge of football and have co-written three books relating to the history of St Johnstone - 'Bristling with Possibilities...', 'Manifest Destiny' and, most recently, 'Hagiography – 60 Greatest Saints'. 

“It is a real pleasure to be able to help Saints in the Community and chat to older fans the length and breadth of the country. In these trying times, the people Brian and I have called seem to have really appreciated the human contact as much as the opportunity to talk about our favourite football club and some of the players from past eras. That said, there is as much interest in the current squad, and with our getting to the final of the League Cup, we hope there will be much more to talk about in the next few weeks.” - Alastair Blair

Although they are both happy to discuss all things football, it's certainly not all that is spoken about. Topics such as time spent in the army, farming, former employments and achievements in rifle shooting have also been covered. After several phone calls to members of our Football Memories programme and nominated members of the community, Alastair and Brian spotted the opportunity to involve some 'Great Saints' and arranged for some nominees to receive a call from their football heroes.

Dave Quine, nominated by his friend Graeme, has been a Saints fan since the 1960's and is also a Liverpool fan. After the initial phone call, Alastair and Brian contacted his hero, former Saints player Gordon Whitelaw, who readily agreed to phone Dave and surprise him. Gordon was one of a select few who represented Saints in a 1971 friendly against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. He opened the scoring with a sweet strike from 30 yards which, according to the history books, received applause from the Spanish home support.

“Gordon Whitelaw just phoned me. I’m starstruck! What an absolute gentleman he is. This has made my year I can tell you.” - Dave Quine

Henry Hall, the legendary forward who starred for St Johnstone more than 40 years ago, is a Community Trust ambassador and made a surprise call to Donald McPhee. Henry, third in the club’s all-time top scorer list with 114 goals from 253 appearances, starred for St Johnstone in Europe and netted in a stunning 3-0 win against Hamburg. By his own standards, his goal was nothing special, but in many ways it was a typical Hall goal. Running onto a great ball from Ian McPhee, Henry tucked the ball past the German keeper for the first strike of what was to be a memorable night.  A simple goal, brilliantly executed. 

“It’s nice to have a blether and that’s the important thing. You play your wee part. With everyone being stuck indoors, it’s difficult.” - Henry Hall

We're very grateful to Gordon and Henry for supporting our work, continuing to play their part for the Perth club. A small chat can make a big difference and the feedback we have received clearly demonstrates this.

If you would like to nominate a relative or friend to receive a call from Alastair or Brian, please contact us by emailing or alternatively, you can call us on 07541481819.