Dundee United fan Greta Armstrong Simpson had the perfect paper round as a teenager with Jim McLean and Jerry Kerr on her route.
Pipe-smoking Kerr took United from the second tier to an established top-flight side before McLean replaced him and took the club to unimaginable heights.
Greta carried her bag of 30 or so papers every morning but she will never forget one special delivery which summed up the magic of McLean.
She went to a match with her friend Gill in 1972.
They got the bus back from Tannadice to the Scott Fyfe roundabout before Greta walked Gill to her house on Arbroath Road when the heavens opened.
Jim McLean gave Greta a lift home in the rain
Greta started to walk the final stretch home to Broughty Ferry in the monsoon with her United scarf on when McLean’s car pulled up alongside her.
“He stopped on the Arbroath Road and gave me a lift home because he recognised me,” said Greta.
“I was in awe of him because he was the Dundee United manager and I think that gesture just summed up the magic of the man.
“I remember thinking how nice it was of him to stop and take me home.
“He had the common touch.”
Greta went to her first match with Gill in April 1969 when United beat Rangers at Tannadice 2-1 against all the odds.
“After that my friend Gill and I were ‘hooked’ and kept going back,” she said.
Greta, who now lives in Highland Perthshire, went to Forthill Primary and Grove Academy and got a paper round from the shop in Claypotts Road in 1970 aged 14.
“I had a paper round in Broughty Ferry where I grew up,” she said.
“As an avid Dundee United fan, who attended all the home matches back then, I was proud to deliver papers to Jerry Kerr who was their manager until 1971.
“I was in awe of him as well and I used to call him Mr Kerr or Sir!
“On Sundays, my paper bag and bike were weighed down just with his papers!
“He ordered pretty much every Sunday paper available and had them delivered to him.
“He would very rarely come to the door even though I knew he was there because I could smell his pipe smoke.
“I suspect there were times when he wouldn’t want to come to the door to speak to me if United had not played very well on the Saturday afternoon.
“It took ages to post them, one at a time, through quite a small letterbox.
“He clearly wanted to read every match report available!”
Jim would always say hello to Greta in Broughty Ferry
Kerr was the man who steered United to their first big European success when they beat Barcelona home and away in the old Fairs Cup in 1966.
That amazing success on their European debut was just seven years after he took over a team that were languishing just about the bottom of the old Second Division and got them back to the top flight after an absence of almost 30 years.
“When Jerry retired, the legend Jim McLean took over as manager,” said Greta.
“He was also on my round but was less demanding than his predecessor in terms of the volume of Sunday newspapers.
“I didn’t see him very often but he was always very polite and very respectful although we would never talk about football at the front door.
“I wouldn’t ask about football because I think he had enough on his plate!
“He was a nice man away from the touchline.
“Jim would always say hello if he saw me in Broughty Ferry.”
Greta said the highlight of her paper round back then was delivering papers to the unmarried players’ hostel in Seafield Road.
“As a young impressionable teenager, and enthusiastic Arab, I occasionally met some of my football idols and got their autographs,” she said.
“These were happy days with early starts and some good ‘tips’ from customers.
“It was an early introduction to being independent and working hard.
“The only downside was the weather and the sheer weight of the canvas bag which would be stuffed full of papers and slung over one shoulder.
“I think still to this day my left shoulder hangs down lower than my right!”
Greta would hang up her paper bag in 1972 to become a Saturday girl in Boots although she would continue to see McLean and Kerr in Broughty Ferry.
“I stopped going to Tannadice when I got the job in Boots and had to make do with the highlights on a Saturday night although I would always go to the cup finals,” she said.
Happy memories of delivering the news in the 1970s
Despite modest resources, McLean led United to a league title and two League Cup successes, a UEFA Cup final, a European Cup semi-final and five Scottish Cup finals.
On top of that, he unearthed a succession of great players from Dave Narey to Duncan Ferguson, with a list too many to mention in between.
Greta said: “To be a United supporter in the late-70s and 80s was just amazing and you could never have imagined that the club would reach these heady heights when you started going to watch them as your local team back in the 1960s.
“For a while Dundee seemed to have the edge over United but Jim McLean took things to another level and the success we enjoyed was unimaginable.
“The obvious highlight for me was being at the UEFA Cup Final second leg against Gothenburg.
“Despite not lifting the cup, the occasion showcased great football as well as an amazingly friendly atmosphere with true camaraderie amongst fans of both teams both during and after the match.”
Greta still follows United’s fortunes and said she only has happy memories of her time delivering the news to Jerry Kerr and Jim McLean.
Some of the other paper boys and paper girls who delivered the news
We asked news boys and girls, past and present, to share their stories of being the doorstep heroes who get The Courier and Evening Telegraph to our readers.
Pat Lawrence was born and brought up in Invergowrie and took on her first paper round from Davie Nicoll’s shop with her friend Anne when she was 12 in 1956.
“Virtually everybody in the village got their papers and milk delivered from the local shop in those days,” she said.
“We had to be at the shop by 7am and sort our own papers and we didn’t just deliver The Courier but every other local or national.
“Once we got used to it we didn’t have to write the customers’ names on the top of each one which saved time as we only had an hour or so before getting ready for school.
“There were no house numbers as such in those days, just different ‘lands’ along the Main Street.
“We split the round between us.
“Anne did the top half of the street and I did the bottom.”
She also delivered the Evening Telegraph and the Sunday papers until she was 15.
“I can’t remember what I got paid but it was good to earn my own money for the first time and when we got tips it was like Christmas,” she added.
Pat still lives in the village with her husband Brian and the couple have four grown-up children and six grandchildren.
Dundee man Fred Connor shared memories of his paper round with Blackness Road newsagent Willie Wiseman which paid him 15 shillings.
The round included the top half of Rosefield Street, Peddie Street, Annfield Row and Annfield Street.
“To a young lad of 13, in the dark early mornings, I remember some of the old closes with their gas lights, seemed quite creepy and scary, especially if a dog started barking from behind one of the doors,” he said.
“I would be up and down these stairs quite quickly!
“Accompanying me was my small transistor radio, listening to the new station, Radio One, with the early morning show presented by Tony Blackburn and his on air dog, Arnold.
“At Christmas time, Willie and his wife would lay on a wee party for his paper boys.
“He was a nice guy.”
Fred moved to Ardler where he got another paper round at 25 shillings a week although he would get five pence deducted for every wrong delivery!
“My round was a block of three multis, Cawder, Downfield and Edzell Courts.
“The job included delivering two heavy packed bags of Sunday papers as well as collecting the money from customers on Friday nights which included some tips from the best of the customers.
“All this came to an end when it was time to leave school and start proper work as an apprentice engineer.”