Posts Tagged ‘Rory McAllister’

Rory right to plumb away at lower divisions

July 6, 2011

Picture the scene: an hour before your career-deciding exam. Could you imagine doing anything but reading textbooks in your own toilet, until those gruelling final 15 build-up minutes, when connection with your chirpy colleagues derails the esteem you have built-up over hours of intensive revision? For Rory McAllister, try being unveiled to the media at the showroom of your club’s new sponsor.

McAlliser’s transfer is undoubtedly one of the most talked-about in Scotland this summer. In moving from Brechin City, the 24 year-old left a side just one game away from playing in Scotland’s second-tier. By stark contrast, Peterhead finished rock bottom of the Second Division, and are now back in the same league as they were when they evolved from their Highland League shell in 2001.

However, McAllister’s 40 goals in 63 league appearances for Brechin attracted major interest from Aberdeen, St.Johnstone and St.Mirren, all of whom he spoke to before turning down. In particular, having started his career with the Dons, a renewed opportunity to prove  doubters wrong with his hometown side seemed too good to be true.

But the Blue Toon won the race. Why? Because money talks; being McAllister’s only part-time offer on the table, it gave him the chance to finish off his apprenticeship as a plumber, something he was ironically forced into after full-time football deserted him. This – coupled with an extremely favourable wage from the Balmoor club for training twice a week and playing on a Saturday – cooked up a total income that most bottom-six SPL clubs would struggle to match in today’s economic climate.

On a playing level, it appears a strange move, as well as a risky one; he now faces an extraordinary level of pressure to deliver at least 25 goals this season. All eyes will be on the talismanic forward, and Blue Toon fans don’t want promises, they demand guarantees. 

McAllister scored 29 goals in the Second Division for Brechin last season

However, there is a re-assuring confidence within McAllister which leaves few people in doubt he will meet expectations. Indeed, he was 25 minutes shy of sitting a crucial exam required for his qualification, when he politely declared; “I might need to be heading away just now”, in the absence of any prior notice to reporters, who had gathered to see Peterhead’s lucrative new sponsorship with Bon Accord Glass announced.

McAllister practically finds himself in a win-win situation, for even if his football career does slip away he has a skill to make a living from. However this could also be his big break. In most people’s eyes, the main reason he made the move was to complete his plumbing qualification. Therefore an exceptionally good season with Peterhead will attract another fairground queue of full-time clubs vying for his signature.

If anything, one could point to his time with Inverness – after being released by Aberdeen as a teenager – as evidence of why a move back to the SPL could have been premature. Scoring just three goals in 49 games, albeit most as a substitute, is not what he will be best remembered for, even to families whose toilets he has repaired. There is nothing to suggest McAllister cannot eventually become a success at that level. However, the more time he spends in the lower divisions, the more prepared he will be for his ultimate move.

For Peterhead, the advantages are endless. In return for the substantial wage supplied to their new man, there comes a heatwave of publicity and interest which can only be good for a team in development. This has prompted cynics to compare their spending to that of the now fallen Gretna when they were in the Third Division. However, the absence of an eccentric, chain-smoking chairman with more money than brain cells lends itself towards Blue Toon success.

McAllister’s obvious talent can only set them on their way.