The entire Scottish Cricket community was brought together this week with the sad news of the passing of Sandy Strang.
Sandy was a true gent and a great servant to cricket in the West and Scotland as a whole. The tributes from the cricket community show that Sandy was a man that had a positive influence on so many peoples lives and he will be deeply missed by all.
Cricket Scotland are grateful to Richard Young for this personal tribute:
“I was playing cricket for the Forty Club at Loretto School in Musselburgh when the sad news came through of the passing of Sandy Strang.
I have known Sandy all my life, his mother Maisie, was a childhood friend of my father back in 1920s Glasgow. They attended Shawlands Academy together and remained good friends thereafter.
He gave the eulogy at both of my parents’ funerals, was at family weddings, christenings and parties and was a feature of many Young family gatherings and events over the years.
For me, Sandy was an important part of my life, mainly through cricket and my enthusiasms as I tried to play football, but the important part of the relationship that many are not aware of, was that Sandy was responsible for making me the person that I am today.
I suffered terrible injuries in a road accident in 1976 and spent a considerable time in hospital recuperating. He would come and see me on a regular basis and Sandy spent time tutoring me in the school work I had fallen behind in. His mentoring and instruction is evident to see over 40 years later, where his guidance and supervision back then, has resulted in my status as a published author. He helped me write ‘As the Willow Vanishes’, wrote the foreword and then presented the book launch for me within the Football Museum at Hampden in April 2014.
I didn’t appreciate his insistence on my paying attention to detail and structures but I do now. He made me see beyond the landscape and observe what was going on around and within it, literally and metaphorically.
But I am not alone with that feeling. He affected thousands of school children as a teacher, impacted on the lives of many that knew him as a footballer and cricketer, and in recent years, the joy he brought to so many as an after-dinner speaker, raconteur and comedian. He was genuinely respected by those he came into contact with.
He was a talented cricketer, a wicket-keeper/batsman, who played in a record number of nine Scottish Cup Finals. He played for, as well as captaining, Clydesdale and enjoyed short spells at Poloc and Kelburne. Latterly, he was still playing for Ferguslie as a wicketkeeper/batsman well past his 60th year. He was regarded as a fierce competitor upon the pitch and the perfect gentleman off it. Many cricketers will fondly remember their entertaining conversations with him post-match in clubhouses up and down the country.
As a top level amateur footballer, he wore the coveted No.9 jersey for Cambridge University in a Varsity Cup Final against Oxford at Wembley, a match that he described himself “as the only Scot on the field in a game where Cambridge took a pounding from Oxford – and won 1-0!”
He played on the hallowed turf of Hampden for Queen’s Park Football Club, whose own motto, Ludere Causa Lundendi – To Play For The Sake Of Playing, epitomised everything you ever needed to know about Sandy as a sportsman.
A good friend of mine, David Grant, an avid Queen’s Park supporter who emigrated to Adelaide, Australia in 1994, contacted me with this reminiscence of Sandy:
‘You’ll recall he was in his early 40s when we, in our 20s, played football with him at Clydesdale Albion. Inspired, I thought ‘I want to still be playing when I’m his age’. 25 years on, I’m still trying to play the game and often think about those days.
I also remember conceding a goal in the last minute of play one Friday night under lights. This caused us to either lose the game or draw – it matters not. Sandy’s response was to shout, on a football field remember, “Oh lads, that’s a travesty”.
Only Sandy would come out with something like that. He was a real gentleman who always had time for a chat, an offer of guidance and to pep up us youngsters. I haven’t seen Sandy in years but we’d exchanged a few messages here and there. I think the briefest shooting star can leave the brightest light.
I’ll be thinking of him, you and the Clydesdale Albion days this weekend when I put on the boots on Saturday.’
These sentiments are just one of many similar that have been posted on social media in recent days about Sandy Strang, and that we have just lost someone that we all could refer to as a ‘good guy’.
In June last year, after years of coaxing and cajoling, I convinced Sandy to make his debut for the annual Forty Club Scotland District match at Comrie in Perthshire. I hadn’t played in the same team with him since our Clydesdale days in the early 90s and we both remarked that it had been bizarre that nearly 25 years had lapsed from the regular scorecard report of ‘Stumped/Caught Strang, Bowled RS Young’. It happened a lot back in the day. He had thoroughly enjoyed the match and the ambience of the Forty Club and was looking forward to more games this season. Alas, that is not to be.
I am utterly devastated and saddened to learn of his passing and that there is now a sizeable hole in my life where Sandy used to be.
Thanks Sandy for everything you have done for me, my family and everyone else you have encountered in your life.
You will be truly missed.
Sandy Strang was a Cambridge Blue at Football, played for Queen’s Park, was captain of Clydesdale Cricket and Football Club, and has 6 Scottish Cup winners’ medals at cricket.
In 1985 Sandy Strang was the man of the match in cricket’s Scottish Cup Final when Clydesdale defeated Poloc in a derby cup final played at Hamilton Crescent, the scene of the first football international.