Alex Horsburgh investigates the life and times of the Cowdenbeath chairman, a man who sacked his manager the week after they were promoted

Distinguishing features  Small and wiry, reminiscent of Granville from Open All Hours.

Habitat Under a bonnet somewhere. McDougall is a former world champion stock car racer who has renamed Cowden’s Central Park stadium “The Racewall”. After home games on Saturdays 3,000 stock car fans arrive at the ground – ten times as many people as watch Cowdenbeath, now a mid-table Third Division outfit.

What use is he? Seemed to have saved the club when he bought in the early Nineties and re-established stock car racing on the oval track surrounding the pitch. Proclaiming himself to be a Hibs fan seemed a bizarre move, but not as bizarre as sacking ex-Hibs star John Brownlie as manager the week after the club were promoted in 1992 for requesting money for new players. The club duly lasted one season out of their customary position in the basement. Former Scotland international Craig Levein has now been in charge for four mediocre years.

Who remembers his birthday? All the cards will come from the sparkplug and klaxon brigade, though he might get one from Korea – he tried to do a deal with Hyundai to get a new ground built in the late Nineties but it came just in time for the collapse of the Korean economy which left a new factory in nearby Dunfermline sitting empty for three years.

Quote/unquote The crowds at Cowden are now too small to voice any real protest. Any dissent has at times been met with head shaking and “sometimes I wonder why I bought this club”. “Vroom, vroom” might be the suitable reply.

Other offences to be taken into consideration Gordon is a fan of the feeder club idea and has proposed that the lower two divisions in Scotland be for Under-23 players only. Though these days that young talent would have to be French, Portuguese or Scandinavian. One of the youngest squads in Scottish football are now told that Cowdenbeath is a shop window for bigger clubs, like Clyde and Alloa. This is realism perhaps, but little consolation for older fans who can remember a bid for the legendary Jim Baxter at the end of his stint at Nottingham Forest and a home grown team reaching two League Cup semi-finals, with the same number of people watching training nights as now pay to see home games. McDougall has kept Cowdenbeath alive, but only as a Saturday afternoon warm-up act for the boy racers.

From WSC 160 June 2000. What was happening this month

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