Macadie remains as committed as ever ahead of testimonial match
RICHARD Macadie’s loyalty to Wick Academy will be celebrated on Tuesday night with his testimonial match against an Aberdeen XI.
The Dons were Macadie’s first choice of opposition, having been a fan since boyhood. “They were the only team I tried,” he said. “That’s who I supported when I was growing up.”
The game at Harmsworth Park will be the culmination of a season-long series of events organised by the testimonial committee. There has been a golf day, a horse-racing night and most recently a dinner, and the player appreciates all that has been done in his honour.
“There’s a lot of work in it,” Macadie said. “You feel kind of guilty having people running around doing stuff in their own time, and it’s all for you.
“They’ve been really good. They’ve got everything sorted and there have been no hiccups or anything else. All the events have gone really well.”
Macadie (32) may be one of the team’s senior players these days but his enthusiasm and commitment remain as strong as ever. The attacking midfielder is Academy’s record scorer with 195 goals in 527 competitive appearances and he is already looking ahead to next season – when hopefully his goal tally will pass the 200 mark.
Looking back on the 2018/19 Highland League campaign, Macadie accepts that there was too much inconsistency but shares the view of manager Tom McKenna that a seventh-place finish represented good progress for the club, having had to settle for 12th the previous year.
“It’s always tricky when you change managers,” Macadie said. “We did that the year before and Tom took his time settling in. This is his first proper year, really.
“We didn’t start off too great this season. You set yourself goals, and come the turn of the year seventh was probably the best we could have got. So that was our aim for the last half of the season and we got it.
“There were games that we should have been winning, and then we take on teams like Fraserburgh and do the double over them. It’s strange.”
The Scorries were undoubtedly helped by having greater numbers at training and a bigger squad on match days. “It’s as big as I’ve seen, definitely – especially in the first three-quarters of the season when we were having five or six or sometimes seven people on the bench. I’ve never seen that in my time with Academy,” Macadie said.
“It tailed off towards the end with injuries and suspensions and work. But that was the biggest squad, and it definitely helped.”
Macadie made his competitive debut in August 2003 and became a first-team regular a couple of seasons later, having returned from Ross County. When asked about the high points of his time with Academy, he instantly picks out the 6-2 victory over Nairn County in the North of Scotland Cup final of 2015 – the club’s first piece of silverware since joining the SHFL.
“It was good to get that one off our backs,” Macadie recalled. “We needed that. We knew there was no way we were going to lose that day. It just felt different.”
Scottish Cup runs also come to mind, notably the third-round tie with Brechin City in 2009 which ended in a thrilling 4-4 draw. “We pushed them all the way and we actually should have won that game,” Macadie said.
It was also in 2009 that he was named Highland League player of the year: “I’ll never forget that – that was the pinnacle.”
He takes pride too in Academy’s remarkable 2012/13 league campaign when they achieved the unique feat of winning all 17 of their home games and came agonisingly close to taking the title.
Asked to name some of the team-mates he has most enjoyed playing with over the years, Macadie hesitated only briefly.
“I’ve played with so many,” he replied. “From the start I was playing with the likes of Craig Shearer and Shoe [Martin Gunn], boys like that, and I had to step up a bit when they packed it in.
“And then you’ve got Davie Allan, obviously – he’s probably set up half my goals, so I have to give Davie a mention. And it was good playing with Chuckie [Gary Weir], my best mate at the time.”
Macadie and Weir had a long-running duel for the honour of being Academy’s record scorer, and for a while it was nip and tuck – but when Weir retired from the club it allowed his old pal to sprint clear in the goal charts.
“He took it, and then I took it off him, and he took it back before he finished, then just after he finished I took it back off him,” Macadie said.
People ask how I can keep going after so long, but it’s no different to the first season. I’ll keep going as long as I enjoy it.
Now the next generation is beginning to come through, and the young Scorries have recently lifted the SHFL Under-17 North championship for a second successive year. That side has featured Richard’s younger brother Mark, who towards the end of the season also became a regular member of the first-team squad.
“With him playing I’ve followed it [the under-17 league] a fair bit whenever they’ve had home games,” Macadie said. “Obviously they’re a good team and they don’t really change the way they play.
“They play good football, they pass at the right times and they just punish teams. They’re quite big and physical too. Even when they play the tougher teams in the league they’ve held their own, and they’ve won it the last two years.”
Macadie, who works as an airport firefighter at Wick, may be approaching the veteran stage but he has no intention of winding down his footballing career in the foreseeable future.
He said: “I don’t know what I’ll do when I finish! It’s been a good time to be part of it.
“The last 10 years are probably the best Academy have ever been. When I first started, attendances were down – we were in a mini-league with the likes of Rothes and Brora and Fort William.
“But after a few years it started coming and we started getting the crowds. When we got 10 wins in a row people took an interest again and we started attracting managers from down south.”
He added: “People ask how I can keep going after so long, but it’s no different to the first season. I’ll keep going as long as I enjoy it.”
Aberdeen youth team coach Paul Sheerin will be bringing up a young squad that is likely to include highly rated youngsters such as Archie Mair, Connor Barron, Jack McKenzie and David Dangana. There is a chance that Bruce Anderson and Sam Roscoe, who have been on loan at Dunfermline and Alloa respectively, will also be included.
Sheerin said: “We’re delighted to have been asked to take part in Richard’s testimonial game, particularly as he is an Aberdeen fan. Richard is exactly the kind of player who deserves such an occasion, a one-club man who has been fiercely loyal to Wick Academy since making his debut 16 years ago.
“It’s also an opportunity for the many Dons supporters in the area to see some of the excellent youngsters the club has breaking through at the moment, with several of those travelling being regulars for their countries at various age-group levels.
“We’re very much looking forward to the game and wish Richard and Academy all the very best for the season ahead.”
Tuesday’s match kicks off at 7.45pm.