Sadly season 2013-14 proved fruitless on the park for the Jags but the club has tasted some off-field success with the match programme ‘The Thistle Review’ claiming first place in the Scottish Non League Programme of the Year Awards. The awards were a joint venture run by Graeme McGinty of the Pie & Bovril Football Fan website and the renowned collectors’ magazine ‘Programme Monthly’.
In total there were 58 entries for the Scottish Non-League section of the annual awards and the ‘Thistle Review’ gained a total of 80 points out of a hundred to win the award by just 1 point from 2nd placed Whitehill Welfare of the Lowland League. Fellow Highland League club Fraserburgh came in 3rd with junior sides Ardeer Thistle (Ayrshire) and Luncarty (Perthshire) 4th equal. The only other side from the Scottish Highland Football league to breach the top 10 were Formartine United who finished in 7th position. In terms of how the points were divided the Thistle Review gained 33 for content and 47 for design.
The Programme Monthly Magazine carries the following quote – ‘Easton Thain has produced the Jags programme for over 20 years and always to a high standard and this is no different. It is not the best designed or for content and at £2 for 28 pages you may think that it is a little expensive but the whole issue pulls it ahead of everyone else. Packed with content with strong current and historical matters it is a joy to read and well worth a trip to Victoria Park.’
The Thistle Review was a regular award winner in the late 1990’s/ early 2000’s but has not picked up a ‘gong’ for some time so it goes without saying that editor Easton Thain is delighted that his efforts have brought fruition for 2013-14. ‘I actually was notified by a text from a football contact and it was a very nice surprise indeed and naturally I am very pleased about the award’ he said. He went on ‘I was a tad surprised as I feel other issues out there have a better look to them and sometimes that swings the judges favour when awards are handed out. I take on board some of the comment from Programme Monthly but feel the content is the best I can achieve without getting contributions from other folk apart from regular scribe Michael Ross. The design is somewhat determined by the printers for whom the Thistle Review is not their main source of work and for them to take more time on the issue could raise the costs’, he noted. ‘I am looking forward to doing the pre-season issues against Rangers and Aberdeen and for any other home friendlies but after that the future is more uncertain as an option for me to move to Inverness may well come to fruition as early as September in which case I would have to cut some ties with the club notably the programme as I could not do it justice being based in Inverness’
If it is the case that Easton moves on then the award of Scottish Non-League Programme of the Year for 2013-14 is a fitting climax to 21 years as editor – there is no better way to go out on than on a high.