Everyone at Glenafton Athletic was saddened to learn that Glenafton legend Richard ‘Nodder’ Kirkpatrick passed away today (9th March 2019) , aged 76 years old. Our thoughts are with Nodder’s family and friends at this sad time.
New Cumnock born Nodder was playing Churches League football with St.Ninians when he joined Glenafton in the summer of 1961 as an 18-year-old forward. The previous season, their first season at Loch Park, the Glens had won the Western League South Section, winning 20 out of 22 games, but were soundly beaten by Irvine Meadow in the Western League Championship decider.
It would be late in Season 1961/62 before Nodder, a centre forward, made his debut and then scored his first goal in a 6-1 defeat of Nithsdale Wanderers in the league at Loch Park. The Glens went onto win the Western League South Section again before gaining revenge on Meadow to be crowned Western League Champions to add to the Ayrshire Cup claimed a few weeks before. Nodder finished 3rd in the goalscoring charts with 21 goals behind top goalscorer Danny McCulloch (31) and Billy Paton (28).
Season 1962/63 and Nodder was now the established centre forward forming a memorable partnership with inside left Danny McCulloch. Nodder bagged a hat-trick in his first taste of Scottish Junior Cup football in a 1st round 6-1 home win over Kirrie Thistle. He scored again in a 3rd round 6-1 win at Irvine Vics and his goal at Linlithgow Rose in the 4th secured a replay as the Glens continue their march to the semi-final for the second consecutive season.
Back row : George Caldwell, Willie McLean, Roger Niven, Billy Moffat, John McKenzie, Willie Murray. Front row: John Maley, Eddie Brennan, Richard Kirkpatrick, Danny McCulloch, Billy Paton.
They faced Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic in the semi-final at Firhill stadium and it was Nodder that grabbed Glens goal in a 1-1 draw. The replay ended in a 2-2 draw but Nodder was injured and missed the 2nd replay which the New Cumnock side won 3-2 after Danny McCulloch scored the winner deep in extra-time. Sadly Nodder did not recover from injury to be included in the first Glenafton team to appear in a Scottish Junior Cup final and despite taking the lead it was their Ayrshire rivals Irvine Meadow that took the coveted Holy Grail home. Nodder was back in the side and scored a brace in a 3-1 win over Kello Rovers in the Western League Cup semi-final before defeating the Meadow 3-0 in the final. Glens went on to win he Western League South Division for a third season in a row before beating Beith Juniors in the Western League Championship decider.
Season 1963/64 proved to be a landmark season for Nodder after he set a new goal scoring record for Glenafton with 65 goals in a season; a season in which the Glens scored 210 goals. Nodder’s tally remains a record until this day and is unlikely ever to be beaten, although Norman Montgomery has since equalled it.
A good run in the Scottish Junior Cup came to an end in the 5th round against eventual winners Johnstone Burgh. The Glens won the Western League South Section again to set up another show down with Beith for the Championship decider at Cumnock. Nodder scored a hat-trick in a 3-1 victory to secure a hat-trick of consecutive Western Championship titles for Glenafton, the first club to do so other than Ardeer Recreation’s five in a row during the limited league of the War Years (1939-45).
In Season 1964/65 Nodder scored 27 goals for the club to take his tally beyond 100 goals, however there was to be no silverware at Loch Park and Kello Rovers claimed the Western League South Section title before Beith overcame the Kirkconnel side to be crowned Western League Champions at the third time of asking.
Season 1965/66 and the Glens won the Western League South Section for the fifth time in six years but lost out to Kilwinning Rangers in the decider for the Championship. Nodder scored the opening goal in the 3-2 win over Whitletts Victoria in the Western League Cup final, however it would be 14 years before the Glens would win another trophy.
Nodder continued to play for the Glens for a couple of more seasons before moving to a very good Kello Rovers side for a time.
The Glens were the dominant force in Ayrshire league football in the early 1960’s during which time they reached the Scottish Junior Cup final for the first time in the club’s history in 1962/63 and Richard ‘Nodder’ Kirkpatrick more than played his part in that great success.
Thirty years later the Glens won the Scottish Junior Cup for the first time under the stewardship of Alan Rough and it was fitting that he along with Danny McCulloch and Richard ‘Nodder’ Kirkpartick were the first three names to be inducted into Glenafton Athletic’s Hall of Fame.
Nodder and his family continued to loyal followers of Glenafton. He was a regular visitor to Loch Park where he will be sorely missed and his name never forgotten. A legend and a true gentleman, RIP Nodder.