The term legend is often misused or overegged. But when it comes to describing a player who has devoted almost all of her career to one club and became a role model for aspiring young females at Spartans, the curtain is set to come down this Sunday on Bobbie Beveridge’s eleven year top-flight career. Read our exclusive interview with Bobbie as she gets set for one final game in a bid to bow out on a high.
On the 31st August 2010 the club welcomed the latest of their new, young recruits:
“Spartans are delighted to announce the addition of eighteen year old Bobbie Beveridge to their 1st team squad. Bobbie has moved from Forfar Farmington where she was a regular for the last two years. Bobbie signed for Forfar as a 16 year old from Dunfermline Under 17’s and has held down the right midfield spot in the Forfar team from the start. A pacey winger with a good touch and crossing ability will be a valuable addition to Spartans and we are looking forward to seeing her in action.”
A few days later, there was an Edinburgh derby to be settled with Boroughmuir Thistle. A certain Alana Marshall opened the scoring for Thistle, whilst a Di Barry double and Hayley Lauder replied to give Spartans a 1-3 win. The match report concluded:
“Meanwhile Bobbie Beveridge made her debut for the club settling in well on the right side of the Spartans midfield and is already looking like a valuable addition.”
On the eve of her 194th and final appearance, spanning over 11 years, we caught up with club legend Bobbie Beveridge as she looks back on her career at Spartans.
You joined in August 2010 from Forfar as an 18 year old. Did you expect to be here 11 years later?
When I joined I was very young at the time and Spartans were doing very well in the league. I came along and didn’t really know what to expect, if I’m honest. I was warmly welcomed by everyone on the first night and I just clicked straight away with all the other girls.
I suppose after a few seasons under my belt I knew I didn’t want to go anywhere else and I’ve always felt challenged at Spartans. I didn’t realise I’d be playing here as long as I have, but I certainly could have seen me spending my career here.
What are the key things that have not only kept you at the club, but wanted you to stay?
First of all, it has to be all the girls and all the staff here. I’m met friends for life at this club and the people here have just been unbelievable. What the Club stands for too – it’s not just a club, it’s a family. From the charity work to the academy and all the energy and effort that’s put in, I simply admire everything that goes on at this club.
There’s also no greater feeling than playing and training week in, week out with the girls and I’m grateful that I’ve been able to do it for as long as I possibly could.
Interesting stat – you have scored 7 goals and in each of those games, you have been on the winning side, twice against Kilmarnock, including a Scottish Cup hat-trick in 2011. What have been the most memorable games you have played in?
Obviously not the Kilmarnock one as I can’t remember it as it was so long ago! There’s been a few that stand out such as when we defeated Hibs 2-1 in the League Cup semi final in 2013. The result was memorable, as was my Dad filling my new petrol car up with diesel. Halfway across the Forth Road Bridge my car broke down and I never thought I was never going to make it!!
I also fondly remember at the end of my first season we played Celtic and I was playing at full back for the first time. I remember having the big conversation with Debbi before the game, full of nerves, but went out and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was such a great team performance and we won 5-2.
And of course, two league wins against Glasgow City, which not many players can put in their scrapbook.
Your career spanning over a decade of top-flight women’s football has undoubtedly seen many changes along the way. What do you think have been the biggest changes – and challenges?
The biggest changes, certainly more recently, has been the coverage the women’s game is getting and the recognition the players are getting too. We are reaching different platforms and hitting new levels of exposure. Every season it is improving and the growth in young girls and women playing football has been exciting and very welcome.
Biggest challenge for now is that with success, we have seen teams become full time professional clubs. Yes, that’s where teams and players strive to be but many teams have got challenges such as the ability to have facilities to train three/four times a week and the financial backing to achieve this too. Hopefully with investment and continued media coverage, that gap can be closed.
Who has had the biggest influence in your playing career?
On the field, it simply has to be Debbi. Throughout my career Debbie has always pushed me to be the best I can be and she’s always steered me in the right direction. She has brought me on to where she feels she wants me to contribute best for the team.
Off the pitch, it’s got to be my Mum & Dad. I remember once when I was on holiday and the team were playing away to Forfar. My folks jumped in the car, went to the game and were live texting me updates throughout the game to make sure I didn’t miss out!
I don’t think, Covid lockdown aside, my Dad has missed a game since I was about six-year-old. Even when I played at Forfar, he travelled everywhere in all conditions to watch me play. They are my biggest fans through and through.
What advice would you give to aspirational young females, including those who were supporting the side in the stands last weekend?
Listen, take on board, stay focussed and most importantly, enjoy every single second of it. Every single session and game is a learning experience. Even now I’m still learning new things. You don’t get to play football for ever, so embrace it whilst you can.
Sunday’s game against Hearts is one of the biggest games for the team in some time. A win will see us achieve a top half finish for the first time since 2014. Will that add to any pressure in your preparations for your final game – or is it business as usual and treat it like any other of the 193 you’ve played in so far?
There’s no denying that it’s a big game on Sunday. We need to win it and the girls are more than aware of what’s required and are 100% focussed on giving everything on the pitch. It’s business as usual and we must turn up ready to go with our heads screwed on and get the job done. I’m sure that I’ll be very emotional afterwards though!
Is this a goodbye, a ‘see ya later’, or will the boots be in the wheelie bin after Sunday’s game?
Ha! They’ll be in the wheelie bin! But trust me, it’s not goodbye as you’ll see me in the stand nearly every week cheering the team on. Spartans has been and will always be a massive part of my life and I’ll always support the girls and the club.
Finally – any regrets?
I don’t think so, no. My journey has been what’s it been, and I have genuinely enjoyed every second played, every yard covered, of it. The ups and the downs in equal measure too. I’ve been so proud to have been part of this club.