Peter Weatherson: A Kick About to Annan – Part One

An 18-year career which has spanned from non-league football to scoring goals on a regular basis, Peter Weatherson is a striker who made an impact at every club he has played for. With just over 500 appearances and close to 150 goals to his name, we have a look back at the Englishman’s career.

Peter, who was born in North Shields, expressed an interest in football at a very young age.

My dad played football at amateur level, so that was my introduction as a young lad. I continued into boys club then I became semi-professional when I was 16, with Newcastle Blue Star. I’ll be honest, football is all I know and all I’ve ever wanted to know. Football was always my main focus and there wasn’t anything else I was really interested in.”

Newcastle Blue Star.

I played Sunday morning football with a number of players from Newcastle Blue Star. It was just a little bit of fun on a Sunday morning for them, and for me, but because I was doing so well they invited me along. It was a friend of the family – that was the first link. I had some great times there; I was looked after really well – there were people picking me up and dropping me off as I was only 16, just approaching 17. They took me under their wing and it was a great grounding for me. I had to grow up very quickly, to be honest.”

In the summer of 2000, Weatherson made the move to professional football for the first time, after joining Dumfries side, Queen of the South.

There was a team called Ashington [who were in the same league as Newcastle Blue Star], which at that time was managed by a guy called John Connolly. He got the manager’s job at Queen of the South and I had been doing really well for Newcastle Blue Star. The invitation came after I received a phone call from Iain Scott, who had just taken up the role of Assistant Manager and who I had known previously. The club spoke to my family, because I would need to move away and obviously I was still a young lad,” explains Weatherson. “It was never a hard decision for me; I did have to speak to my parents and take their opinion on board – but, my mind was already made up. It was clearly a better level than that I was playing in Newcastle.”

Peter is notorious for his versatility which began at Queen of the South, where he was moved from his customary striking role.

To be honest, from an early age, I had a good understanding of football. I always listened – people say you need to be like a sponge – take as much information in as you can and I have done that ever since. Even from an early age, I felt like I could play in any position, outwith goalkeeper. I felt like I could understand any position and play in any position. I loved scoring goals, that was my main attribute, I think, but there was a lot more to my game: I played central and right midfield, it was great! It was all self-taught – looking back at the younger years of my career, there wasn’t much coaching. At Newcastle Blue Star, there was only a couple of structured drills, but apart from that, there wasn’t any individual coaching or anything.”

Moving up to the senior ranks was a nerve-racking time for Weatherson.

I was nervous; it was the fear of the unknown. I had confidence, I have always been that kind of person. But, I didn’t know what to expect. What helped me was that there was a good contingent of people who signed for Queen of the South at that time that had came up from Newcastle. We all travelled together – that really helped me settle in. Once I got my foot in the door, I had a good feeling about it. I knew it could be a good spell for myself, I just needed to knuckle down and go for it.”

In his first season, he scored 20 goals in 40 appearances. Weatherson also picked up his first professional red card.

I think the red card incident, against East Stirling I think, wasn’t a red card. I know the referee, Cammy Melville, as a good friend now and even he thinks it wasn’t a red card, looking back, so I don’t think we should count that one! The people were fantastic; the crowds, the coaching staff and all the players – we had a good group there supporting each other and as a young lad, that was really helpful. Collectively, the way the club embraced me made it a great start.”

The following season, Queen of the South won the Second Division.

I don’t think there was that expectation at the time [to go and win the league]. I’m not someone who enters a competition to finish second so it was always my aim, even at a young age, to drive people on, get the bit between their teeth and meet those goals. But once the season started to kick in – and the quality players we had shone through: Derek Lyle, John O’Neil, Jim Thomson… there was a great bunch of players in that dressing room, big personalities, and as the season went on you could just tell as we gathered momentum. There were a couple of wee blips in there, but, we were the best team in the league and we all gathered that after the first quarter. I think we played Forfar and we beat them and that secured the title. I scored a couple that day. The celebrations – wow, absolutely fantastic. I embraced it [the occasion and the pressure of winning the title vs Forfar]. I remember being choked up before the game, due to what was at stake. The boys were getting geared up before the game but I was sitting there with a lump in my throat – I remember the feeling as if it was yesterday. I remember walking out and saying to myself, “this is the day, it is going to happen”. They kicked off after we scored the third goal and the tears were dripping off of me, I will never, ever, forget it. I only moved away from home 18 months before that and to be so successful, get a winners medal, which hundreds and hundreds of football players go through their whole career and don’t get, then to do it so soon into my career was fantastic.”

After a successful spell in Dumfries, Weatherson attracted interest from elsewhere, eventually moving on to Greenock Morton.

[Moving to Queen of the South] really helped my transition – moving from semi-professional down in Newcastle and coming into the professional leagues. The transition was really smooth but I just thought, at that point, I needed full-time training. At that time, we were only part-time at Queen of the South and I was doing a bit on my own, I was working as well. I felt my performances warranted a crack at it. I spoke to John Connolly about it and he said there were two offers – this was during the following season. They served their purpose. I love the club and I still have fond memories of them, but I really just needed full-time. I think Partick Thistle offered £20,000 and Morton offered £30,000 – so Queen of the South were obviously favouring Morton. To be honest, I didn’t really care: I would’ve spoken to both managers if the opportunity had arisen. I was told they had accepted the bid from Morton and they hadn’t heard anything back from Partick Thistle. It was then just going and speaking to John McCormack, the then manager of Morton; they were a club on the up – they had just won the Third Division, the whole town was buzzing and it was a joy to go join the club.”

Part Two of this interview will follow tomorrow where Peter talks about his time at Greenock Morton.

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