An exact definition of the word legend is 'Anyone or anything whose fame promises to be enduring', so there can be no doubting the world of Junior football and the town of Kilbirnie lost a man truly deserving of the accolade this week with the passing of Bobby 'Sconie' Davidson, just nine days short of his 81st birthday.

The more mature among us will recall him as the former Blasties manager, credited with saving his hometown club from extinction back in 1965 when he and the amateur team he was running at the time moved en bloc into Valefield to set about resurrecting the ailing Ayrshire club’s fortunes and it was a sign of things to come when a first silverware success arrived just three years later as Ladeside were crowned Western District champuons.

Sconie’s eye for a player and measured team-building skills were to bring a managerial reign of highs and more highs culminating in an unbelievably successful mid-70s period  when after twice hitting the crossbar with losing Scottish Junior Cup semi-final appearances against Rutherglen Glencairn (1975) and Darvel (1976), his 1977 team comprising of greats such as Jim Marner, Ada McLaughlin, Tam McGill, John McCool and captained by Jim Inglis lifted the Holy Grail silverware with a 3-1 Hampden Park victory over Rob Roy in what was memorably the first ever televised Junior showpiece.

Fully 10 years later (1987) Glengarnock Valley residents were similarly bursting with pride as yet another successful side forged by Sconie made it all the way to the final again, only to go down 1-0 in a replayed Rugby Park showdown against Ayrshire rivals Auchinleck Talbot following a 1-1 first game stalemate.

Sconie was to remain at the heart of everything Ladeside until finally relinquishing the reins in 1992, an astonishing tenure of 35 years, reckoned to be a record for a Junior manager in these parts, and his renown in the town where he was born and bred has never diminished.

Somewhat fittingly, a more insightful testament to the man was provided by current Ladeside club secretary Gordon Ronney in penning a heartfelt tribute earlier this week.

Gordon recalled how as a 15-year-old fledgling committee member, he would sit and listen in awe to every word Sconie uttered.

He wrote: "Listening to every aspect of club business that he was engaged in was mesmerising, whether it was the press, other managers, players, clubs he was trying to negotiate a player from, Ayrshire Region issues or just generally committee meetings and it’s no exaggeration to say he had people eating out of his hand.

“That’s not to say he didn’t rile a few people up over the years, successful managers are not out to make friends, but are there to do the best for their club and Bobby never lost sight of that important fact.

“His huge strength of character made sure the name of Kilbirnie Ladeside was never out of the back pages and throughout his time in charge, he made sure the club’s profile was as high as it possibly could be.

“The passing of our greatest ever manager is a sad day for his family, friends, our town and all supporters of Kilbirnie Ladeside.”

To say Sconie is a hard act to follow would be a gross understatement according to current Blasties gaffer Martin Ferry whose assuming the Valefield helm during the 2020 summer months, in an alliance with assistant Des Roach, a former referee, coincided with the Ayrshire club’s officials opting to withdraw from the inaugural WOSFL season.

He recalled: “Sconie was a one-off and what he achieved at this club will never ever be emulated so his legacy is that every Kilbirnie manager since, including myself, has to live in his shadow.

“Nobody but nobody would be more deserving of a minute’s silence at a home game but unfortunately it’s not possible in these coronavirus times however I’m sure the club will make plans to afford him due recognition when we get playing again at a later date.

“He was forever protective of this club so I’m pretty sure he’ll have agreed with the decision to pull out of the proposed league campaign especially in light of recent lockdown measures which have cast huge doubts over whether a restart will be possible."

Ferry overseen his Ladeside team taking part in four pre-season friendly matches prior to pulling the plug on their WOSFL participation along with fellow Premier Division leading lights Auchinleck Talbot, Glenafton, Pollok,and Cumnock.

He insisted: "No fans, no dressing rooms and all manner of restrictions surrounding matches and training sessions made it an easy call to make so I felt it was the right thing to do back then and nothing has happened to bring about a change my mind.

“The only dilemma was caused by several of the guys saying they wanted to continue playing even if it meant moving elsewhere and we were at pains not to stand in their way and only asked the question 'Where do you want to go?'“

Goalkeeper Joe Winton, former Morton hitman Jon Scullion and Kyle Girvan opted to go out on loan to Yoker Athletic followed by Dean Trainor (East Kilbride Thistle), John Kelly and Ross Gilmour (Renfrew) and Danny Bamford (Port Glasgow), much to Ferry’s subsequent frustration.

He revealed: “Des and I are still getting to know the strengths and weaknesses of the playing squad we inherited so it made sense to allow some of them to go out on loan to clubs.

“But it‘s absolutely nuts to then find lockdown protocols mean we cannot go along as invited guests to take in games involving our own players and there’s no end in sight to the situation.

“All we can do is rely on second-hand reports and try to focus on next season… whenever that is?”