Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Friday, 2 October 2009 15:24 UK

Thousand game manager feels grand

By Steven Duff
BBC Scotland

"I've never actually signed a contract."

That is the proud boast of Fraserburgh Football Club manager Charlie Duncan.

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Fraserburgh boss reaches 1000th game

It was November 1984 when he took charge at the Highland League club. His predecessor had lasted little more than a month before quitting. Now, 25 years on, Charlie is still there.

And the Active Nation Scottish Cup first round replay against Bonnyrigg Rose on Saturday marks Charlie's 1,000th game in charge.

The day I don't enjoy it, I'll stop
Charlie Duncan
Fraserburgh manager

"It's well documented when he came it was going to be a brief stint in management for him," Fraserburgh chairman Finlay Noble told BBC Scotland.

"But he obviously caught the bug and how long his brief stint is going to last for I'm not sure. But we're happy to have him."

Charlie played in the Highland League for Inverness Thistle, Buckie Thistle, Peterhead and Fraserburgh.

There was a spell in English football with Wimbledon, Crystal Palace and Chelsea before moving back to Scotland to play with Montrose.

He is the only person to have played Highland League football in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

So his longevity as manager at Fraserburgh perhaps then should be no surprise.

'Shoogily peg'

You could never accuse Charlie Duncan of buying success. "Buying? What's that?" he jokes. "I've no idea what buying means. The youth set-up has been everything really. When I started we had nothing. It's just kept on developing and is the vital part of the club."

Finlay said: "We've got under-15s, 17s, 19s and 21s. They've evolved under Charlie and he's taken a big interest. He's one of the only managers in the league who can predict his team in four years time."

Fraserburgh FC's Bellslea
Charlie took charge at the Highland League club in 1984

It's been a route to success. During his tenure Fraserbugh have won nine trophies and in 2001-2002, for the first time in 70 years, Charlie led the club to the Highland League championship.

Surely he must have been on the old "shoogily peg" at some point? Had the club ever thought of sacking Charlie?

"Almost every day!" laughs Finlay Noble. "He'll leave when he's ready to leave. He dictates the football and me and the directors run the financial side. That's the way it's always been. He always says it's when his wife decides it's time up."

"The day I don't enjoy it, I'll stop," is all Charlie says on the matter.

Charlie Duncan is respected across the Highland League. For Charlie, match day starts with a run across Fraserburgh beach. It ends with a quiet drink or two with the opposition manager in his office.

The significance of the 1,000th game will not matter to him. Getting through to the next round will.

* Fraserburgh won the game 2-1.



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