Aug 3 2012 by Andrew Burns, Dumfries Standard Friday
Chairman Hewitson reflects on spell as a youth player alongside Queens “golden generation”
IN the late 1970s, Billy Hewitson was a promising footballer with a dream to break into the Queen of the South team.
He was in the Palmerston ranks as a teenager alongside golden era stars such as Allan Ball and Iain McChesney.
His Queens career never progressed as he had hoped but he did go on to enjoy a thriving football spell in Australia before coming home to play for a host of southern clubs.
And this weekend, over 30 years later, Billy, 53, will watch his beloved Doonhamers play in a competitive home fixture for the first time as Palmerston chairman.
He said: “I joined Queens as a youth player straight from school and was here for about three years. I only managed one appearance in the league and a few cup games but I played a lot in what was a top reserve league at the time.
“I got to play against Celtic, Rangers and some of the country’s biggest teams and be around guys like Allan, Iain, Crawford Boyd, Lex Law, Peter Dickson and many more.
“It was an unbelievable team to be working with and it’s probably been the best team we have had at Palmerston in my lifetime, certainly up until the Scottish Cup final team.”
After a successful time in football that spanned almost four decades and stretched from Dalbeattie to Australia, Billy joined the Queens board in December 2003.
He has worked alongside ex-chairman Davie Rae and fellow directors Colin Rutherford and Craig Paterson over the last decade and replaced Mr Rae in the Palmerston hotseat at the end of last season.
Ahead of this weekend’s League Cup clash against Alloa Athletic and next week’s league kick-off, the chairman admits that changes had to be made.
“Things have certainly been different around Palmerston recently,” he said.
“There is a lot more activity and energy around the place and where in the past we could allow the club to run, now we actually have run things. I have taken a much more active role in the day-to-day running of the club, where as in the past it was left to Davie and the team in the office.
“We just can’t afford to do that anymore and we have to be far more efficient and unfortunately we have had to make cuts. The club was in a very poor financial position before but at the end of last season we made a small profit.
“This has been partly down to us putting money in ourselves to carry out various bits of work that maybe should have been paid for by the club. But it was our aim to get rid of the debt, break even and have a clean slate to move forward.
“We have a projection for this season that would show a small deficit but that would be made up by something like a decent cup run, increased ticket sales or merchandising. We are undoubtedly in a far better position now that before and that is very encouraging.”
Meanwhile, the club has also been carrying out improvement works on the pitch during the close season while also installing a brand new shop in part of the former Tesco building.
Billy said: “The pitch was maligned last year by most of the visiting managers and we have now addressed this.
“The pitch has been verti drained and we have installed a new sprinkler and drainage system, which has all come at a considerable cost, and renovated a corner of the old Tesco building for the new club shop and ticket office.
“It’s another step in the right direction for Queen of the South but it is just the start.”