Obituary: Ronnie Swan, 85

Ronnie Swan
Ronnie Swan
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A committed sportsman who became known as Mr Spartans has died at the age of 85.

Ronnie Swan was born in November 1928 and brought up in Baird Drive, Saughtonhall, by his mother Jenny and father Jimmy.

He excelled in school and also showed great sporting promise throughout his time at George Watson’s College.

A keen cricketer and athlete, he also led two rugby teams through their seasons, suffering only one defeat between them.

He also represented the Capital in a clash against a team made up of pupils from schools in Glasgow.

But football proved the biggest draw and with Saughtonhall boys club, Mr Swan enjoyed cup success.

His sporting endeavours were interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War, and Mr Swan found himself posted to Palestine and Egypt with the Horse Artillery.

He couldn’t stay away from the game for long, though, and played for his regiment team whenever the opportunity presented itself.

After the conflict, Mr Swan returned to the Capital and trained at Edinburgh University to become a dentist, going on to practice at Gilmore Place and Comiston Road.

He, of course, turned out for the football and rugby teams in between his studies, captaining the former to success in the Queen’s Park Shield, while also representing his country when a Scottish Universities team took on their rivals from England.

The clash at Westerlands in Glasgow proved a landmark occasion, with the second half becoming the first-ever live broadcast of football in Scotland.

Mr Swan also played a key role as a dead ball specialist in the Edinburgh University rugby team, but realising how important his hands were for dentistry, he committed to football and joined Spartans in 1951.

Over the next six decades, he became known as “Mr Spartans”, proving his worth in every position at the club.

He was a first-team stalwart in the 1950s and 60s and was even persuaded to pull on his boots occasionally in the 70s.

Club captain for several seasons, he went on to be elected as secretary at the 1965 AGM – a position he held for more than 30 years.

After also serving as treasurer and media officer, Mr Swan was eventually appointed as club president in 1987.

In 2001, he organised Spartans’ 50th anniversary celebrations and after retiring from dentistry was appointed honorary president.

Outside of football, Mr Swan enjoyed golf and was a member of Baberton for many years, collecting a few titles along the way.

He married Mary in August 1958 and the couple had two children – Valerie and Graeme – and became grandparents of four.

Mr Swan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2006 and spent his final years at North Merchiston Care Home. He died on March 3.