Legendary St Johnstone "tea lady"

Born: April 20, 1946;

Died: April 14, 2017

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AGGIE Moffat, who has died aged 72, enjoyed 15 minutes of fame in the most extraordinary way when she brought one of football's hard men down to earth with a bump.

For 27 years she quietly served St Johnstone, although the usual description of her as a tea lady barely covered the duties she performed for the homely Perth club. Yes, she made countless cups of tea and cooked lunches for players, managers and coaches and other staff members, but she also made certain the playing and training kits were pristine, she swept floors, tidied up, and found time to be a surrogate mother to the club's players young and old.

BBC Scotland football match reporter Allan Preston, a former St Johnstone player, told the story, during a recent edition of Off the Ball of how, when the young Keighan Parker took ill and had to take pills, with food, Aggie arranged for him to have “a roll on tablets” at lunch time – his two pills on a buttered roll.

Go into any club in the land and you will find their own version of Aggie Moffat, toiling away, unheralded, but never unappreciated in the background. These formidable ladies seldom hit the headlines, but Aggie did, back in 1991.

On 26 February that year, Rangers, en route to winning a third straight Scottish League Championship, travelled to Perth, where they drew 1-1 with mid-table St Johnstone. Manager Graeme Souness was not very happy with the performance and, during his post-match rant, he flung a full tea pot against the dressing room wall, smashing it.

This did not go down well with Aggie, who, being a Fifer, born in Ballingry, tackled Souness about his vandalism, and the state in which Rangers left the away dressing room, in the corridor outside the board-room. Legend has it that it took the intervention of Perth club chairman Geoff Brown to rescue Souness from Aggie Moffat's ire. The Rangers manager later cited the incident as one of the reasons why he left the club for Liverpool some two months later.

The incident was a unique visit to the limelight for the essentially shy Mrs Moffat, who spent the rest of her life trying to play it down, insisting the confrontation was “water under the bridge” and that she had had bigger rows with Geoff Brown and other Saints bosses.

When he came to Scotland to make the film A Shot At Glory in 2000, legendary Hollywood actor Robert Duvall wanted to put in a scene mirroring the Aggie-Souness confrontation, and there were suggestions Aggie Moffat play the part of Wee Brenda the tea lady. However, Mrs Moffat was having none of it, suggesting Liz Hurley should play the part, modelled on herself.

She began to work for the club, at Muirton Park, in 1980. Her late husband Bob also worked for the club and her home-made soup was legendary to anyone who had played for Saints. One former player, Sir Alex Ferguson, even, in his Manchester United days, telephoned a Happy Birthday message to Mrs Moffat.

Mrs Moffat retired from St Johnstone in 2007. She went back to living quietly in Perth, where she died.

MATT VALLANCE