Montrose lemonade’s part in football legend

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A READER asked us if we had any recollections about the Dye family, who had a lemonade factory in Montrose.

We found an extract in a recent book, ‘Gordon Smith - Prince of Wingers’ (Black & White Publishing), about one of Scotland’s most famous footballers, who became one of Hibs’ ‘Famous Five’ with Messrs Johnstone, Reilly, Turnbull, and Ormond.

In 1941 Hibs FC manager Willie McCartney took a train to Montrose, to visit the teenager (then a Dundee North End player), unannounced. But the train halted at Arbroath as a result of a bombing raid.

Montrose Police were telephoned but had plenty on their hands, so they supplied the number of the John Dye Lemonade Factory, adjacent to the well-known junior player’s address in the Piccadilly area. The chances of John Dye being at work on a Sunday afternoon were slim - but he had gone along to check things out after the air raid.

The ‘phone rang and Willie McCartney asked him to tell Gordon that he would like to talk to him. So Mr Dye knocked on Gordon’s door.

Gordon opened it and John Dye conveyed his news: “There’s a gentleman on the telephone wanting to speak to you. He says his name’s Mr Willie McCartney.”

Gordon went with John Dye to his factory and picked up the telephone. He had no idea Willie McCartney was the Hibernian boss and thought it was some kind of hoax call at first, until the stranger managed to convince him that he was who he claimed to be.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

So without John Dye’s factory the Famous Five might never have been.