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Edinburgh Monarchs - Team of the Nineties by J.P.McSeveney

A few months ago this website selected a Glasgow Tigers team of the nineties. An impressive side it was too, I thought it only right that they be provided with some opposition. Who else could they face but an equivalent Edinburgh Monarchs side ?.

Although now living in London I remain firmly in touch with events at Armadale and see 'the boys' as often as possible when they venture south. This means that my judgement is influenced by the way that riders performed away from home. I feel no need to apologise for this as the test of a good rider is surely their ability to adapt to different circuits.

What follows is my selection.

Kenny McKinna
Long regarded as the enemy prior to his arrival but his non-stop effort and likeable personality soon won over all of his critics. An inspired signing who gave the club excellent service in three different tiers of league racing. Performed admirably in the combined league of '95/'96 despite initial reluctance to race against the 'big boys'.

Really came into his own at Armadale, a track he helped to build, as he played a real captain's part in the '97 cup win. Enjoyed a richly deserved farewell meeting in 1998.

Without question one of the truly great Monarchs.

Michael Coles
Michael was a very popular character at the club. His journey from Exeter to Edinburgh for 'home' meetings is unsurpassed in recent times. Eventually the travelling became too much and Michael and Michelle moved up to Scotland.

During his time at the club he developed from an inconsistent second string into a top class heatleader. His all-action style won him many admirers and he seldom let the side down in a pressure situation.

His marriage to Michelle, on the terracing steps at Powderhall, showed how much the club came to mean to him.

Les Collins
A quite amazing man. Les has given hours of pleasure over the years, none more so than in the early nineties around Powderhall. The track then was in peak condition and Les relished the favourable conditions. He must have passed hundreds of riders in his time with the Monarchs and he was rarely far from the top of the scorecharts.

Les was, and indeed is, capable of beating anyone, anywhere. I have seen him pass the very best on tracks as diverse as Exeter and Mildenhall.

His contribution to the Monarchs can never be overstated - the man is a legend.

Peter Carr
The undoubted hero of the last three seasons of the decade. He was tempted out of retirement as the club settled into its new Armadale home. The team had been struggling but the capture of Peter changed things immediately. The new fans loved him and the long standing fans, many of whom had doubted the wisdom of the signing, soon loved him just as much.

He is the undoubted master of Armadale and regularly tops the scorecharts away from home. Has stayed loyal to the club despite counter offers and seems likely to stick around a while longer.

Mike Faria
At the start of 1995 Edinburgh were in trouble. They were founder members of the new Premier League but they didn't have any heatleaders. The fans were worried and they did not cheer considerably when Mike was announced as the new number one. Many had never heard of him, to most of the rest he was a dimly recalled, 'ancient' American who had briefly ridden for Belle Vue some 7 years earlier.

How opinions can change. Mike exceeded all expectations and comfortably filled the number one position. He was a natural racer and a flamboyant showman who was popular all over the country.

He played a big part in the 1995 season which is now considered one of the most enjoyable in the club's history.

Scott Lamb
Very much an unsung hero but a local lad that served the club well. Started the decade in the side but moved onto Newcastle and Berwick where he picked up valuable experience. Rejoined the club in 1993 as a much improved rider. His best season was probably 1994 but he proved a solid scorer in the combined league in 1995 and 1996.

Brett Saunders
'Captain Kangaroo' was a great personal favourite of mine. A controversial, temperamental and inconsistent individual, but what a character !. He livened up many a dull meeting with some outrageous overtaking manouvere or by inciting some kind of trouble.

On his day a fantastic rider who left the club prematurely.

When will we see his like again ?.


This article was first published prior to October 2002

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