Walter Borthwick (04.04.48 - 24.04.21)Saturday, 24th Apr 2021
It was with great sadness that Dunfermline Athletic learned today of the sudden death of Walter Borthwick at the age 73.
It was with great sadness that Dunfermline Athletic learned today of the death of Walter Borthwick at the age 73. `Watty` was 30 when he was signed from St Mirren on 22nd September 1977 by Harry Melrose. He made 99 appearances for Dunfermline including seven as a substitute and scored 8 goals.
A midfielder, Walter joined while Dunfermline were in the Second Division and was teammates of Andy Rolland, John Salton, Kevin Hegarty and Hugh Whyte. He was part of the squad that won promotion to the First Division in 1978-79. Walter also played under Pat Stanton when he took over from Harry Melrose.
Walter began his professional career at Greenock Morton in 1965. After two season there he moved on to have spells with East Fife, St Mirren, St Johnstone and Dunfermline. He briefly played for the Buddies while a young Sir Alex was at the helm and it was during this period - aged 27 - that Walter planned for the future by taking his UEFA B Licence coaching certificate.
When signed by Harry Melrose, Walter was always seen as someone who could fulfil a coaching role and by 1980-81 under Melrose, he was coaching with and playing for the Reserves. His only two starts were when the team was depleted, and he took the place of the injured Willie Leishman. His A Licence came while at Dunfermline and he retired as a player aged 33. He also attended coaching courses with Pat Stanton who may have kept him but for an offer that couldn`t be turned down.
Borthwick, from Edinburgh, had offers to coach part-time at Falkirk and Forfar before, out of the blue and through Andy Stevenson, he received an offer to be a full-time first-team coach at Heart of Midlothian.
He was part of the coaching staff of the infamous Hearts side which finished league and cup runners-up in 1986 before leaving three years later. A short stint as manager of Arbroath in 1990 followed before Borthwick began to work for the Scottish Football Association.
As one of the first SFA Community Officers Walter returned to Dunfermline Athletic and was there for three years engaging with schools and clubs.
In 1996 he became the football development officer for the SFA covering East Lothian. For seventeen years this allowed him to pass on his knowledge of the game to the grassroots until retiring in March 2013.
It was while playing under Sir Alex Ferguson at St Mirren that Borthwick decided a career in coaching was what he wanted to do once he had hung up his football boots. He told the East Lothian Courier when he retired in 2013:-
"I had been in football all my days. I was always a decent player but I got to my late-20s and you think about coaching. Ferguson was my manager at St Mirren and I decided there and then I wanted to coach and started to do my badges.
"I played three and a bit years under Fergie. It was good experience. He was a young coach, he had a way with players and was committed."
The club extends its sincere sympathy to Walter`s family.
Feb 2019: Walter Borthwick speaking to Dunfermline Athletic Heritage Trust
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