Jul 19 2012 Blairgowrie Adv
AS with the national football situation, the new football season that lies just around the corner for Blairgowrie Juniors will be very much about change.
The big change that is already widely known is that a new management team are in place, although the word ‘new’ can be applied only very loosely with regards to the familiar faces back in the Blairgowrie dug-out!
They have been quick to make their own mark on the squad by keeping the best of last year’s squad and adding seven new signings.
Speaking to the Blairie about the additions, Manager Billy Mackay said: “We have brought in local players Stewart Sheed, Paul Maloney, Rorry Ramsey from Balmoral United; Steven Findlay and Stewart Nicoll from Rattray; and Mark McColl from Coupar Angus AFC; as well as Graeme French from Tayside Fire Brigade Amateurs in Dundee. They are all looking forward to the challenges that come with playing junior football.”
The challenge has only just recently become that bit bigger after the East Region agm in June that signalled the impending close of the current league structure within the area. The North Division will have an added promotion spot this season with the top two teams moving into a new enlarged Premier Division next season.
The new set-up, proposed by Perth side Jeanfield Swifts, will see the end of the Central Division (for Fife and Perth based clubs) and the enlarging of the remaining four divisions to 16 teams in each. Perth based clubs will return to the North Division and all the clubs in northern Fife will join them. It seems that the cut-off point between North and South Divisions will be Kirkcaldy.
The new set-up was overwhelmingly supported by the region’s clubs. It is believed that with the added promotion places and the introduction of a 30-game league season, competition within the divisions will be at a premium. The changes will take effect at the end of this season.
Mr Mackay said Blairgowrie’s aims within the new structure were that the club was to be successful. “But our immediate aim is to improve on our final league position of last year.
“The challenge of the new season will begin in the pre-season friendlies, the first of which is against Jeanfield Swifts at the Davie Park on Tuesday, July 24, at 7pm. This will be followed by a home match against Newburgh on Thursday, July 26, at 7pm. Parkvale JFC, from Aberdeen, will be the visitors to the Davie Park on Saturday, July 28, at 2.30pm, with the final confirmed friendly on Tuesday, July 31, against Riverside Athletic at 7pm.
“It is refreshing to train with a group of players who are prepared to give it their all and work hard at their football. The early signs are that we have a really committed group,” Mr Mackay when asked about the pre-season training.
“The players began training in mid-June and have been turning out in large numbers twice and sometimes three times a week.
“The players staying on from last year are Gordon O’Brien, Gordon Pirie, Gary Axworthy, Danny Millar, Greg McDonald, Robbie Hood, James Simpson, James Hay, and Steven Harris. The management team are delighted that they have all stayed and are delighted with their loyalty to the club.”
For the many supporters wondering about the planned match against Rangers to recognise Billy Mackay’s 25 years at Blairgowrie, Martin Mackay, convener of the organising committee, said that an announcement is expected to be made very soon. “We have been in constant touch with Rangers over the summer but for various reasons we have been unable to finalise a date for the fixture. What I can confirm is that Rangers wish to honour their commitment to Blairgowrie, so I am hopeful we can confirm a date soon.”
For sponsorship opportunities for the game, any interested parties should contact Martin on 07858 089 312 or Mike Coyle on 07764 156 332.
Early season fixtures in the DJ Laing League Cup, all Saturdays, kick-offs 2.30pm: August 11 – Arbroath Vics, home; 18 – Forfar Albion, away; 25 – Montrose Roselea, home.
North Division: August 28 – Montrose Roselea, home; September 1 – East Craigie, away; 8 – Kirrie Thistle, away.
All kick-offs are at 2.30pm and fixtures are subject to change.
In the East of Scotland Cup first round Blairgowrie are at home to South Division champions Dalkeith Thistle. A date has still to be confirmed.
Martin Mackay went on to say that behind the scenes, it’s been another busy summer. “The dressing rooms have been painted by local volunteers and a special thanks goes out to them. New flooring has been added to the dressing room to further improve facilities, and our thanks go to Cunningham Carpets for the great job they have done.
“The park and surrounding areas have been looked after impressively by Dennis Ford and David Smith once again and because of their work the Davie Park surface is looking the best it has done for a few seasons, remaining the best football surface in the region by a country mile.”
Mr Mackay sen. thanked all who have put in unseen hours at the club over the summer adding: “Without them the club would not be in such a healthy position. It is heart warming to see the efforts that have been made for Blairgowrie Junior FC.
“I would like to make special mention of Alex McCulley, Campbell Sands, and Graham Taylor for all the hard work they have put in over the pre-season. We are all looking forward to the season ahead and hope that out supporters will continue to turn out in their large numbers to give our players the backing that their efforts deserve.
“We are in this for the one aim and that is to do the club, and ultimately the town, proud of Blairgowrie Junior FC.”
This week’s Berrypickers’ Weigh-In numbers are 1, 11, 15, 19. There was no recorded winner and the prize money next week will stand at £450.