I have been informed of the sad news that John Newton (the Professor) has passed away at the age of 78 John had died suddenly of what seems to be a heart attack. He was in a care home in Saint Andrews .The family hope that his death notice will be in this Fridays Guardian. John was an avid supporter and would travel down on the train to the games. He was a match day steward for many years and had quite the collection of football programs. He will also be know for his love of “soor plooms” and his collection of pushbikes, apparently the only rooms not to have would seemed to be the bathroom and kitchen!
Rest in peace John, you will be missed.
It’s been a long time since the last post, I didn’t even write this one… This is from Gordon Baxter who attended the Gala game with me. I shall try to get something together. I haven’t even updated the website with the photographs yet either. Life and work has got in the way I’m afraid.
Berwick v Gala.
It was a cold, wet and blowy day that welcomed Gala Fairydean to Shielfield. The pitch was looking slightly the worse for wear after the recent storms, and to cap it all off, one of the linesmen took ill just before kick off, so the start was delayed by about 15 minutes, with former director (and qualified referee) George Mathison stepping up to run the line.
It wasn't a game for the purists, with the ball spending too much time in the air, and after a fairly bright start, we soon found ourselves two down. The keeper misjudged the first one, and it went straight in from a corner, and our defence collectively went AWOL, failing to block the second after a bit of a stramash near the goal line. Too many passes were going astray, and both sides huffed and puffed a bit without creating many chances before we manged to pull one back just before half time.
I don't know what was in the half-time tea, but we came out much more fired up, and were soon 3-2 up (including a penalty). The quality of football was better than the first half, but there still wasn't much to cheer about, and several folk in the stand stood up and were moving around and stamping their feet to keep warm. Both sides had chances, but we managed to put one of ours away and run out 4-2 winners.
The blog hasn’t been very active but it doesn’t mean support has stopped. Since the last post there has been quite a bit going on.
A foodbank campaign just before Christmas that raised £650. With a matched donation of the first £250 from St Andrews Berwick Rangers supporters that saw the final total of £900 split between the foodbank and Northern Soul Kitchen. There was an additional £112.50 in gift aid to the foodbank.
An iMac computer and £100 worth of cables were donated to the club to assist with the streaming of the games. This worked well for the 2 games it was used for before the season was suspended.
Some match sponsorship and man of the match sponsorship.
Another 1000 shares were purchased.
The advertising board in the stadium has been paid for another season
This years player sponsorship has been paid for, this season it is Ben Swinton.
An entry to the front of shirt raffle.
And I’m sure there are various other things that have been missed.
It’s been a long time since my last post. Just lacking motivation and football. The club have been
busy, there has been a change of manager and backroom staff since my last post and new faces in
the squad. This post will be short hopefully, just getting back into the swing of it. I’ve been churning
out documentation at work and that takes its toll on any other writing I want to do.
I’ve been offering support where I can. I have renewed player sponsorship. Dougie Horne retired,
and I have continued with sponsoring a keeper, the new arrival Ben Swinton. I have paid for my
advertising board in the stadium and bought another 1000 shares with my £1000 winnings from the
supporter’s club monthly draw. I have also bought tickets for every draw and activity the club have
organised. I won 2 tickets for hospitality at the first home game of the season. I’ve put my name
down on the volunteer list and have been helping at the recent matches.
Trust wise I have been promoting the club and local community partners on social media and I wrote
a few articles for the magazine and asked a few others to write articles. I then spent a bit of time
editing the magazine before it was sent to be published.
Berwick v Hearts.
An easy one to write about. I took the Friday off work (and the following week) to be in Berwick. The
match was called off at short notice. It was a horrible evening though wet and windy.
“This evening’s scheduled clash with Scottish Premiership side Heart of Midlothian has been
cancelled following a number of positive Covid-19 tests at the Edinburgh club’s training base.
Five members of Hearts’ football department are now self-isolating in line with COVID-19 guidelines
after returning positive lateral flow and PCR tests.”
Berwick v Dundee United.
I was still in Berwick for this one, A Wednesday evening kick-off. Duties for the day were ticket
scanning. I was scanning the away fans tickets. A few fans struggling with their phones and the
concept of digital tickets. The drunk fans turning up late and struggling with everything. A
reasonable crowd for the game despite a few Dundee United fans not showing up. The United fans
were expecting to see the first team and they were not told it would essentially be the
youth/reserves until a few days before. “Dundee United last night revealed that they will be sending
a Development Squad to Shielfield Park for the fixture, with their first-team instead in-action behind
closed doors at St Andrews University on the same evening.” The crowd was around 450 so not a
It was a decent performance from Berwick who won 3-1. Berwick opened the scoring on 41 minutes
as Allan latched onto a long ball over the top to coolly slot beyond the keeper. On 74 minutes, Smith
made it 2-0 to Berwick. Shortly after United scored to pull it back to 2 -1 and with 3 minutes remaining,
a Berwick trialist added the 3rd.
Berwick v North Shields.
A Saturday 2pm kick-off this time. It was announced that there would be a cash gate so I would be
looking after that. It was quite late on that a cash gate was announced, but the numbers meant that
it was feasible. There were a few fans grumbling about this but it’s better to have one even if late on
that to not. There are many covid factors at play that some seem to forget about. There are rules
and regulations that need to be followed. A few comments directed to me about this when oi was
taking the money, a few comments about the cost (£10). And a guy who was incensed that we didn’t
sell beer in the ground and that we also wouldn’t let his mate buy some from the supermarket and
bring it in. That aside it all seemed to go reasonably well.
Another encouraging performance from Berwick who won 3-1. Three first half goals - an own goal,
Graham Taylor and Jamie Pyper. Berwick played against ten men for the second half after a red card
was produced. Lewis Allan missed a penalty early in the second half. The visitors scored a
consolation goal 15 minutes from time.
Berwick v Workington.
Berwick won this 2 – 0 but i never managed to get to this one. It was my 2nd covid vaccination at St
Andrews community hospital in the late morning. No way I would be able to make it to the game in
time. Like the 1st jab I was somewhat floored with muscle pain and headache. I wasn’t as bad as the
1st time but certainly not even worth considering travelling to the game. It was another 2pm kick-off
too so not feasible. My Brother and his wife were down in Berwick though and they took in the
Berwick v Caledonian Braves.
The start of the season and a 1 -0 win for Berwick and 3 valuable points. I travelled down to Berwick
with my dad for this one, His first outing in many months. It was free entry for this game to attract
fans, a little over 400 attending. I would be manning the donation bucket today. One of the hottest
days for a long time.
I would say Berwick dominated the first half. two in swinging corners in quick succession found an
opening at the back post for Mackenzie to nod home a free header to make it 1-0. As the second
half started a middle of the park challenge resulted with the referee producing a straight red for the
Braves player and ending the midfielder’s debut early. The heat raged on, and the second half fell a
little flat. Berwick failed to add to their tally. Smith gathered the ball on the edge of the box and
turned to shoot. He found enough space to drive an effort along the ground which saw the ball come
back off the post. Contender for goal of the season if it had gone in. This is the sort of game we
would have lost or drawn in previous seasons, many times we would lose a late goal. 3 points on the
board and on to the next game.
It’s been a long time since my last post. I simply don’t have the motivation. Lockdown, work commitments, elderly parents, back strain and just a bit of general apathy all combining to eat away at my time and motivation. As I write this I have a bit of time off work but also a stinking cold. This may be more of a ramble than usual.....
A few weeks ago I donated an iMac to the club and bought a £100 cable to help with streaming the games and I’m glad to say it has worked. The 2 streams so far using the new equipment have been perfect. I also raised over £900 for the foodbank and Northern soul kitchen and sponsored a couple of games this season. I’ve even been down to do some diy in the summer and assisted at a couple of games. It’s difficult now getting to the games to help due to various reasons that all combine to eat at my time.
Berwick are now out of the Scottish cup losing 3-0 at home to Stirling Albion. I didn’t expect a win, I rarely do these days. I have pretty much resigned myself to life in the lowland league. I can’t see a way out. It’s such a tough league and despite work off the park to raise funds it’s still the same type of Berwick team on the field as it has been for a number of years. Different board, different manager, different players but the same performances and promises of improvement. We always have players full of potential, the potential never seems to come into fruition. We were flopping around at the bottom of league 2 for many seasons before the drop with our higher finishes only by a couple of points over those below us.
The new board are working well to offer stability but the teams around us in the Lowland league are getting stronger. It’s easier heading up and building in that direction than it is for a team who have dropped down and find it difficult to adapt to the new league and lack of funds that may have been taken for granted in the past. There is no money in the Lowland league, even for winning it. League 2 had payments for every league position. The Betfred cup despite being seeded and weighted against the smaller teams offered tens of thousands for finishing bottom of the initial group stages and a couple of bigger teams that would bring gate money to the club. We no no longer have access to the Betfred cup unless we win the Lowland league. The running costs of Shielfield compared to the other teams in the Lowland league has to be accounted for before a budget for players. This won’t help with a push to regain our league 2 status.
I can’t remember when we last had a decent cup run. I’m too tired to think but I recall being knocked out of the cups in the early rounds by smaller teams who we underestimated as seems to be the norm.
I know this seams to have turned into a bit of a moan but it is realistic. I’ll still support the club, help out as and when I can as I always have done but it’s tough at the moment. Our league position isn’t great and doesn’t look like improving anytime soon.
There always next year I’ve been told, next year will be our 3rd season in the Lowland league, it will soon increase in number before we know it.
Lagging behind with the blogs these days. So many other things getting in the way. Plenty of things on the go at the moment football related but I’ll aim to keep it brief. I don’t have the time.
Friday night started with me creating a just giving page to raise money or the Berwick foodbank and Northern soul kitchen. I donate to them every year but this time I had the idea of a just giving page and offering to match donations up to £250. At the time of writing this (Monday 8am) the page has £300 plus a generous offer form the half time draw winner Billy Swan to donate his £100 winnings. I have a further £40 to add from my parents. So now we have £690. A further bonus is that the foodbank posted this on facebook “We are pleased to say that we have been successful in an application for match funding through our Local Giving donation platform. Any donations made through our page from 27th October for 2 weeks will be match funded from Local Giving's Coronavirus support fund.”
So it will be £690 going to the foodbank with the matched funding and £345 to Northern soul kitchen at the current total.
The Just giving page is here. https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/berwickfoodbank?utm_medium=email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=20201026_
Next up the game.
I was back down on Saturday, my job for the day noting down the temperatures of the away team. I came prepared this time with a clipboard, pen and 5L of hand sanitiser. It was cold, on the drive down the rain was torrential and I had though the game might be off. It was on though, the weather had eased somewhat.
East Kilbride wanted access at 1:30pm but the final person arrived at 2:50pm. Some of the committee had been in the black and gold while Gordon Dixon and I stood in the cold waiting for them. When they arrived, my hands were so cold I could barely hold the pen to write down the temperatures.
I was also Man of the match sponsor for the game. (well St Andrews Berwick Rangers supporters were).
A disappointing result but a great performance. A 1-0 defeat was disappointing. A late sending off for Berwick turned the game. We were holding our own against one of the top teams in the league, a team with an impressive budget. A yellow card for Reid followed minutes later with another (some say the second could have been a straight red) really put us under pressure. With about 5 minutes left, East Kilbride took full advantage slotting the ball home and taking all 3 points. Bitterly disappointing. However, a much better performance and a narrow defeat. Jack Cook was nominated Man of the match. He also picked up the social media man of the match award for his performance.
Next up at Shielfield is Edinburgh University on Tuesday night. I won’t manage to get down in time for that one but I will be watching from home. Hoping for 3 points.
Well it’s been a while. Everything grinding to a halt and weeks of uncertainty. Being the health and safety officer for 2 university buildings has been no picnic over the last few months. But the football is back, and Berwick Rangers have been very active over the summer. We seem to be in decent shape to take on the new campaign. No illusions of winning the league but hopefully winning more game than we lose. Fundraising has been exceptional, and the fans seem to be fully behind the club. Streaming the games will undoubtably keep the fans engaged.
It will be a tough season for all, I doubt fans will be allowed into any games this season at all.
I had the pleasure of being at Shielfield for the opening game. Volunteering as I usually do. I haven’t been out much. I don’t go to the supermarket and have been relying on home deliveries from Tesco and various smaller local shops that deliver. Then taking these supplies to my parents. Even work has mostly been done at home. Going in and out to the university only when required and usually early morning to avoid anybody. Teaching is online just now so we have very few people in anyway.
I had ventured out twice to Berwick to take part in Ducket days, days of painting and weeding a 220-mile round trip each time.
I completed the sport Scotland’s COVID Officer training course as part of my volunteering and off I set. The job for the day recording the temperatures of the away team.
It was very odd, you wouldn’t think a game was on it was so quiet. I was tempted to get a paint brush and start painting… Still a privilege to help and to remain to watch the game.
And a win! It was a cagey game, we looked better at the back than in previous seasons but still don’t want to take our chances. I have no idea what that is about. Over the last few seasons it’s been the same story. We have had various managers and a huge number of players in the team over the last few years but still the confidence to have a shot is lacking. Hopefully the team will improve, chances will be taken, and goals will be scored.
But what a freekick though. Goal of the season on the first day to seal the win. Fixtures coming quickly now too with a fair number of Tuesday night games. Next up Spartans away.
Well it’s now Wednesday the 21st and we have played Spartans awa and Caledonian Braves away. My blog is falling behind. I’ve been swamped with work and other stuff but have managed to squeeze in a half hour to rattle off some stuff. The best written stuff is always done this way. I still haven’t even read my copy of Harrow to the Grove that arrived a couple of weeks ago.
So a defeate away to Spartans, it was live streaming but very jerky in the first half. Stream improved in the second half and it was free so nobody can complain. We lost 1-0 to a late goal. A bit of faffing about in defence, a lapse of concentration that saw us give the ball away rather than clearing it.
Next away to Caledonian Braves. Again a free streaming service that was most welcome. A fairly solid performance but still giving the ball away too easily at times and no real goal threat. A cracking freekick scored by Sinclair who scored in the opening game from a freekick. 1-0 win and 3 points to make it 6 out of 9.
Next up back at home hosting East Kilbride. This will be a tougher test. I’ll be down at Shielfield for this one. I think I’ll be taking the temperatures of the way team again. This time I shall remember to take a pen...
Tweedmouth Rangers are also having a front of shirt raffle for the coming season. I have entered this and well as the one for Berwick Rangers and Dunbar colts training kit raffle.
If successful a local charity will be picked as sponsor for the clubs involved.
St Andrews Berwick Rangers Supporters are delighted to announce the kit sponsorship of Keeper Dougie Horne.
Having sponsored Sean Brennan's kit for the last 3 seasons and previously sponsored keeper Kevin Walker and midfielder Dwayne Coultress over the last several years the time has come to sponsor again and it’s fair to say we have a soft spot for a keeper.
We warmly welcome Dougie to the Berwick team and hopefully we can catch up with him soon to have a chat and answer some questions....
Well another win in the Tweedmouth Rangers draw! This time £75 for 4th place. Last season I won a whopping £615 and the money was donated to various charities in the town. https://www.berwickranger.com/blog/community-donations
This time some went towards a Tweedmouth Rangers players kit sponsorship and the remaining Money to the club for tea/biscuits/cat food, whatever the players have at halftime...