my wife and I were in Berwick for the week so my dad wasn’t with us. The day started with a trip to Alnwick for parkrun at 9am. I didn’t run, my back and leg aren’t up to it at the moment. It was a lovely sunny day and left plenty of time to get back to Berwick for the fans forum at 11:30am.
there was a reasonable number of people in attendance and I thought it went quite well. John Bell gave a clear and concise picture of where we are financially and where we need to be. There was a run through of the plan we need to get there which seemed completely reasonable to me. There were a few grumbles in the room but that has to be expected. John did ask for help from the fans to promote the club, create revenue streams, ask your employer if they want to advertise or get involved in some way. A few people scoffed at this but it is a reasonable idea. Berwick are a part time club that relies heavily on volunteers and any further help that can be sourced should be. We are fans of the club so why wouldn’t we want to help if we can? This doesn’t mean that the board are only relying on the fans (although a few seemed to take that away as what was happening). John moved on to the threat of relegation. If we finish bottom there is still the playoffs for a chance of survival. We don’t want to go into the Lowland league but it was pointed out that we would survive as a club. The financial implications were pointed out and all was reasonable. It was nice to actually see facts and figures rather than being in the dsrk wondering what is going on with your football club. Again a few grumbles and later on I was asked by somebody if John had actually said that we would be better off in the Lowland league. No that’s not what he said but it’s incredible what some people took away from the presentation. Some seemed to be there only to grumble. He’s times are tough but the slide started a decade ago.
I’ll just add a bit here, a bit of commentary from Facebook after I posted this.
For the first season in the Lowland league there is a parachute payment and still access to the same rounds of the 3 cups. Gate receipts would probably go down. Not as many home fans but crucially not as many away fans. Lowland league fans don’t seem to travel.
the first season would be the season we would need to get out of the Lowland league, it’s the best opportunity. After that it would be a struggle but the club wouldn’t collapse as a lot of people seem to think it would. It wouldn’t be the same but it wouldn’t vanish.
People forget just how tough it is to keep a team running. Berwick is 60 miles from Newcastle and 60 miles from Edinburgh (approx). It’s a town out on its own. Population 12,043. As a comparison St. Andrews has a population of 16,801 with other towns nearby. (This comparison is for my friend I was talking to that lived in St Andrews while at University) It’s really quite an achievement to have a team at such a level and for so long.
But it might not come to that anyway. We can still finish above Albion, they are only a point in front of us and we still have to play them. Then if we did finish bottom it’s a two legged playoff. Still plenty of chances to retain our current league status. It’s not ideal but we have all the opportunity we need.
Johnny Harvey started as expected, talk of effort and commitment from the squad. The usual that is now common in his post match interviews. I didn’t expect anything else to be honest, he was hardly going to come out and slate individually players or bemoan the state of the squad etc. There would be no point in that, nothing constructive would come of it. Interesting points that were mentioned were based around attracting players. W have a low budget and it’s hard to compete, that’s a know fact and isn’t going to change drastically. Johnny did mention that the Cowdenbeath keeper we have on loan is the third keeper at Cowdenbeath and he’s on 50% more money than our keepers are. We’ve also lost out on players that have been offered better wages due to various other reasons, location being one of the major ones.
So a planned shake up is going to be tried to attract players. Training will be moved towards central Edinburgh, this is to make it easier for those in the central belt/Fife to attend. Training can be spit at various sites, Edinburgh, Berwick and somewhere in the North East of England. The idea is that Bereick can tap into the players in the North East that are put off by travelling long distances for training twice a week. These players can train with a club near them and once a fortnight (not set in stone) can travel to a full training session with the full squad.
This isn’t ideal, but it’s seen as a way to tap into the large pool of players in the Nort East that other clubs in our league cannot access due to their distance. It may sound a little mad but something has to change otherwise Berwick will be outbid for players by the other clubs in the Central/Lothian/Fife areas who have more money. Even clubs like Kelty Hearts can offer more money due to their setup, an investor and low running costs. A few scoffed at this but something has to change otherwise Berwick will slowly slip away. It’s an interesting plan and hopefully it will yield results.
Next up the game.
Well I’ll keep it short, after 14 minutes we were a goal down. The defence static as the ball came into the box and it was in the back of the net. We were down by 2 goals by the 31st minute and then after that it was a training session for Edinburgh. The usual performance I’ve come to expect. Berwick having 32% possession to Edinburgh’s 68%. Shots on goal? Edinburgh 16 with 8 on target, Berwick 4 shots with 0 on target. We also picked up 3 yellow cards to Edinburgh’s 1.
Albion were beaten by Clyde so no further gain for them but it was a single goal in the 79th minute that saw them off. Next up Annan away and for Albion a home game against Queen’s Park. 5 games left to the end of the season.
It’s the time of year for the St Andrews Berwick Rangers Supporters to start thinking about who we are going to present with an award this season. It’s been a very tough season and as I’m writing this we are 2 points off the bottom spot. Albion Rovers who currently occupy that spot are playing their game in hand tonight against Cowdenbeath. Albion have had a run of form lately with a draw and 2 wins.
There are still a couple of contenders for an award however. As disastrous as the season has been so far and could turn out even worse there are still committed players trying to keep us in the league.
Our award is usually for outstanding performance, this gives us scope for an individual game or action and to recognise a player who may not pick up an award otherwise.
Steven Thomson was given this award for his stunning goal against Cowdenbeath in January. It was an away game in the driving rain and a shot was unleashed from about 35-40 yards that rocketed into the net. An absolute cracker. Unfortunately it wasn’t captured on film but was witness by David Letham and his father who felt it was a contender for the award.
The award for season 2016/17 was awarded to Sean Brennan. He has done very well since stepping in to cover injuries and had an outstanding game away to Forfar. The Forfar game was attended by David Letham, his Brother and Father and all were impresssed by Sean who has continued to maintain good form.
Well after an unexpected victory at Shielfield against table toppers Peterhead on Tuesday night we find ourselves travelling to Stirling Albion in a better position than we thought we might be in. We now have a 5 point gap between ourselves and Albion Rovers. Albion still have a game in hand over us but it’s looking better for league survival. Here's hoping that we have turned a corner and we can replicate the performance on Tuesday night against Stirling. I’ve got my “free” £5 bet on Berwick. For this game, odds of 7-1 at William Hill a few days ago. We have 7 games to play, Albion 8 games.
Our fixtures are as follows :
Edinburgh City (H)
Queen's Park (H)
Albion Rovers (H)
And Albion’s fixtures are :
Queen's Park (H)
Edinburgh City (H)
Here’s hoping we can maintain the gap and secure league status for another season. Ideally we won’t lose the gap and we will be secure before the final game. The last Home game for us is against Albion so that could be a crucial match.
Well we arrived in plenty of time to get a parking space. Gordon was with my dad and I for this one. 50/50 tickets purchased and pies and tea’s and we were ready for the show. Hopeful of a result here today.
The game started brightly enough, we gave a reasonable performance overall. Passing was much better than I’ve seen, positioning and getting to the second ball was better. We did however miss 2 glorious chances, pretty embarrassing that we didn’t score. Those missed chances would come back to haunt us in the end. The seconded half was completely different. It was like a different team came out of the dressing room. We were sloppy and pinned into our own half for the majority of it. We were holding on ut with 10 min to go we gave away a penalty. The Berwick crowd were very vocal about this but it was awarded and duely dispatched. The ref was a hated man by this point anyway but now he was the devil in black. (I didn’t think he was too bad but I’ve always been less passionate about blaming referees). Albion Rovers were 2-0 up against Elgin too and that’s how it finished. A bad day at the office and the gap back at 2 points between Berwick and Albion. Albion play Cowdenbeath on Tuesday night, their game in hand. Let’s hope Cowdenbeath can do us a favour here. The midweek win for Berwick against Peterhead couldn’t have been more crucial. Next stop Edinburgh City at Shilefield on Saturday.
well I’ll be down in Berwick on Friday night for this one. My dad will be staying at home as we are staying down in Berwick for the weekend. I don’t think he’ll miss much to be fair. The weather forecast is not great and Peterhead are top of the table. I don’t think we will take any points from this game. I’ll take my dad to Stirling Albion next week though, perhaps we can gain a point or 3 there. We just need to knuckle down and grind out a couple of results.
well no dad so no lunch out! but having woken up to snow in Berwick i had a suspicion the game would be off. A pitch inspection has confirmed this. next stop Stirling Albion.
well it’s a relatively early start for this one. I’ll leave the house around 9am and pick up my dad and head to Berwick. I’ve a few things to attend to when we get there, fix a broken computer, drop off a card,
and of course lunch! Then I’m operating one of the turnstiles for the game.
I’ve got no idea how this game will pan out. Cowdenbeath have beaten us 3 times already this season ,4-0, 3-0 and 2-0 if I recall. We can take a bit of hope from our game midweek against Edinburgh City. We lost that one 1-0 to a penalty. I’m not convinced that we are capable of a result against Cowdenbeath though. Of course I want us to win but I’m realistic, our form has been poor. Still good luck to the guys and let’s hope for the best.
well we arrived and I went about my tasks. Computer repaired and tested, Birthday card dropped off for my nephew and lunch devoured. Lunch was Fish and chips (me) and sausage and chips (dad) from the van at Shielfield. Next stop turnstile duty.
Well I got my bum in the seat shortly after kickoff, I had to wait for stragglers that turn up late to the turnstile. I had a view of the pitch to so I didn’t miss any of the action. The biggest talking point was that Clyde fielded an ineligible player in February. Both games he played in have had the opposition teams awarded a 3-0 win. Those teams are Queens Park and Albion Rovers. The gap is back to 4 points from the relegation spot between Berwick and Albion Rovers before a ball is even kicked....
So with that bombshell to deal with it was time to tackle Cowdenbeath. I’m somewhat losing the desire to write these blogs. We were lucky today, the team were poor again despite scoring a good goal. We simply don’t seem to be able to just get the passing and positioning right. A red card picked up for a dangerous tackle completed the day. It’s frustrating because it’s the simple things again that we are losing out on. We are desperate for things to click into place but the clock is ticking away.
But it was a valuable point today especially as Albion Rovers picked up 3 points. The gap is now 2 points, worrisome times ahead. Let’s hope the team can hold on to the end of the campaign and we can secure our league status for next season. I’ll not mange the midweek game at home against Queens Park. I will be down for the game next Saturday against Peterhead.
well I’m really hoping for a win here, god knows we need it. 18 league games I’ve been to this season out of the 24 played and i have seen us net a total of 8 points from those games. My dad has been to 17 league games with me and he’s seen 7 league points. We are hoping to add a further 3 points to this tally. We have 2 games in hand over Albion Rovers but this is one that needs to count. We shall have to wait and see.
well after picking up my dad and negotiating the roadworks outside my parents house we were finally on the way. Nothing like a 6 mile diversion to kick off with. But we got there in the lashing rain. It was our first trip to Albion Rovers and well it’s a stadium in need of a stadium. I arrived and popped to the toilet, wow, I would have been better going behind the car in the carpark. By far the worst toilets I’ve seen at a football ground. We got a cup of tea and a pie and then headed for the stand. Probably the worst seats I’ve sat on. Each row of seats had different leg room too! So we found some that were tolerable and sat down to watch the game.
well hopes were high for this one, Berwick fans have been looking to this game for a number of weeks. It’s all I’ve heard about at the last few games I’ve been at.
Well I’ll keep it short again, it was dreadful. We secured a point 3 minutes from time but we didn’t deserve it. I’ve been told I’m brutally honest with my assessments at times despite trying to be positive but that’s the way I’ve seen it this season. We were too slow, lacked focus and shape. Nearly every pass was misplaced. We lost possession far too easily too. God knows how we managed a point. It was one of the poorest and most frustrating games I’ve seen. I don’t know what’s happening to make the team as it is. These guys should know what to do. It’s just not happening though. Hopefully a point to keep the gap between us and Albion at 7 points will be enough to secure our league status for another season. Fingers crossed on that one.