A short post this week. I’m too tired. I went down to Berwick with my dad and it was after midnight before I got back. Struggled to sleep as I have pulled my shoulder too. Fun...
I had the afternoon off (it was my Birthday) and my dad and I went out for a bite to eat before the game. I was on Turnstile duty, such fun that is when folk are turning up late and grumbling. I want to see the game too you know! I’m a volunteer.......
Well it was 3-5 in the end. We actually scored first and had a bit of promise. I’ll get shot down by a few folk for saying that but we did manage to score 3 goals. Some avoidable errors gave Bonnyrigg at least 2 goals. A penalty and a pass back that Brennan caught. The resulting indirect free kick leading to a goal. It’s a young squad but we should fare ok in the Lowland league. Top half of the table is a realistic goal. This isn’t what a lot of fans want to hear but we need to stabilise the club. It’s tough times at many clubs, look at Bolton. I’m not going to go into the usual details here, lack of investment, club location etc. That’s a well trodden path. But I am looking forward to Saturday’s game, not something I can said I’ve said for a while.
It’s the final game of the Betfred cup group stages. I’m expecting a defeat here. Berwick were a whopping 250-1 with some bookmakers to win this one.
I was born in Livingston (well just outside as there was no hospital in Livingston in 1977) and stayed they throughout most of my schooldays. My High school was in Bathgate though, bussed out with the rest of the folk from my primary school. We moved to just outside Lanark I’m my 3rd year and I was dropped off at school rather than change to the local Lanark School. In my final year I attended the new school that was built in 1994 that’s at the rear of the Tony Macaroni Arena (built in 1995).
The school was given a tour of the stadium when it was built just before I left. I’ve not returned for a long time, 15 years or so. I was back for a Boxing Day game, Livingston v Dundee united. I never managed last season Betfred game when Berwick visited, my back was in real trouble and I couldn’t walk without 2 sticks and great pain. No such problem now though, 95% recovered.
I’m going down with my dad and we will meet my brother and his wife for this game. My Brother and his wife stay just outside Lanark so it’s a meet-up for lunch and off to the game.
So dad picked up and off down the road to Livingston. Roadworks adding about 40 minutes on to a journey that usually would be just over an hour. Still I left plenty of time as I always do. Livingston has changed a lot and my shortcuts around the town are no longer viable the roads I used to take have changed. There’s about a million (perhaps a little high of an estimate) more houses now and of course the massive shopping centre that was built filling up all the green space.
Perryman’s buses in Berwick used to run trips to the shopping centre because it’s such a monster.
Lunch was at Brucefield Farm a sort of Brewers Fayre place. A Saturday carvery so meat and potatoes then..... Lunch dispatched it’s off to the Livingston lasagne bowl for the game.
It was a 5-0 defeat. Brennan had a few good saves to keep the score lower. The first goal was slotted home in the 2nd minute. It was a gift. We had moments but we always do. I was desperate for somebody to take a shot at goal. What is there to lose.
It’s still rather frustrating that we have still held onto the strange ability to not have a shot. I’m hoping the new striker that has been signed this week can make the difference. I’m not going to go into any more detail about the game, I’m home and tired.
The Betfred is a horrible start to the season for the lower league clubs.
Next up Bonnyrigg on Tuesday who have opened their Lowland leave campaign with a 6-0 win over Vale of Leithen......
St Andrews Berwick Rangers Supporters are delighted to offer support to Ryan Kidd, the 16 year old goalkeeper that has joined the squad
St Andrews Berwick Rangers Supporters are fond of a keeper, we sponsor Sean Brenan’s kit this season and have sponsored his home kit for the last couple of seasons. Sean was also the winner of the St Andrews Berwick Rangers Supports outstanding performance award a couple of years ago in season 16/17 for his standout performance in an away game to Forfar.
So as we are so fond of keepers we are going to offer further support. We approached Sean last season to ask about his gloves, the hidden expense of a keeper, that additional thing that you have to buy that an outfield player doesn’t and can cost a fair bit. Sean has a deal with s1goalkeeping.co.uk who provide his glove at a discount rate as part of a sponsorship deal and Sean suggested that we support Shea, the reserve team keeper. We are going to continue this year by offering the same support to Ryan.
We are hoping to catch up with Ryan in the next few weeks and badger him with the following Shoot! Style questions that we put to Sean and Shea. Their answers can be found here. https://www.berwickranger.com/blog/catch-up-with-the-keepers-the-answers
What do you do when you are not playing football?
What's your favourite song?
What is your favourite car? (or What type of car would you like to own?)
What is your favourite meal?
What is your favourite holiday?
Right-handed or left-handed?(Right footed or left-footed?)
boot size and glove size?
Are there any other footballers in your family?
Who told you that you should be a goalkeeper?
Who is your footballing hero?
What is the best moment in your career so far?
What’s the worst?
What is your match day routine for a home game?
What’s in your kit bag for a match?
Do you have any pre match superstitions? Lucky socks for example.
How do you wind down after a game?
When do the Christmas decorations go up in your house?
Well I missed Saturdays game due to a family party so it’s off down to Berwick for the midweek game. I’ve got the afternoon off work to get there in time without trying to contend with the rush hour traffic on the Edinburgh bypass. I’ll pick up my dad for this one too. The odds with William Hill for a Berwick win were 66-1 when I looked but I’ve seen that they were at 80-1 earlier. So a defeat is highly likely here. It’s always been a hellish start to the season playing in a competition that’s heavily weighted against you. It does bring money into the club though but I can imagine it’s demoralising for the players. It’s demoralising for the fans. I’ll get down in time to grab some dinner somewhere before heading to Shielfield to see if I’m required for any jobs.
Well we made it down in plenty of time and went to the Cannon fish and chip shop for dinner. A bit disappointing to be honest. Watery mushy peas, sgoogy batte on the fish and my dads sausages were quite hard, almost crunchy. I don’t think we will be back in a hurry. Still food scoffed down it was off to Shielfield. I popped in early to see if there were any jobs needing my attention. Nothing tonight but Turnstile duty for the Bonnyrigg game and cameraman for the Stirling University game. A polo shirt was purchase from the shop and 5 x 50/50 tickets.
Well Berwick didn’t get the absolute hammering that I was expecting. A 3-0 defeat wasn’t too bad. Berwick held their shape reasonably well but we are just missing the sharpness upfront. We seem to be using the wings better. Lewis Barr had a decent game, a terrier in midfield. We had a couple of defensive errors that we were punished for, we should have cleared the ball for the first goal and a soft pass back lead to the third.
The team look like they are getting to know each other so I'm hopeful for the lowland league. I still don't think we will win it but a top 5 finish would be acceptable to me. I can't see us getting out of the lowland league soon but if we can get the finances right and the club on a better footing we may be able to compete and attract further investment. Back home just before midnight and I'll be doing it again next Tuesday for the Bonnyrigg game.
(as I'm writing this Berwick have snapped up 21 year old Ghanaian striker YAW OSEI OPOKU-BERCHIE) so let's hope he can score goals.
Well it’s time for the first competitive game of the season. Berwick hosting Ayr united. A defeat would be the bookies favourite and realistically that’s what I expect. The squad hasn’t had many games to gel and Ayr are a good team 3 leagues above us William Hill has a Berwick win at 12-1. For teams like Berwick the betfred can been seen as extra training games. The teams are seeded in such a way that there is very little chance of qualifying out of the group. It is a nice little money earner though. A decent amount of money for finishing last in the group and the gate is split 50/50. I’ll be down with my Dad for this one.. It’s about a 2 hour drive to Berwick so I like to get there around lunchtime and get my dad his lunch. Foulis in Tweedmouth is a decent spot, we can usually get parked outside so it’s easy for him to access. He’s normally wanting chips and curry sauce from the van at Shielfield for his lunch instead but those days are numbered. I believe the van won’t be returning for this season so Foulis it is for this game. We have hospitality booked so we might also have a sandwich and a cup of tea at half time.
Here’s hoping for a reasonable performance from Berwick but it’s tough to know what to expect. (Written on Friday night).
So we arrive around lunchtime as planned and Foulis it is. A all day breakfast but we’ve learned our lesson and get one portion of chips between us. (Chips come as part of the breakfast). Still too many chips and my belly is full as we head up to Shielfield. The van has gone but the Bandits cafe is open for the game. Nice to see a bit of cooperation between the football club and the speedway. It’s a waste of money and resources to have things separate. Chips and curry sauce on the menu as well so noted for when I bring my dad down on a Saturday. I buy a couple of cups of tea and take one back to my dad who is sitting in the stand before. I head off to see if anybody needs a hand. There were plenty of volunteers today though so my assistance isn’t required so I buy 5 50/50 tickets and head back to the stand to sit next to my dad an talk about what may be...
Well for the first 20 minutes or so we looked ok. Brennan pulled off some good stops in the game (despite the score line) and Euan Smith (6) having a great game, quick and covering well. Lewis Barr looked decent too. Heads went down a bit when the first goal went in and by halftime we were down by 5. Final score Berwick 0 Ayr 7. It’s tough to see what will come when we are playing against a good Championship side. The Betfred cup is a somewhat demoralising start to the season. The team are still pretty new to each other too. We kept our shape much better than last season but time will tell. Next week it’s Stranraer, a league one team. How we will fare against them is again anybody’s bet. Hopefully not such a heavy defeat as we suffered today.
I missed the first friendly against Coldstream. A Tuesday night fixture is difficult and for a friendly against Coldstream it was not going to happen. I was pleased to hear we won 2-0 though. The second friendly was against Billingham Synthonia, this I could manage.
Well in anticipation of no chip van it was off to Foulis in Tweedmouth. Easy parking right outside the door so easy for my dad to manage. 2 all day breakfasts ordered and what a plateful. More chips that you can eat, It’s a bit of a waste really. Next time we will ask for one portion between us (or none at all), why chips come as part of an all day breakfast is a bit of a mystery.....
Lunch consumed it was off to Shielfield.
It felt like a long time since I had been here. I was at the charity game only a couple of weeks ago though. I popped into the front office to say hello to Dennis and have a quick chat. Then off to the stand. The pitch is in good condition. A credit to the ground staff, it was commented on by Billingham fans too.
Well we started ok, a few trialists on the park and a couple of new signings. It was promising though. Trialists 9 scored first. It was a goal that looks easier than it is. A good ball through one on one with the keeper and it was slotted home! 1-0 Berwick! The usual back and forth ensued. Billingham had chances, Berwick had chances but it was Berwick who found the net again. Healey scoring some sort of goal. I missed it as I was looking at my phone. I do don’t miss the next goal though. An overhead kick by Healey finding the net! Goal of the season already? Hopefully that will give him and the team a bit of confidence. The team looked in good shape overall and crucially held formation well. Last season it was schoolboy football where every player clustered around the ball and we had gaps all over the field. Brennan put in a good show in goals, he should be a safe pair of hands for the coming season.
Number 9 looked ok, took his goal well but also missed a sitter. He was in position to miss the sitter though. He had a bit of pace upfront so I wouldn’t be unhappy if he signed for us. It will be interesting to see the team next week against Ayr. Who will be in the starting 11. It will also be a tough one to judge. Ayr are a very good side and leagues above us. The rest of the Betfred cup games will also be tough to judge. It’s a cup set up that will Yield rewards financially, I think it’s. £17k for finishing bottom of the group plus spilt gates. It’s can also be demoralising to be thumped 4 times in a row before the league season starts. As much as I hope Berwick put up a show the odds are stacked against us. Ayr, Stranraer, Falkirk and Livingston are our opposition. I doubt we will see a point.
We then start the league midweek as our first home game is postponed due to the cup. Bonnyrigg Rose our first opponents. That will be a tough game for so many reasons. Bonnyrigg having been promoted into the league and managed by ex Berwick manager and player Robbie Horn. Bonnyrigg will be looking to make their mark. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bonnyrigg finished in the top 5.