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...
The club have a raffle for shirt sponsorship again this season so I’ve purchased a ticket to show my support. I’ve also paid for a player kit sponsorship which I think will be my 6th consecutive season as a kit sponsor. The first player I sponsored was Dwayne Coultress if memory serves. I’ve also paid to retain the advertising board on the perimeter wall. I have a small advert in the programme but that will be covered in the cost of the raffle ticket. Better to get these paid now so the club have a little bit more revenue to play with.
To help with the difficult times ahead I have made a further donation to the 1881 fund of £500. This brings my donation total to £1500 (a further £50 for 2 virtual grand nation horses too but I’m not counting that). Travelling to the football with my dad really gives us something to look forward to. He’s 82 and it give us something to look entertain us at the weekends. The club has always been very friendly and welcoming to us and it’s worth it to spend quality time with my dad, even if at times the football isn’t quality. Easy access and friendly faces are priceless to us. It can be a real struggle getting disabled access to many football clubs, despite their claims. Berwick and the lower leagues in general have been very good in this respect and should be commended for this.
The Lowland league has been ended and a Kelty Hearts declared winners. There still a twist to come I feel but for now Berwick’s season has finished so it’s time for the end of season awards. Last year due to relegation there was no award ceremony, our award was left on the desk of Dennis Mcleary to hand over to the winner.
This season due to the global pandemic the award will be posted to the winner at some point after lockdown is lifted. One part of the award is an Amazon voucher, that can be sent via email or similar.
Winners in previous seasons have been:
Sean Brennan 2016/17.
Steven Thomson 2017/18.
Lewis Barr 2018/19.
And the winner is!
The winner this season is Lewis Barr. Lewis also picked up the award last season and again has been outstanding in this campaign. Tireless and always putting in the effort, Lewis is a worthy winner yet again. Well done Lewis. Special thanks to my dog Pippa for accepting the award on Lewis’s behalf.
With many people feeling the pinch at the moment our friends at Northern Soul Kitchen are not exempt from this. Millie and the team are working hard to provide food for the local community but with the cafe shut it’s a difficult time. That is why I have donated £100 to the guys to help out. They do a great service for the community and I only wish we had managed a better collaboration with Berwick Rangers when they were shirt sponsors. It was a time of turmoil at the club, board room takeovers and subsequent relegation dominated that season. If you can help with a donation, please do so. Thanks!