well I didn’t think I would get to this one. But jury duty finished early and gave me a free afternoon so off to Berwick for the game. I picked up my dad along the way and headed down to Berwick about 3pm to avoid the traffic around Edinburgh that would build up later. We arrived in Berwick around 5pm and stopped off at the pet shop and then the petrol station before seeking out dinner. Dinner was to be had at Amrans on hide hill. A delicious curry was had for dinner, it’s well worth a visit. Tummies full we were off to Shielfield.
Arrival at Shielfield.
we arrived at Shielfield around 6:30pm and headed to the bar with no name. We we greeted with the usual warm welcome and had a drink and a chat. I was then asked if I could lend a hand in the shop so we went through and into the ground just before 7pm. I then headed to the shop to help for a bit. I met a few nice folk there, a ground hopper from Norway and a nice lad from Edinburgh who recognised me from my blogs ( if you are reading this contact me and I’ll send you some small gifts). My servitude at an end I returned to my dad waiting patiently in the stand ready for kick off.
well what a start! Stenhousemuir were looking for the win to seal their place in the playoffs but it didn’t work out for them. It was a battle of a game, scrappy for the most but we scored twice to go 2-0 up. I was sure we were on a winner here, perhaps Stenhousemuir would get 1 back in the second half but 2 before halftime was a kicker. At the start of the game I would have been happy with a draw but losing a 2 goal lead isn’t t ideal......
The second half was more back and forth, Stenhousemuir were clearly after a goal to secure their playoff spot but it wasn’t to be, they will have to wait for the last game of the season to see if they are in the playoffs.
Game finished and it was back in the car and off home, arriving back just before midnight.
The weekend started on Friday night. Gordon, Ruth, Pippa and I travelled down after work for this one. We were staying over so my dad wasn’t with us. we arrived around 9pm. Gordon and I then headed off to the Curfew for a pint. On Saturday we were expecting a friend (also called Ruth) who was coming down on the train from Edinburgh. This would be her first Berwick game and her first time in Berwick. We collected her from the station and went back to Spittal, a look at the beach and an ice cream then a walk into the town for lunch at the outlook down by the quayside. Lunch finished it was time for the walk to Shielfield.
We arrived just before 2pm and headed to the bar with no name. The bar is now looking good with the memorabilia from fans decorating the walls. We had a drink and a chat and I went through to hand over our award that I would be presenting later in the afternoon. Drinks finished it was into the ground to soak up the “atmosphere” before kick off. Ruth (my wife) wanted a hoodie so we popped into the club shop to barter with the shopkeeper... a deal was agreed and the hoodie was purchase. (At half time I went back to buy one for myself).
Finally a win! I think everybody was expecting a win here so the pressure was on. A win has been on the cards for a while. It was a decent first half from Berwick with Todd scoring the goal. The guy has done really well since coming to the club in January from the junior game. He should be really proud with his performances and progression in the team. The second half was a bit flatter. But Cowdenbeath didn’t give us much concern. A second goal would have been nice to take the pressure off but we won in the end and the team overall put in a good shift. we’ve had plenty of draws lately and were due a win, a narrow 1-0 victory will do! It also pushed up above Edinburgh City in the table so that should and another few thousand pounds to the coffers for next season if we can finish in that position. Edinburgh would need to win their last game away to Peterhead and we would need to lose our 2 games (Stenhousemuir on Tuesday at home, Clyde on Saturday away). So it’s looking good for 8th (out of 10). Still I have high hopes for next season. We look like having a decent core selection of player still on the books and some of the January signings seem to be bedding in well. I’m also hoping for a decent run in the betfred cup that starts in July. A decent run in this for Berwick would to not finish last in the group stage. It’s a cup designed for the small teams to never progress but it’s got a lot of money attached to it.
After the game it was off to the awards. Ruth and Ruth left with Pippa, heading for the train station. Gordon and I headed to the black and gold. The award ceremony is a nice end to the season and we had an award to present. Our award was for outstanding performance. 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 myself and my dad who felt it was a contender for the award.
The title says it all. Beaten 3-1 by Peterhead. I was under no illusions that we would win this one but I had hope. It just didn’t materialise. The day started with me picking up my dad for the game. We wouldn’t be staying in Berwick overnight so it would be a 240 mile round trip for this game. We arrived in Berwick around 12pm and pottered about a bit and visited the garden centre. I was going to take the old boy for lunch somewhere but he fancied chips and curry sauce from the van at the football ground! Who am i to question an 80 year old man. If he wants chips and curry sauce then chips and curry sauce he gets..
We arrived at the ground at about 1:30pm and went into the bar with no name. I was dropping off some more stuff to be hung on the walls. We had a drink (Diet Coke) and i nipped through to get the camera. We then ventured into the stadium to get my dad his chips and curry sauce.... as I was cameraman we didn’t have to wait for the turnstile to open to get in so there was no queue. My dad wandered towards the turnstile to find somebody to pay for his entry. Bless him. I said we didn’t have to pay. As cameraman the club let you in for free and as i had a season ticket he could use that so we were covered. He seemed to accept that and we went to take a seat and eat our lunch (I had sausage and chips if you were wondering)......
it was another frustrating game. We lost a couple of goals to mistakes and again I thought we could have had a result. It was chucking it down with rain and generally quite miserable. That’s about all I have to say on the game.... I went down with my dad to film the manager interview. Robbie wasn’t a happy man, I guess getting beaten 3-1 and then having to answer questions about it isn’t the greatest ending to the afternoon. Still it’s a valuable tool to communicate with fans.
It’s a tough life as a Berwick Rangers manager. Fans have great expectations for the club but realistically there’s no money to make these expectations a reality. Robbie has had one January transfer window to bring in players and I think he’s done well. Sure we’re not challenging for a playoff spot but was that ever going to happen this season? The guy needs a summer transfer window to strengthen the squad and get the current guys training and bonding better. You can see that fitness has improved at the club.
There’s a few people online looking for the board to go but who do they think would take over? A Russian billionaire? Sure there are things that can be done differently, New revenue streams need to be sought out, some people may need to step up a gear to achieve this and I hope that will happen, it’s not too much of an ask is it?
It’s a tough last few weeks of fixtures coming up but we should be safe enough. Everybody keeps talking about Cowdenbeath closing the gap but we still have a game in hand. We are also level on points with Edinburgh City and we have 2 games in hand over them.
Stenhousemuir at Shielfield midweek. We could win ‘this I think but it will be tough.
Montrose away on the Saturday. I’ll be at this one but I’m under no illusions that we will not get beaten.
Stenhousemuir at Shielfield midweek. We could win but again a tricky one.
Cowdenbeath at Shielfield. I’ll be down for this with a few family and friends travelling from various
S parts of the country. We should win this, it will be like a cup final though!
Clyde away, final game of the season. This will be tough. I’ll be at this one too but Clyde could be looking for a playoff spot so it won’t be easy.
There are 15 points up for grabs and for Cowdenbeath there are 12. A win for Berwick would go a long way to kill off the threat. But we will have to wait and see.
The day started with a 2 hour drive in the pouring rain. Ruth is away in London, Pippa and i would be making this trip. we arrive at lunchtime rain still falling. The rain cleared up around teatime so it was lookin good for the game.
Arrival at Shielfield.
We arrived at Shielfield at around 6:30pm. i was wanting to hand in a framed signed shirt for the newly created bar. the shirt was handed in and was appreciated. Pippa received lots of attention from everybody. We then took up our seat in the stand.
What a difference from the game at the weekend. The ball was on the floor and Berwick looked a different team. We had most of the game and it was a surprise when we went a goal down but we equalised only to lose another against the run of play. we finally managed another to bring it level but we had squandered at least 2 clear cut chances. It was a much improved performance and a credit to the team and to Robbie. After the game i headed down to the interview room. i'll be recording the next home game so i like to show my face. i also enjoy it, not many fans get an opportunity to get as close to the manager and players. all in all a good night, worth the trip and Pippa was as good as gold throughout.
Today’s game is against table topping Montrose. Again I have high hopes for this game but I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s the performance away to Peterhead that has given me confidence. Perhaps because it’s a sunny day outside and I had a nice morning. I picked up a copy of the Berwick advertiser for my mum and then Ruth, Pippa and I walked from Spittal into town to meet Millie from Northern Soul Kitchen. We met at the cornerhouse cafe to discuss the website for Northern Soul Kitchen. I had set it up a year or so ago (www.northensoulkitchen.co.uk) and i was showing Millie some of the basics for editing it, adding an Instagram feed etc. All went well and Millie seemed very happy to play about with the website. We then had a walk around the town and bought a selection of cheese at the market. I also bought some fish from the Berwick shellfish company for lunch when we heading back to Spittal.
Arrival at Shielfield.
i arrived around 2pm, turnstiles closed so i went into the main building and got signed in. I thought i would help with a bit of camera work anyway so I was signed in as assistant cameraman. I helped out with a bit of camera work in the second half. I also placed an order in the club shop for a winter jacket, rain jacket, hoodie and a polo shirt.
well my optimism left me a little when Montrose (or Berwick) scored the first goal but we pulled a goal back in the 23rd minute so hope was again rising that we wouldn’t be on the end of a thumping. To be fair the team have been playing really well lately, even if the results don’t fully reflect that. Montrose sticking one in just before the break was not ideal to be honest. Berwick didn’t look beaten and always looked like they could pull one back. The team have had a better attitude since the change at the helm, and since the transfer window and signing strikers we have actually been scoring goals. A great freekick shot cross (shot cross is probably the best description) from new singing Willis curled into the net in the 63rd minute to level it at 2-2. Berwick looked like the could actually go on an win it but it wasn’t to be. Still a point at home to the league leaders couldn’t be described as a bad day at the office. I then took the camera down for Alan to film the post match interviews. I really enjoy them, Eric and Robbie do a great job as do the players in the post match interviews.
The Trust AGM and the Elgin game were scheduled for today, Sadly the game was a victim of the weather. That’s the 3rd game now that has been posponed because of a frozen pitch. An appeal went out for volunteers to help shift the snow and ice, the volunteers worked tirelessly to shift the snow and ice and we thank them for that, Sadly the game was still called off despite their efforts. It’s annoying for me as it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be able to attend the rescheduled midweek fixtures, it’s at least a 2hr drive and if I’m leaving work and hitting the Edinburgh bypass and the traffic there at peak time it’s even longer. It would also mean I’ll be getting back home just before midnight, not ideal with work the next day. I have done it a couple of times in the summer for pre season friendlies, it’s quite different driving in the summer than the freezing cold dark rainy months. It does give me an extra bit of insight into the players, it’s similar for quite a few of them and must be tough.
The journey South....
i had planned to leave for Berwick on the Friday afternoon with Ruth and Pippa but the snow was getting pretty heavy and I decided not to travel and leave it until the Saturday morning. Later I saw the social media appeal and thought I could have helped, but it was a bit too late by then. I followed the progress and it seemed likely that the game would be posponed so the decision was taken to travel down on the Saturday morning. We were going to stay in Berwick from the Friday to the Sunday but with the likelyhood of the game being off it was decided that I would go down by myself and come back on the Saturday whether the game was on or not. So it was up at 7am and put defrosting the car for the journey to Berwick. I did manage a pit stop on the way down at the Cedar Cafe, Breakfast in a cafe that was empty apart from the staff.
Not much to say really! The board were all voted back on and in the positions that they held, That also included me as member number ten. The Trust presented a cheque for £3000 to Len Eyre (Club chairman) and Robbie Horn (Club manager) to help with the transfer budget for this January transfer window. Another cheque for £400 was also handed over for additional funds, £200 of this was donated by St Andrews Berwick Rangers Supporters. I also “won” the silent auction for a signed shirt from 2006. The money from that is going to B.A.R.K (Berwick Animal Rescue Kennels) who are the affiliate charity of the club this season.
I really enjoyed the question session with Robbie Horn and Len Eyre, it was open and honest with some informative answers regarding players and the club. It’s tough to run any kind of business, A part time football club is no exception. It’s all well and good some fans grumbling on Facebook, twitter etc but they seem to lose sight of the fact that it is part time and a lot of people volunteer their time to help. I myself have grumbled about certain things and lost sight of this, hopefully I have a more positive attitude now* regarding such things. I’ve helped out in the past and will again in the future. Next week for me it’s the match report at the Cowdenbeath game and the following week recording the Clyde game and the “Eric Tait interviews” (sounds like a BBC archive collection....).
* now starting today....
well what to say, the bookies were right. Berwick had their chances but couldn’t punish Annan unlike the way they punished us. 2 defensive errors and it was game over. So frustrating to watch and another defeat. It’s lucky the 3 teams below in the league also lost to keep the gap but we are very much riding our luck in that respect. Hopes for the new manager and a turnaround were high and we are not in a bad position, especially compared to last year but we are lucky that other teams are performing poorly. I doubt that Berwick will ever win the league, playoffs at some stage in the future perhaps but there is a lack of funds to attract better players. Any better players we do attract are usually gone within a season. Still I find it more enjoyable that the higher leagues, it’s still fun and easily accessible, even away games are easy to get to and get parked, this is a great thing for my 80 year old dad. At this particular game I also had the privilege of filming the first half, this is in preparation for me filming the Clyde game in a few weeks when the regular cameraman is away. It’s a valuable training resource for the manager and highlights are put on the clubs website for fans to watch. It’s been very popular, especially with fans who live further afield. It’s enough to keep them interested in the club. I also got to meet the manager Robbie Horn and shake his hand as part of the filming. Eric Tait the club legend interviews the manager after every home game and this is filmed and put on the website. The filming is a great way for the manager to speak to the fans and let them know his thoughts, it keeps the fans engaged with the manager and club. Roll on next week, it’s Elgin at home and I’m not optimistic about getting a result.
Well the day started with a trip to Leven to pick up my dad and then a stop at Ayton on the way down to pick up some raffle prizes that I had won (2 beers and a dish!). Then off to Berwick and a bit of pottering about before the game. The pottering about consisted of visiting a shop that was shut and a visit to Ladbrokes for my dad followed by a trip to the charity shop. After such excitement it was off to the black and gold pub next to the ground for a seat and a drink. We then had something to eat in the ground. Fish and chips for me and chips and curry sauce for my dad. Fish and chips were rather good, dad not so keen on the curry sauce. A bit too fancy for him, it had raisins in it......
Well it was a pretty even game, rather dull in the first half with nothing much to report. Berwick still in desperate need of a striker. Let's hope that Robbie Horn has got some guys in mind for January. The defence seem pretty solid now so that's a start, half time arrived at 0-0. The second half started with a goal from Edinburgh. Berwick did equalise in the 57th minute, a great cross from Thomson and an equally good header from McKenna. The game was pretty even still although the last 5 minutes saw Berwick pinned into their own box. The result could have been better but with Cowdenbeath losing again and a draw for both Clyde and Annan Berwick are still sitting in a better position that the start of the season would have suggested. There is even talk of a playoff spot! In this league a lot can go wrong quickly, the biggest problem that Berwick face is the prospect of the loan players who are now integral to the first team leaving in January. Fleming had a good solid game in defence and has put himself in the running for an award from St Andrews Berwick Rangers. There may of course be a bit of Fife bias but we do like our end of season award to go to somebody who isn't perhaps an obvious choice but is deserving none the less.
well it was a 1-0 defeat at home and not the greatest of displays from Berwick. It's still early days in the league and we are not at the bottom so that's something! Hopefully we will get 3 points from Cowdenbeath next week to increase the distance from the bottom of the table. The weekend started on Friday for Gordon and I, we popped into Ayton for a coffee morning then on to Berwick. Gordon wanted to visit the garden centre to pick up some Jarvis Pickle pies and then we were on the boat trip from the Quayside followed by lunch and a drink in the Curfew. The evening was spent taking in some of the literary festival. We had tickets to Tony Husband and Ian McMillan : A Cartoon History of Here, a good 90 minutes spent having fun.
We wandered around the town looking at all the small nooks and crannies that we pass but don't take in, a bit of elevenses at the granery followed by fish and chips for lunch, the plan was to then pop into the Red lion for a pint as we have never been in but the fish and chips and pot of tea stuffed us sow we needed to walk it off...... it was a walk along the riverbank and off to the black and gold for a drink before the game.
We saw Tom Maxwell in the black and gold and popped over to say hello, I've never met him but he was at school with my wife Ruth. We were there with Ian Beresford and then the guys from the Ladbrokes tv show came in. They then interviewed myself, Gordon, Tom and Ian. I hope we done alright. The Ladbrokes guys were nice fellas and they sat with us for the first half of the game and got our thoughts at halftime. We saw them again as we left and said goodbye as we headed to the Angel inn for a pint.
Robbie Horn has been appointed as the new manager of Berwick Rangers. St Andrews Berwick Rangers Supporters would like to welcome him and wish him all the best in his new role.
Horn was a popular player during a six-season spell at Shielfield and was a member of John Coughlin’s side that won the 2007 Third Division title. He was a leading candidate to replace Colin Cameron in 2015. Since leaving Berwick, Horn, who had a sport spell as the manager of Vale of Leithen in 2011, has been in charge of junior side Bonnyrigg Rose.