The Gaffer signs the season off with his final comments and gratitude on what has been an eventful season at Ashfield Football Club:-
“To our friends, supporters, members, opponents, sponsors and partners..
Firstly I want to congratulate Lanark Utd for achieving promotion as champions of Division 2. To go until the last game of the season defeated only once, ironically from us, is an outstanding achievement. Aside from the excellent quality they have in abundance, their resilience was incredible with some excellent comeback wins. I also want to take the opportunity to congratulate both Lesmahagow and Carluke Rovers in achieving the other two promotion spots. The Gow were extremely unlucky not to achieve the title with them and Lanark battling it out whilst Carluke had an incredible turn-around midseason to take the final promotion spot on the final day. I wish all three clubs the very best for next season.
I think it is doubly important to give credit to all teams whom participated in the said ‘lowest division’ in the West Juniors for their incredible on and off the field efforts in continually improving our game. The impact that the likes of Newmains, Vale of Leven and St Anthony’s have made through their community and charity initiatives has been nothing short of terrific. Any club, from youth, junior to senior levels could use some of their initiatives as best practice to try and increase engagement at their respective levels.
I want to take the time to wish our friends at Ardeer Thistle all the very best in their recovery from the awful attack on their club house a couple months back. Ardeer are steeped in junior football history like many other proud Ayrshire sides and we at Ashfield offer any on-going support. A special mention to Johnstone Burgh whom held a fund raising game on behalf of Ardeer, an excellent gesture.
For us, at Ashfield, it was a season of what if’s and but’s. It is easy for me and the management team to point the finger at ourselves and our players to delve on that cliché ‘that we threw promotion away’ after our brilliant start to the season but that would take credit away from the likes of Carluke, Vale of Leven and Vale of Clyde whom continued to battle on throughout the season and deservedly put themselves in contention, with Carluke eventually succeeding to go up along with the two stand-out clubs in Lanark and Lesmahagow.
We have a terrific bunch of boys at Ashfield whom have made our first season in charge extremely enjoyable. I want to thank each and every one of them for their efforts. Congratulations to club captain Ciaran Friel in winning the inaugural club tradition prize for scoring 5 goals in one game, the Silver Dollar, after your feat against Annbank Utd earlier in the season. To our award winners from last weekend’s Player of the Year night, well deserved and well done:-
• Mark McManus – Club Player of the Year & Players Player of the Year
• Graeme Hearton – Website Player of the Year and Top Goal Scorer (shared)
• Ciaran Friel – Top Goal Scorer (shared)
• Michael Giblin – Special Recognition
• Gordon Passmore – Special Recognition
• Ewan Murray – The Albert Murray Memorial award
Like any other club some players have moved on to pastures new. I want to wish the likes of John Mullen, Gary McGlenaghan, Ross Hamilton, Gavin Goodall, Paddy Cullen, Ryan McLaughlin & Billy Stevenson all the very best for the future. Thank you for your efforts here.
For my friend and outstanding team mate and player, Gordon Passmore – I wish you all the best in your retirement.
The past 12 months has been a terribly tragic one for our club. I want to pay our respects to long standing members whom have sadly passed away. Jim Ross (former treasurer), Michael McGuigan (former President), Stevie Chalmers (former Player) and most recently Joe Shevlin (ex-committee and long serving supporter).
I want to thank our small but dedicated committee & volunteers for their amazing efforts home and away this season, you are the back bone of our club. Particularly Ewan & Inga for their superb social media work.
It is important for me to also mention the work our coaches and members from our fantastic Academy set up from our mini-kickers level to our 2004’s. You are the foundations of our club and we are very proud to see the development of such wonderful talent within each teams. Keep up the great work. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for our boys. A special mention to Derek Linning & Alexander Tran and their 2005’s squad whom will be competing for a league decider against Oban Saints and Celtic FC over the next couple of weeks. We are all rooting for you and the boys to get over the finishing line and become champions.
A massive appreciation for our sponsors and partners in Young Start National Lottery Funding, Allied Vehicles, Highballs Low, Friends of Eastfield, our local Council & NG Homes for their continued support with not only the football aspect but our community development initiatives over the past 12 months. We honestly couldn’t continue the work we aspire to share with our local communities without your efforts. I want to especially wish our stadium partners Glasgow Tigers Speedway all the very best in their quest for glory this season. I am aware you have gotten off to a solid start to the campaign, only one loss I believe, therefore let’s hope the form continues. I have witnessed first-hand the efforts your supporters, volunteers and the owner Gerry puts in to become successful. It is mammoth.
A penultimate note, I want to thank my coaching team at Ashfield, Ryan Cairley (Assistant Manager), Scott Mills (First Team Coach), Ryan Dakhil (Goalkeeping Coach) and Robert Fairfield (Physio) and of course Nicky Hughes (Kit man). You have all been a dream to work with and I honestly couldn’t do this job without your friendship, expertise and most importantly your joint commitment and drive for our great club to succeed. Keep up the fantastic work. A mention to David Currie and Kevin Gilchrist also whom have supported our boys on and off the field.
It leaves me to say thank you to our small but loyal support. It didn’t quite happen this season but as the manager of this great and fantastic club I can promise you we will use our failures as motivation to succeed for the future. We hope this happens from next season.
Mon the ‘Field