As the season came to a close last Wednesday, with a disappointing 3-1 quarter final to Thorniewood in the Euroscot Cup, it has given us all at the club an opportunity to have some reflection on our progress in the last 12 months and start to have a think about the coming season in the next division.
It has not been an easy transition and with myself, the coaches and a lot of the players stepping up from the amateur ranks we were always going to be judged on results on the park and it is no secret that in February, when we sat second bottom of the division with only 11 points from our first 12 games. even our biggest fans will have agreed that maybe the step up was proving too steep. However I don’t think that the first half of the season should be judged wholly on results, as we have seen a number of positives that will impact on the long term successes of the club. We built relationships with Annan Athletic through Jamie Johnstone, Albion rovers with T.J. McCluskey and Cumnock and Petershill who loaned us Chris Barr and John Mullan, so I feel that we had the chance to lay the foundations of what we were looking to achieve in the first half of the season and I would challenge anyone to pick a team in our division who played better football than us, but good football in the division was never enough and the players have developed a resilience which has made the team much harder to beat. In our last 8 league games we won 7 and drew the last nail biting game against Royal Albert to be promoted by the slimmest of margins – 1 goal.
Congratulations to Rossvale who finished as Champions and to Johnstone Burgh on their promotion, and thanks for the favour on the last day – that was emotional, I did not have a single grey hair before kick off😄
I believe in the cup competitions we became competitive again, winning 5 of the 10 ties and beating some very good teams too. Over the course of the season we played 30 competitive games – winning 15, drawing 3 and losing 12. Maybe not the most spectacular stats but when you look in comparison to last season then the progress at the club is there for all to see – last year P27, W4, D4 and L19. Last season, we finished 3rd bottom while this year 3rd top and ultimately were promoted, while we know we face a tougher challenge next season, we hope to stay competitive.
This season on the park has been a steep learning curve for Robert, Allan, Chris and particularly for me as well as for a lot of the players but the experience will have us in good shape for next season where we will start from a much stronger base.
Off the park has been a real eye opener for me too and I have enjoyed my role supporting the committee – I must point out that the people who are entrusted to run the club are great people and we are all working together to make St Roch’s as successful as we can be and place the club at the heart of the community where it belongs. There are so many people who do so much behind the scenes and every body’s input has helped us to make forward steps – just look at some of the developments in the last year – the McGrory mural, the upgrade of the board room and the 1920 room, the increase in our fan base, the recognition of our fans in the Scottish Parliment for the food drive back in October, free entry for under 16’s, the youngest committee member in the Juniors and off course The Forza.
So I would like to thank everyone associated with St Roch’s for giving me the opportunity to lead our great club on the park – I thank the committee and treasurer for backing us – we probably played around 20 friendlies this season and that more than anything kept the players focussed as the winter months impacted on the fixtures. The players have the best training facilities, equipment and kit and all of this costs money which the committee have provided for us. We also have brilliant sponsors who have given us great backing – there are too many to name individually.
I am happy to announce that the majority of the playing staff are committed to the club until May 2016 and I have already been able to get a couple of very experienced players to join us next season – the last few times St Roch’s have been promoted we have came straight back down – we do not expect that to happen next year.- but we need to make sure we have the finances to compete so we are always keen to speak to new sponsors.
Hope to see you all at the AGM and can I ask you to tell your Ma, your Da, your mates and your Dug – that our season tickets are the cheapest in Junior Football – for 12 games it is £30 for adults, £15 for OAPs and Unemployed and great to say we will be continuing with Under 16’s being Free
Season tickets can be purchased at the AGM on 7th of June at the park at 7 o’clock – hopefully see you there I leave you with my best moments of the season – the shettleston and Whitburn Cup wins and the Royal Albert promotion day were great but for me it was 2 guest speakers who came into our changing room – Bertie Auld came into our dressing room and told our boys to “entertain” and how Mr McGrory (his gaffer) “loved the Celtic and loved the Candy” and Peter Flynn (life Member) spoke to the players and told them that he was “80 years old and the proudest day of his life was the day he signed for St Roch’s” (we have a picture of Jordan Logan bubbling 😄) thanks to Bertie and Peter and if my job can in any way make people who are now over 70 like Peter, Jim Friel, Martin Welsh, tommy and Charlie happy as well as having scores of young kids as members then maybe the journey to take St Roch’s to the heart of the Garngad community is already happening See you all next season.
Mon The Candy💚💚💚💚💚💚
St Roch’s Manager