Now that the dust has settled I feel it only right not only to reflect on Saturday and the season gone past but also to publicly thank so many people. As I have said on so many occasions being Chairman of Stenhousemuir Football Club is a great personal honour and there is no doubt this week was the highlight. However the role comes with so many unjust plaudits as I am very fortunate to be the Chairman of a club which survives solely on the unselfish and often unnoticed efforts of so many people. Success this season is a pay back to everyone at the club and we should collectively pat each others back.
I should start with John Coughlin. There are lots of soccer speak throwaway lines and at the Player of the Year dance I mentioned the effort and devotion John brings to his role. That was not soccer speak as John genuinely is a workaholic in every detail of his role. Nothing is left to chance and I believe that John’s tactical agility over the last 8 games could not have been surpassed. In every game his team line-up and formation was bang on. In the end up the competition to gain promotion was fierce – our aim and efforts was to move ourselves up a division – in John we felt we had the man to do this and as a board we did not doubt this would happen this season or next.
John has had a great back up – with Matt, Alex and Alain as his team he really does have the good, the bad and the ugly. You choose!! Seriously, John develops a close knit team around him with very well defined roles and their unstinting commitment to John is self evident. Beyond this though John has his scouting team who you never see attending matches around the country. Bill Barclay and Steven Ferrier are in Elgin when we are at Coatbridge, in Berwick when we are in Montrose. All part of the team.
I would like to thank on behalf of all of us at the club the players for their efforts especially in this run in period. Having climbed the mountain at the start of the season only to slip away confidence and self-belief must have been gone. From that low ebb when it looked like we were out of even a play off place they reeled of 8 games unbeaten to land the prize. During that period I think we would all agree we saw a team who worked as hard as any we have seen at the club and their commitment to the cause was there for all to see. Youngsters came of age – Thom and Love. Auld heids grabbed the responsibility – Smith and Lyle. New recruits made their point – Malloy and Reid. Heroes emerged – Dalziel and Crazy legs. Nerves of steel – Brandy! Every one of our players deserves our praise.
To reflect on Saturday is to reflect on the kind of club we want to be and hopefully are. Whether it be Waldo’s exuberant commentary, the tears in Oscars eyes, the AKA loyal dodging the stewards, the community kids going wild, John Laing fit to burst – whatever. It was all for one and one for all and that’s the way it should be. There will be few promotion celebrations where the supporters are welcomed into the dressing room (can we have the kit back please) – LOL. The Wee Bar was the place to be as literally every part of the club mingled and celebrated together.
These days do not come along often but that is what makes them special!
Every club has their unsung heroes but my belief is that we have more than our fair share. For the size of club we are we punch way above our weight as ultimately money talks if you want to gain promotion. We do not have the crowds to generate the money required so the rest is made up of the hard work of everyone around the club – manning and staffing the pie shop and the wee bar makes a major contribution. Our coaches of both the youth system and the community set up have brought us both players and supporters – how many kids were there on Saturday from the community – lots!! Robert and Gary were in the first team due to our youth coaches – I am sure they will take some satisfaction from their part. Campbell and his team have another batch coming through. Danny and his stadium team work tirelessly to generate revenue, my folks washing strips in the middle of the night! Margaret is the glue which holds it together (she got an extra special hug). Too many to mention but all a vital part of the team.
Please during the coming weeks take your time to thank and acknowledge all of this work – pat each others backs!
Finally for me I want to thank the guys who do the real work on the board. Believe me in saying that having a bunch of guys on the board who all have the right objectives is a complete necessity. I sometimes become defensive when I see criticism of ‘the board’ as it is a bit of a football thing – let’s blame the board. However we are all just supporters who have the same emotions as any other supporter. We try and run the business side of the club correctly and we have a shared vision of a community club who can and will prosper. Above all the guys just plain work their backsides off and when Brandy slotted the decisive penalty my first move was to thank each and every one of them first. Not everyone agrees with every decision a board makes but rest assured we have a board with no prima donnas and desire to establish long term sustainable foundations at the club. To them I convey my personal thanks.
It was a long hard season, an official roller coaster. Next season will be tough and I predict there will be highs and lows. When the lows come around I will ask you in advance to look back at this weekend and remind ourselves what teamwork can achieve. One of my memories of this season will be the enormous support we received when we won down at Berwick. In one game the momentum was back and it carried us all to success.
Have a great summer holiday!!!