Eyemouth United manager Carl Hudson has accused many of his former players of showing a “lack of respect” after nine of them quit to sign for local rivals Coldstream.
With the new East of Scotland League season little more than a week away, Hudson is still busy trying to rebuild his threadbare squad after losing 11 of his [players from last season.
The majority of them, as many as nine, have signed for Coldstream, and it has left a bitter taste in Hudson’s mouth.
“To be honest I am totally shell-shocked,” said Hudson, a former Coldstream player himself.
“I can understand players moving on, but to lose so many in one go, and to lose them all to the same club, is difficult to comprehend.
“In fact, I have told the Coldstream manager in no uncertain terms what I think about the way they have gone about their business.
“I like to think that I treat people fairly and with respect, but some of the players haven’t even had the decency to speak or text me to let me know they are not playing.
“Thankfully, I still have some players who have shown some loyalty and with the contacts I have I have been able to add a few other faces to the squad.
“We have a mixture of youth and experience. But it’s been a hard summer, and I am certain it will be a long and difficult season for us.
“We might end up at opposite ends of the table, but after everything that has gone on I am certain it will add a bit of spice to the derby games. In fact I might even be tempted to put the boots back on myself for those matches.”
Although midfielder Mark Bolton has moved in the opposite direction from Coldstream to Eyemouth, Hudson’s squad has been ripped apart over the past few weeks.
Coldstream have confirmed that the arrival of striker Stuart Coyle from Eyemouth takes to nine their total of arrivals from Warner Park.
The others are goalkeeper Jonathon Gall, defenders Jordan Ainslie, Richard Baxendale and Kieran Ainslie, midfielders Jonny Simpson, Josh Hebdon, Sean Simpson, and forward Gary Wales.
“I am delighted with the signings we have made,” said Coldstream manager Andrew Gibson. “Some quality experienced players have now been added to our squad as we aim for a successful few years ahead.
“At 18-years-old Jonathan is a fantastic goalkeeper. I expect him and Mark Walters to run each other very close for the number one spot.”
With promising Chirnside midfielder Greg McCrudden, 16, having signed earlier in the month, Gibson will be hard pressed to keep everyone happy in such a large squad.
Some departures are expected when the season gets under way.
Streamers, who have been handed a tough Scottish Cup draw away to Fraserburgh of the the Highland League, continue their pre-season preparations with a home game against Walker Central on Saturday (2.30pm).
A John Crawford double and goals from Kristian Neill and Coyle earned Streamers a 4-0 win at Lauder on Saturday.
They drew 0-0 away to Stobswood Welfare on Sunday and were due to face Blyth Town on Wednesday night.
Eyemouth have so far played three pre-season friendlies, against Greenlaw, Tynecastle and Tweedmouth.
This weekend they are hoping to take on Shilbottle, a match against the North Northumberland League side having previously been washed out due to the heavy rain which hit the area. There is also a possibility that they will play against Wooler next midweek.
Duns begin their pre-season friendlies with a match against Dunfermline Athletic at The Berwickshire High Scool on Friday night, kick-off 7pm.
This will be followed by games against Dunbar United on Tuesday, Tynecastle on August 4 and then the Dingers will host Livingston at the High School on August 11.
Following the departure of skipper Dougie Brydon to Berwick Rangers, Duns manager Neil Oliver has already made two new signings, with three more expected to put pen to paper before the season starts.
Oliver said: “The important thing was to retain the players we had last season. Although we have lost Dougie to Berwick we have kept everyone else which I am very pleased about.
“We have signed striker Aiden Lauder from Chirnside and defender Andrew Renton from Berwick Rangers Reserves and I hope to have three more new faces added to the squad.
“We also have Jamie Lackenby back in the fray which is just as good as a new signing.
“Pre-season training has been going well at our new facility at the old High School which has been a big boost to the club.”