BERWICK Rangers have started building their squad for next season with the confirmation that seven of last year’s squad have already put pen to paper on new deals.
Paul Currie, Lee Currie, David Greenhill and Elliot Smith join Ian Little, Andy McLean and Damon Gray, who had already agreed to stay on or who were on extended contracts.
Fraser McLaren has also agreed terms, but has yet to formally sign a deal, whilst negotiations are still ongoing with goalkeepers Mark Peat and Ian McCaldon.
Manager Jimmy Crease said this week that of the players who had been offered contracts from last season, none had formally rejected the offer of a new deal yet, but he was still waiting to hear back from a few of them.
“I’m pleased that we have already got half a dozen or so signed up,” said Crease.
“One or two others are expected to sign shortly, but I am still waiting to hear back from a few players, some of whom are away on holiday.
“I have told them I cannot wait for ever and I am hoping that by the end of this week I will be in a far better position to be able to say what is happening.
“I will need an answer off the players sooner rather than later, because the new season starts in mid July and I don’t want to be in a position that with a couple of weeks to go before the start I am still scratching around looking for players to sign.
“In fact, I have told them that if I don’t get an answer off them and I sign someone else in the same position, then that is it.”
Crease says he has also identified a number of targets he would like to bring in. “Obviously I am not going to name names,” he said, “because some of them have been released by other clubs, but some as still under contract elsewhere.
“I have made one of two of them an offer and I am just waiting to hear back from them shortly.”
Of the players who have already signed Crease says the capture of Lee Currie excites him most as he sees him as a key player in the campaign which lies ahead.
“Lee came in late in the day last season, but he improved with every game,” he said.
“He is a naturally left footed player, and for anyone who saw him score with a free kick against Spartans in the City Cup Final, they will know that he is a good player to have around in a dead ball situation.
“Last season we had Stuart Callaghan who took most of our free kicks. He also had a good left foot on him, but he is no longer with us and I see Lee as a perfect replacement in that respect.”
So far Berwick have lined up three pre-season friendlies - against Hibernian on July 2, Hamilton on July 8 and a Newcastle XI on July 16.
“Hibs and Hamilton are both bringing their first teams,” said Crease, “and the Newcastle reserves are led by Peter Beardsley, so we know all the games will provide us with opposition of a good standard.
“We are also trying to line up a couple of other games against non-league opposition from the north-east, but so far nothing has been agreed.”
Meanwhile, Berwick has announced admission costs and season ticket prices for the forthcoming campaign.
They have maintained admission prices for Third Division games at £10 for adults and £5 concessions for what will be the 11th consecutive season, having been unchanged since 1999/2000.
There are some changes to season tickets, however, and they hope that fans will take advantage of the benefits that advance purchase of a season ticket will bring.
Adult season tickets will be on sale during June at £140, and will cover 18 SFL Third Division fixtures, pre-season friendlies, East of Scotland League fixtures and any end-of-season ‘Play Off’s’ Concessionary season tickets will be available at a reduced price of £70 for senior citizens, student and unemployed fans. Fans who are registered as disabled will receive a complimentary ticket.
A youth season ticket will be available to young fans aged 13 to 16, at a price of £30.