Rangers step up bid for new talent with trial match

BERWICK Rangers will enter the new season as one of only four Third Division clubs to have been awarded the UEFA Club Licence from the SFA.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 16th June 2010, 10:51 am

They join recently relegated Arbroath and Clyde, and Queen's Park, as licence holders. This is the result of several years of hard work by everyone concerned with the club to achieve UEFA standards which touch on every aspect of the day-to-day administration and facilities, including floodlighting, coaching qualifications, and health and safety considerations.

Club chairman Brian Porteous is delighted with the news and said: "We're absolutely thrilled to be awarded the licence. There has been a massive amount of work done to achieve the standards required, and we will continue to strive to make Berwick Rangers one of the most successful small clubs in Scotland, on and off the pitch.

"Lots of people have played a part in this, not only club staff and directors, but members of the Supporters' Trust and Supporters' Club, and individual volunteers, have contributed time and expertise along the way."

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The club aren't resting on their laurels just yet though, with a major redevelopment of changing facilities for players, a new drainage system for the pitch, and work on a new disabled toilet facility all set to be completed for the start of the new season.

Manager Jimmy Crease and assistant Ian Little have also been working towards their UEFA B Coaching Award at the SFA training centre at Largs during the close season.

"It was a lot of hard work and some long hours," said Crease, "but it will be worth it in the end."

Porteous added: "Whilst we were disappointed to miss out on the play-offs, especially after such a fantastic start to the season, overall we're delighted with the way things have gone this year. We've taken on some big projects, have the core of a good squad already signed up for the new season, and there's a lot of optimism around Shielfield just now.

"And we had the very enviable position last season of bringing in slightly more income than we had outgoings, which I'm sure most clubs in the UK would gladly accept.

"What we really need now is for that optimism to carry through onto the terraces – if we can get our average gate up a little it would make such a difference. Our adult admission of 10 has remained the same for the last ten seasons, and we'll be continuing to admit under-13s for free, so it would be great to see a few new faces to cheer on the side."

Two of the clubs principal shareholders, the Supporters' Trust and the Supporters Club' are represented on the board of directors.

John Bell, of the Supporters' Trust, is the director responsible for youth development. "After much discussion with the SFL we've reached a stage where we can enter a representative U17 team into the SFL competition," said Bell. "Previously the high cost of transportation was prohibitive, but the new competition will see games being played home or away, not both, leading to a much more manageable situation. We're very much hoping that this will lead on to regular youth participation at a national level for U17 and U19 in future years."

Berwick are due to hold trials for their new U17 team this Saturday (June 19). The trial is being held at Lowick United's ground - players must have been born after January 1, 1994 (except goalkepeers, where there is no limit).

On Saturday past (June 12) a trial match for out of contract players was held at Prestonpans and attracted a good turnout.

Manager Crease said: "We invited all players who were out of contract and who might be interested in playing for us to come along.

"Originally we had about 36 applications, including some from London, and even some from as far away as Italy and Spain - I think they must have thought we were a full-time outfit.

"As it was, we had enough to put two full teams out on the pitch, plus a few substitutes, and we will be assessing their performances and deciding on what course of action to take over the next few days."

The Berwick squad will begin their pre-season training tonight

(Thursday, June 17) and with home pre-season friendlies now confirmed as Raith Rovers (July 17), Sunderland Reserves (July 19) and St. Johnstone (July 23), Rangers will be looking to get off to a flying start when the league and cup programme begins.

* BERWICK Rangers will enter a Reserve team into the East of Scotland League for 2010/11, having had their proposal accepted at the League's AGM at Tynecastle last Thursday (June 10). They will launch their campaign in Division One in August, and face local sides such as Coldstream, Eyemouth United, Kelso United and Gala Fairydean in a 12 team league.

All home games will be played at Shielfield and in the draw for the King Cup they were paired at home with Leith Athletic in round two.