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Thursday, 20 December 2012 00:00

Linwood celebrate the present and building for the future

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By Paul Elliott
YFS West Region Reporter
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Linwood Rangers 2012 AwardsIn a crowded function room of a welfare club, Linwood Rangers held a presentation ceremony for their 2001, 2002 and 2003 age groups. It was the finale of a season that has seen them compete in a tournament in Blackpool, train at Murray Park and develop their abilities on the field.

60 youngsters were presented with medals on the night for their efforts over the last year in the club’s 7-a-side teams. Darren Lamont, Captain of Linwood Rangers 19s, handed out medals at the ceremony to the club’s emerging talent under the gaze of coaches, parents and players past and present. The occasion was a buoyant one as the club celebrated all the efforts of those involved and the successes of their youngest players.

Linwood Rangers has been in existence since 1971 and there is a lot of passion for the club, both from within and from the local community. The club currently produces teams from the 2007 age group up until 19s level and has around 175 players in total. Linwood Rangers still maintain many of the club’s original traditions, even down to kit design, and the duty of progressing a club as long-lasting as theirs is taken very seriously. These days, Danny Collins is the Chairman for Linwood Rangers and Graham McIntyre is Vice Chairman, and both are driven in their efforts to develop both the club and those involved in it.

Following the presentation, and amidst the youthful cheering from the players as they posed for photographs, Danny Collins said:

“You’ve got to give the kids something back, so tonight we’ve put on a buffet, treats and raffles for their efforts for the season. We just has the 4-a-sides presentation night and that was mobbed as well, so we’re doing alright.”

Good teams have good coaches and the enthusiasm of Linwood’s coaches is obvious. One coach even had his wife take hold of the microphone to explain what it takes to be a ‘football widow‘, all in good jest of course. The work the coaches are doing is greatly appreciated by the club’s committee. Graham McIntyre said:

“I think the good thing about all three age groups that were here tonight is they have coaches involved who are growing the teams. The end result is 11-a-side football and getting there is a journey. And to get there they will have fun and grow as people.”

Collins quickly concurred:

“The coaches of these sides are all qualified, they’re all in it for the right reasons and the kids really take to them. The kids appreciate them teaching them how to play football. The kids are also fantastic -  there really is a lot of good kids at this football club.”

Both Danny Collins and Graham McIntyre coach for the club. McIntyre has just taken his side to 11-a-side from 7-a-side and Collins’ team made the Scottish Cup final four years ago. Both have worked hard for Linwood Rangers for a long time. They are both however keen to show their appreciation to not just the coaches, but the club’s supporters.

Collins said:

“The good thing about this club is that the parents support it - big time.”

McIntyre was quick to agree:

“My own team at eleven aside now, we’re luck that we’re well supported because I think they (The parents) can see what their kids are getting. They’re getting a good grounding, they’re improving, it’s a safe environment and the people who run the club are in it for the right reasons.”

“We’re very focussed on discipline and development.”

Linwood Rangers 2012 AwardsThe presentation ceremony was for Linwood Rangers’ supporters as much as it was for the players. It was a chance for them to see their children rewarded for their hard work and recognised for their development. The one thing that was also apparent was that the ceremony was a community event. The turnout was fantastic, the noise was deafening and the support for the players was exceptional. Everybody present was right behind the club and its efforts to provide for the players, which is important for any club to progress.

McIntyre said:

“We feel that we’re a well run club and we’re going in the right direction. We’ve got a good committee and I think that’s important. We’re a community club and I think the important thing we’re trying to get across to the parents is for us to keep it at £5 a week for the players to take part we need to have other fundraising activities. There can be three, sometimes four kids from the one family involved with the club. It then becomes expensive for parents so we’ve got to make it affordable for them. We will do our very best to make up the deficit through fundraising events.”

Most clubs will tell you about the difficulties of funding youth football as it is a challenge that is faced across the grassroots spectrum. The organisers of Linwood Rangers are being inventive to help fund their club as well as offering as affordable an opportunity as possible for youngsters in the local community to play for them. The issue is one the committee feels strongly on as they see the societal importance of a youth football club in Linwood.

Collins said:

“We’ve kept it at a fiver, which has been quite hard actually. The players get a training kit for that, they also get two nights training and their game on a Saturday. That fiver’s getting stretched. So we’re doing race nights, speaker nights and everyone is being very supportive. Linwood is classed as a deprived area and that’s why we need to keep it at a fiver. The passion we have for this is incredible and it’s important we can maintain this for everybody at an affordable price.”

Linwood Rangers are a club very much with the future in mind and it is clear from the support the club received at the 2001 - 2003 age groups medals presentation ceremony that it isn’t a journey they will be taking alone. Expect to see Linwood Rangers sides on fixtures lists for a long time to come.
Last modified on Sunday, 04 August 2013 21:57
Paul Elliott

Paul Elliott | YFS West Region Journalist
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