The Noskab Trophy was hotly contested in the cup final between Banks O’Dee Albion and Fraserburgh Link-Up YFC 1999’s. However Fraserburgh lifted the trophy after a convincing 3-1 win. Colin Simpson, one of the coaches at Fraserburgh Link-Up YFC, spoke to Youth Football Scotland to offer his thoughts on his team’s season and share the emotions of their final game together.
Simpson described his side’s performance as ‘very good’ which he says is the norm for his team. He said, “The finishing was good when it needed to be and the passing was clinical and that saw them take a 2-0 lead. Albion came back into the game to make it 2-1 just before half-time. However we put in a strong second half performance and scored again to make it 3-1 and secure the win.
"I have to compliment the team as a whole! Although dry, the pitch was a bit bumpy in places, which made it difficult to control the ball at times but I am very happy and proud of the boys.”
Traditionally as a club, Fraserburgh only run their youth teams up until U17’s, after which they part ways and the 1999’s age group is no exception. However they have certainly made their last season together as a team one to remember, winning the league in addition to the Noskab Trophy. Simpson said, “Knowing it was our last season as a group, the coaches and the players had high expectations. The league was our main target but we also wanted to do well in the local cups and the Scottish Cup.
“We’ve had a good season,” he added, “certainly regionally. We’ve only lost one game locally, where we were knocked out of one of the cups, which was disappointing. However we’ve been consistent, with a 100% record in the A league, winning 18 games in 18. We were five points clear when we went to Spain Park to play Banks O’Dee Albion and we won 4-1 to secure the league.”
The North region side continued winning game after game, even when they had three consecutive weeks of three fixtures a week. Simpson was proud that the team maintained their consistency, with the boys stepping up to win all of their games.
This is the second time that Fraserburgh have won the league, having previously done so in the 2014/15 season. Two years ago, they also reached the semi-final of the Scottish Cup, which they did again this season. Simpson reflected on their run in the national competition. He said, “Two years ago, they reached the Scottish Cup semi-final but the occasion got to the guys on the day. This year, they reached the semi-final again, after some tough fixtures, including a challenging game against Dyce Locos. They beat Hamilton Academicals 2-1 at home, and played away to Tynecastle BC and won 4-1. We came up against cup favourites, St Peters, in the semi-final in an away fixture. The score was tied at 1-1 and I thought we were looking strong but a penalty was given against us which they scored to take the lead, and they won the game 2-1. Despite the result, I thought it was one of their best performances as a unit, and they showed that they had learned from their experience two years ago.”
Simpson is one of three coaches at Fraserburgh Link-Up YFC 1999’s, and has been with the club for six years, since they played at U13’s level. He coaches alongside head coach, Gordon Fraser, who has been with the team for eleven years, and goalkeeping coach, Andy Smith, who has been with the side for five years.
Simpson said, “We try and play all sixteen guys in every game as it’s all about development. We’ve been blessed with having a talented bunch locally. The coaches just do a bit of fine-tuning. We’ve always wanted the best for the boys. It isn’t always easy coaching teenagers but it has all been worth it and now their careers are in their own hands.”
Some of the players’ careers are already underway, with six of the players having been taken into the Fraserburgh first team squad in the Highland league, four of whom have already made their debut.
Simpson also shared that he has been inundated with well wishes, from other coaches and teams. He said, “We’ve always conducted ourselves as professionally as we can, and it’s great that other teams do so as well. All the teams get on so well.”
The day of their final game proved to be an emotional one. Simpson said, “It was great to finish on a high. We hired a bus to take us to and from the game so that we could all travel together one last time. You wouldn’t have known we’d won the game on the journey home- it was silent. It was a surreal mix of celebration and the realisation that we’d played our last game together.”
With only a club presentation night and the league presentation night on Monday the 27th of June to come, Simpson thanked the parents and players for their support. He said, “It’s an extended family and a period of my life that I will look back on fondly. I wish everyone all the best for their futures.”
YFS would like to congratulate everyone involved at Fraserburgh Link-Up YFC on their achievements this season, and wish them all the best for the future.