• Broxburn United celebrate their 40th anniversary this season.
• The West Lothian club are celebrating with a number of events over the course of the next 12 months.
• Interviewee: Marc Hagan
Broxburn United, founded in the 1975/76 season, are celebrating their 40th anniversary in style this year with a host of events to mark the progress they have made so far, and the progress that they will surely make in the years to come.
Club Secretary Marc Hagan said: “The club was formed in 1975/76 by local volunteers Jimmy Chapman, George Samuel, Bill Simpson and Tom Pegg, through two Scout troops coming together to create Broxburn Colts.
"The club was competing well in local and national competitions under the influence of coaches Willie Kelly and George Samuel, both ex-professionals. In the first full season together, Colts reached the semi-final of the Scottish Cup at under-13 level where they were beaten by a talented Salvesen BC team.
“In the '80s and '90s, the club had started to introduce more teams, with five or six operating under the Colts banner,” Hagan said. “However we felt with an expanding community, the club could be serving more children who wanted to play football locally. In 1999, with the support of volunteers, we established a plan to take the club forward into the new millennium.”
He added: “Throughout the new millennium we have created a huge community spirit and our numbers have now increased to 30 teams playing football. The club was instrumental in the formation of Broxburn United Sports Club – an amalgamation of local clubs coming together to create a community sports club.
"Today the Colts base themselves at Albyn Park, Broxburn, alongside our colleagues Broxburn Athletic Juniors and Broxburn Amateur Boxing Club. The facilities we share today include an astroturf pitch, five grass parks, a ten-team changing area, a community room, boardroom, cafeteria and a boxing club. The investment by the local authority and other government agencies has been hugely beneficial to the Colts and the community.”
Hagan also explained that the club has helped to develop many players who have reached the professional and junior level of the game. “A few of our youth team coaches are ex-Broxburn Athletic Junior players who enjoy working with the young players and look to enhance player development. The experience that they bring to the club is hugely beneficial.
"James McDonagh played with the club and has now become assistant manager at Falkirk. He learned some of his coaching techniques at the club under the guidance of our former community coach, Joe Craig (Celtic).”
Broxburn United have already held their annual tournament for soccer 7s teams in June and 11s in August, but are planning further events throughout the season. “We have planned for a Girls event in February 2016 where we hope to have girls’ teams from under-9 to under-15s playing,” Hagan said. “We also plan to hold a celebration for the 40 years within Albyn Park at the end of the 2015/16 season.”
Having reached their 40th anniversary, the club still have ambitions for the future, says Hagan. “We are looking to develop greater engagement with the local community and business, and to continue further development of coaches education on playing the game and child protection.
“We want to introduce more young players to football at the club and give them more off-field experiences. We’re holding our second annual Christmas end-of-season event for boys and girls playing 7s, and will be holding the first whole club end-of-season awards ceremony in 2016.”
With such an incredible history, it certainly looks as though their 40th season will be an exciting one for Broxburn United.