South East Region (483)
The Craig Gowans Memorial Match finished last night after a gruelling 105-hours, which smashed the world record for longest football match played.
Eighteen players on each team stayed at Spartans' Ainslie Park Stadium since Saturday, with the score finishing 774-707 to the red team. With the players resting for no more than six hours at a time, there will be 36 tired legs today. It is finally time for a well-earned rest!
The players doubled their initial target and raised over £75,000 for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation on behalf of the Craig Gowans Memorial Fund.
The players had to play through the night, and battled against a torrential rainstorm on night three, but were spurred on by pipers and drummers, as well as hundreds of friends and well-wishers across the five days of action.
They even had former Rangers and Scotland manager Alex McLeish along to lend his support to the cause.
Craig Gowans was a former Falkirk FC footballer, who died in an accident at the training ground at the age of 17.
Hutchison Vale Football Club is one of the most successful teams in South East Scotland, producing so much young talent with many former players involved in international teams now as well as managers. Currently there are 74 former Hutchie players who are playing professionally and 14 ex-players in management. The 11 first team coaches, managers and three assistant managers are spread mostly throughout Scotland and England with one even in the United States.
One full time manager is Gary Locke who has been appointed as the permanent manager of Kilmarnock, after being at Hearts since 2010 where he managed to get to the Scottish League Cup final in March 2013. He went to Lasswade Primary school located in Bonnyrigg where he played for Hutchison Vale before starting his professional career at Hearts in 1992 until 2009.
Another familiar name is Gary Caldwell who had a 14-year playing career, playing with Hibernian, Celtic and Wigan Athletic where he won the FA Cup after beating Manchester City in 2013. He also played a part in his national team, Scotland as well, racking up 55 caps and being added to the Scotland National Team Roll of Honour. He scored the only goal of the game in Scotland's famous 1-0 win over France in October 2006. After retiring in February 2015 he was appointed as Wigan Athletic in April this year and will lead the team in League One this season.
Celtic assistant manager, John Collins, is another name on the list of former Hutchie players. He had a very successful career playing for the likes of Hibs, Celtic (where he became their first million-pound player), Monaco, Everton and Fulham as well as playing for Scotland 58 times including Euro 1996 and the 1998 World Cup. Collins played for Hutchison Vale between 1980 and 1984 where he was Captain for all four seasons before signing for Hibernian where he played for six years.
St Mirren’s new manager Ian Murray was born in Edinburgh and played for Hutchison Vale before joining Hibernian in 1999 which led to a 16-year career at Rangers, Norwich and Hibs. He was made managerr of St Mirren after the departure of Gary Teale. He formerly managed Dumbarton for three years until joining the Saints in May.
Tommy Wright was a former winger for many different teams, of course starting at Hutchieson Vale before going to Leeds where he went on to many different teams. He made appearances for Oldham, Leicester, Middlesbrough, Bradford, St. Johnstone, Livingston and ending at Doncaster. Wright was the Assistant Manager for Oldham Athletic before following the former first Team Manager John Sheridan to Chesterfield where he was Assistant Manager until Sheridan was sacked and Wright was made the Caretaker Manager.
Hutchison Vale is a very good team and with all of their six teams in the 1st division of the SERYFA there could be many more players who go on to the professional game.
Full list of ex-Hutchison Vale players now in management:
Gary Caldwell, Wigan Athletic manager
John Hughes, Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager
Darren Dods, Brechin City manager
John Collins, Celtic assistant manager
Mark Burchill, Livingston manager
Gary Locke, Kilmarnock manager
Ian Murray, St Mirren manager
Danny Lennon, Alloa Athletic manager
Colin Nish, Cowdenbeath player-manager
Gary Naysmith, East Fife manager
Brown Ferguson, Stenhousemuir manager
Tommy Wright, Oldham Athletic assistant manager
Lee Bullen, Sheffield Wednesday first team coach
Paul Telfer, Indy Eleven assistant manager
Mr Woods carried on, "It has been a great occasion today and with us not having a school football league, although we do attend SFA festivals this is something we enjoy and we have kept it going over the years between certain schools. People really keen on football in these schools get together, holding something like this which is a bit different. So overall its great from my point of view."
Leith Athletic under-21s performed magnificiently this season, bringing home four trophies including the South East Region YFA Division 1 title.
They saw off stiff competition from Tynecastle FC, who finished three points behind them.
"The team has been fantastic this season. We went close to winning the league last season, but we went a step further this season along with retaining the Sports Asiist South East Region Cup down at Dunbar. We won the William Johnston Cup and retained the William Bauld Trophy from last season. So four trophies was an excellent achievement," head coach Steven Chalmers told Youth Football Scotland.
"Both league games against Tynecastle I would say were decisive. Towards the end of the season we lost league games against Tranent and Edinburgh University and being 2-0 down against Musselburgh Windsor with 15 minutes to go. Many would think that our league challenge would be over but we showed a lot of character to get ourselves back into the game and drew 2-2. So I would say that one game was a really decisive match in the season."
Chalmers made sure that complacency was not a factor in Leith Athletic's season.
When asked what the team had learnt this season, he said: "To treat each opposition you face like they are league champions. Give them respect. Don't underestimate anyone and never give up."
A star striker is vital for any team competing for silverware, and Leith Athletic have exactly that.
"Every player in the squad has played their part and contributed to the success we have had. Our striker Steven Froude scored 58 goals in 38 games. Other players such as Alan Murray, Callum Man, Euan Morrice and Kevin Hamilton had a say in various games throughout the season," Chalmers said.
As for next season, Leith are able to call on the majority of their squad as they look for more silverware.
"The difficult thing about under-21 football is it's a constant cycle of rebuilding. We lost eight players due to being overage. But we are able to keep a core of the existing squad and will look to strengthen further in the hope of repeating the success of the last two seasons," Chalmers said.
Congratulations to Leith Athletic under-21s, 2014-15 South East Region YFA Division 1 champions!
Bonnyrigg Rose Colts U13’s were the team on everybody’s lips during the 2014-15 season and, due to their magnificent performances, clinched the SERYFA Division Two title. “The Invincibles” was the name given to Arsenal when they secured the Premier League trophy after an unbeaten season, however, 11 years on and it’s another team in red and white, Bonnyrigg Rose Colts, who now have the right to call themselves by this laudatory title.
The second division side managed to manoeuvre their way through the campaign without succumbing to a single defeat. No small achievement, which is furthered by the fact, Bonnyrigg Colts were one out of only two teams across all the SERYFA divisions and age groups to remain unbeaten.
"It was a remarkable achievement to go throughout the season undefeated but what made it even better for me was due to the fact the team also had success in cup competitions we were always playing catch-up in the league and had a huge back-log of games to play. In the last month of the season the lads had to play 11 games in 30 days. So to maintain their focus and win so many games in such a short period of time certainly made it sweeter when the boys finally achieved enough points to clinch the league title," coach John Quinn told Youth Football Scotland.
What makes the achievement of winning the league even sweeter is the fact that it was the team’s first season at 11-a-side and Bonnyrigg Colts excelled where so many others fail, and being able to secure a league trophy at such a young age is the ultimate confidence booster.
"I'm sure it means a lot to the lads to be crowned Champions and it's a perfect reward for all their hard work and effort they have put in throughout the season. Hopefully now they've experienced how it feels to win the league and play in a cup final which will give them the inspiration to continue to work hard and once again hopefully achieve success in the future," Quinn said.
Everyone looks up to successful teams and try to emulate the unique tactics that have proved to be the key to their success. Many have tried to replicate the “Tika Taka” of Barcelona or the fast paced, dynamic football of Bayern Munich. Can we add on Bonnyrigg Rose Colts to that list? Quinn certainly thinks so.
“Without a doubt the key to our success was having a strong and effective squad of players, not just in the starting 11. Throughout the season we have been fortunate to be in a position where we didn't actually know what our strongest starting 11 was, which was a great headache to have. So many times in games we were able to make changes that never weakened our side, in fact many occasions the changes made us stronger so this was certainly an obvious advantage to us in many games we won throughout the season,” Quinn said.
Being crowned unequivocal champions of the Division Two comes with a prize of leaping up into the top division, giving the boys a chance to compete amongst the biggest and best clubs across the South East region. After such a compelling and credible campaign in Division 2 it now lies with the team and coaches of Bonnyrigg Rose Colts to do themselves proud in the highest division.
“Our aims for next season will be the exact same as it was at the start of this season. We will prepare the boys pre-season to go out, play football, pass & move the ball and develop in their game but most of all enjoy the new challenge of division 1 and as long as they continue to do what they have been doing this season they will more than hold their own against these stronger teams. This is a challenge I'm sure our boys will relish,” Quinn said.
Congratulations to Bonnyrigg Rose Colts, Under-13s SERYFA Division Two champions!
Spartans FC Youth won the SERYFA under-19s Division 2 this season, beating nearest rivals Newcraighall Leith Vics by a single point.
They won 16 out of 20 league matches to round off a brilliant season for the North Edinburgh team and head coach John McLean laid the foundations for the success early in the summer.
"At the beginning of June 2014, myself as head coach and my colleague David Hiddleston trialled a number of players in the hope that we could make a serious challenge for promotion from SERYFA Division Two. As things turned out this great bunch of players strove to develop their own skills and their ability to work hard as a team, McLean told Youth Football Scotland.
"After an early set back losing our second game which should have seen the three points come to Ainslie Park the team increased their efforts winning a number of games and the belief grew from there. They secured top spot on November 1st and stayed there until the season's end.
"Skill, teamwork, strength in depth of squad, determination and good organisation have been the keys to not only our league success but in achieving two cup final appearances."
Congratulations to Spartans FC Youth, 2014-15 SERYFA under-19s Division 2 champions!
Back in August, 13 teams were preparing for a new campaign in the Under-13 SERYFA Third Division and all were eyeing that top spot to secure promotion. Coaches prepared their players for the step up to 11-a-side and ultimately promotion would come down to the team that adapted best to the new size of pitch and pace of the game. That team was Tranent Colts FC.
After a gruelling eight or so months in which games were contested in rain, wind, sleet and snow, (there’s definitely a case for summer football here) It was East Lothian side Tranent Colts who were to be crowned third division champions by an impressive eight point lead over nearest challengers Edinburgh South FC.
The step up to 11-a-side football can prove to be a barrier so great that many teams cannot overcome it, however Tranent Colts led by example and showed the rest of the league that the transition can be completed smoothly and proved this by taking an astonishing 69 points from their 24 league games.
That total points tally translates into some 23 victories compared to only a single defeat, which is no mean feat by any stretch of the imagination. Coach Phil Purves echoed his delight to take maximum points from so many games:
"We are very proud of the boys to have won so many games. One win led to another and so on, in truth we were all delighted, which was a good sign for us coaches. We were all gutted when we lost our first league game," Purves told Youth Football Scotland.
Many teams would pay fortunes to get their hands on a winning formula, however Tranent Colts have managed to divulge one on their own and when asked about what the key to their successful season had been, Purves said: “We had great team work throughout the season. We always set out to win the league and the lads knew that they were capable of doing so. We took the one game at a time approach giving the message that every game was as important as the last.”
Winning silverware is any players dream at any level, whether it be at 13s level or at the world cup and the Tranent Colts FC boys have had that chance at just their first season at 11-a-side. As you can imagine all were delighted to be involved with a championship winning team.
"We are absolutely delighted for the way the season turned out and to lift the trophy, it’s a fantastic achievement for all players, everyone involved with the club is over the moon and in summary it had simply been a wonderful season for all," Purves said.
Now that the third division has been won the team and coaching staff can start planning and preparing for what will be another tough season, especially in a higher division, however Purves believes his side are capable of doing it all again, saying: "Next season will be the same focus as last. We want to win the league again. [We] lost a couple of players to initiative but confident we can give the others in the league a good run for the title."
Congratulations to Tranent Colts FC, Under-13s SERYFA Division Three champions 2014-15!
North Merchiston 15s won the South East Region YFL Division 2 by the narrowest of margins. After battling all season with Bonnyrigg Rose, they both finished on 67 points. It was the head-to-head result that separated the teams with North Merchie winning their encounters by an aggregate score of 9-8.
Up until the final stages, four teams had the chance to win the division but North Merchiston were the ones celebrating in the end. A place on the top table of Edinburgh youth football awaits them next season.
Team secretary Colin Steedman hailed the team's achievements, after success in the League Cup as well as the league.
"For the third consecutive season the boys played in Division 2 of the SERYFA at Under 15's. As well as winning the league they also won the League Cup recently [May 8th] after beating Livingston 3-1 in the final at Saughton Enclosure," Steedman told Youth Football Scotland.
"I should give special mention to the coaches Harry Connor and Dave Newman. This was their first full season in charge of the team and their aim at the beginning of the season was to see if the team could win something. To win a league and cup double was a fantastic effort from them and all the players involved over the whole season."
Consistency was the key for the team this season, and a slight slip in the run-in was dealt with well by the Harrison Park-based team.
"The boys have generally been very consistent this year in terms of winning their games as the league table shows with only five defeats and a draw from 28 league games. Three of these defeats were on the run-in which made for a very tense and exciting end to the season with any one of four teams in with a realistic chance of winning the league with four or five games to go," Steedman said.
As for the key matches, Steedman could not look past those vital games against Bonnyrigg Rose. A crazy pair of results led to North Merchie winning the league by a single goal.
"The easy answer to that is the 8-2 win against Bonnyrigg Rose in our first league game against them this season and the 6-1 defeat with only three games to play. I say that because in the end the league was decided on the head to head with them and we edged it 9-8 on aggregate," Steedman said.
Despite the loss to Bonnyrigg, the team's resilience in that match to restrict a rampant Bonnyrigg team proved crucial to the title win.
When asked what the players have learnt this season, Steedman said: "Never to give up and think all is lost. The boys were 4-0 down at half time to a much changed and impressive Bonnyrigg Rose side but managed to go out in the second half and restrict the damage to a five-goal defeat. Knowing we'd beaten them by six goals in our previous league game, it proved to be decisive."
"We've still to have our player of the year winners announced yet but for me Andy Towns and Nathan Gilmour have had very good seasons. There are a few more I could mention as well but I'll leave it at that."
Congratulations to North Merchiston 15s, 2014-15 SERYFA Division 2 champions!
Edinburgh City Whites Under 16's were presented with the South East Region YFL Division 2 League Trophy and their league medals by former Hearts, Rangers and Scotland player, now Sky Sports presenter, Neil McCann.
City finished top of the pile, three points ahead of runners-up Newcraighall Leith Vics and four points clear of third placed Edinburgh United in what was a hotly contested division. Fifteen wins, three draws and only two defeats made good reading for the men based at Forrester High School. The home record was impressive as they went undefeated with only Edinburgh United able to leave with a point throughout the season.
The champions began the season without a recognised goalkeeper and head coach Mike Murphy was full of praise when he said, "the start of the season saw us having to ask outfield players to step into the breach for around ten games and they did so brilliantly. Aided by a good defence in front of them, they coped very well.
"Our first game of the season saw us only have 11 players available with a stand in keeper, but we won the game 1-0 which was very pleasing."
Mike went onto explain "Over the course of the season we have had many excellent performances from players like Callum Doig, Matty Downie, Mikey Murphy, Ethan Rae, Sam Thompson, Owen Chan and Cameron Wells to name but a few."
Luckily a keeper was found and Darren Lindsay joined the team from Edinburgh City 99's and Mike was very complimentary of his keeper's performances over the season. "Darren Lindsay has had many games with not a great deal to do but when he's been needed he's responded very solidly, which is a sign of a good goalkeeper."
Every team needs a leader and even though he has not always been available, Mike had nothing but compliments for his skipper. He said: "Our captain Tommy Walker has missed around 10-12 games through injury or suspension. However, when he's fit and available for selection he's been fantastic, both leading the team and orchestrating games with his play and determination to win."
Reluctant to single out one player, Mike did have a special word for David Gibson who they signed towards the end of the season explaining, "David played eight to ten games and he chipped in with two massive goals, both against North Merchiston and both times we came from behind to win late on, showing the character and never say die attitude of the team."
After being asked about his thoughts for next season, Mike replied positively. He said, "We are looking forward to the challenge of next season and we will grow stronger as a team."
When questioned on the step up to the first division the head coach remained very positive, commenting, "We hope to add two or three players to the squad for the step up to the first division but I am very content with the players we have as we have a good tight knit squad but its always nice to add a few new faces.
"We have played a few first division teams in cup games throughout the season and had good results against them. We have also been a bit unlucky particularly against Tynecastle, where we were unfortunate to fall to a 2-0 defeat."
Apart from losing to Dunbar the only other thing out with the League that Mike found frustrating was losing the League Cup Final against Edinburgh United. He stated, "It was a major disappointment against a team who in our previous three games couldn't beat us. We let ourselves get beat by the occasion in the final but we will learn from that.
"Although winning the league was our priority it would have been nice to have added another piece of silver ware. At the end of the day we achieved what we set out to do, so after all is said and done we achieved our goal and are proud to be crowned Division 2 champions 2014/2015."
Mike finished of by thanking his sponsors when he said, "football is not cheap and I would like to thank Fabios Restaurant and Dunedin Properties for their sponsorship and support they've given us this season."