Ardencaple FC were the stereotypical ‘nearly men’ last season, with an unfortunate loss to Oban on penalties in the Michael McGinley Memorial Shield after a decent league season in which the Dumbartonshire club finished fourth despite what coach Paul Weir called "some decent performances towards the end of the season".
A team that likes to play football, with Weir describing their playing style as having "the emphasis on having a good first touch, passing and moving off the ball", Ardencaple will look to go one step further this season.
A move to the Paisley and Johnstone League, away from the Dumbartonshire Football Development League, faces the squad with Weir aware of the challenges a new league will throw up. "[Moving league is] a big change for the boys," he told Youth Football Scotland.
The Ardencaple squad should be up to the challenge however, with two very astute signings for the forthcoming season. First was Reece Court, who has moved down an age group to join up with his classmates at 2000s.
"Reece has been playing above his age group for a number of years, so the fact he decided to drop down to his age group should mean he will be one of our key players next season," Weir said.
As well as Court, Ardencaple have snatched an ex-academy prospect in the shape of Kyle Ritchie, a player who was involved in the Dumbarton FC pro-youth setup for three years. "This experience will set Kyle in good stead for the upcoming season where his competitive nature and will to win will be a key asset to the team," Weir said.
With the added tenacity of a possible derby fixture with Dumbarton Riverside to look forward to, alongside a rejuvenated squad and a new league, the aims for Ardencaple look achievable.
"We’ve managed to make a couple of improvements to the team from last season, so I’m looking to be challenging for the league as well as have a decent run in the cup competitions”, and with that disappointment at the end of last season in the cup, the possibility of replicating or even exceeding that achievement will be top priority going forward into the forthcoming season," Weir said.
Good luck to Ardencaple FC 2000s for next season!