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Campsie Black Watch: gone, but not for long

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• Eleven-time SYFA Scottish Cup winners Campsie Black Watch pull out of the West of Scotland Under-21s Youth Football League.
• Campsie say that the decision was made due to a lack of players
• Interviewees: Jim Shanks
They are one of the most historic and successful names in Scottish youth football and yet they are absent from the 2015/16 West of Scotland Under-21s Youth Football League. Campsie Black Watch, record 16-time finalists and 11-time winners of the SYFA Scottish Cup, record holders of Lady Darling Cup and winners of over 30 league titles, announced, to the shock of many in the grassroots game, that they would not be fielding a team for the first time since 1943. 
Just a year after their penalty shoot-out victory over Goldenhill BC in the Scottish Cup final at Airdrie United’s Excelsior Stadium, the Lennoxtown club, whose first national final came in front of 10,000 people at Easter Road way back in 1947, pulled out citing a lack of players. It is a long way from Campsie’s glory days when they won three successive Scottish Cups in 1984, 1985 and 1986, a remarkable feat which remains unequalled. 
A club spokesperson told the club’s disappointed supporters via social media in the summer that the Blackies were “down but not out” and vowed that they would rise from the ashes in time for the 2016/17 season. “We are reloading and will be back with a bang soon”. 
Reacting to the announcement, Kirkintilloch Rob Roy manager Stewart Maxwell said: “I think everyone was surprised to hear their sad news.” 
Campsie Black Watch committee member Jim Shanks, who has been involved with the club for seven years both as a first-aider and administrator and was involved in the decision-making process, explained the club’s decision: “The thinking behind the decision was the lack of players.
“The players that had promised to come and join the club did not happen, plus the fact that some players that had turned up for pre-season would have found it difficult at Premier League level, so the decision was taken to withdraw.”
He added: “Over the past years I would think a lot of clubs have had the same problem and a lot of these clubs did not survive – Knightswood, Baillieston to name a couple, but if you look there has been a lot of other teams who had to fold due to lack of players.”
However, Shanks is confident that the Blackies will buck that trend and live to fight another day. “We as a club have been going since 1943 so I think it is the committee’s duty to keep the club alive. It would be too easy just to walk away and let a great club fall by the wayside. 
“We as a club are confident that Campsie Black Watch will be back in Scottish football next season.”

David Kelly | YFS South East Region Journalist
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