Giffnock Reds were, to their surprise, placed in the 1st division of the PJ&DYFL 2 seasons ago. Unfortunately, last season didn't go as well as this season and they finished with only 3 league wins and were relegated. To their joy, this season was nothing but a success story and we caught up with Alan Clarke, the team secretary to find out what went right.
Being knocked down to the second division was a fall from grace and brought the team back down to Earth, and this season they had something to prove. Alan said, "Coming into this season in division 2 meant we didn't really know what to expect. While we won our first couple of games against the two Rossvale teams, there was nothing in it, so we knew it was going to be a tough season. We certainly didn't expect that with 2 league games left we would be undefeated." Having such a competetive season but staying undefeated must have been a delight for the boys but also a lot of hard work. Knowing that the competition was tough meant that they couldn't slack off for one game. Every game had to be treated with the same amount of hard work and dedication.
Alan was tasked with the difficult job of picking a favourite moment of the season, he commented, "I'm not sure I can pick a single moment but if I had to pick one, bizzarely it would be in only one of the two games we lost." Giffnock had a good run at the West Region Cup and Alan's stand out moment came against the team that would go all the way to win it, Park Villa, who were also a strong team in the first division. "At half time I think it would have been hard to pick which team was a top performer in the first division, and which team was in the second division. Park Villa weren't poor, far from it, but it showed us what our boys were capable of and what we, as coaches, can expect from our squad." A strong performance against a division 1 team fired up the coaches and players into realising their potential and gave them an ambition to be where they think they should be, division 1.
Being undefeated in the league makes them a target for every other team, everyone will want to be the team that beats the unbeatable. Alan said "Our biggest challenge has yet to come, two more league wins will give us the undefeated season." The final game of the season for Giffnock is against the team that could well finish second, so that could be a must-watch game. Unfortunately, Giffnock were beat in their 2nd last game, so the undefeated season is no longer achieveable.
Being able to finish undefeated in the league is a huge accomplishment and Alan put a lot of the success down to, Martin Jack, the coach. Alan commented, "Martin Jack - Jacky to us all - joined us at Christmas last season. His dedication to coaching football is a complete inspiration to everyone who interacts with him. Without him, i'm not sure there would be a Giffnock Reds 2002 anymore, and under some of his guidance some of our players have come on leaps and bounds." A good coach motivates, teaches and leads the players and Martin sounds like he's done a great job at keeping the players on their toes and helping them towards winning the league.
Now that they've won the league, Alan has goals and aspirations for his squad. He said "It might sound cliché but it's all about development - not just winning trophies. My passion is to see the boys in ten years time playing at a good level of amateur football, and to do that they need to learn how to be good footballers. Under Martin's leadership - and not to forget Alan Dobson who has been an invaluable partner to Jacky on the training field, in the dressing room and at matches - I am sure the boys can move on to another level." Alan has high hopes for the boys and this league win is a great start for a future in football for the Giffnock Reds squad.