In an unexpected spasm of sporting generosity, the boss offered to chauffeur his football-mad sidekick to watch Deveronvale FC in training.
The August evening sun was bright and it was very hot. The club train adjacent to their stadium, the Princess Royal Park in Banff. If you do not speak ‘football’ you may have wondered what goes on there!
When we arrived, the goalkeeper coach, James Blanchard, was busy setting out training cones for a few members of the junior team to practise; this they did, throwing, catching, jumping and energetically diving about.
After a while the ‘first team’ that we had come to observe ran on to the pitch with their coach, Steve Dolan, and the training ground filled up. Training started with warm-up circuits, intervals and running exercises and then developed into possession-based drills. There is certainly emphasis on fitness. As the sun disappeared behind the buildings it began to cool and the players were still engaged in match-based scenarios under the watchful eye of the coach. The team were also preparing for their weekend clash against Cove Rangers, last year’s champions, and there were a few earnest ‘tactical’ looking discussions breaking up the training.
Deveronvale play in the fifth tier of the Scottish Football League, competing with seventeen other teams vying to be crowned champions of the Scottish Highland Football League. They accomplished this in 2002/03 and 2005/06. In order to gain promotion to Scottish League Two – the fourth tier – the champions of the Highland Football League would play the champions of the Lowland Football League. The winner of this game would then play against the team which finished bottom of League Two. The victor would then play in League Two the following season, whilst the loser would join, or remain in, either the Highland or Lowland Football League…
To read the full story, be sure to pick up a copy of the September 2016 issue!