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After four successful seasons Lochgilphead Red Star 2004 football team has folded.
While this would normally be disappointing news, those running the team see the move as a positive one and testament to its success.
A number of the boys are moving on to play adult football with Lochgilphead or Campbeltown teams and a couple of the younger boys are continuing their football journey with Campbeltown under-17s.
A few are taking time out of football, though they have all had offers from other teams.
Lead coach Bruce West said: ‘It’s been a great privilege to be involved with the team, particularly over the four years pre-Covid.
‘The boys, and girls in the first year of 11-aside, have shown great attitude and commitment and have been great representatives for Mid Argyll.
‘It’s been great to see a local team competing well against some of the best youth teams in the west of Scotland.’
The team record over their four seasons is 72 wins, seven draws and 19 defeats out of 98.
Most of the defeats were by a single goal and only two teams ever beat them by more than two goals, including games against Scottish and regional cup winners and finalists and top teams in other leagues.
The team won two cup finals, made it to the final of a third, finished first and second in the Dumbarton league; in the top half of the A division of the Glasgow league for two seasons; made it to the quarter-finals of the west region cup for two seasons; and were winners of the Oban invitational tournament in 2018.
Bruce added: ‘I would like to thank the boys and girls for their effort and dedication, though I’m sure they recognise this has been a collective success and they would want to thank team officials for their contribution – Donna MacLean, Alistair Brown and John Caskie, also Graham Gillies for coaching and training and finally their parents for ferrying them through to Dumbarton/Glasgow every second Sunday for four years.
‘It is expensive to run a youth football team and it wouldn’t have been possible without the superb support from sponsors, so a huge amount of thanks is due Ardrishaig Community Trust, Lochgilphead Community Council, MAYDS, A’ Cruach Windfarm Trust, Co-op, Jewson and S&C Crawford Building Contractors.’
He continued: ‘It’s been really exciting to be involved in youth football in Mid Argyll and see the development of girls’ football, especially with two of the 2004 girls going on to win the Scottish Youth Cup with Rangers Girls.
‘Growing numbers of kids have attended the Soccer Centre/Lochgilphead Red Star YFC Friday football, and top level coaching through the Coerver Partner Club programme sessions; and the two-day summer school delivered by coaches from Benfica have had a huge impact.
‘As a parent and a coach I cannot speak highly enough about the benefits of grassroots football.
‘For the 2004s it’s given them a great opportunity to develop as football players and young people, more importantly as team-mates dealing with challenges they would not otherwise have encountered and developing self-confidence and resilience.
‘Football isn’t just about the few players with Monopoly money wages.
‘Grassroots football is real football, run by volunteers having a positive impact on people and communities – even if you are getting towards a bus pass you can still join in walking football here in Lochgilphead.
‘Hopefully we can see more kids getting along to the Soccer Centre/Lochgilphead Red Star YFC Friday football, more adults involved in coaching and more teams confident about moving to play 11-aside and entering competitive leagues.
‘Yes it’s a challenge – but the kids won’t regret it.’