Berwick Rangers FC is a fine example of a club that does a superb job of representing the local community. Football Focus Magazine recently caught up with their Chairman Dennis Mc Cleary to find out more about how they have been getting along lately.

Atmosphere

He told us, “The mood is cautiously optimistic for most people, and we’re determined to look forward and bring more positive times on and off the field. Of course, clubs are judged on results,and our points tally so far has rattled a few fans, but we feel that we’ve got a good management team in place to address that.”

Present

“We’ve had a difficult start to the season and of course would have welcomed a few more points, especially from our home games, but we’re still a work in progress. Off field issues had an effect on transfer activity, so we’re playing catch-up with our competitors and that’s a tricky issue to overcome given the limited resources at our disposal.”

Youth

“We’ve tried to keep engaged with SFL and SPFL youth developments for some years now, with first U17, then U19, U20 and now Reserve Leagues. It’s not easy, as we’ve extremely limited resources to commit to it. All our Reserve (formerly u-20 Development League) players are amateurs, and the effort they put in is tremendous, with lads travelling from as far afield as Perth to play for Berwick – that’s 90 miles away!

Our volunteer Coaches set that example –they’re hugely committed individuals that spend most of their free time watching players, identifying future targets and getting the side prepared for SPFL Reserve League fixtures.”

Integration

“We’ve had one player become a First-Team regular this year, and hope this sends the message out that opportunities are there at Berwick. All too often the talent a young player has is let down by questionable attitude. They’ve got to have the desire to do well in football and really apply themselves, but we find that many players are content to play at a level well below what they’re capable of. That’s frustrating, and local fans always feel we could do more to promote local talent, but they’ve got to want it as much as their rivals.”

Community

“Berwick Rangers is a club run in the main on volunteer effort and is embedded within the town. There’s certainly potential to do much more, but we have our limitations with facilities,part-time players and people having other employment.

Football might not be the biggest show in town as it used to be many years ago, so we have to work even harder to remind people of our presence and to ensure we get the backing of the community to keep senior football in Berwick.”

The Future

“The pyramid system is becoming stronger especially at Lowland League level. Many ex Junior Clubs such as Bonnyrigg Ross and Linthithgow to name but two are now in the East of Scotland Senior League,looking to progress to the Lowland League then into the SPFL. Kelty Hearts have already moved into the Lowland League this season and are challenging near the top so the level of competition is increasing. Our ambition over the coming years is to hopefully progress into League One.”

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