By Lewis Michie
Last season we here at NE98 brought you ‘Mearns Football Weekly’ a report on how the football sides local to the Mearns were getting on. Their results, upcoming fixtures and each week an interview with a separate representative from each club.
This coming season we are looking to make ‘Mearns Football Weekly’ bigger and better, and that starts with the introduction of a new team to the line-up, and with it, a new league as well.
Johnshaven FC will play this season in the Montrose District and Welfare League – with a new management team set to take the reins at the coastal village.
Placing eighth from 13 teams last season, the managerial change is not down to poor performances, but rather a chance for new faces to come in and previous gaffer Graeme Anderson taking a step back after a long period involved with football at various levels.
Ryan Crabb has stepped in to the hot-seat having retired from playing, and he is looking to build on some “very sturdy foundations”.
NE98 had the chance to speak to Crabb about his new role, among many other things football, he said:
This is my first year as manager after hanging up the boots at the end of last season. Graeme Anderson (the previous manager) devoted an unbelievable amount of time in running Johnshaven, and has set some very sturdy foundations for me to build upon.”
Crabb has been quick to outline his expectations and hopes for his first season in charge, telling us:
Personally, I’d like to try and get a bit more commitment from the boys and perhaps instil a bit more discipline. There’s no denying it’s a good bunch of lads, but at times we struggled to raise 11 players for games last season, despite signing 40 players over the duration of the campaign.”
The Montrose and District Welfare league seems to be going from strength to strength and if we are serious about competing with teams at the top end of the league we need to all pull in the same direction. I think gone are the days that Sunday league football is derided as ‘pub football’. I’m confident all my players could easily go and play a good level of Saturday Amateur football, in fact quite a few already have.”
Last season Johner were far closer to the sides in the positions below them, such as St Tams who trailed by just three points, than they were the squads ahead of them, St Cyrus who sit just six miles further south along the coast road were in seventh and they had a ten point gap ahead of their Mearns rivals.
Crabb has clearly stated his intention is to take the club further up the table, attempting to compete at the top of the division, he said:
Improving on last year’s position in the league is a must. We finished 8th (out of 13) and realistically we need to be looking up the table rather than down. Some silly defeats coupled with being on the wrong end of some horrendously high scoring results need to be erased.”
There is also a clear goal set-up by the new coach to make a bigger impact in the cup competitions, with Crabb telling us:
I think too that we must be looking to go a bit further in the cup competitions. There’s nothing better than winning a bit of silverware, and it’s been a couple of years since Wairds Park has seen success come its way.”
Derek Anderson who is the club captain at Johnshaven also took some time to speak to NE98 about the coming season, the skipper shares a similar ambition in terms of league position to his new manager, telling us:
The initial aim is obviously to improve on our league position of last season, and become more consistent. We’ll look to push on this season and finish as high up the league as possible.”
Anderson is also looking forward to working with the new management team saying:
We’ll be looking to build on the solid foundations the club already has in place, but the main thing to change will be team togetherness, whether that be everyone heading back to the local pub for a drink after games, or helping put up/take down the nets for games. If everyone works together, and has a smile on their face the game becomes a whole lot easier.”
Overall, both manager and captain are hoping that a reinvigorated and reenergised Johnshaven can bring plenty of the local residents out to cheer on their home town side, Anderson said:
The lad’s need a bit of support, if they’re playing well and can see they have the support of the locals it helps them to push on again in the next game. Likewise when they’re not doing so well it’s good to have the backing of the local community there when they’re trying to turn things around again. After all it’s the local club, so if we all work together then it can only be a benefit.”
And his boss echoed this sentiment, Crabb saying:
Like any team you get a lift from playing in front of larger crowds. Our aim is to be more inclusive for supporters and team members alike. Johnshaven is a one club town, and the plan is to have more fundraisers and events this season within the community so that people can see what the team is about and we give them a club they want to get behind. The sponsorship support over the last few years has been phenomenal, if we can get a few more locals coming to support us too, it would be very much appreciated from all involved.”
NE98 wishes Crabb, Anderson and all involved at Johnshaven the best of luck for the upcoming season, we look forward to welcoming the team to our coverage of sides local to the North East for the 19/20 season.
The teams will cover this season are as follows: Stonehaven Juniors, Stonehaven Ladies, Cowie Thistle, St Laurence, Bervie Caledonian, Stonehaven Athletic, AC Mill Inn and of course Johnshaven. We will also continue to provide updates on how the local youth sides are getting on.
If you are a part of another local club we do not currently cover, but would like to get involved, don’t hesitate to get in touch, either via our twitter page (@NE98FT) or email: NE98Football@gmail.com