At its Annual General Meeting for 2017 held in the Jeff Burnlees Lounge at Shielfield on Saturday ( Jan. 20th. ), Berwick Rangers Supporters Trust handed over a cheque for £3,000 to Berwick Rangers Foootball Club. As well as this official donation, an extra £400 was given to club chairman Len Eyre representing further contributions from individual Trust Board members. These monies bring the total passed from the Trust to the club so far this season to almost £7,000.
Trust chairman Michael Smyth explained that it was not usual policy to donate money for buying players or paying their wages. However, in light of the club’s current financial situation and the need to strengthen the team, on this occasion, the cash was provided to help pay for new signings during the current ‘transfer window’ such as Ousman See from Forfar Athletic and Declan O’Kane from Junior club Musselburgh Athletic.
During the formal part of the meeting, the ten existing members of the Trust Board were re-elected for a further two years. Mr Eyre then addressed the meeting. He pointed out that, on average, he spends sixteen hours each week at the ground on club business. The club now has five associate directors each with a particular area of competence. When referring to on field matters, he made particular mention of the promising young players in the Under 20s team.
With the postponement of the afternoon’s match versus Elgin City, current first team captain Steven Notman, in his testimonial year at the club, was unable to attend the AGM as a guest speaker as instead, the players were training in Dalkeith. Manager Robbie Horn left supervision of this to his assistants in order to be at Shielfield. He began by saying that he had left a good job as manager of Juniors Bonnyrigg Rose because he wanted to manage Berwick Rangers where he had once been a player and later, assistant manager. He believed that when he took over last August the first team playing squad was imbalanced, skewed towards defence. There were also too many on loan players. A problem with taking younger men on development loans is that they can only train with Berwick one night a week instead of two as on the other they are required by their parent clubs. Another issue is that they would sometimes be unavailable to Berwick Rangers on a Saturday as a result of injuries picked up playing in midweek Under 20s’ matches for their own clubs.
Naturally disappointed with Rangers’ recent run of results, the boss nevertheless felt that the players were trying really hard in a division in which, “Not a lot of teams play football, most are pretty direct.” Ousman See had been signed as Berwick needed to be more of a threat going forward. Robbie feels he is the type of player who will cause problems by running in behind the opposition, something which was lacking in the team.
The manager praised the tremendous effort made by groundsman Ross Aitchison and volunteers to try to get the Elgin game played. The club chairman added that the previous evening, over a dozen people had cleared snow off the pitch and put down covers but a further inspection in the morning led to an unplayable verdict.
Robbie also took questions from the audience on topics such as other transfer rumours, relationships with managers of other clubs, other former Berwick player who were with him at Bonnyrigg and how other small clubs such as Montrose appear to be ‘getting it right’. He was determined to get it right at Berwick too, and asked for the fans’ continued support.
Thanks to Ian Runciman for pictures.