Many thanks to everyone that forwarded their best wishes and congratulations on us gaining what in effect is a promotion, to our supporters, players and their families, none more so than Kelly Wallace, who joined our Under 20’s committee at the start of the season and is now a member of the full committee, our fantastic partners at Erskine Youth Football Club, Dom, Scott and Kenny who have done a tremendous job with our under 20’s producing no less than 6 players who have made the step up to the first team on a regular basis. Special thanks to Ronnie McDonald and ex manager John Kelly who were instrumental from our side in getting the 20’s up and running, only for Covid to hit and John deciding to leave his post with a number of players choosing to leave at the same time
The club then recruited former players. Danny Taylor and Mark McCuish as manager and assistant respectively suitably aided by a superb back room staff with Ronnie staying on as a coach, Paul Downie continuing as kit co-ordinator and Steven Irvine joining as Goalkeeper coach not long after when Tony ‘Tiger’ Curran had to step away through work commitments, Thank you Tiger!. They took the role having to start almost from scratch squad wise and it’s credit to them they have brought in a squad of good quality hard working players who’s attitude and determination have been first class. Our season didn’t get off to the best of starts when a week before the season was due to begin I myself caught covid, which wiped me out for a good 7-8 weeks, and our opening game cancelled due to an outbreak at the club. My son Martin took over from me temporarily as Match Secretary and did such a wonderful job that we were delighted when he accepted the challenge of taking on the role permanently.
Assistant Mark McCuish had to give up his role as Assistant Manager for personal reasons but Ronnie McDonald stepped up into the role, and his close working relationship with Dom from the Under 20’s played a big part in our success this season, given the number of players that made the step up. For me the final piece of the promotion jigsaw was Martin McKenna, who’s organisation and constant work for the club was and is still outstanding.
It would be remiss of me not to mention my committee members who have worked above and beyond expectations since the first Covid outbreak. My President Robert Gillespie whom I burned a lot of midnight oil with was certainly an inspiration. Our former treasurer and now Club Secretary, my oldest son Anthony McKenna for his fundraising abilities with his Beatson Walk and excellent Last Man Standing competitions. Martin for taking on the baton when I was unwell. Thanks also to Len Littler who did some incredible work at the park pre-season, My Vice President Jim Allan who along with Laurence Cusack and John Munchie McMonigle also helped a lot during pre-season and have given up Ants away days to man the ship when our groundshare partners St Cadoc’s are gracing the hallowed McKenna Park surface, my brother John McKenna who come rain, shine, snow or hail, can always be found on the gate at our home matches, nice one John, and our Club Chaplin Brian MacKenzie who has been brilliant since joining us from Sports Chaplaincy UK.
Now that I have thanked my committee I would like to thank the players who started this journey with us and are no longer at the club your contribution is very much appreciated.
To our current crop of players my heartfelt congratulations, Back at the start of the journey a finish in the league like this seemed like it would take a miracle and it must have been written in the stars that Stephen McGarrigle would score the 94th minute equaliser that secured promotion having endured a bad injury that could have led to his retirement.
Well done to everyone, supporters, players and committee alike, and lastly to Club Chairman Fred Barrows, who like me, was overcome with emotion at the full time whistle and a few tears shed.
Here’s to next season and MON THE ANTS!