Arguably this edition of the magazine should be referred to as a Match Day Programme, with only one home game this month. The international break last weekend brought this about and I have my own views with regards to a blank Saturday so early in the season, with the weather almost guaranteed to be set fair. However, on this occasion, with a number of niggling injuries, it’s probably been a blessing in disguise. Today’s team news, will confirm how many of those injuries have had time to clear up over the past fortnight.
A very warm welcome to Forthbank to everyone associated with Annan Athletic. Last season’s goal tally – 17 – in the four fixtures might suggest we are in for a goal feast this afternoon but on closer inspection the last 88 minutes did not produce a single goal following Stephen Day’s second-minute winner. I’d settle for that scoreline again this afternoon!
Our remaining fixtures for September take us to the polar extremities in respect of SPFL 2 journeys. First up, a trip south of the border to face Berwick Rangers and, the following Saturday, the long trip north to play Elgin City. Providing the speed cameras on the A1 are given due respect, the return journey to Berwick isn’t that bad and the Elgin trip is probably only of major concern to the locals imbibing at the Cairngorm Hotel in Aviemore as they await the contents of the Supporters’ Bus to descend upon them on the return journey!
Earlier this month, SAFC hosted Scotland v Iceland at under 19 level, with a full international being played on Tuesday 3rd and a behind closed-doors match on Thursday 5th September. While the pitch could do without the additional games, the financial benefit to the Club cannot be under-estimated. Nor can the amount of work that has to be undertaken, both in the lead up and on the match days themselves. I am indebted to all those that assist me in making these events successful but most particularly Margaret McFarlane, whose home baking and Bennetts Butchers, 86 High Street Dunblane, Steak Pies (that’s got to be worth some sponsorship?!) go down a treat.
On the community front, I am delighted to be able to report that Andy Todd is about to start his first formal “external” programme in local primary schools – The Tesco Bank Programme. He’s also been out and about at a number of community events over the summer, including the “Street Football” initiative that culminated in a tournament prior to our August fixture versus Peterhead and a half-time presentation to the Player of the Year.
The hot news re community is that Andy has already “recruited” a team member! Sandy Cunningham (yes, our Sandy!) has just started a year-long Modern Apprentice role and, thanks to our partnership with Active Stirling, he will be working for SAFC, alongside Andy, throughout this time. For more detail on this, and community goings-on in general see Andy’s Community Corner article.
It’s the Scottish Cup first round today and soon we’ll discover who our second round opponents will be and whether or not you will be reading the next edition of “The Albion” at that game or the week after!
Finally, a mention for our Stirlingshire Cup semi-final tie versus East Stirlingshire. The game has been set for Tuesday 8 October at Forthbank Stadium with a 7.45pm kick-off. We’ve kept admission as low as possible (£5 Adults, £2 Concessions and under 17s go free with a paying adult) having taken account of the considerable costs attached to staging a home game. I appreciate the tournament isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but please come along on the night to support what will be a mix of current first team players and under 19s.