The Big Interviews – End Of Year Review – Lomond Thistle AFC

Scottish Amateur Football News Writer Tom Scott produced another top- level, first-ever INTERVIEW with Manager KYLE GRAHAM of Lomond Thistle FC. The weekly Readers/ Viewers Figures gave this one the thumbs-up in the Stats category!

How long have Lomond Thistle FC existed? And please give us some background into why the team was started?

“We started off in 2010, formed in Alexandria in West Dunbartonshire. The team was founded when Craig Robertson arranged a kick about amongst a group of friends as a charity fundraiser and it became a yearly and bi-yearly tradition. I think we played close to 20 charity games between 2010 and 2018, and in early 2019 we decided to take a leap and join a Sunday League. It was quite an easy decision as we were seeing a lot of the boys starting to drop away from football as we got into our 20s.”

Which League do you play in? Have you always been in the same set-up since 2010?

“We play in the Glasgow Community & Co-Operative League, and have done since last season. Since joining the GCCL, we’ve moved to Scotstoun, where we play our home games.”

Apart from yourself as manager, who else is involved in the backroom staff?

“Alistair Orr and Steven McColl assist me in running the team, and we’ve got a great Committee looking after all our off-field efforts. Club captain Callum Dewar, Jack Smith and the man in charge Craig Robertson make up our Committee alongside myself, Alistair and Steven – it’s a real team effort.”

Has the club been successful in winning championships or domestic cups?

“The league was a step too far for us last season, we finished the ‘regular season’ in a respectable 3rd (with a round of split fixtures still to play). We were still in with a shot of the cup as well. We were in the Semi- Final before football was halted back in March.”

How has Player Recruitment been during the Pandemic?

“I’m quite lucky that the team is made up of friends, and friends of friends, so recruitment isn’t really an issue. We’ve got a squad of around 20-25 boys and the core of the squad has been playing together since our charity games back when we were youngsters. We’re quite a close-knit team.”

Finally, what are your aims and ambitions moving forward given most Leagues are still undecided about actual starting dates, and your players could be looking at another Pre-Season or some early Friendlies?

“Moving forward, our aims and ambitions are to keep making progress on the park and start challenging for a bit of silverware. I’d be lying if I said I knew when that’ll be possible but I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to be back playing by March time – and I think the possibility of being forced into summer football is quite exciting after some of the conditions we played in last winter. Another pre-season looks quite likely, but at this stage we’ll take what we get after being away from the football for so long. We’re extremely grateful to have the backing of David Wilkinson Builders and Joiners and Angel Cottage B&B in Drymen , but we’re always looking for any businesses who would be willing to help us out, as running an amateur football team can be a financial struggle at times.

We’re also aiming to continue our charity work and will be starting up a charity team, where we play monthly games in an effort to raise a bit of money and awareness for the mental health charity SAMH. We’re very much looking to stick to our roots in that sense.”

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