When you were founded as a result of a bounce game against a Works Team in Glasgow’s East End, and 30 years later birthday celebrations land in the middle of a global pandemic, the words “Lucky White Heather” spring to mind!
No Well-Done Cards arriving in the post, no Bunting displayed across windows and doors, or those embarrassing Congratulations Banners that are fastened across the local Community Hall – when we allowed inside them – once you are escorted into the big surprise party by a “friend”
Today (January 13) signals the BIG 30 at Easthall Star AFC, who are members of the Scottish Amateur Football League.
Success in both Saturday and Sunday football, running various Youth teams in tangent, and joining the highly-popular Over-35s Friday League are part of the Star CV.
There have been highs and lows, but founder Danny Cameron admits “You can’t run a a team without your family being behind you – and my wife and kids know how much football means to me, but without them there is no EASTHALL STAR!
“My side-kick is Danny Graham. We played together at Blue Star 36 years ago and, apart from a six-year spell when he was with Wellhouse, we have been in the same team. My mate – and without him Easthall would never run right.”
“Last year, we asked Richard Tobin to come in and help us. Another born-winner. He has brought us up about 5 levels. It works for the team and that is all that matters.”
Players have been known to go for the long- haul stay at the Glasgow East End club – among them all-time goalscorer Craig Smith (21 years), current legend Ian Gillies, still pulling on the boots after 18 seasons and aged 51 years, plus brothers, Club Captain Alec and Colin Gilmour – the latter being top scorer over the past five years.
Said Danny “To be honest, Alec and Colin should be playing at a higher level – yes they are that good.”
“People tell me we must be doing something right if players are still with us in excess of 10 or 12 years, but believe me we had to start from scratch.”
“I was recovering from a car crash and still actively playing in the game when the idea came about actually running a team. I was taking in games as part of my recovery when guys running the Caledonia Works Team, down Duke Street, asked if I could get a side together and play them. I did and we lost 2-1.”
“They asked if I wanted a re-match. Now folk who know this area will tell you Sunday games here could involve up to 30-a-side – no holding back – and if you managed 5 or 6 seconds on the ball, you were quality!”
“We played them again with a stronger team and scored at least 16 goals. Of course, our players liked it so much they asked if I could organise them into a team – and all these years later I am still involved”
“At any given time we have had 6 boys who came through our youth structure and were still playing for Easthall over 20 years later.”
On 28th January, 2020, Danny Cameron took the pathway structure to a new level by introducing the Easterhouse F.A. I can reveal no fewer than 6 Easthall Star players give up their free time to coach the kids, there is a list of 130 youngsters, within a set-up involving 24 coaches.”
A clear 5-year plan, with a base at the nearby Stepford Road Sports Centre, is going to evolve, and Danny Cameron will use the experience and lessons learned from combative encounters within a Summer League, Glasgow and District, Carluke and District plus Burnside Sunday League to produce quality grassroots talent.
Danny concluded: “I have always been amazed that we’ve never had a junior club in Easterhouse.”
“Apart from ourselves, Centaur and Wellhouse, you were guaranteed to go up against great players at Finnart (Bridgeton). They are still going strong.”
One year, four clubs from the now-defunct Burnside League contested both.
Semi-Finals of the Scottish Sunday Trophy. Only one Division existed, so to dominate the tournament like that was amazing.
“We lost in two Semi-Finals, and I can say in 30 years Easthall Star have only been relegated once (2016-2017) in the Scottish Amateur Football League.”
“A week later, we defeated Oban Saints on penalty-kicks to win the Jimmy Marshall Cup at Vale of Clyde’s Fullarton Park.”
Now where did that “Lucky White Heather” disappear to?