Stuart White and Barry Wardrop will apply the successful formula they were reared on during their playing days at Aberforth Rangers, writes Tom Scott.
The pair are currently joint Managers at Milton AFC, but previously implemented their ideas with Stirling City – a club Barry built from the ground upwards and spanned 14 years.
Said Stuart “I wasn’t with Barry throughout that time, but I know we put a lot of effort into everything on and off the park – especially through Fund-Raising ideas”
“Without doubt my proudest moment at Stirling City was destroying East Kilbride 6-2 in the Cinema Cup Final at Duncansfield Park, Kilsyth. We approached the game in a professional manner. Our season had finished three weeks earlier, so I went and watched them ( E.K.) in games about 7 or 8 times. I knew their team inside out, the tactics they would use, and the substitutions that could take place.”
“We all had a day off work, took the players for a breakfast and games of pool. Our game plan worked a great and incidentally I scored in the 6-2 victory.”
It is fair to say ex-goalkeeper Barry and Stuart, who was a two-footed midfielder, will look back and wonder how some of the Aberforth Rangers methods would be received by players nowadays.
Originally Stenhousemuir-based (1968), Aberforth enjoyed success over many years in the Falkirk and District Sunday Amateurs before being granted membership of the McEwans Central Scottish AFL in 1999-2000. They also kept a team in the Falkirk set-up.
The McEwans Division One title was immediately secured, followed by success in the next year’s League Cup and Cinema Cup (that competition again) Finals.
Just for good measure, Rangers won back-to-back East of Scotland Amateur Cups in 20O1-2002 and 2002-2003.
Said Stuart “Those East Cup Finals were brilliant. Suited and booted, out on the brilliant Livingston FC grass surface at that time pre-match, and names announced over the tannoy – not to mention the celebrations – made you feel special.”
“Manager Brian Penman and Coach Edgar Jones were in charge. Can I put it this way, you knew where you stood with them. If Edgar took a player “out” in training you got the message pretty quickly that standards weren’t good enough!”
“If we trained on a, Monday-Wednesday or Tuesday-Thursday, the odds were you would not see a ball on either of the first night (s). For example, I would drive from Stirling to Grangemouth Stadium in weather conditions we all experienced last Thursday (snow).”
“No call-offs. We would do a 20-minute run as a warm-up, followed by going up and down the hills. Yes, you hated it, but knew why it was being done. We were FIT, but also played some tremendous stuff, and by the way the footballs came out at the second training night. I enjoyed the discipline – and when our opponents were getting tired in the last 20 minutes of a game, we didn’t.”
“Bring time forward onto today and we couldn’t do that. Players would walk out the door. I refer to it as “A Generation Thing.” We had that something special at Aberforth Rangers and Stirling City.”
“When it comes to signing players for Milton I do our due diligence. I have to know their character, where they work, what time they start and finish work daily. One bad apple (In the dressing room) can mean carnage!”
“When I finished my playing days at Campsie Minerva there were offers on the table in coaching and management. As it happens, shortly afterwards Minera started looking for a Manager. However, I had played for Milton, plus Barry and I have been close friends for many years. We were brought up across the road from each other, and Milton is a giant of a Football Club in terms of facilities, the youth set-up and its own dressing rooms.”
“Barry and I speak every day of the week. Our priority right now are the players. We can’t cross zones, so our content! In delivering training sessions has to be good.”
“When we do get back , we can take the pressure off them if they come in with that fear from being out (training and playing) for so long.”
Photograph of Aberforth Rangers kindly provided by Stuart White.