SAFN Chief Writer Tom Scott has managed to secure another top Club Interview today involving a team which has dominated the GDSFC silverware chase since their formation in 2013.
Tom posed a number of questions to Southside Spartans Co- Manager Michael McKean, who towards the end of the Interview revealed an Incredible Trophy haul list!
How, when and why was the team formed. How do you recruit players?
“Southside Spartans was formed in 2013 by myself, my brother Martin, and a mutual friend Danny Shannon. At the time I was recovering from knee reconstructive surgery and Martin from a brain injury known as Encephalitis, and our respective injuries meant we both had to stop playing football.”
“Together with Danny, we decided to set a team up which Martin and I would manage. This quickly grew momentum and within weeks we had a team together and had purchased a set of second-hand strips and balls from Strathclyde University. In the early stages, the team comprised of friends and former team-mates, whom we had played Saturday Amateur Football with.”
“We were confident we could build a successful team just on friends and former team-mates alone, which proved to be the case in our debut season in the GDSFC as we went on to win the Division 3 and a Cup double.”
“We have always kept our recruitment of players very tight to ensure we get the right players on board. As a result, almost every player in our squad are former team-mates of ourselves or are friends, brothers or just recommendations of other boys in the team. So, while the turnover of players since 2013 has been high, we have always had the same strong core and been able to add good people and good players to that, so that the quality and winning mentality of the squad has remained a constant.”
Who is involved in running the team, and where do you train normally / home ground?
“The team runs itself really. All the boys are brilliant, and my brother and I just pick the team on a Sunday from the squad we have available. We don’t have a specific home pitch, but we like to play at Palace of the Arts where possible.”
“We have never had a single training session as a team which will probably come as a bit of a surprise. The reason being, when we started in 2013 a lot of the boys in the team played Saturday football and trained with their clubs once or twice a week, so we decided an additional training session wouldn’t be necessary.”
“There are less boys still playing with Saturday teams now, but we have stuck to that, and it has worked well for us. Everyone is busy with jobs and families, so part of the appeal is a game on a Sunday with no midweek commitments. On top of that, due to the fact we only really recruit players internally, most of the squad knew each other before playing for the Spartans, and had played together over the years, so know each other’s game very well.”
Who sponsors the team?
“Thomas Clark of Pro-Wood Design and Michael O’Hara of MoveStrong. Michael has played with us on and off for many years, and Thomas still plays for us.”
Name each season and the Trophies won?
“2018/19 – Treble (GDSFC Division 1) and both Cups.
2017/18 – League (GDSFC Division 1) and Cup Double.
2016/17 – League (GDSFC Division 1).
2015/16 – Nothing.
2014/15 – League (GDSFC Division 2) and Cup Double.
2013/14 – League (GDSFC Division 3) and Cup Double.”
Is the Club involved in anything outside of Football ie …..Charity Work?
“Not included above is the GDSFC Super Cup, which we have won on a couple of occasions, which is a one-off Cup Final at the start of the season contested between League and Cup Winners. Instead of distributing medals, the League offers the winners the opportunity to make a £100 donation to Charity. We always support the Encephalitis Society with this, or any other club donation.”