Mick Howie: The Story Behind Kilwinning AFC

Mick Howie is one of three founder-members who created Kilwinning AFC in 2019, and he insists the Ayrshire Sunday Amateur League team will emerge stronger than ever when football is allowed to resume, writes Tom Scott.

A conversation with daytime work colleagues Darren Feeney and Leon Tarr first brought up the subject of starting an Amateur Football team. As most people know, easier said than done, but from an initial “in-house” meeting, players started responding to the idea of a game via Social Media, which today is still handled superbly by Darren Feeney.

The jigsaw was soon starting to take shape, and while the first competitive season in the Ayrshire Sunday Amateur League was abruptly halted by Covid-19, the Kilwinning Report Card was headlined “Good progress- go as high as you can.”

Said Mick “We managed to play 75% of the season in a tough, tough League.”

“At one stage we were fourth top behind the likes of experienced clubs Charlie’s Bar, Killie Athletic and Kilbirnie. Not bad for an off-the-cuff idea!”

“We gave a really good accounts of ourselves in the Scottish Cup against Drumchapel before losing, and performances dipped a wee bit after that, but a 7th place finish in the division was still a great achievement for a first-season team.”

Mick reckons the “close-knit group” atmosphere around the set-up has been enhanced with the arrival – initially as a player – of Garry Johnstone, who has a wealth of knowledge which includes running a youth coaching structure.

“Just being able to bounce ideas off each other has been brilliant” Mick admitted.

“I did it all (coaching etc) myself the first year, but Garry came to me after a few weeks of playing and said he wanted to focus more on the coaching side.”

“We have a core of good players who have been with us since the start, and it’s important we look after them when football is allowed to return.”

Mick Howie was eager to Impress upon the importance of two major aspects within Kilwinning AFC – something I will be going into in more detail over the few couple of days – namely Back Onside, who carry out fantastic work, and Sponsors Abbey Gates Bar and Grill.

I can reveal Back Onside physically made themselves available to host a talk-in on coping with a variety of Mental Health Issues. The importance of speaking up and having your voice heard, and the players responded by way of a “thank-you” last month in raising money for the Charity.

Abbey Gates Bar and Grill have decided not only to return as a Kit Sponsor, but will double their involvement through Home and Away strips, which will feature their business name, and also the Back Onside logo!

Given the global economic damage which has been revealed as a result of Covid-19, Abbey Gates Bar and Grill have shown amazing faith in Kilwinning AFC.

Remember my Article intro: “Emerge stronger than ever when football is allowed to resume.”

Many thanks to Mick Howie for providing his Club Badge, Team Group, Match Action and Training Ground photographs to run alongside my Article.

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