Kilbride Thistle AFC will have a new team in their structure next season – and today I can exclusively reveal the current Tass Thistle amateur squad will take over their identity in the Ayrshire AFA, writes Tom Scott.
Confirming details in another exclusive for Scottish Amateur Football News, Manager Sean Kenney told me: “As you know we had been speaking with Officials from another Ayrshire AFL club , and now they have agreed to come in and will play under the name of Kilbride Thistle.”
“I am very excited to welcome Allan MacMillan (Manager) and the Tass Thistle team to the club. We’ve been in constant dialogue over the past month and we are delighted that we’ve got a good plan in place to make the boys a very exciting and successful Amateur team.”
“We are very proud of the work we’ve done in Amateur Football, and very happy that Allan and the lads will keep that work going.”
“It’s a very, very exciting time to be involved with Kilbride Thistle Football Club.”
Meanwhile, Allan MacMillan couldn’t hide his delight when I caught up with him today, and he revealed: “I have informed Tass Thistle we will be leaving and they were very understanding given the circumstances.”
“I have run the team for the past two years, and before that was involved in Sunday football. We were in Division 2A of the Ayrshire AFL. A really tough League with a lot of good football played. We went on an unbeaten six-game run before the season was halted.”
Allan has no doubts maintaining high standards and “changing the mentality to winning,” which is the benchmark for every team at Kilbride Thistle AFC, was a major factor in agreeing to the move.”
He added “A lot of work has gone on already to succeed l, and I can’t wait to get started once restrictions are eased. I have a good core of players (10-12) with five or six aged 21 and under, with the rest quite experienced. The likes of Jamie Knox, who is a terrific talent, knows the Thistle set-up, and is absolutely buzzing. We all are!”
“We’ve had a Zoom Meeting about the move and everyone was delighted. I’ve got 3 coaches plus a Committee of 6, and they will be moving forward with us.”
With Sean Kenney confirming his current squad are making an application to join the West of Scotland Conference League, it means an expansion to the set-up at Thistle.
In addition to the Saturday teams, they will also run an Under-20 squad in the Development League, plus their Sunday team.
Another valid reason why they are pushing for their own home ground adjacent to St Matthews Secondary, Saltcoats, which I also exclusively reported on last month.
Sean Kenney is continuing dialogue with K.A. Leisure- although Covid-19 is holding up vital decision-making.
The area photographed used to be called Jacks Park until the new School was built, but many refer to it as St Matthews. Kilbride Thistle still go with the name Jacks Park.
Many thanks to Kilbride Thistle AFC Manager Mr Sean Kenney for the overhead photographic view of the ground. Also to Sean and Allan for giving up their time to reveal today’s Exclusive.
Today I am delighted to provide the Interview with on-loan midfielder Ryan Singleton, who has signed with Kilbride Thistle AFC meantime from Ardrossan Winton Rovers, writes Tom Scott.
Thanks to Kilbride Thistle AFC Manager Mr Sean Kenney for all his help, plus the Photograph.
FULL NAME and POSITION(S) PLAYED AT ARDROSSAN?
“Ryan Singleton, Centre Midfield.’
HOW DID THE LOAN MOVE TO KILBRIDE COME ABOUT AND WHAT WAS THE ATTRACTION GOING THERE?
“Once Winton pulled out of the junior league, I was desperate to get a move sorted as soon. And I text Sean asking if he’d take me. I had went to a few junior teams to see what it was like, but preferred training etc at Kilbride. Only downside was not being able to get started due to Covid.”
“I had friends at Kilbride who I knew were good players, they’re an ambitious team ,and highly spoke of by anyone who has played for them.”
WON ANY HONOURS? PLEASE DETAIL COMPETITION and YEARS.
“Won the Ayrshire District League with Irvine Vics in 2014.”
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR HAPPIEST MOMENT IN FOOTBALL!
“I played with Irvine Vics for 8 years, and every time we beat Irvine Meadow was my happiest moment.”
WHAT IS THE BEST PRANK/ WIND-UP YOU HAVE WITNESSED AT TRAINING, OR DURING PRE-MATCH INVOLVING A PLAYER?
“Nothing that comes to mind straight away, just things we used to do in the changing room like cover players’ jerseys in deep heat before the game ,and we used to phone players pretending to be other Managers etc.”
GIVE US AN INSIGHT INTO THE MANAGEMENT STYLE OF SEAN KENNEY?
“Good manager. Very committed, and is focused on playing his style of play. Likes to play it out from the back, and defend from the front.”
Covid-19 restrictions have prevented hopes of Kilbride Thistle AFC giving two loan players from Ardrossan Winton Rovers much-needed game time in the Ayrshire Amateur Football League, writes Tom Scott.
Full-back David Donald and the versatile Ryan Singleton had mixed with the Kilbride squad before tougher Government action was implemented – although the pair had already made a huge impression on Thistle boss Sean Kenney.
He said “We know both players, and they came in from the Rovers, who had decided they were not going to play in the new West of Scotland League and South of Scotland Cup this season.”
“The loan arrangement with Ardrossan Manager Stevie Wilson means they will return to them for next season, and I will honour that.”
“I previously signed David for us when I was Coach here under John Bell, who was our Manager at the time. He has also played with Ardeer West, and was rated one of the top Ayrshire AFA full- backs in recent years. He has really impressed, wants to learn, and is very fit.”
“Ryan had an 8-year spell with Irvine Vics prior to Ardrossan Winton Rovers. He can play in a number of positions, including through the middle.”
“I can’t speak highly enough of them. It’s a real shame we haven’t been able to see them in match action. I have been really impressed with their attitude.”
Meanwhile, the local Community has played their part in helping Kilbride Thistle celebrate 10 years just from participation in Amateur Football once 2021 kicked-in amidst these difficult times.
Sean revealed: “Yes, that’s 10 years in the Amateur ranks, but we actually started at Under-6s level as Kilbride Boys -. not that a lot of folk know that!”
“This is my 21st year at the club, but the gentleman who deserves a lot of the credit for the Kilbride name still being around is Mr John Bell, who these days devotes all of his time to the family and grandchildren.”
“Without doubt John is not only a Club Legend, but a Community Legend.”
SAFN Chief Writer Tom Scott has been on the trail of another top talent in Ayrshire Amateur Football – and today’s spotlight is on Scott Hindmarsh at Kilbride Thistle AFC.
Kilbride Manager Sean Kenney has also told Scottish Amateur Football News that “Otto” is the club’s longest serving player.
Tom asked the Questions and Scott did not hold back with his answers!
FULL NAME and POSITION (S) PLAYED AT KILBRIDE THISTLE AFC?
“Scott Hindmarsh best known as Otto. I’ve played in just about every position for Kilbride since signing with them, I’m naturally a full-back , but for the time being I’m a make shift centre half.”
WHEN DID YOU SIGN FOR KILBRIDE THISTLE, AND WHAT IS THE ATTRACTION PLAYING FOR THEM?
“I signed for Kilbride at the start of the 15/16 season from another local amateur team. There was a few reasons I chose to sign the dotted line. I hadn’t been enjoying my football at the time and wanted something fresh. Kilbride had young squad and a lot of ambition and were clear promotion challengers. I went across to watch them play away to Galston, and and signed later that day and haven’t looked back.”
WON ANY HONOURS? PLEASE DETAIL COMPETITION and YEARS.
“I haven’t won any honours yet although promotion the Premier League was an achievement in itself, the way things are going with the club I’m really positive we’ll be winning something in the near future.”
WHAT IS YOUR BEST- EVER MEMORY PLAYING FOR KILBRIDE THISTLE?
“There’s been many memorable games in my seven seasons, Scottish Cup runs, last minute winners, and underdog games, but for me my favourite game was in my first season when we beat local promotion rivals and my old team Cunninghame, which saw us clear favourites for promotion and at the same time caused them to fold. It was a mid-week game in West Kilbride and whoever won were basically promoted. We had just made a massive signing in Ryan Wilson, who started the season with us but joined Cunninghame, and eventually came to his senses and decided to re-join us a few days before the game , and he comfortably scored a hat-trick, which saw us run out 4-2 winners.”
WHAT IS THE BEST PRANK/ WIND-UP YOU HAVE WITNESSED AT TRAINING OR DURING PRE-MATCH, INVOLVING A PLAYER?
“One of the boys in our team got stitched up big time. One of our players, Alex Somerville, thought it would be a good laugh to use his work phone to pretend to be a local junior manager.”
“He then decided to start messaging one of his team mates pretending to be that manager, and saying ‘how he would love to sign a player of his calibre’. This went on for a while with the player telling the “junior manager” his preferred position, ex-pro youth teams and how he can influence games. These messages ended up on the group chat, and the boy got a hard time for what he was saying to the “junior manager”, I’m pretty sure he was close to leaving the team after that before everything got sorted. It was a good laugh at the time and still gives me a fair chuckle.”
GIVE US AN INSIGHT INTO THE MANAGEMENT STYLE OF SEAN KENNEY?
“Sean Kenney is as close to OCD as a manger can get, from setting up training an hour before the boys arrive, not letting the boys on the park a second before he schedules it, and even setting out standards before the season starts. To be honest, his management style is for those who want to improve themselves and the club, if you’re not willing to commit 100% then you won’t reap the rewards of playing under him.”
“Sean expects the best from each player as well as gives his best for each one of them, he likes the club to be run as professionally as possible but still involves a fun environment to the club which makes it good to be part of.”
“For anyone who has played under Sean or alongside him they know he’s very passionate about the amateur game and does his best to help it grow, he’s been a driving force for Kilbride Thistle ever since I signed even when he was playing and I imagine he’ll not rest until this club is reaching its full potential no matter what level that may be.”
Our three-part Series on League Sponsors proved so popular that today I launch a brand , new feature – aimed at Scottish Amateur Football Clubs from every Region – and first up to volunteer were Kilbride Thistle AFC, writes Tom Scott.
Manager Sean Kenney is a huge fan of the SAFN concept in publicising both Clubs and the game in general, and he revealed information on two greatly-appreciated backers.
He said: “Ronnie McConnachie has sponsored us for the last two seasons through his pub “Jacks Corner”, and he also owns the Macron Sport franchise throughout Scotland.”
“As well as being a massive support to the club, Ronnie feeds us with pizzas, munchy boxes etc from a local Indian Restaurant when we go back to Jack’s Corner after games. As well as Ronnie, we would also like to thank Heather and Mark behind the bar who always look after us.”
“Ronnie has also kitted out the First Team and Sunday Team with two sets of strips and tracksuits over the last two seasons.”
“The Macron stuff is all very smart and the beauty of it is with the Shop being local we can go in and try things on before buying , and it’s very easy to replace – any damaged kit/balls etc because of the large stock they keep in store. He (Ronnie) really can’t do enough for us.”
“A new sponsor who has come on board this season is Andy Purdon from Ayrshire Gasworks. Andy has very kindly bought us new training kit for this season. As well as the training kit, Andy also sponsored Ryan Wilson and Alex Sommerville in our “Sponsor a Player Scheme”.
“Andy was a great guy to deal with, no hassle at all and he’s been giving us good advice as we look to sort out our own permanent home pitch at St Matthews Academy, Saltcoats.”
“Due to COVID, we haven’t been able to thank both sponsors the way we’d have liked with photographs of the guys with the new kits, but once we’ are able to we most definitely will.”
“Guys like this are massive for a club like ours, and once again we can’t thank them enough”
Photograph/ Logo kindly provided by Kilbride Thistle Manager Mr Sean Kenney.
Has YOUR CLUB a sponsor(s) we should know about? Why not make contact with Scottish Amateur Football News today?
Three prize winners were revealed during the third monthly draw staged by Stewarton United at the Taj Bar and Kitchen.
John Sinclair won the first prize of £250.
The first runner-up prize of £50 went to Mary McCreadie, and Gary Hamilton collected a £20 Taj Bar and Kitchen Voucher as the second runner-up winner. Congratulations everyone!
The Club wish to thank everyone who has participated in the very successful Monthly Draws to date, and anyone interested in joining should contact Stewarton United direct (officials etc), or via their Twitter Page.