Friday, 25 November 2011

Editor's Note - November

Hello and welcome back to the DDS.

October wasn’t a great month to look back on, so let’s hope we learn from our mistakes and take what we’ve learnt into another opportunity to overturn the team’s current run of form today. Bar the game against Stenhousemuir, all of last month’s encounters were close run things and the results aren’t representative of how well we’ve performed, but I think everyone acknowledges that results must come first and here’s hoping November will bring some joy back to the DDS.

Off the field, things are looking much more rosy for Albion fans. The new Supporter’s Trust website looks great and things such as the club’s lottery and ‘EasyFundraising’ page seem to be bringing some more needed income into the club. Details of how to get involved in these are on the club’s website.

There’s obviously the new copy of ‘The Albion’ to read through too! Just beyond these pages is an interview with former Albion player and current Scottish international Robert Snodgrass to get your mitts on. Snoddy reflects on his successful period with the club that will hopefully have you reminiscing about that famous play-off final against Airdrie back in 2007.

There’s also information on how to subscribe to the magazine so you never miss another issue and we’re also pleased to announce the release of a brand new Albion podcast which will be available to download from the club’s website.

Andrew Jenkin, Editor

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Which soccer position are you?

I think we can agree on that players on different positions have to have different qualities – but we are not necessarily only talk about soccer skills but also personality characteristics. Your temper, how much you can focus, whether you are patient or just want to get things done straight away are all resulting in different decisions and moves. Based on this, fans should also be more likely to identfy with players playing on the position they would fit based on their personality. But which position would YOU fit? Is it true that you are attracted by the player on that position the most? Check out this two minute test, it won’t hurt!

However, it sometimes hurts how some players put their point across...

End class struggle with three sided football

How would you play if football was three sided? Guess what! Three sided football actually exists and now I will tell you how to play it if you have a craving for something new at those football afternoons with your mates. Have a number of friends that you can divide into three teams. Take a hexagon shaped pitch. Easy as that! You might want to exploit the help of some traffic cones, chalks or stripes – you can spare some hours, days or weeks searching for a hexagon in your neighbourhood. You need to divide the hexagons into sixths instead of the usual halves and three of those territories have a goal. And there you go, score! However, scores are not kept. Instead, the number of goals is counted that goalkeepers cannot defend, and so the team with the least received goals will be paid a beer by the losers after the match (the beer is not part of the rule by the way). When you attack a team, the two attacking teams are joining up collaborating until the end of the attack, and then they might betray each other and join up with the team they were attacking a minute ago. As far as you can keep track of who you are with at the moment, you will surely enjoy this impossible game.

It is important to note though that may it seem impossible, there is pure logic behind the rules. Though the first known game was played in the Glasgow Anarchist Summer School in 1993, apparently, the idea comes from Asger Jorn, a Danish situationist, who wanted to demonstrate his notion of triolectics, which is a version of the Marxian concept of dialectics. According to him, the game aims to deconstruct the bipolar nature of football which can be a signifier for class struggle where the referee stands for the state and media, as a neutral judge in the political process of ongoing class struggle. Okey, theory is over, go, play and end class struggle!

Triolectique / Triolectics from Pied La Biche on Vimeo.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Poor League Form and Cup Spirit – November 2011

It has been a tough time at the club in recent weeks. Last Saturday’s defeat to Arbroath confined the club to their fifth successive defeat. The Binos put in a much improved performance but in a similar vein to the Dumbarton game two weeks earlier they were undone late on after having much of the game.

It was a blow for the team who went from playoff contenders in early October to bottom of the second division in a matter of weeks, the squad with many young players will have to bounce back and show some real spirit to get Albion moving in the right direction in the next few weeks.

After the heartbreaking loss against Arbroath in injury time, Albion focused on their cup duel against Dundee at Forthbank. During the week confidence would have been low after the poor run of form but as experienced management team Jocky Scott and John Blackley would know a result in the cup could ignite their season.

This Dundee game was big for the supporters as well. Their patience has been tested after a disaterous season in the first division in 2010/2011. When results are not going well, it is easy for the finger to be pointed but for the most part, the Albion fans have stuck with the team and understood there is lot of young players being blooded in at the same time.

The game itself against Dundee had a real atmosphere in the truest sense. The division one side brought an excellent crowd from the city of discovery and that really added to the occasion. The away side started excellently in the first ten minutes and the front four of Leighton McIntosh, Steven Milne, Ryan Conroy and Nicky Riley looked to be causing Albion a lot of problems.

The home side rebounded and to the delight of the manger, they started to get the ball done and really express themselves. Great link up play involving Scott Davidson and Alan Cook was a joy to behold in the early stages. Albion took a surprise but not undeserved lead when Darren Smith nodded home expertly from a Cook cross. The Forthbank crowd were jubilant; as well they should be as they witnessed the team’s first goal in over eight hours of play.

The joy was short lived as ex-Celtic man Ryan Conroy delivered an unstoppable free kick past the helpless Callum Reidford in the Albion goal. This was an obvious blow for the home side but remarkably they seemed unfazed by such a dent in confidence and produced some of their best play of the season before half –time.

Scott Davidson and Darren Smith linked up brilliantly for most of the encounter and they were involved in creating several chances before the break.

The second-half was a much more tense affair and unfortunately for Albion it was Dundee who got their noses in front, slack play gave Steven Milne a chance to have a strike from the edge of the box and the wily veteran was more than up to the task.

Albion continued to press but in all honesty they didn’t look like drawing level. Alan Cook had several opportunities to deliver from set-piece but all too often they found a player in blue.

The game finished 2-1 but Albion shouldn’t find themselves too downbeat as they produced their best performance for a while against the best side they have played, what is needed now is consistency.

Next up for Albion is Airdrie United at home in the league and despite recording their sixth defeat on the bounce they have something that they haven’t had in a while, hope. Albion really do hope they can get a much needed victory to get their season going. 

In the beginning

Senior football in Stirling existed as far back as 1875, with the formation of Kings Park FC.

Former members of the Stirlingshire Football Association - they did not seek entry to the newly formed Scottish League - but instead joined an alliance of teams in Central Scotland; Airdrieonians, Ayr, East Stirlingshire, Morton F.C., Kilmarnock, King's Park, Linthouse F.C., Northern, Partick Thistle, Port Glasgow Athletic, St Bernard's F.C. and Thistle.

A further opportunity presented itself in 1893 when a large number of Alliance teams joined the newly formed second division of the Scottish League but Kings Park preferred to join the Midland League, consisting of nine clubs - Alloa Athletic, Alva, Bridge of Allan, Camelon, Clackmannan, Dunblane, Dunfermline Athletic, Grangemouth and Raith Rovers.

They would win the League at first attempt but had no further success in any competition.

Life outside of the senior Scottish Leagues was proving difficult for clubs and eventually the league relented and expanded in 1921, allowing a host of teams to apply. The top division of 22 teams remained and the second division reformed to 20 teams.

The club remained a second division team throughout the remainder of its existence, just missing out on promotion by one point in season 1927/28.

When Britain declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939 because of a government ban on all outdoor activities, Scottish Football League cancelled league football. In its place they set up regional leagues.

Kings Park featured in the Eastern Division in its first season but in July 1940 as preparations were ongoing for the start of the new season, a Luftwaffe Heinkel III dropped a single Hermann bomb on Forthbank, and the stand was completely demolished and the playing surface severely damaged.

As a consequence Managing Director Tom Fergusson put the club into limbo.

When the end of the war was declared, Managing Director Tom Fergusson had two options: resurrect the former club, or start again. He chose the latter and went about establishing a new club.

In May 1945, he was offered the grazing at Annfield; an eighteenth-century mansion on the outskirts of Stirling. The house, with more than 20 rooms and 70 acres of ground, was for sale at £5,000. As he walked up the long drive skirting an area of woodland in front of the house, Fergusson had a vision of the future, with the trees cleared away, the ground levelled, and thousands of people cheering a football team.

Meetings were arranged with friends, business people and supporters. It was agreed to purchase the land for £5,000 and set up a private company with six shareholders each owning 500 shares.

The first meeting to promote the new Stirling Albion Football Club took place at 54 Wallace Street, premises of T.H. Fergusson Coal Merchants, on May 10th 1945. Five local businessmen contributed funds to launch the new club, and after consideration of names such as Stirling Villa and King's Park, Stirling Albion was chosen.

It was not all sweetness and light. There were many objections to the construction of Annfield, particularly from locals, but also business people who had debts owing to them by Kings Park.

Stirling Town Council Planning Committee turned down the application by four votes to three. Tom Fergusson, undeterred, requested that a deputation be heard by the full council and on 21st May, the Provost, Magistrates and Councillors of the Royal Burgh of Stirling met to hear Mr. A. J. Gourlay, Mr. P. McGlaughlin and Mr. T. H Fergusson. The Councillors voted to allow the ground to be built, provided it was for sport only and excluded dog racing and pony trotting.

Weeks later the dream had become a reality. Stirling Albion Football Club Ltd was formed and Annfield house bought as club headquarters. The ballroom became the gymnasium, with a miniature football field painted on the floor ready for tactical talks; other rooms were converted into dressing rooms, a laundry, and a tea room.

While volunteer workers were busy making a stand out of old air raid shelters, others were uprooting oaks and other trees, laying the pitch, and building up terracing.

The Club was run from Fergusson's coal premises in Wallace Street for many years. As Secretary and Manager he was responsible for day-to-day running of the club and for team affairs, along with PR and dealing with his ‘auld enemies’ in the higher echelons of the Scottish Football Association and League Committees.

Meantime a team had to be raised, and a competition found for them to play in.

To be continued.

The Albion Interviews... Alan Cook

Binos’ 19 year-old midfielder Alan Cook has made an impact since arriving from Dumbarton in the summer. Cook shone in pre-season for the club and sealed his six-month contract after an impressive performance against Cliftonville. The Albion caught up with Alan to talk about how the move came about, how we won a contract, his goals for the rest of the 2011/12 campaign and what his team-mates would say he has to improve on.

Albion - You started out at Dumbarton, how did you enjoy your overall time at the club?

Alan Cook - I really enjoyed my time with Dumbarton to start with as I made my debut when I just turned 17 and I managed to play seven games on the bounce and scored a couple of goals in the process, however after I signed my contact I seen my game time reduced and never got much of a look in. That was obviously frustrating for me but I do have to thank Dumbarton though for giving me my break.

Albion - You were offered a trial with Albion in the summer and you were particularly impressive against Cliftonville in the Ladbrokes Cup, do you believe that game was vital for you in earning a contract?

Alan Cook - Like any trial game you have to impress or else you wont be asked back so in that game I managed to do enough to be asked back to sign for 6 months. The game was important to me getting a contact as the season was starting the following week. I was also lucky that I got on so early in the game as I started on the bench so once I got on I knew I had to make an impact in the game.

Albion - There was a lot of change at the club during the summer, especially with many other players were on trial through the "So you think you're good enough?" scheme where players paid money to earn a place in the team, did you feel added pressure to make an impact in such a short time period and under such unique circumstances?

Alan Cook - I had read about the "So you think you're good enough?" idea in the paper which I found quite interesting how it worked. Even though my trial was nothing to do with the SYTYGE scheme, I didn’t notice a massive difference between myself and the rest of the lads who were taking part in the paid trial. I knew we were all in the same boat as we were all trying to gain a contract with Albion. I think the idea was good as we picked up two really good players in Sam Filler and John Crawley through the trial so I think it was a success.

Albion - You have shown an eye for goal in your early appearances for Albion, what do you believe you need to work on to become to be an established player for the Binos'?

Alan Cook - I am glad that I have managed to contribute a few goals for the team so early in the season and if I want to be playing every week I will have to work hard in training and also make sure I take every opportunity the gaffer gives me on the pitch and hopefully that will be enough to see my playing regularly. I know I need to improve and if you ask any of the boys this question I’m sure they would all say for me to play the simple pass a lot more.

Albion -What are you're personal goals for the remainder of the 2011/2012 season?

Alan Cook -My personal goals for this season have to be simply to play every week and hopefully I can achieve that by playing well when I get the chance to start or make sure I am making a difference when coming on from the bench.. I am happy that I have managed to get a couple of goals early on for Albion but I am looking to contribute a few more during the rest of the campaign.