Chairman's Christmas Message 2012

Chairman's Christmas Message 2012


What an end we had to last season! We were one of only 6 SHFL teams who managed to secure their National Club Licence, and as a result we knew we had to finish above Keith in the League to join Inverurie Locos in the SFA Ramsdens Challenge Cup. We finished the season in great form drawing 1-1 with Inverurie Locos, beating Brora Rangers and Turriff United, drawing 1-1 with Keith and then beating Lossiemouth and Huntly. We went into the final game at home against Rothes in May knowing that a win would seal our place in the Cup draw. Rothes looked to have wrecked the dream when they opened the scoring on the 27th minute, but a Davie Allan strike 15 minutes from full-time drew us level. We hunted for the winner but it just wouldn't come. The game ended 1-1 and all attention turned to Kynoch Park where Keith were at home to Deveronvale. That game finished late and you'd think we had won the league when the news filtered through that Deveronvale had won 3-2 which left us finishing above Keith by a single point in 8th spot.

That Rothes game was Martin Gunn's final outing in the Academy black and white, as he decided it was time to hang up his boots. It ended a remarkable 17 year career with the Scorries in which he chalked up 438 competitive appearances. Martin was a great ambassador for the Club, and the home supporters showed their appreciation for his magnificent career at the end of the game.

On the 12th June the draw for the Ramsdens Challenge Cup was made and we pulled a home tie against SFL opposition Raith Rovers. We went into the game following really good pre-season with wins over Thurso and Orkney AFA, and draws against Aberdeen U20's and Inverness Caledonian Thistle. A bumper crowd of almost 1,000 braved a horrendous day of rain and our boys didn't disappoint as they gave their 1st Division opponents the toughest of tests. With an hour gone it was 2-2 and the game was in the balance, but with a shock result on the cards Raith struck a killer blow when Grant Anderson hammered a volley home in the 71st minute. Academy pushed to try to level the scores but Raith secured the win when they scored again 8 minutes from time to run out 4-2 winners. The whole county was proud of our lads that day as they had played their hearts out!

We made our best ever start to this year's league campaign winning our first two games against Strathspey and Buckie. We secured a memorable win in the Scottish Cup first round when we visited Cup specialists Spartans and we beat them 2-0 on their own patch. The second round set up a mammoth journey to the boarders to play Berwick Rangers. We missed a penalty in that game and as it looked as if a nil each draw was on the cards Berwick scored with a really soft penalty of their own in injury time to break our hearts.

Shortly afterwards manager Davie Kirkwood resigned and joined Brora Rangers, so Tichie picked up the reigns as caretaker manager.

In the North of Scotland Cup wins against Halkirk, Clachnacuddin and Brora fired us into our second North of Scotland Cup final, this time against Nairn County. That game was a cracker. Played at Grant Park, where another massive Academy support turned out to support the boys. The match was evenly contested with Academy having several chances in the final 10 minutes to win the game, but it ended 1-1, and Nairn scored the winner in the first period of extra time to lift the silver-ware.

We were delighted that Barry Wilson joined us shortly afterwards and Tichie agreed to stay on as his assistant. We hope that they form a partnership that will last for many years to come and they bring us the success that this Club and its supporters thoroughly deserve.

Great league form continued, including the fantastic 7-0 win away to Buckie Thistle two weeks ago, and we find ourselves second top of the table going into the double header derby games with Brora Rangers. I hope that Academy fans that attend both games enjoy the occasion and I'd like to ask that you please direct your energies into supporting ‘e Scorries and help the boys focus on doing their best in both matches.

This has been our best sustained run in the top half of the table since we joined the league in 1994, and we boast a current unbeaten home record to be proud of, having gone over a year and 17 games unbeaten in the league at Harmsworth Park. An amazing achievement I am sure you will all agree.

Our youth setup through Caithness United who run our Under 15's, and our Under 17's managed by James Robertson have gone from strength to strength, and all of the coaches who have been involved in bringing through our current batch of first team players should pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

The running of the Club and work on and around the Harmsworth Park is never-ending, and our loyal band of committee members and helpers deserve massive credit, as without them the Club could not continue to prosper.

The support we have had from our sponsors has also been over-whelming, and as you know we are delighted to have recently announced a 2 1\2 year main sponsorship deal with Scotty Youngson of the Comm Bar Thurso. Our new tops with the Comm Bar logo are home, and new signage around the park will go up within the next few weeks. We'd not be the force we are today without our sponsors' support, so thank you to everyone involved.

Finally to our supporters. What can I say!! You guys amaze me as no matter where we play you turn up in great numbers. We have one of the biggest gates in the SHFL and the support you give to the team is first class. The numbers that turn out week-on-week to our league games, and to our Cup matches is superb, and your support really does make a difference to the boys.

I personally wish to thank everyone at the Club; the Committee, ground-staff, the girls in the tea-hut, as well as the Management Team, all of our coaches, players, sponsors and supporters, for your support and hard work during 2012 to make my life as chairman a lot easier. From all at Wick Academy we wish you a very prosperous and happy New Year and look forward to your continued support in 2013.

Colin Stewart
Chairman, Wick Academy FC