Maryhill FC on rise as senior set-up beckons for ex-juniors
Interest in Maryhill FC is on the rise as the club prepares for its first senior season - with fans from Milngavie and Bearsden to the fore, writes Ian MacLean
The 136-year-old club has joined the exodus from the junior ranks to the pyramid system and will compete in the new West of Scotland League.
The close season has already seen them sell more than double the number of season tickets as they sold last season in its entirety.
And around 40 per cent of those who have purchased season tickets are from the Bearsden and Milngavie areas.
“We’ve always traditionally had a good support from the area,” admitted club secretary Jeff Holmes.
“It’s strange, but we probably draw just as many supporters from Bearsden and Milngavie as we do from Maryhill!”
Manager Ross Wilson has rung the changes ahead of the new campaign. The former Irvine Meadow and Kello Rovers boss has signed eight new players, with five departing.
In come goalkeeper, Mark McRoberts, a former Motherwell and Airdrie youth, and defender Craig McEwan, who joins from Pollok United. Central defender Tony Etherson is a new recruit from Arthurlie.
Wilson has also strengthened the midfield area, introducing Ryan Wallace, Ross Lyden, Cammy O’Neil and Darren Kennedy.
Wallace was a youth team player at Morton, while Lyden has played for Clydebank, Dumbarton, Clyde and Vale of Leven.
Kennedy, who is 24, saw active service with Greenock Juniors and St Anthony’s. 23-year-old O’Neil was formerly with Barrhead Boys Club.
Jamie Henderson, who plays up front, has signed from amateur side Law Parish, but has previous junior experience with Lanark United and Fauldhouse United.
And then there are Paul O’Donnell, Michael Browne and Ewan McGuinness, who signed last season but didn’t get a chance to shine competitively due to the coronavirus.
Out go Joe Beckley, who has retired, Morgan Smith, Sam McNee, Scott Walker and Johnathon Kavanagh, the latter trio being on loan from Airdrie.
Wilson said: “The close season is a time of upheaval at many clubs, but has probably affected us most as this is my first pre-season in the job at Maryhill.
“The players who remain from last season along with the players who have joined all have something to prove so there is much needed competition around the place.
Maryhill haven’t played a competitive game of football since the first week in February, so it’s little wonder that there is a real appetite for the game in all four corners of Lochburn Park.
Wilson said: “You can do all the planning in the world but there really is no substitute for training and match days.”