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By Colin Smeeton
With the island gripped by World Cup fever in Russia, closer to home a bold bid is being made to set up an Arran football team to play in a west of Scotland league.
The Isle of Arran Football Association’s Danny Head and Brodick player Alan Murray have joined forces to make the dream a reality. They believe there is enough talent on the island to make a team work, but it will require considerable community support – and sponsorship – to get it off the ground.
The team would also need the authorisation of the Scottish Football Association (SFA) who would require to approve them to play in any league.
A previous application made last year by Danny was thrown out, even before put to a vote by the SFA, owing to travel concerns. This time Alan is hoping to establish the framework for an Isle of Arran Amateur Football Club and to have all of the organisational requirements in place so that the SFA consider their application with a solid backing and impetus of the community.
Hoping to compete in the west of Scotland Sunday Amateur League or even the Ayrshire Amateur League on a Saturday, Alan has consulted extensively with footballers on Arran and the mainland and also with other league clubs and football representatives.
A new club badge has already been designed which has a star representing all of the five clubs on Arran and with a Gaelic motto Na Leig As Gu Brath, meaning Never give up. It uses the red and black colours of Arran as also used by the rugby club
Believing that the raw talent required to succeed in a SFA league is abundant on Arran, Alan firmly believes that there is enough talent on Arran to not only compete, but to really prosper.
Alan said: ‘The wealth of talented players on Arran is without a doubt on par with our mainland counterparts. Many players who currently play for one of the five Arran teams representing their village within the Arran Dairies League have the potential to expand their football skills and careers and to really flourish with the correct competition and exposure.
‘The formation of a Arran club could provide them with that and also to represent Arran as an island, in addition to their village. More importantly once a senior team is established this could pave the way for a youth team and even a ladies team. An Arran team can install a sense of local pride and give the many talented young footballers on Arran something to aspire to.’
Alan who already has recieved support from many community members and Arran residents is now looking to form a committee to drive the idea forward. The committee will include a club secretary, a treasurer and members who are passionate about football and those that wish to be involved in youth and football development on Arran. The committee will appoint a team manager and facilitate fundraising and encourage sponsorship.
Alan said: ‘I am appealing to anyone who supports football and encouraging the youth to be involved in football, to attend our meeting on Tuesday July 24, at the Ormidale Pavilion at 6.30pm. If you could help in any way, be it through sponsorship- with a great deal of exposure for your business- or to be part of the committee we would welcome you to join us in this community effort.
‘The deadline to submit league applications is in April next year so sufficient time is available to create the committee, establish the framework and funding channels. We have the talented players, an eager youth and all of the organisational skills to make this happen, all we need now is your support.’
Anyone that is interested in being part of the Isle of Arran AFC, or who could provide sponsorship, is welcome to attend the meeting later this month or Alan can be contacted directly on 07732 112337.
The new Isle of Arran AFC club badge. No_B27ArranAFC01