East Stirlingshire’s stars of the past are heading to a special day out to mark the launch of the club’s Former Players’ Association.
The match against Montrose on March 23 at Ochilview will see as many ex-Shire players as possible return to the club for a special lunch followed by the opportunity to be introduced to the crowd and watch the current set of players wearing the black-and-white hoops.
Organisers have already lined-up legends such as Arthur Hamill, but they are also appealing to those of a more recent vintage to come along.
“We have guys coming along who played as far back as the mid 1950s,” said club chairman Tony Ford.
“Likewise the sixties and seventies are well-represented in terms of interest. But we would be very keen to hear from some people who played more recently.
“I appreciate that there are younger people who are still involved in football on a Saturday either playing or coaching, but it would be great to see people that some of our younger fans might be able to remember from their playing days.
“If there are ex-Shire players out there who were with us in the 1990s, for example, and who want to get involved then we would be delighted to hear from them.”
The Shire chairman has revealed it has been something of a detective story trying to trace and track down prominent names and faces with a connection to the club. But the hard work has not been without rewards.
“We started out with just a few names and telephone numbers on a sheet of paper but it has grown and grown,” said Tony.
“Those we have contacted have been genuinely enthusiastic and they have helped us get in touch with former teammates they have remained friends with.
“But it is important for us that we get as many eras as possible and that is why we would like to make contact with more ex-players from the past 20 years or so.”
Coach John Coughlin is looking forward to promoting some of his next crop of Shire stars as the season reaches an important stage. With the transfer window now closed the Shire boss has seen a number of players depart the club but replacements have been thin on the ground.
Now he will look at the best of the crop from the under-19 squad, with a view to promoting them between now and the end of the season. Coughlin plans to take in the under-19’s League Cup-tie against Queen of the South on Sunday to get the process started.
“We have seen a number of players move on as part of a plan to get our squad down to a more manageable size,” he said. “We have not brought anyone in over the window, but that is less of a concern because we are covered in most positions.
“But it does give us an opportunity to have a look at some of the youth team players and see if they fit the bill.”
Shire were unlucky to only take a point from last week’s 2-2 draw at Montrose and it is more than likely that Coughlin will give the same players another chance when they face Peterhead at Ochilview on Saturday.
Injuries continue to rule out a number of players which may, in any case, force the coach’s hand in terms of team selection.
“It looks as though the same guys who missed out at Montrose will not feature in the Peterhead game, so that makes things easier in terms of selection especially after so many good individual performances at Montrose.”
Any ex-Shire players who would like more details of the Former Players’ Association should contact Tony Ford on 07933956966 or e-mail the club at email@example.com.