Steven Allison: New Camelon director of football talks moving on, new goals and Syngenta backlash

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Steven Allison is “looking forward to the future” after taking on an all-encompassing director of football role at Camelon Juniors.

Allison has accepted an offer to join the Mariners from the club’s recently formed strategic board, whose goal is to attract local investment and halt the decline in recent years that has seen the team drop out of the East of Scotland Premier Division.

Allison, who was previously in a similar voluntary role at Syngenta, left the Dyes last month as ‘he couldn’t take the club any further’ due to his belief that a number of agreements between his first team set-up and other groups at Syngenta had not been honoured.He said: "It began to turn sour a while back and a number of things happened that made it very difficult to stay on at the club as a volunteer. We made agreements that never came to fruition and I just felt like I was putting a lot in without getting anything back.

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“It got to a stage where a number of key things that were previously agreed on were suddenly dropped or forgotten about. It was clear the only money going into the set-up would be from myself and a handful of sponsors and that isn’t sustainable.

Camelon Juniors' new director of football Steven Allison (Photo: Contributed)Camelon Juniors' new director of football Steven Allison (Photo: Contributed)
Camelon Juniors' new director of football Steven Allison (Photo: Contributed)

"I totally respect that no funding from the Juveniles team should ever go into our first team, that wouldn’t be right and if I was a parent I wouldn’t be happy about that either because that isn’t what they are paying for.

"But that wasn’t what we wanted, we wanted help in a general sense through events we had organised but it just felt like there was no interest to support us in any way.

"We agreed to run the team until the end of the season, if certain agreements were met. Then out of the blue the under-20s set-up folded and it was agreed that another East of Scotland side would be their first team pathway.

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"That was the final straw in all honesty because we had players from that team in our squad and they were a big part of our plans. The financial black hole that I agreed to cover was just getting bigger and bigger.

Martin Mooney and Gordon Wylde have also joined Camelon JuniorsMartin Mooney and Gordon Wylde have also joined Camelon Juniors
Martin Mooney and Gordon Wylde have also joined Camelon Juniors

"The club could have kept on going, I didn’t fold the club. When I resigned as a volunteer in January, they could have brought someone else in to help run the team. They could have brought a new team in or a manager and playing squad from within.”

A spokesperson from Syngenta, who wished to remain anonymous, replied: “We were informed by the first team’s board of directors in January of their intention to leave the club at the end of the season, which came as a bit of a surprise to us.

"The end of the season promise would have helped us draw a line under it all and it would have been better for everyone involved.

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"We were in the second year of a five-year plan and it was a shock to see the move to Camelon happen so quickly, and without any notice to ourselves.

"What has happened since then is there for all to see really - the first team haven’t fulfilled their last two league fixtures and that is now in the hands of the league to decide what happens going forward.

"It doesn’t take a genius to work out that there is no Syngenta FC any more as there is no-one involved in it operationally at all now, as well as having no playing staff.

"We have a new senior pathway for our Juveniles team with Bo’ness Athletic, who are really going places and it is a secure partnership that we are very excited about.

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"It is important to note that the Syngenta first team venture was separately run from the Syngenta Juveniles Club and the pan-disability and walking football teams. The first team was operationally and financially separate.”

A spokesperson for the East of Scotland Football Association & League said the two recent league fixtures which Syngenta did not fulfil would lead to a change in how the second division table looked; no final decision had yet been made on how fixtures already completed by Syngenta would affect league standings.

Allison has already made a big impact at the Mariners, bringing with him members of the former Syngenta coaching team including Gordon Wylde and Martin Mooney.

Wylde, alongside Stewart Kenny, will lead Camelon’s first team squad which now consists of most of the previous Syngenta group, alongside a handful of players who were already contracted to Camelon.

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On Saturday, they lost 3-2 at home to Leith Athletic in their first fixture under new stewardship, naming a team mainly made up of ex-Syngenta players.

"I have had local teams approach me beforehand and in recent times, but the offer from Camelon really excited me,” Allison explained.

"There is a hell of a lot of work to be done with the infrastructure off the park and on it, but the potential is massive. It has all fallen into place in all honesty. I am looking forward to the future.

"The playing squad is of course too big at the moment with players we have brought from Syngenta but we are working on that.

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"Gordon Wylde and Stewart Kenny are already building up a strong relationship between themselves and everyone is pulling together to keep the club in the division this season.

"The short term goal is to stay up this year, with a view to building next year and getting Camelon back into the Premier Division.”

A spokesperson for the Mariners said: “Steven Allison will report directly to the club’s new strategic board and serve as the lead for recruitment and all football departments, including the first team, under-20s, coaching staff, sport science, medical services, and analysis.

"With a reputation for being a winner and a strong work ethic, combined with years of experience in local football, the board is confident that Steven is the right person for the job.”

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