Monday, October 22, 2012

What is the role of a club like East Fife in the big money, corporate world of modern day football?

Can we ever recapture our glory days of the 40's and 50's? Will we ever made the top flight again, never mind being one of the top four football clubs in the country?

You have to be honest and say right here, right now, things look a little bleak.

Are we destined to kick around the bottom two divisions of Scottish football for the rest of eternity, with maybe one season in a blue moon making it to the promised land of the First Division?

I'm sure League construction will be our answer to that, as surely the game here will return to at least a three, and hopefully two, division set up.

Basically, what I'm asking is will we ever be considered anything but a minnow in the Scottish game any time soon?

Despite what our heads may tell us, I'm sure every one of you reading this has a heart screaming "Of course we will. We are East Fife Football Club. The most successful club in the Kingdom and our time will come again".

For without that optimism, what is the point of going along every Saturday?

So how do we get back to those glory days and to go back to the first of these many questions, what is our current role in the Scottish game?

I like to think that one of several answers to these questions is interlinked - developing top young local talent that will not only help East Fife FC, but also the Scottish game.

When I started watching East Fife in the early 80's we were proud of the conveyor belt of young talent that we either produced ourselves, or got at an early age and moulded them and developed them in a black and gold jersey.

Stevie Kirk, Paul Hunter, Davie Kirkwood and of course our current manager, and East Fife legend, Gordon Durie were just a handful of players that saw East Fife challenging very competitively.

Faced with the age old problem that all provincial clubs have to come to terms with, holding on to this talent at Bayview was/is impossible and I think we probably all accept that our top young stars will move on one day and play at a higher level and maybe even pull on the blue of Scotland on the world stage.

It makes us proud when it happens, but when was the last time we did such a thing? In the last 10, 15 years, how many young players have we brought through the Youth ranks of Bayview and into the first team?

There's Stevie Ferguson, Paul McManus and .....

It's been a sad state of affairs and what we've ended up doing is bringing in players developed by local rivals such as Raith Rovers, or young loan players from Premier clubs.

It is a situation that has to change for East Fife to become challengers once again. We need to develop our own and give these guys a chance in the first team before bring in loan players with no emotional ties to the Club.

We have a great youth set up at Bayview just now and the guys running these teams are doing a fantastic job, which is self funded, and they deserve a medal for their commitment to improving the club's future.

The Reserves have been doing fairly well this year and the U19s have beaten Premier League opposition (Motherwell) to advance in the Scottish Youth Cup.

East Fife currently have teams at U14, U16/17 and U19 level, along with 12 full time apprentices, and a five year development plan is in place.

This is the future of our club and they deserve all of our support. Try and get to the games and if you can afford it, make a little donation to the £110,000 yearly running costs.

For East Fife to continue to not just survive, but also thrive, in the Scottish game, we need this be a success and we need these guys to get their chance of playing in the first team. They need to see that there is a realistic reward for all of their hard work, and just now that isn't happening.

Is it too far fetched to hope that we can maybe have a team consisting primarily of local talent one day? I'd like to think it's not.

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