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Making a Point

The Sons, almost unbelievably, are one point from first division safety following their comfortable 4-1 home victory against Airdrie United yesterday. In a reprise of last season’s 2nd leg play off result at Airdrie they never looked in any serious danger of not winning the game.

Goals from Graham, McGinn, McDougall and Agnew settled the comfortable affair and now Sons only need a point from their last two games, or indeed for either Dunfermline or Cowdenbeath do drop a point in theirs to guarantee safety.

This is all of course notwithstanding tomorrow’s meeting at Hamilton called by the seriously deluded and frankly bonkers concerned Hamilton chairman Les Gray following the SPL vote which kicked the league reconstruction vote into touch this week.

The meeting will no doubt discuss the idea of an SPL2 once again.

Hopefully wise counsel amongst the other clubs will prevail.

It may not though.

In the meantime, another quite remarkable season for the Sons.

What’s wrong with Scottish Football?

Well, may I offer a pictorial exhibit of Airdrie United’s New Broomfield stadium, just after kick off time yesterday in the first division game against Dumbarton?

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The stadium, built in 1998 for Airdrieonians, was that club’s undoing. Encumbered with the debt for building the field of premier dreams they were liquidated after the 2001-2002 season when they finished second in the first division, thus just missing out on the SPL.

Reborn as Airdrie United (same strip, same nickname, essentially same club) having bought Clydebank FC in a piece of jiggery pokery*, they continue to have this millstone of a 10,000 seater stadium.

Here are the stats:


In other words it has only twice been more than half full and never once full.

The building of the stadium was in the response to the setting up of the SPL in 1998 which had a 10,000 seater criteria for any club who wished to be promoted to that exalted company. Another consequence of the madness of setting up that league took place in Peterhead today, where the local side narrowly missed out on a victory against a club who in 1998 thought that they were contenders to win the Champions League.

Anyhoo, for the second week running it was good to meet up with Jack Stephen at the game. Maybe Jack would agree that the Sons were rather unfortunate to have suffered a 4-1 defeat having dominated at least 40 minutes of the match and laid siege to the Airdrie goal for much of that time.

Bad (pisspoor) defending, a rubbish ref and well, lack of scoring prowess, cost us the game.

The 4-1 scoreline was a mirror image of the result in the play off game at the end of last season.

I’m not too downhearted. Cowdenbeath next week in a bottom of the table clash.

Onwards and upwards!

*PS The announcer at Airdrie, reporting the results and half times from other divisions, announced “Peterhead 2, The club formerly known as Rangers 2″

In that spirit, I should have reported the result as The club formerly known as Clydebank 4 Dumbarton 1 but I hate to lose a local derby.

Stunning

It was on the way home yesterday from the Sons stunning 4-1 victory against Airdrie United* that a friend highlighted the fact that after seven games this season Dumbarton languished at the foot of the second division with only two (edit) seven points.

Even in early new year it still looked bleak for the club in terms of retaining their second division status.

We wondered if any other club had ever recovered from such a position to be promoted?

*If you check the footage at 1hr 45mins and about 20 secs you’ll see what supporting a wee team is all about.

Yes!

Today’s the Day

I have supported Dumbarton FC man and boy since 1970. During those 42 years I have seen them promoted six times, which rather neatly defines that relationship between club and supporter in seven year cycles. I have (I think) seen them relegated/reconstructed in a six year cycle so today’s second leg first division play off at Airdrie is an opportunity for equilibrium.

There’s committed and committed………

I haven’t been at all that many games this season, and to be honest had taken a scunner to the whole fitba’ thing earlier in the campaign. However there’s nowt like a wee bit of success to tempt a guy back.

Wednesday’s first leg resulted in a narrow victory for the Sons with two goals worthy of winning any match. There is a common thread running on the chatboards that whoever scores the first goal today will win the tie and therefore first division status. I don’t necessarily agree with that because the Sons have been performing Lazarus like all season. In fact one of their comebacks, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, was against today’s opponents at today’s venue, the plastic pitch at New Broomfield.

Whatever the outcome today, getting to the first division play offs has been a real achievement so we’ll go and cheer the team with a good heart and I’ll hope that my prediction of a 1-1 draw comes to pass.

C’mon!

Ian McMillan! Alex McDonald! Paul Jonquin! Section B! Jim Traynor! Can you hear me? Your boys took a hell of a beating!

A rather tricky second leg to come on the Airdrie plastic carpet but a thoroughly satisfying win last night.

Get the calculators out!

The Sons go to Stirling today  knowing that a victory will confirm their place in the play offs for promotion to the first division. I can well remember a previous visit to Forthbank when, with Murdo McLeod as manager, Sons clinched promotion with a 2-0 victory there in 1994-95. I had a beer or two that night!

From Sons website here are the possible outcomes of today’s game with a thought spared for the Binos who are battling relegation to the third division.

Play-Off Scenario

If Sons WIN they will clinch a play-off place tomorrow whatever happens elsewhere.

If Sons DRAW then their play-off place will be confirmed if Stenhousemuir do not win at Arbroath. Because Airdrie United and East Fife are playing each other at New Broomfield, they will not both be able to overtake Sons.

If Sons LOSE , they can still seal a play-off place tomorrow. However, they need Stenny to lose at Arbroath and the Airdrie United v East Fife game not to end in a draw.

Who’d have thunk it?

I’m a Jonah

I attended my last Sons match on December 10th at Albion Rovers.

The home side that day outplayed and outwitted Dumbarton.

A former carthorse once on Dumbarton’s books, contrived to look more than adequate that day and scored two goals in a 3-1 victory.

Since then Dumbarton have played three games against formidable opposition.

They have won all three, two by a 3-2 margin involving last-gasp goals by the talismanic Pat Walker.

I have supported Dumbarton FC for 42 years and if there are last minute goals involved in their matches they are generally to be recorded for the opposition. That’s how it has always seemed anyway.

Yesterday’s 3-2 victory was a comeback from 2-1 down to triumph away from home to Airdrie United and leaves the Sons in fourth, i.e. a play off spot.
This was a hard scenario to envisage at 4:50 pm on a cold driech day at Coatbridge.

I’m a Jonah.

Perhaps it’s just as well that the Boxing Day match at East Fife was postponed!

Freeloaders

Thanks to my pal Colin the Piper, Brian the BLFP poet laureate, and I enjoyed (?) a day out at Dumbarton FC yesterday as boardroom guests. The visitors were Airdrie United.

Airdrie maybe just had the edge in the first half although the score at the break was 1-1. The referee kindly tried to equal things up in 40 minutes by ordering off Airdrie’s Kevin Green, but the Sons couldn’t capitalise on numerical superiority.

Simon Barrow’s match report is here

Dumbarton supporters try to hide their disappointment at the ordering off of Airdrie's Kevin Green

AnElephantCan be a mascot - Pellie the Elephant - Geddit?

A good day out and a competitive match, the appreciation of which was assisted by the bounteous supply of good food and libations.

Thanks Colin.

Hope you had a guid day playing the pipes to the good people of Sunny Scunny!

Photies, fitba’ and finance

This striking photo was taken by my regular correspondent Sonsdiary at the Airdrie United v Dumbarton match on Saturday.

Striking because of the number of empty seats at the Airdrie stadium which has variously rejoiced in the name “Shyberry Excelsior” and the rather more prosaic “New Broomfield”.

Airdrieonians (founded as Excelsior) were a club who usually hovered at the high end of the second tier of football in Scotland. They had occasional forays into the top league and had a reputation as a cup team, reaching a couple of finals in the 90s and also causing a few upsets against higher opposition.

They  sold their old ground (above) to a supermarket chain and spent four seasons ground sharing before the completion of the admittedly impressive stadium you see at the top of the posting. This was in the days that the criteria for premier league teams was that they should have a 10,000 all seater stadium.

Airdrieonians wanted to be in with the big boys so 10,000 seats it was.

Complete madness.

The club survived only three years after moving to their new accommodation, went bust (thanks mainly to the financial burdens of their plush accommodation) and then were re-incarnated as Airdrie United. A consortium headed by Jim Ballantyne, bought the struggling Clydebank FC, promptly closed them down and took their league place with the newly assembled club. Clydebank survive as a junior club thanks to their supporters trust buying the badge back from Ballantyne.

Airdrie United and Dumbarton played the Scottish second division match above in front of 887 souls on Saturday. The stadium less than one tenth full.

The club don’t own the stadium.

They need crowds much, much higher than that just to exist, let alone progress.

There is no indication that they will be rolling up any time soon.

As for the football, Airdrie rose above the lack of atmosphere to send the Sons home with a 3-0 defeat which is a sore one to take on the first day of a new league season.

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