We begin the End of Term Report Cards series at Claggan Park, at the end of a tough season for Fort William. Manager Danny Conlon is now two years into his third spell in charge of the Fort, and has once again struggled this term to find available players in the local area on a week-to-week basis. He reviewed the Lochaber side’s season with http://www.hflhub.co.uk reporter Andy Skinner.
End of Term Report Card 2012-2013: Fort William FC
League Position: 18th
AJG Parcels North of Scotland Cup: First Round: 1-4 v Lossiemouth (H)
William Hill Scottish Cup: Preliminary Round: 1-3 v Preston Athletic (H)
Breedon Aggregates Highland League Cup: Second Round: 0-5 v Clachnacuddin (A)
Manager: Danny Conlon
Disappointing. That’s two years I’ve been back now, when I came in I wanted to try and raise the professionalism at the club from top to bottom. In the first season I thought we did that pretty well, we steadied the ship. But this season the club has struggled for workers. For example, we didn’t really have a chairman at the club all season. That filtered down to the playing side too. We lost so many players this season. Over the two seasons we have probably lost about 22-24 players for various reasons.
Most Pleasing Factor:
We have brought in some younger players. When we bring in younger players, they learn from the three or four really solid players that play for the shirt. Andy Martin has been a real loss for us, but Darren Quigg, Michael Gillespie and Ian Foggo are so important for us. They never miss a training session. These guys are starting their coaching badges in their twenties, which could be huge for the development of young players in the area. Often with players at that age, you tend to find they don’t bother with coaching, but these guys have got involved with coaching already.
Least Pleasing Factor:
Losing so many boys. Some of the younger players who we have worked with right through the youth system since they were aged 11 or 12, have decided to retire form the game. There are one or two at the age of 19 saying they want a break from playing football. I find that disappointing. If a player was say, 28 and had been playing for 10 seasons, then I could understand. But to be 18 or 19, play a season and a half and then want a break is disappointing.
Darren Quigg. He’s a central midfield player and an example to everyone. He started off in centre midfield this year. But Andy Martin got an injury and we put him into centre half, where he’s been consistently good. He’s a great athlete who works really hard at his fitness levels. When we’ve got youngsters coming through I tell them if they want to model their fitness on anyone, they should tie in with Darren. To me he’s a model semi-professional player.
Who would receive your vote to be the Player of the Year and Manager of the Year:
Manager: I think Kevin Tindal, based on the last two seasons. I was asked who would win the title decider and I said Cove because consistently over two seasons they’ve been superb. They chased Forres all the way last year, Forres had to have really good season to win the title. Cove were the most difficult side to play against this season. Kevin has managed to keep the team at that level, they’ve been consistent and Kevin in my eyes has been the manager of the year.
Player: It’s been a great season, with all teams taking points off each other. It’s really difficult, people tend to go with the goalscorers so Connor Gethins at Nairn, Sid (Steven Mackay) at Brora are up there, as is Cammy Keith, who has scored plenty goals for a club which hasn’t done as well compared to its standards.
Martin Johnston is handful, while Jordan Leyden was so impressive against us in the game at Cove. It’s a struggle to pick one individual, I could probably name ten. But Connor stands out as a big player for Nairn, he scores some fabulous goals for them. There are a handful of options, but he possibly just stands out.
We have got to get players in. We are looking to spread the net anywhere. If somebody is not getting a chance somewhere else we can offer them football, even if they are playing junior or amateur football just now. One thing you’re guaranteed at Fort William is you’ll get game time. The goalkeeping position has been a thorn in the flesh for the last two years. We’ve had one or two in on loan, Daniel Bell was superb for us before Locos called him back and we’ve had one or two others. A goalkeeper is certainly a priority, but we are looking to strengthen most postions.