Category: news

Sena departs Newlandsfield

Pollok can confirm that Mohamed ‘Sena’ Niang has now left Pollok and has signed for Scottish Championship side, Partick Thistle.

Sena graduated from the Pollok United Soccer Academy in the summer of 2017 after having captained the U19’s the previous season. As the first academy graduate to make the step up, he made his first team debut against Arthurlie in a 1-0 Sectional League Cup win and made his first league start a few games later away to Kirkintilloch Rob Roy in the league. He finished the 2017-18 season with 20 appearances.

Sena has made 9 top team appearances this term and he scored his first goal for the Lok in a 4-1 win against Maryhill.

On his move, Sena had the following message for the Pollok faithful;

It’s been a pleasure to play for Pollok. It’s a journey in my life that I am never going to forget as it gave me the platform to go and play the best sport in the world and finally achieve my dream, to be a full time footballer.

I would like to thank the fans as they’ve been great to me since the day I made my debut. I always gave 100% because of how much love I have for the Pollok fans and my teammates.

I would like to wish all my teammates and coaching staff all the best for the remainder of the season. I will miss playing at Newlandsfield, but now that I live closer to the ground I’ll be coming to most home games as a fan to cheer on the lads.

I’d also like to say a massive thanks to the academy from mini kickers all the way to the Under 19s for always been supportive and cheering my name. You guys mean a lot to me. A special mention to the squad and coaches from last years Pollok u19’s, a brilliant bunch of lads who were always there for me when I needed support. 

MTLN!

Commenting on the move, manager Tony McInally had this to say;

All of us in the dressing room are delighted that Sena has managed to secure his dream move of playing full time professional football after securing a deal with Partick Thistle. We have worked hard every week with Sena on all aspects of his game so it is fantastic that Thistle have seen this improvement and potential in the lad to offer him a great deal.

On a personal level, I’m really pleased that his teammates worked with him and helped Sena every week to provide support and experience to him on and off the pitch to develop into the player he is today.


From the dressing room we would like to wish Sena all the very best in the next step of his football career. I am sure he has a really bright future in the professional game if he continues to listen, learn and improve his overall game.

All the best Sena.

Echoing the manager’s sentiments, on behalf of everyone at Pollok we’d like to wish Sena the very best.

MTLN

Pollok FC delighted to announce partnership with Westpoint Homes

Pollok Football Club are delighted to announce their newly formed partnership with Westpoint Homes, one of central Scotland’s most highly-regarded, private home builders. The partnership will see Westpoint Homes’ branding displayed at Newlandsfield Park, and on the cover of the match day programme.

The relationship was formed in the Southside of Glasgow, where both Pollok F.C and Westpoint Homes have grown as teams considerably over the years. Indeed, trophy cabinets are not just required at Newlandsfield, we’d like to congratulate Westpoint on their recent Herald Property Award.

The partnership is an exciting opportunity for both Pollok FC and Westpoint Homes as both organisations are passionate about carrying out work to benefit the local community.

We’ve already welcomed Westpoint in to the Pollok family and valuable time was spent together recently as Westpoint Homes attended the Pollok FC open day at Loks Bar & Kitchen.

Check out Wespoint’s latest development in Pollokshields

Jane Lavery

It was with much sadness that we learnt of the passing of Pollok United Soccer Academy coach, Jane Lavery.

Janie was a much loved colleague and coach to everyone involved with the academy and will be greatly missed.

Last year Janie was awarded the Scottish FA grassroots award in recognition for her work with the Academy’s girls and disabled sections. Her contribution was massive and will always be remembered. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.

There will be a minutes silence in memory of Janie prior to tomorrow’s home fixture against Auchinleck Talbot.

(Janie pictured last year with UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin and Stewart Regan of the SFA)

Tony McInally’s update: 28th August 2018

Dear supporters

Looking back to the Kirkintilloch Rob Roy game

Our performance was nothing short of disgraceful from start to finish. You cannot win West Premiership games playing for 20 minutes and expect to win! Before people start to criticize the management team, our players were well warned what to expect from the game, our opponents and the need to start producing performances and winning results as our season to date has been really unacceptable. Having six points from five played isn’t what we wanted nor expected especially since we have been ahead in all of those games and have only once seen a game out to victory.

Defensively we were really poor with avoidable goals, missed chances when in front to put the game to bed and devoid of creativity and competitiveness in the midfield – add these things together and it doesn’t make for a good team.

We finished last season strongly and we really haven’t started this season. 

As for the game itself, we didnt start the game well, looked sluggish and not at it and deservedly went behind at half time – in fact Jordan Longmuir saved us on a few occasions in that first period. After some strong words at half time, the players reacted in the right manner and took the game to Rob Roy then ended up 2-1 ahead and looking likelier to go on and win the match with goals to spare. For some reason they stopped playing, played within themselves, stopped doing the good things they did in first 20-25 minutes of second half and this gave Rob Roy encouragement to have a go which they took. All goals were very poor goals to concede. For the first goal Mark Sideserf played them onside, at the second, Ewan McNeil was caught wrong side then some bad defending from Danny Boyle followed and they had equalized. And the third goal, we don’t clear our lines, they get to the bye line and score a very soft third right on the goal line. In terms of performance, you cannot have three players in Jordan, David Gormley and Adam Forde as the only players who played anywhere near what they can and expect to win.

A really bad day at the office and we got what we deserved for sloppy display – nothing.

The on loan signing of Aaron Millar

We signed the young lad from Clyde to help bolster our forward options given the current situation with Stuart McCann, Gary McCann, Stefan McCluskey and David Gormley who is playing through the pain barrier for us. He’s a talented lad who has featured from the bench for their first team who was looking for more game time and experience of players against men. We have him on a short term loan agreement so we will see how this develops between now and January

The Irvine Meadow match

Obviously the first thing I would demand is the right reaction following a bad performance and result last week. We have made things extremely difficult for ourselves to get into the mix at the top with our results so far this season. I spoke with Brian McGinty on Saturday who was at our game so he will have been encouraged by what he saw and think he can come up and get a result this weekend.

The Pollok FC Open Day

All players and management attended the open day to show our support for the wider club. To my knowledge, the open day was a fantastic success and the whole club got a real lift for the support, the sponsorship and the general feel good factor around the entire club from the community, academy to the first team. We really need the club to stick together, support everything the club does as it really is the lifeblood of everything we are trying to do.

We don’t have a rich benefactor that many of the Ayrshire clubs have, we don’t have a huge single sponsor or social club that pumps tens of thousands into the club hence the reason since I joined the club I’ve had to manage my budget very closely, sell players every season in order to keep the club budgets in hand. Since I joined the club, the club has gained significantly in terms of transfers monies in which has helped the club in many ways. We try and work together to ensure that Pollok is financially healthy and run for the benefit of the entire club hence the need to continually be financially prudent.

All the best,

Tony

Tony McInally’s update: 24th August 2018

Dear supporters,

Looking back to the Cambuslang game

I thought given our circumstances and playing resources available, the result was more important than the performance. We needed to get the victory to move us up the table and keep in touch with the early pacesetters in the league. This season’s league will be a marathon and it’s important to stay on the leaders’ coat tails whilst we are still getting all of our players fit and available to play. There will be many twists and turns as this season develops in terms of the league, and both the West and Scottish cups.

I felt we started the game ok and thought we were fortunate to go in at the break a goal up with a fine strike from Bryan ‘Butch’ Young. In the second half, we took the game to them and should’ve scored before they equalized after we switched off defensively in both midfield and defence. From then on, we dominated the play and deservedly scored two fine goals from Forde and young Michael McMullin from distance to give us a commanding lead. Late on you could sense our nervousness, having not seen previous games out, which saw us concede a very poor late goal in injury time.

We were glad to get the result and thought we deserved to win on the balance of play in second half. A number of our players played very well including my man of the match ‘Sena’ Niang, as well as Ewan McNeil, Danny Boyle and Adam Forde, who all had great games.

The arrival of Michael McMullin

Michael is a good young player – a left sided defensive player who was previously full time at Partick Thistle before being sent on loan to likes of Albion Rovers and Alloa in previous seasons. He has lots to learn in the game but we are happy to take him in and try to develop him into a better player. He hasn’t let himself down in any of the games so far but he knows he needs to improve his fitness, sharpness and awareness over the coming weeks to keep his place in the team.

Looking ahead to the Kirkintilloch Rob Roy game 

We are looking forward to the game this weekend and provides us with another chance to win, gain 3 points and move up the league table. We welcome back a few important players this week in Mark Sideserf, skipper Paul Gallacher and Gary McCann. In the coming 2 weeks, I would expect Shaun Fraser and Danny McKenzie to be back involved too following injury and work secondment respectively. Having these players back plus potential new signings too will put us in a stronger position to compete and win games of football.

The Scottish Cup draw – home to Buchanhaven Hearts

I’m happy with the draw which gives us a home tie against team from another region. Scottish ties are always special and we hope to compete strongly, if not win the cup this season, so no lack of ambition from our dressing room. It was pleasing to see likes of Kilwinning and Beith draw each other too which means one of the big rivals and favourites leave the tournament early doors which will put pressure on them from outset of season.

All the best

Tony

Tony was on RockSport Radio’s Just the Juniors show on Friday 24th August – listen here

Tony McInally’s new season reflection

The Pollok FC website aims to bring a regular message and update from Tony McInally as the 2018-19 season progresses. In this first edition, he focuses on the close season transfers and the challenges of recruitment, his aspirations for the new season and his thoughts on the matches so far.

Players come, players go

I’m very happy with the squad we have assembled this season as we have added more quality, addressed areas of concern and added competition to the group. We lost five players in the summer for various reasons… Del Hepburn, Nicky Little, Paul Byrne, Liam Rowan and Bryan Wharton. All of the lads were offered deals and chose the leave for various reasons – in the case of Heppy, Nicky and Byrno, they wanted more consistent game time, Liam left due to his work situation (which limited his training and game availability) and Bryan fancied another crack at playing Senior again. All the lads left with our best wishes and they can all be pleased with the efforts and have positive memories of playing with Pollok. We recruited four players and have promoted another one from the academy team. In terms of new players, we welcomed Ewan McNeil, Danny Boyle, Danny McKenzie and Shaun Fraser to the club – all quality players in their own positions who will add defensive skills, pace, physicality, experience and goals to the team. We recruited these lads to enhance the quality we had at the club, create greater competition and to make us better in the defensive and midfield areas of the team.

The young lads from the 19/21 set up have benefitted from joining the first team and we will continue working with them and developing them to become Pollok 1st team players.

Lastly, I would say judge our team when we have everybody fit and available and you will see how much we have improved this season.

Getting the right player into Pollok / Lowland League competition

 Year on year there are circa 150-250 players released from senior clubs for various reasons. Their releases hit these players hard and many are becoming more disillusioned with football due to their rejections:
(1) Young players released at pro youth level
(2) experienced players at the end of their careers
(3) players at various stages having serious injury and not being able to come back to the levels they had or
(4) players deciding to walk away from the game.

With this in mind, it makes recruiting ex-senior players difficult as you don’t know what physical and mental state, hunger and motivation they have if you pick these players up. The easiest thing is to collect players, but our club’s playing budget only stretches so far. The conundrum you face is either have a quality squad or a strong 13-14 and others that fill a squad which means there is either real competition for places or a team that picks itself. I prefer to have a tight squad with real quality which means that every player has to play well to get a first 11 spot or they lose their place.

With the Lowland League’s formation, the real noticeable thing that I have witnessed is that many of the teams are filled primarily with a sprinkling of experienced ex-senior/junior players and the rest of the team and squad is made up of ex-pro youth 17-21 year old players. They also tend to have an under 20’s team which then means can collect players and play 2 games over a Saturday and Monday night league with few over-age players playing. Rarely has any player played LL football and found their way back upstairs to a Championship or League 1/2 club as the standard is not great nor really competitive. In my opinion, the top West Premiership junior teams would thrive and probably win the Lowland League if they entered the setup.

Aspirations for the new season / Changing shape of the Junior Cup

Our ambitions never change: we are Pollok and every competition we enter we want to either win it or compete really strongly to win it. Our club would want it no other way. I want Pollok to win the Scottish Cup, West Premiership, West of Scotland Cup and Sectional League Cup. My ambitions for the club are always the same: be serial winners – I’ve been a manager for 11 years now and have been fortunate to have won 12 honours and been beaten finalist on five other cup finals – not a bad record! I want my team to grow and develop, improve and be winners again. I feel this team has a major honour in it and when we have a fit, healthy and available squad you will see that. The players want to do well for themselves, their team mates and the club as they wear our jersey with great pride.

The West Premiership is a highly competitive league and if your team plays 5-10% below standard you will lose the game. Every game is like a Scottish Cup tie and you need to be bang at it every week to stand a chance of winning games and the title. There are no easy games in the top league anymore. Apart from ourselves, I see Beith, Talbot, Hurlford, Buffs and Glenafton to be amongst the teams to beat and there is always a team that springs a surprise and has a real go at it. In recent times, we have had Kilwinning and Glenafton emerge to contend strongly or win the league. Like last season, I don’t see one team dominating.

We are a big club and want to win the Scottish Junior Cup again as soon as possible. My players and management team are hungry and motivated to do it again. Since I joined the club we have done really well in the Junior Cup by reaching the final, quarter final or been beaten in three of those years by the eventual winners. We have played Beith, Hurlford and Talbot in 3 years who either won it or got to the final so we are along right lines. I would say the Junior Cup is the holy grail at this level but it has lost a little bit of its uniqueness with many of the top East sides leaving (Ed – many clubs, such as Linlithgow, Bo’ness, Newtongrange, Camelon and Musselburgh, have left Junior football). I always enjoy pitting my team against teams from other regions as it adds to the magic of the cup.

Early season games

I was really angry at not progressing in the West Region Sectional Cup – I don’t like losing any game or section. In the three games we played, we were by far the better team in all of them – we should’ve won the Rossvale and Shettleston games as we were the better team and lost the bonus point on the penalty kick lottery. We didn’t have a lot of players available to us during the sectional and personally, I disagree with the new format. It’s like an alternative ‘league cup section’ version of the West!

Looking at the opening league games against Renfrew (I wasn’t pleased at losing that goal from Dallas and we shouldn’t have allowed the shot to get away. We should’ve brought him down 30 yards from goal or forced him wide away from goal. Our defensive work left a lot to be desired lets just say!), Largs, Troon and Cambuslang, it’s the worst time to play promoted teams as they have hunger, enthusiasm and want to make their mark. We have played eight games this season and haven’t been beaten in 90 minutes, all without having a full squad at my disposal. Positives for me are that new players have settled into the group and integrated into our way of working. Players like Danny Boyle and Ewan McNeil have been very good in their performances. Danny MacKenzie and Shaun Fraser will make their mark too in time. Young Tony Coutts has come in and done excellently but you need to allow time and patience to let him develop and progress. Other players have performed really well like Stuart McCann, Adam Forde, Gormley and Sena (Niang), while stalwarts like Sideserf, Gallacher and Longmuir can be pleased with their starts. Other like Butch (Young), Cheesey (Brash) and McGregor will find their stride as they are rhythm players who need a run of games to find their form.

Getting right up to date, I didn’t think we did much wrong in the game against Troon – we dominated for long spells, got the early goal and played very well in first half. Second half was more even, however Jordan had no saves of note to make and we should’ve had a penalty late in the game or converted one of a few chances we had in the second half. I spoke to the Troon management team after the game and they said we were the best side they had faced this season. I thanked them for the compliment and only wish I had a full squad to choose from to let them see the real Pollok to be honest.

My standout memory from the game was we didn’t have strength in depth from the bench to change the course of the game when we normally would introduce fresh legs and impetus, energy and something different. For example, wouldn’t it have been great to have any three from Gallacher, Evans, Gary McCann, Shaun Fraser, Danny McKenzie, McGregor or a Stef McCluskey (more below) to bring on!! They would’ve made us better, stronger or different, of that I have no doubt

In terms of all 3 league games, we could and should have more points than we have but we move on and try and get more points in coming weeks.

In closing, the Stef McCluskey situation is quite simple – he is a signed and contracted Pollok player who has decided in his own mind that he wants to try and play senior football again. We don’t have a problem with that. He has been approached by a few senior clubs (one in particular) who think it is their right to contact our player, offer him a deal which basically has unsettled our player without respecting our club. They have offered him a deal for next season without speaking or commencing negotiations with us first. With the season transfer window winding down, it is their perogative to engage in dialogue with us to try and secure Stefan’s services. We would not stand in Stefan’s way of trying senior again however, both the senior club and the player need to respect our position as a club as we will need to replace him in our team/squad. We will see what develops in coming days and weeks.

Best wishes

Tony

Welcome to Pollok…Michael McMullin

Pollok are delighted to confirm the signing of defender Michael McMullin. Michael has been training with the Lok after leaving Albion Rovers and has featured as a trialist in recent games.

The 21-year old came through the Partick Thistle youth setup and after appearances for their development side and loan spells at Peterhead and East Stirling, Michael signed for Albion Rovers in the summer of 2017 where he made over 25 appearances for the League 1 club.

The defender who can play in the middle or on the left hand side is in the squad for this Saturday’s match against Premiership newcomers Cambuslang Rangers.

Welcome to Pollok!