Tales From the Old Pavilion

Our own Campbell Macleod and team have been hard at work around Newlandsfield over the last few months. Campbell has put together this report on the work goes into the ground, and meets a few furry friends along the way. Take it away Campbell…

Looking after the pitch

As you’ll see in the video above, the surface was in a poor state when we began our post-season work. Since then, around 150 hours of labour have gone into the surface. That involved applying 500 kilos of fertiliser, forking and seeding the bad patches, cutting the park approximately 40 times and removing a metric tonne of grass clippings. This is the result:

We aren’t finished yet, and we expect the surface to continue to improve. It will hopefully be fed again in August, and once more in October, to take us through the winter.

A couple of years ago, we were pleased to take possession of a Dennis grass-cutter. This is the industry standard, used at most senior grounds (though they usually have four machines cutting at the same time!) This cutter was purchased with the help of grant funding. It was a big deal for us and makes a big difference to the pitch.

With a little help from our friends…

We employ a company, Greentech, to carry out our end of season works. Their directors, Kevin Brunton and Hugh Murray, both visited the ground recently. We agreed that we would do the work towards the end of August this year. They will shockwave the pitch, to relieve compaction, and spread 60 tons of sand across the surface.

Hugh Murray’s relationship with Newlandsfield goes back around forty years. He was part of the first crew that we brought in to help with the pitch. In those days, the tip of the standard ‘V’ shape wear that you get in the goalmouths would reach the halfway line!

Our park nowadays is based on sand. While this is great for drainage in the winter, it can cause a problem with irrigation in the summer. At Newlandsfield we only have enough water pressure to run one sprinkler. The clip below shows our travelling sprinkler. This clever device has a wee turbine built into it, allowing the sprinkler to pull itself up the park. The jet of water covers about 1/3 of the width of the park. The sprinkler takes around 14 hours to travel the length of the field. The weight of the hose is issue, and we need to move it 3 or 4 times a day. With that in mind, I’m sure you can imagine how envious we are, when we see the automatic sprinkler popping up in senior football!

Fauna of Newlandsfield

Those with good eyesight will also have noticed a couple of white sheets on the bottom half of the pitch. This is where we are trying to repair damage caused by the fox, a nice wee guy, whom we affectionately something along the lines of ‘the shucking front’.

The foxes aren’t the only wildlife that we have at Newlandsfield. We found this little chap posing at the top of the terracing.

As I mentioned before, we collect a huge amount of grass clippings. Our compost heap is beyond the bottom fence, on the riverbank. The river Cart at Newlandsfield is home to mallard and gooseander ducks. A female mallard was proudly swimming up the river the other day with her six chicks in tow. We always have the company of a couple of robins. Wrens and wagtails are amongst our visitors. If you are really lucky, you will see a kingfisher sitting on a branch, looking at the river for its next meal. Around dusk you can watch the amazing acrobatics of the pipistrelle bats as they swoop down, at incredible speed, to snatch insects from the top of the water.

In addition to the playing surface, there is always plenty to do in a ground like ours. We recently brought in a 12yd skip that we filled to the gunnels with rubbish that has been building up over the last few years. We are presently painting and weeding. The pavilion needs attention inside and we have been cleaning and painting. Shortly, we’ll be tiling some of the floors too.

Development side’s application successful

The Lowland League revealed this week that all 68 applications by Under 20 sides were successful, which means that Pollok will be fielding a young side in the West Conference once season 2020-21 gets underway. Match secretary Martin Donnelly has been busy getting a number of U20 players registered and we hope to begin introducing the squad assembled by Stephen McKenna and Chris Ferguson over the next few days.

Also, keep an eye out for some additional signings at first team level too!

Player news: Christie checks in

Pollok are delighted to welcome Darren Christie to Newlandsfield following his departure from fellow West of Scotland League side Beith Juniors. The 32-year-old wide man is a player Lok fans will be well-aware of from his appearances against us over the years and manager Murdie MacKinnon reveals his pleasure in having secured his capture.

Speaking to the Lok website, Murdie said: “It gives me great please to welcome Darren to the club from Beith Juniors. He is a player that I have admired for a number of years. He has performed at the highest levels over the course of his career picking up the Premier League, West of Scotland Cup and Scottish Junior Cup winners medals along the way.”

Thinking of how he will fit into the squad, Murdie added: “He brings a wealth of experience and is a player who will certainly add competition for places. He is another player who adds goals to the team and is the exciting type of player who will get the supporters on the edge of their seats. I know that Darren is desperate to make his stay at the club a successful one and as he looks forward joining up with his new teammates at Pollok.”

“I would again like to take the opportunity of welcoming him to Pollok Football Club.”

Darren had a Pro Youth career at both Celtic (briefly) and St. Mirren before moving onto Barrhead BC and stepped up to the Juniors from St. Peters Juveniles with Neilston where he remained for five seasons. He joined Beith in 2014 and it is from the Bellsdale Park side that he joins Lok.

Two Jordans depart for pastures new

With new signing news imminent, it is sadly farewell to both Jordan Morton and Jordan McMillan. Forward Jordan Morton signed for Lok from Cambuslang Rangers midway through the 2018-19 season and went on to play 25 games for the club, netting four times.

Jordan McMillan signed originally on loan from Dumbarton in December 2019, making his debut at Largs Thistle. Covid-19 curtailed his involvement upon signing permanently in February 2020, with him making six appearances in total.

The club had previously announced that Tony Coutts and Mikey McWilliams were also moving on, with the latter signing up with Rossvale. Everyone at Pollok wishes all of those players well on their future careers.

Pollok launch U20 side

The Pollok website is delighted to confirm that the club will be represented at U20 level in the Lowland Development League. This is a competition that holds games on a Friday evening and while last season it was for clubs across the Lowland League’s catchment, with the influx of West-based sides, a geographical split is likely. Pollok’s side will be managed by former Queen of the South and Airdrie player Stephen McKenna and he will be assisted by Chris Ferguson. Both coached at Airdrieonians U18s last season.

The U20 side will all be eligible for the first team, and in turn, first team players can play a limited number of games themselves – the advantage of that being the opportunity to get game time for players returning from injury as well as giving the youngsters the chance to play alongside some of our stars. Stephen and Chris are currently finalising their squad and signings will be announced in a few weeks time.

Speaking to the website this evening, Stephen (pictured above) said: “I am delighted to be given the responsibility, alongside Chris, to oversee the Pollok Development squad this coming season.”

He continued: “We cant wait to get started and get to work on helping these lads achieve success in their football careers.”

“We will be in close contact with Murdie throughout the season and will be doing everything we can to get these players to the point where they are running out at Newlandsfield for the first team in the coming months.”

You can follow the young Lok’s progress on the website, Facebook and on Twitter as the season progresses. Stay tuned also for news of what other clubs from the West will be taking part.

Gordon Tait released from hospital

Dear supporters, Pollok F.C. are pleased to hear that Honorary President, Mr Gordon Tait, is now recovering after a spell in hospital. We wish Gordon well and hope to see him back at Newlandsfield in the not too distant future.

Stuart McCulloch, Secretary.

Donate a Ticket Scottish Cup Round 2

Tonight sees the draw for the Donate A Ticket Scottish Cup 2nd Round. In Round 1, extra time was needed to see off East Junior side, Newburgh United. An enthralling tie which finished 158-148 raised over £1500 between the two clubs.

We really appreciate every fan who has donated so far, it really does make a big difference and makes up a little of what the club has lost through matchday income.

A reminder of how the Cup works;

The match runs Thursday 7pm until Sunday 7pm

1 ticket = 1 point

1 ticket costs £5

The team who sells the most tickets advances to the next round

Tonight’s draw takes place at 7pm and we will post the link to the donation page on Twitter and Facebook soon after.

All Pollok supporters who donate to the second round tie will go into the hat to win one of the following prizes;

  • £25 cash
  • Club shop memorabilia
  • A bottle of Whisky

Adam Forde strikes new deal

Pollok are delighted to confirm that Adam Forde has signed a new contract which will keep him at the Lok until June 2022.

Forde arrived at Newlandsfield in the summer of 2017 from Kilbirnie Ladeside. He has gone on to make 94 appearances for the club scoring 54 goals. He was the club’s top scorer in both seasons 17-18 and 18-19. Pollok boss Murdie MacKinnon was delighted that Adam has agreed to put pen to paper on a new deal;

I take great delight in the fact that Adam has committed his long term future to Pollok FC. He has goal scoring record which is second to none and has tremendous ability to match. He is a great attacking threat and must be a nightmare for opponents to play against.

Although he was being heavily pursued but other clubs, Adam made it very clear that his future lay at Pollok and that he wished to remain at the club long term. We are delighted to have him with us.

We look forward to watching Adam score many more goals for Pollok in the future and hopefully he will be a major catalyst to the clubs success.

Adam is joined in next seasons squad by fellow strikers Chris Dallas, Stuart McCann, Iain Russell, Jordan Shelvey and Josh Weir.

Meanwhile, Mikey McWilliams who came through the Pollok Utd Soccer Academy will leave the club at the end of his contract as will defender Tony Coutts who has turned down a new contract. We would like to thank both players for their contributions over the past few seasons and wish them all the best for the future.

Top scorer Fraser bags new contract

Pollok are delighted to confirm that Shaun Fraser has signed a new contract at the club keeping him at Newlandsfield until June 2022.

Shaun signed for Pollok in the summer of 2018 and has made 60 appearances scoring 30 goals. He was this seasons top scorer with 21 goals before the season was called to a halt and Lok gaffer Murdie MacKinnon was clearly pleased to tie up a long term contract for the talented Fraser;

I am delighted that Shaun has committed his long term future to the club by extended his contract until the summer of 2022. Shaun is without doubt one of the most talented players in our league.

His ability to play on the edge with a gritty determination and combine that with breathtaking ability makes him a unique talent. Shaun has a tremendous goal scoring record also netting over 20 goals last season. On top of all that he is a brilliant lad to have around the club.

Shaun joins fellow midfielders Chris Duff, Del Esplin, Jamie Henry, Gary McCann and Ryan McGregor in the Pollok squad for the next campaign.

Meanwhile, our Donate a Ticket campaign is ongoing. 100% of donations go directly to the club which helps with ongoing costs as a result of loss of ticket income. Any donations, if you are able, are very welcome.

Danny MacKenzie signs again

The club are pleased to confirm that Danny MacKenzie has signed a contract extension with the club until June 2021.

Danny joined the club in 2018 from Kirkintilloch Rob Roy and after impressive debut season, he was named Pollok Player of the Year for 2018-19. He has so far made 47 appearances for the club.

We caught up with manager Murdie MacKinnon who had this to say on Danny’s re-signing;

I’m really happy that Danny has decided to extend his stay at the club. He is a super talented footballer who has one of the best engines on the game. Danny has demonstrated this on many occasions. He had a bit of a stop start season last year with injuries but hopefully that is behind him now.

I am sure we will see Danny return to the form that resulted in him being awarded the Pollok FC, Player of the Year in 2018-19. I look forward to seeing Danny once again in the Pollok colours.

Danny MacKenzie joins fellow defenders Paul Gallacher, David Barron, Grant Evans, Gerry McLauchlan and Mark Sideserf in the Pollok squad for the next campaign.

Meanwhile, our Donate a Ticket campaign is ongoing. 100% of donations go directly to the club which helps with ongoing costs as a result of loss of ticket income. Any donations, if you are able, are very welcome.