I’m back and Gretna 2008 have a new manager, the Scottish legend Duncan Ferguson! In this update I will just show you the team and a general overview of Gretna before we get on with pre season and the season in the next update.
Gretna is a small town near the border of England, not far from Carlisle and Dumfries. It is also the go to place to get married…
Gretna 2008 is a fairly new team which was founded in 2008, funnily enough! Their nicknames are Black and Whites or Anvils. They were formed after Gretna went bankrupt in 2007-2008 after their financial backer pulled out and withdrew his money due to ill health. Gretna 2008 play in the Lowland Football League with a best finish of third in the 14/15 season but in recent seasons they have been no higher than 8th or 9th. Some of you may have heard of the previous Gretna after they got one of their biggest achievements as they reached the final of the Scottish Cup in 2006, losing to Hearts on penalties after holding them to a 1-1 draw.
They did also have a season in the Scottish Premier League before finishing bottom and going in to liquidation. Gretna 2008 play at Raydale Park, Gretna which was also home of the Gretna after previously playing at Everholm Stadium in Annan. Gretna 2008 have never been higher than the Lowland League but Dunc will hopefully change that! The only trophies in Gretna’s cabinet so far are the East of Scotland First Division won in 10/11, Alex Jack Cup won in 08/09, East of Scotland Qualifying Cup won in 09/10 & 12/13 and the East of Scotland City Cup won in 12/13.
The badge of the club is largely similar to that of Gretna, except that 2008 has been added to reflect the change of status in that year. The anvil represents the famous Blacksmith’s Shop wedding site at Gretna Green, and the thistles represent the club’s Scottish location.
Gretna FC Badge
Gretna 2008 Badge
Kyle Mitchell – Right-back
Ashley Neto – Centre-back/right-back
Mickael Cuitty Gueu – Centre-back
Daniel Wadge – Centre-back/left-back
Daniel Harvey – Left-back
Benjamin Luissint – Centre-back/left-back
Joe Jackson – Centre-back/defensive midfielder
Bryan Gilfillan – Mr Versatile
Ellis Pearson – Left winger/left-back
Farrel O’Sullivan – Left winger
Dean Watson – Centre midfield
Dom McMahon – Left winger
Ryan Rogers – Centre attacking midfield/Centre midfield/Striker
Danny Carmichael – Right winger/Left winger
Michael Williamson – Loan from Queen Of the South
We have some really good players at the club along side some young and hungry players who we can help reach their potential and help get this club up the divisions. We have key players such as Danny Carmichael who has played in the Scottish Championship for the likes of Hibernian. Michael Williamson is in on loan from Queen Of the South, he is 17 and is already a top player and can be a key player for us this season.
I have tactics in mind for how I want us to set up but that can easily change with players coming and going at this level. But if we can have a base and work from that and continue to build and work on it we will get a settled side.
This is a very tough league to get out of with only one team getting promotion. There are also some big teams with the likes of Berwick and East Stirlingshire who have played in the Football League. You also have teams like Kelty Hearts who are the favourites and managed by Barry Ferguson. They have us as third favourites currently this season which despite the quality of our squad is higher than I was expected considering recent seasons from Gretna and what the board expect.
The board have agreed for this season and the next few seasons they are happy for us to be a top half team in this league. Which is perfect as it takes a bit of pressure of us as it allows to have a couple of years if needed to build a team ready to play in the Football League and hopefully not worrying to much about being relegated back to the Lowland League.
We have managed to get a partnership going with Partick Thistle in the Championship. Although we don’t currently receive any payments from them we are able to get loans in from them and with them being a Championship side they should be of a better standard than our league and will hopefully help push the club forwards.
So we have the friendlies coming up soon which will help get the lads fitness back up and help get the lads bonding and learning how we are going to play. Hopefully we can get a little bit of money coming in to help our finances this season. We are not currently able to attract decent sides to play us with the big name friendlies being Dundee and Blackpool. The friendlies are probably subject to change but we have a good number of them at home to help bring in fans as well as playing a couple of ‘easier’ games away to help the confidence of the team which we should win but pre-season friendlies are all about getting fitness and match sharpness up while trying to avoid serious injuries.
In the next update we will have a look at how we got on in pre-season and how the season has started. Expect players to be coming and going. Hopefully we can keep players like Carmichael as he has the quality to be a game changer for us. I have an idea of positions we are lacking in. We have little to no budget so if we can find young talent along side experience who want to help get this club moving forward and not in it for money. If there is anything you want to see that I have not covered already then please let me know.
I am excited to get this season going. This could be a fun few season while we get Big Dunc getting the Gretna Boys flying and getting promotion within the first few seasons before we can look at battling the Football League sides. Also if you are wondering ‘why Gretna!?’ I can answer that, it’s because I have had a soft spot for them ever since managing the previous Gretna on LMA Manager 2005. Ever since then I have followed them and kept an eye on the scores and how they are doing in the league etc.
Why not give Gretna a follow on Twitter… @GretnaFC2008