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Stenhousemuir FC - The Warriors - The 2021/22 Thread


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Well then. First of all, please forgive me for this self-indulgent post. I haven't fully come to terms with this afternoon's relegation, the first I've ever experienced, so I'm not sure what to make of it at all just yet. If nothing else, this may prove to be a cathartic experience for me, and probably me only. I have also updated the thread title accordingly and hope a moderator can move it when the appropriate time comes.

After an up-and-down eight years in the third tier, we depart with our tails between our legs to the grimmer climes of League 2. This hasn't been a fantastic season - we were widely expected to be relegated at the start of the year and, despite the odd hopeful moment, none more so than the wins over Peterhead and Queen's Park in last fortnight, so it proved. You can handle getting bodied, that comes with supporting a small, unfashionable team, but it's the hope that kills you. While some Stenhousemuir supporters might be fairly indifferent to the club's plight and open to the challenges in League 2, I reckon it'll be a long time before we're back in this division. If we're ever to win a league title and experience any success then it's likely to be in the basement tier rather than here but I just don't think that will happen, not immediately anyway.

I had intended to write a brief overview of our time in the division, from relegation favourites to sudden promotion hopefuls and back again (and there were a lot of enjoyable moments), but it's probably more important to examine how and why we're in this position than anything else. The decline set in the moment Scott Booth joined as manager. I imagine most Warriors would agree with me on this. Booth was seen as a forward-thinking appointment at the time and he did perform reasonably well to begin with after replacing Martyn Corrigan in February 2014, but his transfer dealings later that summer turned a decent squad requiring minor surgery into a bloodless, incoherent group of players. Booth inexplicably dismantled Corrigan's team, stripping out its experienced core and replacing it with callow youngsters and development loans. (It is perhaps worth remembering Booth favoured Robbie Duncan at right-back over Nicky Devlin, who he released. Whatever happened to Devlin? Indulge me, please.)

The new manager overspent his budget (according to Colin McMenamin, the club paid around £3000 on a scoreboard, which was used once) on an inferior group of players that lacked character and staggered through a dismal campaign; I have no doubt Booth is the worst manager in Stenhousemuir's modern history and he achieved the remarkable feat of alienating his players, the supporters and, eventually, the board. When he was finally sacked in January 2015, the club also announced they were experiencing serious financial problems and would have to be propped up until the end of the season. This is, of curse, where the board must take their share of the blame for the current predicament - not only was Booth's appointment a failure but the then chairman Bill Darroch had completely taken his eye off the books, focusing more one his role with the SFA than his position at Stenhousemuir, and had failed to notice the trouble we were in.

I have no idea how on earth this happened. Four or five years ago we were hailed as the model for part-time clubs with our synthetic surface and our focus on the community and youth teams. Now? A cautionary tale, perhaps. The spectre seems to linger over Ochilview to this day and lack of cash or resources or investment is an anxiety constantly gnawing away somewhere in the background.

Brown Ferguson did well to keep Booth's side in League 1 in 2014/15 via the play-offs and, with his own group of players, he went one better the following season by finishing in eighth. If Ferguson had repeated the feat for a third time this year it might just have been the greatest achievement of any Stenhousemuir manager since Terry Christie's blockbuster team of the mid-90s, but it wasn't to be. The chronic lack of investment in the squad in the summer hamstrung us from the outset and although we were able to evetually bring in good, solid players as the season wore on - and enormous credit must go to the Supporters Trust for their cash injection - it wasn't enough when it came to the showdown, and the league table does not lie. If we had Willis Furtado, David Marsh, Oli Shaw, Connor Duthie, Mason Robertson and Graham Bowman in the team from the outset, I do not believe we would not have been relegated.

While their effort and commitment has never been in question, the management and the players are also culpable for the predicament. Ferguson has a real blindspot for goalkeepers - Colin McCabe might go on to have a decent career but he let the team down with crucial errors time and again and should probably have been replaced a lot sooner than he was, just like Jamie Barclay last season. David Crawford was a minor upgrade but only till Bowman's arrival did we look competent in goal, and that was with about six or seven games of the season remaining! Ferguson's substitutions can also frustrate, with ineffective players allowed to continue on the field for too long and obvious changes ignored until too late. There is also a perception from some fans (not me, I must add) that the manager has his "favourites" and will field players regardless of form. Colin McMenamin is regularly cited, despite the fact he is still our best striker.

The team themselves have only been hammered on several occasions, which was always going to be expected, and on the whole have competed well with their peers but they've been let down time and time again by silly individual errors. There are too many incidents over the course of the season to remember here but it is exasperating to have conceded so many goals from so many wacky mistakes. We lost 64 goals this term and I'd imagine over a third of them all came down to outrageous boobs.

I am not looking forward to playing in League 2. While there will be some novelty in travelling to long-forgotten outposts, namely Montrose and Annan (should they remain in the league, of course) and visiting places like Ainslie Park to see Edinburgh City, I worry about who'll be turning out for Stenhousemuir next season. Ross Meechan is signed up but that's about it, unless someone can correct me. Our better players will go elsewhere and no doubt flourish - Alan Cook, Fraser Kerr, Willis Furtado and Mason Robertson could have their pick of the part-time teams - while Vinnie Berry is leaving for a job in America and Oli Shaw and Connor Duthie will return to their parent clubs. David Marsh might stay, so too might Graham Bowman and Ciaran Summers, and I'd like to think Kieran Millar hangs around because he would be a fantastic player at that level, but I don't know. Colin McMenamin might have an eye on his retirement, Mark Gilhaney doesn't look fit, Stephen Stirling seems to never be fit and the rest might not be good enough, even for League 2. The only saving grace of going straight down and not spending up to a fortnight contesting the play-offs is that Ferguson can plan immediately and shape his squad for next season.

I don't know. I suppose it's days like this that make the successes all the better but Stenhousemuir never seem to have any success. Two promotions and a Challenge Cup isn't a lot to show for over 130 years of history. I look at other part-time teams with envy - Cowdenbeath are in a horrible mess just now but they've experienced more highs in the last decade than we ever have, we were once scrapping with Dumbarton in the old Third Division, and we more or less relegated Alloa Athletic in 2010/11. Where are our trophies, where are our days in the sun?

A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with the guy I share the stadium announcer's duties with. He spoke about how his father, another Stenny fan, is in his 80s and his 70-odd years following the club have been largely dismal. You're 30, he told me, so realistically you've got about another 55 years of this. Jesus Christ.

Edited by Francesc Fabregas
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. Two promotions and a Challenge Cup isn't a lot to show for over 130 years of history.



Thought this was a wind up until I gave it a Google. What an absolutely atrocious record that is.

Is there any other team that has never won a title, ever?
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When you take a look at the squad of 16 who played our first game of the season (funnily enough against Brechin - we lost) compared to the squad yesterday, it's pretty clear we were on a hiding to nothing. We only had 10 players of any repute. The reasons are well documented and as far as I'm concerned Ferguson deserves credit getting us to where we were yesterday. A chance of staying up. It's hugely frustrating as there is no way we were the worst team in that league, but we gave the teams we should have had a realistic chance of finishing above too much of a head start. Most of those heavy defeats and crazy goals mentioned came early in the campaign.

It's up to Bomber to use his powers of persuasion with the squad. If he can keep the team that finished the season together then I would go into next season with some confidence, but I realise that's unlikely for the reasons noted above.

Yesterday was odd. We didn't play well, but we garnered 7 points from the last three games. It was the story of the season. Just when we got within touching distance, results would go against us again.

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As was said above its the hope that hurts the most. Like a lot of Stenny supporters I thought we were down a long time ago but bomber and the team have mainly done a good job ever since those improvements. I don't think there's too much of a difference financially between being in the 1st or 2nd division so hopefully it's not the end of the world, as long as we don't risk another relegation.

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2 hours ago, Crawford Baptie said:

Maybe if their manager concentrated on the job in had as opposed to jollying it and playing games for the Over 35's amateur team in a Friday night, the team may have been more focussed.

It's a fair point. I think the players had that on their mind yesterday. The thing is, not only does he play football on a Friday night (allegedly) I've heard he also eats and sleeps. A clear lack of commitment.

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A man with a life outside of a part time job? That is completely unacceptable. I think we will treat the guy with a username of CRAWFORD BAPTIE with the disdain he deserves.

Next season we have absolutely no chance of keeping our better players let's not pussy foot around the issue and kid ourselves on. Kerr, Cook, Robertson, Berry and Furtado are away. The only chance of keeping Millar is because I think his good work might go unnoticed by other clubs he's not a flashy player so doesn't stand out but we all know how important he is to us.

I would keep Bowman, Marsh and Summers as they should all be more than decent players a level down. After that I think it's time for the rest to leave for varying reasons maybe with the exception of Meechan who maybe gets the chance to recapture the form of last season.

 

 

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Great post by FF and I can feel your pain buddy, it's not a nice position to be in. I just can't understand how you have gone from the role model "I wish my club was ran like that" club to where you are now......especially when you have had a decent secondary income coming in with The Shire renting Ochilview.

I do hope you are more Forfar next season, pushing for Play Offs and winning football games rather than Cowdenbeath, but time will tell.

I don't think there's too much of a difference financially between being in the 1st or 2nd division so hopefully it's not the end of the world, as long as we don't risk another relegation.


I'm no expert but I suspect with regards to SFA/SPFL funding this might be correct however, I would also guess there is a huge difference in income through the turnstiles. Our last season in League 1, we had to open the East Stand for every game (except Peterhead) because every team brought numbers that required it. In League 2, other than yesterday against Arbroath, that Stand has only been opened for games against Clyde.

Stenny will be lucky to have good Home gates against Clyde and ourselves however away from that, you'll be lucky to have anymore than a bus load turn up.
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On 5/7/2017 at 10:52, Crawford Baptie said:

Maybe if their manager concentrated on the job in had as opposed to jollying it and playing games for the Over 35's amateur team in a Friday night, the team may have been more focussed.

Everybody, no matter what job they do are entitled to a Friday night to themselves.

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On ‎07‎/‎05‎/‎2017 at 11:52, Crawford Baptie said:

Maybe if their manager concentrated on the job in had as opposed to jollying it and playing games for the Over 35's amateur team in a Friday night, the team may have been more focussed.

He must play for a team that got pumped by the Stenny over 35s or maybe he lost his place to Bomber....

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On 07/05/2017 at 11:52, Crawford Baptie said:

Maybe if their manager concentrated on the job in had as opposed to jollying it and playing games for the Over 35's amateur team in a Friday night, the team may have been more focussed.

I play in that team. He's been there once and to be honest who cares. What about the players? Are they to be criticized if they had to work on a Friday night instead of being tucked up in bed? We didn't get relegated because the gaffer chose to have a kick about on a Friday night. We done not too bad to be in with a fighting shout of the play offs come the end of the season and Lady Luck wasn't on our side. Heads up and move on. 

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On 07/05/2017 at 08:49, beaver1 said:

When you take a look at the squad of 16 who played our first game of the season (funnily enough against Brechin - we lost) compared to the squad yesterday, it's pretty clear we were on a hiding to nothing. We only had 10 players of any repute. The reasons are well documented and as far as I'm concerned Ferguson deserves credit getting us to where we were yesterday. A chance of staying up. It's hugely frustrating as there is no way we were the worst team in that league, but we gave the teams we should have had a realistic chance of finishing above too much of a head start. Most of those heavy defeats and crazy goals mentioned came early in the campaign.

It's up to Bomber to use his powers of persuasion with the squad. If he can keep the team that finished the season together then I would go into next season with some confidence, but I realise that's unlikely for the reasons noted above.

Yesterday was odd. We didn't play well, but we garnered 7 points from the last three games. It was the story of the season. Just when we got within touching distance, results would go against us again.

Sorry beaver1 I don't agree with you,you's  were the worst team in the League,after 36 games you were bottom,no excuses giving starts etc.I said after last seasons Stenny performance at Stair pk in 2016 you were certs to be relegated and i was right,but you didn't need to be a genius to forecast that.I think you probably did us a big favour beating us 1-0 at Ochilview in January,we sacked our Manager and turned the season around by appointing Steven Farrell.I wish you well in League 2,it could be a tricky League to get promoted.

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56 minutes ago, Car54wherareyou said:

Sorry beaver1 I don't agree with you,you's  were the worst team in the League,after 36 games you were bottom,no excuses giving starts etc.I said after last seasons Stenny performance at Stair pk in 2016 you were certs to be relegated and i was right,but you didn't need to be a genius to forecast that.I think you probably did us a big favour beating us 1-0 at Ochilview in January,we sacked our Manager and turned the season around by appointing Steven Farrell.I wish you well in League 2,it could be a tricky League to get promoted.

You're absolutely right. Stenhousemuir were the worst team in the division this season and the league table proves it. We were especially poor against Stranraer, who seemed to have a real knack of bodying us over the course of the campaign; come to think of it, our 1-0 win in January seems pretty strange.

I can, to an extent, see where beaver1 is coming from - as I said above, if we began the season with the squad that finished it then I believe we would have been safe, maybe even glancing towards the top four. But we didn't and our terrible start has weighed us down all year. There has never been a club who finished bottom of the division who didn't deserve it, no matter how may ifs and buts we wish to consider.

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Great post by FF and I can feel your pain buddy, it's not a nice position to be in. I just can't understand how you have gone from the role model "I wish my club was ran like that" club to where you are now......especially when you have had a decent secondary income coming in with The Shire renting Ochilview.

I do hope you are more Forfar next season, pushing for Play Offs and winning football games rather than Cowdenbeath, but time will tell.




I'm no expert but I suspect with regards to SFA/SPFL funding this might be correct however, I would also guess there is a huge difference in income through the turnstiles. Our last season in League 1, we had to open the East Stand for every game (except Peterhead) because every team brought numbers that required it. In League 2, other than yesterday against Arbroath, that Stand has only been opened for games against Clyde.

Stenny will be lucky to have good Home gates against Clyde and ourselves however away from that, you'll be lucky to have anymore than a bus load turn up.


I'm sorry but Stenny wouldn't have got any more away fans through from the likes of Brechin/Stranraer/Albion/Peterhead/QP etc than they'll get from L2 clubs?

Your away stand always used to be open regardless I've been in it every time I've gone to Forthbank (missed the 2-2 game in November).
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29 minutes ago, Francesc Fabregas said:

You're absolutely right. Stenhousemuir were the worst team in the division this season and the league table proves it. We were especially poor against Stranraer, who seemed to have a real knack of bodying us over the course of the campaign; come to think of it, our 1-0 win in January seems pretty strange.

I can, to an extent, see where beaver1 is coming from - as I said above, if we began the season with the squad that finished it then I believe we would have been safe, maybe even glancing towards the top four. But we didn't and our terrible start has weighed us down all year. There has never been a club who finished bottom of the division who didn't deserve it, no matter how may ifs and buts we wish to consider.

I didn't say we didn't deserve to be bottom of the league. 

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