Blantyre SAC Black finished comfortably at the top of the U15s Section A table finishing on 60 points after an astonishing undefeated season. They finished on 20 wins, with 0 draws or losses. What an achievement. We were lucky enough to speak to the coach, Stephen Owens, to find out what went right for them this season.
Winning the league is an achievement that can't be understated, and to win it undefeated is a very rare accomplishment. Stephen said, "We are absolutely delighted to be crowned league champions, at the start of the season that's the one we all aim to win. Especially to win it in the manner we have is tremendous, we won every league game whilst playing very good football." They definitely showed the league what they were made of, and they were the team to beat this season but it just couldn't happen.
Stephen struggled to pick a favourite moment from this excellent season from Blantyre, he said this. "There have been too many good moments to single one out. Our 2-0 win in the SC quarter-final against East Kilbride, beating the previous years champions was a brilliant experience for the lads. But to go to Mill Utd and win 6-0 to secure the league is probably tops for me, they were our barometer at the start of the season." Mill Utd finished second in the league with 47 points, so they were the closest competition for the dominant Blantyre.
Despite an undefeated season, Blantyre still had some struggles and challenges throughout. Stephen said, "Our biggest challenge was getting the boys to believe that they were a match for anyone and to make them believe they could overcome Mill Utd and win the league. They then went on to win both league games against them 6-0 and 6-2. We think they have the belief and confidence now." Making sure that your team is confident and are able to overcome the anxious and nervous feelings before a big game can make all the difference.
The reason for the teams success is an important one in any team and Blantyre have made it work. Stephen commented, "The biggest reason for our success is our togetherness within the squad. We are very careful on the type of boys we bring in, these boys all train hard and want to learn, and most importantly be good team-mates. A good recipe in my opinion." The team chemistry is a strong factor in the success of any team and making it work can involve finding the right personalities in the team that work together and can change the way a team works entirely.
After an undefeated league win, you can't get much better than that but Stephen has plans for the future. He said, "We are now looking to kick on and have a team play the way we want them to. The boys have had a lot of congratulations this year and deservedly so for the way they played fabulous football this season." If the boys can remain at this level or continue to improve, they surely have a good future in football.
Stephen had some final comments to add, he said, "I would like to thank certain people at our Academy, Ross, Scott, John and the boys in the squad for their commitment and effort to make it a great season. I would also like to thank Jimmy Whelan our chairman, Kevin O' Neil the academy head and Linda Raddoch the academy secretary. Without these people, this season wouldn't have been possible as the backing they give us is huge in trying to do things properly as an academy."
We wish Blantyre SAC Black good luck in their future season's and hope they continue to shock and surprise.