Livingston United and East Calder Community FC have recently announced that they have joined together in partnership, with an aim to create a clear pathway to the higher levels of football.
YFS’ Matthew Muir spoke to Livingston United manager Andy Malone and East Calder Community FC Chairman Robbie Brownwright to find out more.
On what this new partnership means for Livingston United, Andy Malone said: “During my successful period as manager at Livingston United Juniors, it was agreed last year by myself and the committee that the way forward for the clubs’ future was to form a partnership with a successful well organised community football club.
“It wasn't just any club we were looking for but a club who have the same aspirations & ambitions as ourselves to progress not only the players we have on board at the moment but for future generations within the community.”
The aim of both clubs is to provide:
* A pathway for youth footballers to progress through our various age groups.
* An exciting, enjoyable & healthy life-long interest in football.
* Youth & experienced players the opportunity to advance their development & improve their skills & knowledge of the game.
* Opportunities for players, coaches committee members, family & friends to be involved in the experience of match days & events at both Livingston United & East Calder.
East Calder Community Chairman, Robbie Brownwright was also optimistic about what the partnership could bring, echoing on how both clubs share the same values.
He explained: “East Calder CFC has in the last five-six years been looking for ways to progress the community club and push on, and this was a logical step in the process.
“Once an opportunity to speak to Livingston United presented itself we quickly realised myself and Andy Malone plus the two committees share the same passion and vision for our clubs.
“Everything slowed down due to Covid-19 but we both had a willingness to continue the talks via video link over lockdown and we are all delighted the partnership has been agreed.”
On how this what the community club are hoping to achieve with Livingston United and how this will help ECCFC in the future, Robbie continued: “East Calder is an extremely fast growing community and there is already signs within our club of how quickly the population is growing.
“Our hopes and visions at the club are to develop every player as best we can and provide every possible opportunity to break through into professional football.
“We are aware however that not every player will be fortunate enough to make it to the professional level so with this partnership we can focus on providing the next best thing and that is a route into semi-professional football.
“There are thousands of talented players from all over the country who unfortunately give up the game when they reach a certain age because there is simply no more opportunities.
“Our aim with the partnership is to simply do our bit to help the local youngsters continue their footballing journeys beyond their teens.”
Both clubs are eager for the return of youth football, with Robbie thanking all associated with the club for their support: “We have worked tirelessly throughout lockdown to keep the club afloat and functioning whilst acknowledging what was happening across the country.
“A huge thanks must go to all our sponsors, coaches and parents for the continued support through maintaining with fees where possible despite no football. This has allowed us to purchase all the necessary equipment needed to meet the new strict COVID guidelines.”
Andy also said: “In the coming weeks we hope football matches are back to continue the enjoyment and excitement that has been missed by everyone involved in football.
“We hope to continue our success and progression from last season and both our clubs are excited to be working towards the coming season and in our future together.”
To follow both clubs and find out more you can go to their Twitter feeds, @EastCalderCFC and @Livingston_utd