You may well have heard of the successful Harmony Row Youth Club, famous for being the place where Sir Alex Ferguson began his illustrious footballing career. The Glasgow-based club has always been at the heart of the local community, providing so much opportunity for all, no matter their age.
In recent years a top-class women’s team has been developed, with the side winning a League and Cup double last year, being role models for the young girls at the club and making a name for Harmony Row in women’s football. Many from the women’s team have had offers to play for other clubs, but it just is not the same. They – like all other adult sides – want to play for Harmony Row, the club means just as much to them as everyone else involved.
Harmony Row Youth Club have always had an amateur team and their recent one-year trial of having a side compete in the West of Scotland league system was hugely successful. Not to mention their under-19s who were playing a year above their age group last year.
This is why the board’s decision to cut all over-18 sides, one that has since seen two other teams fold, was so bemusing to all of those at the club. Via a single email, coaches, volunteers, parents and players were told that they were no longer welcome at the club.
This news came as a big shock to many, and although some teams have been permitted to continue for the upcoming season, one team that has not been allowed are the under-19s. Just one game into their season they were told they could not go under the name Harmony Row anymore.
We spoke to the team secretary for the axed-under-19s side, Debbie. This is what she had to say on the matter:
“The news came as a massive shock when they refused to register our team and subsequently made the decision to have no adult football at the club.
“Taking away a pathway for the younger teams into adult football is baffling to me but more so their decision to let the women’s team go.
“With such a highlight on women’s football just now, it is a wonderful attribute to have a women’s and girls’ team within the club.
“Harmony Row has always been at the heart of the community for many, many years. People play for the team and get involved with the club because of its amazing history. Quite often their relatives have played for Harmony Row at some point and people want to carry that tradition on.
“Last year our club was flourishing and sadly now it is crumbling. People are choosing to play elsewhere. Due to the board not communicating and supporting teams, coaches feel like there is no other option than to fold teams and let the players go.
“I want the board to meet with coaches from the football section of the club and communicate with them like they should be doing. We want an open membership to allow everyone involved in the football section to have a vote on what happens at their much-loved club.
“Sport should be inclusive no matter your age, race, gender or culture. We want sport for all, we want a community club for all and we want sport for life. Please everyone #supporttherow.”
This situation has been a messy and frustrating one, with discontent brewing between the board and the coaches and the volunteers at the club. All that the coaches and volunteers want is to be heard, and their main goal is to have a meeting with the board members to discuss things in person. They send numerous emails to every single board member daily to try to get through to them and begin an open dialogue, but so far have been ignored.
Every single coach at the club applied to become a member. This would allow them to vote on decisions and have their views represented.
Each application has been declined.
This has caused a rift in the local community and gotten to the point where coaches and volunteers have sent an open letter to the club’s board, pleading with them to reconsider and hear them out. They do not wish to fight or take over the club.
They just hope to remain positive and move forward together – united.
This movement has gathered plenty of support from parents, members of the community and fans. So many people rely on the club and taking away all adult football is a massive loss for the locals.
There has been a petition started to try and convince the board to reconsider their decision. This has now surpassed 650 signatures – with 1000 in sight. The group have also written to local politicians. They are desperate to be heard. All they want is to have a proper structured conversation and be back involved in football.
This club means so much to so many people. Cutting out all adult football is an upsetting decision and one that will ultimately negatively affect a lot of the community.
The coaches, players and volunteers need support. By signing the petitions, creating noise on social media, and generally supporting those involved, it is more and more likely that the board will listen and reconsider their baffling decision.
Harmony Row petition: https://chng.it/grVgLXdnxL
/ 1 week ago
Harmony Row’s U13s welcomed St Cadoc’s to a rainy Sir Alex Ferguson Park on...