Monday 1st August 2016

SONS head of youth Tony McNally is a busy man and when we caught up with him for an update yesterday, it was typical of him to have his phone glued to his ear.

And his enthusiasm for the role he took over a couple of months ago is infectious.

“A lot can happen in 8 weeks,” said Tony. “We’ve made terrific progress behind the scenes with the youth teams and the new season is just weeks away.”

McNally has completely revamped the academy at DFC and it’s something he felt had to be done.

He continued: “When we last spoke last month I was in the middle of making changes including bringing in new coaches.

“Things have settled down since then and all our pre-season preparations have gone well.

“We still have a challenge with finding suitable and affordable facilities to play matches but I’m trying not to let this affect what we are actually at the club to do and that is develop players.”

With criticism levelled at the club when the news broke about the 20s development team being cut for the season, Tony explained that the football pathway at Dumbarton FC is still very clear.

“I understand completely the reasons why the 20s decision was taken. It was unavoidable albeit disappointing.

“However, in conversation with the manager and his coaching staff, we are still very much able to offer a clear route to youth players making the grade at the club.

“It’s my job to develop players that can make the grade and we have already put in place a system, working with Stevie, to make sure that our best players will get the opportunity to progress.

“We’ve had positive conversations with other clubs and are again forging links that will be vital in this respect.

“We have a hungry group of players with huge potential and we are trying to build a culture within the club.

“I think the players, coaches and the parents see that and it’s important that the fans see that as well, then you can start to create something.

“That’s the only way you can get success.”

As well as getting the football structure correct, Tony was keen to establish the YDI as an entity in its own right.

“We are part of Dumbarton Football Club but it’s important that we are seen to be self-sufficient too.

“The club has an ultra successful media output via Twitter, Facebook and of course the official website.

“All have worked for us and we are now taking our own baby steps with the development of our dedicated Twitter account.

“This will mean we can get info out as soon as it’s available and have regular updates.

“As ever, our biggest threat comes in the shape of finances. There is no doubt that running four teams is a huge ask financially for the club and we re trying to be self sufficient.

“I’m setting up a committee of parents and other volunteers to get practical ideas on how we can get money in. This will be a work in progress over the next few months.

So with the new season just around the corner, Tony and his team are working very hard to give the young lads at DFC a platform in which to shine.

“I’m really hammering home that what we do as a YDI is about football and that the players come first.

“Ball work is important and our pre-season has gone well in that respect.

“The season can’t come quick enough!”

The first week’s fixtures involves all four of our CAS teams who will play Greenock Morton – schedule shown below.

Under-13s – 14th August 2016 (Coaches Ally McCrae, Stuart Crossan, Gerry Gallacher)
Away to Greenock Morton

Under-14s – 14th August 2016 (Coaches Alan Campbell, Jon Haughie)
Away to Greenock Morton

Under-15s – 14th August 2016 (Coaches Tony Massie, David Lyden, Gareth Thomson
Home to Greenock Morton

Under-16/17s – 14th August 2016 (Coaches William Torrance, Frazer Wright)
Home to Greenock Morton

Alan Findlay

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