Friday 5th August 2016
SO, that was Sons 24. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did interviewing for, writing and compiling it.
Now bring on the 2016/17 Ladbrokes SPFL Championship season. Dumbarton’s fifth consecutive one in Scotland’s second tier – all of them as a part-time club.
Part-time sides have been the minority in this division since we came into it in 2012. There have only been three others, at various times, during our so far four-year stay in the second tier.
They have all been relegated. We’re still here.
A remarkable achievement. Who’d have thought it possible less than 10 years ago, when the club was two divisions lower, trying to avoid the position that would now mean a play-off with the Highland League or Lowland League winners?
Now we want to make it six seasons at this level, a task we will not know the outcome of until May 2017.
Nobody is in any doubt that it will be difficult. In a largely full-time league, every point Sons gain will be hard-earned.
But try telling us that it’s impossible when, last season, we beat the newly-relegated team three times, with the same player scoring the winner each time.
And when the outfit who won last season’s William Hill Scottish Cup were beaten on each of their visits to the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium.
It’s worth repeating – this is a club which, less than 10 years ago, was in Scottish football’s basement division. Now it’s beating the team which goes on to lift the country’s greatest knockout trophy – twice.
From tomorrow, the task of consolidating in the second tier starts all over again.
The players and management you’ve been hearing from over the last 24 hours will be doing their best to ensure they succeed.
But it’s a mission that extends off the pitch as well. To the supporters who have cheered us to promotion in 2012, followed by four survivals and a Scottish Cup quarter final in 2014.
We’re West Dunbartonshire’s only senior club. Have been since 2002.
We actually wish that wasn’t the case. Tuesday’s friendly showed what a competitive spirit, and friendly relationship, is still enjoyed between ourselves and Clydebank.
But due to circumstances outwith our control, that rivalry was ended at senior level 14 years ago.
Since then, we have flown the flag for our local council area at senior level. We also have a fair support from the near parts of our neighbouring area, Argyll and Bute.
It’s a big enough catchment area, and there’s room for more of it down at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium on a matchday.
So here’s a task. Get as many people involved as you can in supporting DFC. Bring a friend or relative to a match, and keep them coming. Or, as outlined in our earlier story, get them to join the Sons Supporters Trust.
It’s not an easy task keeping any team competing in Scotland’s second tier, let alone a part-time one. But we’ve managed it for four years now, with everybody on and off the pitch pulling together.
We want to keep this going.
We CAN keep it going.
Have a great new season – one where everybody does their bit to ensure a part-time side with four years in Scotland’s second tier gets the recognition it deserves.
And reaches its goal again.
Bring it on.
Dumbarton Football Club