Willie Irvine: We Can Challenge

For a club of Pollok’s stature, our goal at the start of every season has to be winning the big two competitions. That’s very difficult to do in your first season, but now I’m in my second full season, I feel that we know what the league is all about and what the other teams are all about. If things go our way this season, then I think we will challenge.

Last season was incredibly frustrating. We started the league season well, but after losing one of our best quality players in the first league game, a number of players succumbed to injury, and that seemed to continue right up until the last match of the season. We even had to bring in three amateur players to make up the numbers in our biggest match of the season! It was a constant battle to get the same team on the pitch every week. I can understand why supporters were wondering what team we were going to put out every week. In fact, I believe there was only one occasion where we managed to get the same eleven out in consecutive games. Believe me, this wasn’t borne out of a desire on my part to be constantly changing the team; changes were forced on the team nearly every week.

I believe that consistency is vital — above all in defence.

For this season, we’ve signed a number of new players. The area of the squad that’s seen the biggest improvement over the summer has been midfield, without a doubt. We didn’t manage to fully fill the gap left by Tommy Nolan’s injury last season, despite trying a number of players in the role. This season though, we’ve signed McQuilken and Nichol, who will fit in really well along with Crilly and Doyle. Last season’s defence will be strengthened by the arrival of Swift, McMahon and McLaren, and likewise the return of Scott Morrison, this time as a signed player. Brian McGinty will provide a perfect foil for Diack up front. We’re looking at a few players and there will likely be a few more signings before too long — but we’re looking for quality, not just buying for the sake of buying.

We’ve assembled a really good group of players this season, and I’m confident the fans are going to enjoy watching them. And if we can avoid the troubles that beset us last season, then I’m sure we can be challenging for the ‘big two’ come the end of the season.