Our girls our game

THORN ATHLETIC officially launched their new girls team with the help of the Scottish Football Association on Friday.

Head coach Charlene Reid with help of Paul Reid from the club’s 2008 side have been running successful sessions for around 20 girls over the past few months.

The club has been supported by the Scottish FA’s West Region Club Development Manager Corrie Campbell and Tina Stewart, the Scottish FA’s Girls’ and Women’s Development Officer as they looked to get the venture off the ground.

And last week they attended the club’s base at the McMaster Sports Centre in Johnstone to give a presentation to the parents of the girls involved and officially rubber stamp the latest addition to the club’s teams.


Thorn will be looking to run teams at both Under-11s and Under-13s and have received a start-up grant from the Scottish Football Partnership to help get things up and running. Those funds will be used for affiliation and registration fees along with insurance, first aid and coach education.

Club chairperson Mark McGee said: “It’s hugely exciting for us to finally get involved in female football, which has seen significant growth over the past ten years. That culminated in the women’s World Cup which attracted great interest over the summer.

“We are grateful to both Corrie and Tina for their support and we look forward to getting started and seeing the girls in action.”

Head coach Charlene said: “We’ve already had fantastic feedback from the girls and they are enjoying it, which is what it’s all about.”

Time to get turf with rivals

CALEDONIAN Premier League champions Thorn Athletic will get Turf with their opponents this season after announcing a brand new kit sponsorship deal.


Leading domestic and commercial artificial grass supplier CY Turf have agreed to come on board to kit the senior team out ahead of the new campaign.


The Hillington-based company – who offer the full design, landscaping and installation service – are in a league of their own when it comes to artificial grass and decided to form a winning combination with ‘The Thorn’.


With the growth in uses for artificial turf this is an expanding market and one the Johnstone club are delighted to be associated with.


CY Turf director Duncan Yates said: “We are delighted to have agreed a deal with Thorn Athletic as we have followed their success over the past few years.


“They have a high profile and much like our area of business they have enjoyed real growth and see the potential for success. Hopefully it will help raise the profile of both organisations.”


Manager Johnny McEwan with director Duncan Yates
Thorn No2 Paul Young welcomes CY Turf on board


Fellow company director Steven Carmichael added: “We are happy to be in a position to support the club and look forward to watching their progress.”


The club are looking forward to having a new Nike kit to kick-off the 2019-20 campaign and club secretary Mark McGee believes this is great news for the club.


He said: “We are delighted to have CY Turf on board and look forward to promoting them throughout the season across the west of Scotland and hopefully beyond.


“It’s great when a business recognises the value of putting something back into the grassroots game and of course with the link between football and the many uses of artificial turf then this is hopefully a good fit.”


Website:  cyartificialgrass.co.uk or give them a call on 0141 883 6622.

Hampden Heroes collect trophy

THORN ATHLETIC 2006s are feeling GR-EIGHT after a fantastic silverware haul from their first season playing 11-a-sides.

It’s been one trophy after another for the Johnstone side who followed the club’s senior team by becoming top flight champions.
The team – led by head coach Steven McKnight – marched to the Paisley, Johnstone and District Youth Football League’s First Division title after a blistering campaign.
But winning has become more than a habit for the team who have lifted no fewer than another seven trophies in addition to the championship.
Over the past 12 months they have claimed the Hamish Ferguson Memorial Cup, Crosshouse Tournament, Cumbernauld Colts Tournament, Giffnock SC Tournament, Ayr Scotland Cup 2019, Reamonn Gormley Memorial 2019 and the Carbrain Tournament.
And delighted coach McKnight said: “The boys have been a pleasure to work with over the past year and they have really settled into the bigger sided game in quite a short space of time.
“They are a talented group and that has been shown with some of the performances against teams from all over Scotland.
“It was great to win the league in the first season and it’s certainly been a memorable one for the boys.”
The team were along at Hampden Park on Wednesday to be presented with the league trophy and the boys were buzzing after their visit to the national stadium.
McKnight added: “It was a great night and you could see the boys were delighted with their rewards for the season.
“Hopefully they will grow in confidence and continue to develop.”

McEwan Hails Double Triumph

Thorn Athletic manager Johnny McEwan hopes his side will be able to build on their amazing double success this season.

The Johnstone side wrapped up the Caledonian Premier League title recently to add to the William Turner Challenge Cup secured a few weeks ago.
And although there’s been plenty of celebrations, McEwan admits the hard work has already started for the new season.
Thorn already have a high profile pre-season programme arranged including games against East Superleague junior outfit Carnoustie Panmuir at Laing Park and this season’s Scottish Amateur Cup finalists Eastfield AFC.
McEwan said: “The players will have a break after Saturday’s match against Dalziel but work will be ongoing behind the scenes as we prepare for next season.
“Everyone at the club is absolutely delighted with the silverware this season. The Caledonian Premier League is one of the toughest to win at this level and the boys have been magnificent.
“We hope to keep the bulk of the squad together as they are a great bunch with the right mix of youth and experience. New faces will come in and no doubt we will naturally lose a few but it’s all systems go.”
Goals from Shaun Kelly and skipper Ryan Crawford secured a 2-1 win against Wishaw and the three points needed to secure championship glory.
The Thorn had started off the season with former player James Donnelly at the helm but soon he had to stand down due to personal reasons.
McEwan acknowledged the role of his predecessor and added: “James had brought together a strong squad here and I’m delighted we have been able to deliver success for this group.
“He worked hard to bring the club back from a few poor seasons and credit to him for laying the foundations. Our job now is to get the best out of them and hopefully we have done that.”
And then they can look forward to a glittering end of season bash with some important items of silverware on show.

Ryan’s Northern Light

THORN ATHLETIC skipper Ryan Crawford has picked up his third Scotland cap after facing the Northern AFL at the Falkirk Stadium at the weekend.

The Northern Irishmen eventually edged out the Scots 4-3 on penalties after a hard-fought 1-1 draw in normal time to lift the Jack Britton Rosebowl.
Crawford was called into the squad late on Friday by international manager Colin MacLeod and came on at half-time for Tollcross Thistle’s Stewart O’Neill with the side trailing by a goal to nil.
They eventually got back into the match with a leveller from Hurlford Thistle’s Steven Currie before going down after the lottery of spot-kicks.
Crawford was one of three players from the Caledonian League selected for the squad after a number of impressive displays for his club and the league’s representative side.
Last year he was selected for the Uefa Regions Cup in Slovenia and was involved in three games during that competition.
And he said: “It’s been a great experience being involved in the Scotland set-up and playing with such a good group. It’s been a busy time for Thorn Athletic but it’s also good to get the chance to be capped for your country.
“We were unfortunate to be on the losing side but anything can happen with penalties.”
The Caledonian Select side still have business to finish off after reaching the final of the Inter-League trophy after seeing off the Central Scottish, Kingdom of Fife and Lothian and Ediunburgh leagues on their way to a clash with the Ayrshire AFA.
That match is scheduled for Broadwood Stadium on Sunday, May 19 with a 4.00pm kick-off.

Silver Service for Adults

THORN ATHLETIC manager Johnny McEwan hailed his side after they brought the Caledonian League’s William Turner Challenge Cup back to Renfrewshire for the first time in 20 years.

The Johnstone club were celebrating after Tom Smith’s second half strike saw off the challenge of the Lanarkshire side at Broadwood Stadium on Friday night.

Viewfield Rovers were the last side from the area to bring the cup home and McEwan was delighted to finally land his first silverware.

He said: “It was a hard fought encounter but we created the better chances and ultimately deserved the win. Our keeper didn’t have a save to make although we soaked up some pressure in the latter

“For many of the younger players in our squad this was their first time getting over that winning line in a competition and hopefully they will want more now.

“We had a fantastic support there including fifty or sixty kids from our youth academy so it was a great experience for them and shows what the club is all about.

“It’s good for everyone associated with the club, sponsors, supporters and it keeps everyone motivated.”


Thorn were without the injured Connar McGregor and suspended Ross Horne which saw an opportunity for Bud McCann to come into the side on the right flank.

There were some early nerves as the league leaders took time to settle with Dalziel knocking the ball about and making Thorn work hard for possession.

Eventually a few decent half chances fell the Thorn’s way with Smith warming the keeper’s hands with some powerful efforts.

It was a case of creating a few more gilt edged opportunities after the break and the goal arrived just short of the hour mark when Smith made himself the hero with a low shot from inside the box.

Thorn could have doubled their lead soon after and again it was Smith who threatened but his shot was cleared off the line.

Some nerves kicked in as the game got tighter in the later stages with Dalziel given the opportunity to launch some high balls into the box. However the defence stood firm and the final whistle was greeted by jubilant cheers from the large travelling support.

Skipper Ryan Crawford was presented with the cup by the Caledonian League President Graeme Robertson while defender Ian Paterson received the man of the match award.

Penny Drops for 2008s

THORN ATHLETIC 2008s know it’s better to be in for a Penny than in for a pound after getting top Estate and Letting agents Penny Lane Homes on board as sponsors.


The well-known West of Scotland wide company, established in 2004, have just supported the team with the purchase of new Nike training kits and jumpers for the season ahead.


Penny Lane Homes have Branches in Johnstone, Renfrew, Paisley and Shawlands and are delighted to be getting behind one of the town’s local teams.


Helen Canning, Director of Penny Lane Homes in Johnstone, said: “It’s great to be able to invest in our local community, particularly to help the sporting and physical development of such a dedicated and hard working group of talented young players.


“We know the role that the business community plays is vital, in helping community and voluntary organisations and we are delighted to be in a position to help.


“The team look fantastic in their new kit and we hope it helps their development and success.”


And 2008 team secretary Paul Reid said: “We are very grateful to Penny Lane Homes for this significant sponsorship deal which allowed us to purchase a fantastic amount of kit for the players.


“Without the support of businesses like Penny Lane Homes then the burden would be huge on teams like our own. We are most grateful to them.”

Belfast test for 2006s

OUR 2006 YFC Side provided opponents for a visiting South Belfast Select at Ralston Complex last weekend.


Two select age groups from across the Irish Sea were visiting the area with InspireSport and engaged in a number of activities over their weekend stay.


It was an excellent test for the Thorn side – who had also played the day before – and ended in a goalless draw despite being a high-quality encounter, with the visitors earning a 4-3 win on penalties.


The conditions were more conducive to the passing football we’ve become accustomed to from this Thorn team, and the boys from Belfast proved worthy opponents throughout. Both teams created some fine passages of play, displaying good control and a real eagerness to win every challenge.

After soaking up some early pressure from Belfast, the boys started to settle into a rhythm with one of our first chances coming from some precise passing play between Ross, Liam and Ryan, resulting in a throw. This was quickly taken, with the ball finding its way to Ross who blasted a shot from outside the box, forcing an excellent save from the Belfast goalie.


Throughout the half, both teams kept the ball on the deck, working moves out from the back. The first corner of the match went to Belfast, who were unlucky to hit the side net. A few minutes later, Kyle was forced into action from a Belfast long shot. On balance, the boys maintained the bulk of possession, working hard to win balls in every area of the park, with the goal threat from Belfast continually smothered by the diligent Thorn defence.

The second half saw more end-to-end play, but Thorn lacked a vital spark in the final third and the precise finishing we are familiar with failed to materialise. Both teams created a number of set piece opportunities, but neither were able to capitalise on these chances. A late solo run from Brodie earned the final corner of the game, but again, the chance was squandered and the game finished a draw.

The game went to a penalty shoot-out, which is always a lottery, and on this occasion, the visitors claimed the victory with a 4–3 score line. Despite this, the match was an excellent experience for the boys, playing a talented, well organised, physical side.



Orbis reward for 2005 squad

THORN ATHLETIC 2005’s are in safe hands now after bringing security firm Orbis on board as away strip sponsors.


The UK wide company are the market leaders in vacant property protection and landed the opportunity to become an official sponsor after winning a 40-team football card which many other local businesses and individuals had supported.


Orbis is already a the trusted partner for a number of local authorities and housing associations as well as a large number of private sector organisations from large supermarkets chains to private property managers.


Johnstone side Thorn are delighted to have them on board and Orbis business development manager Billy Reid said: “We are delighted to support the club’s fundraising efforts and even more delighted when we came out as winners from the other participants – it was the luck of the draw!


“It will be great to see the kids wearing the new kits bearing the companies name and we are sure they will do us proud.”


The Thorn 2005s have received their smart and sharp looking new Nike kit and Iain McLure from the club said: “We would like to thank everyone who took a shot on the football card.


“The card sold quickly and we were delighted to have Orbis as the winners and the kit looks fantastic. Hopefully it will bring us some good luck for the remainder of the season.


East Meats West

PAISLEY Butcher Graeme McGinlay has never been busier thanks to his new premises in Gallowhill – and his continued backing of Thorn Athletic Community Football Club.


Graeme and son Scott, from Johnstone, have recently gone back to where it all began for the business more than 20 years ago after overhauling and re-opening disused premises.


But although it’s a fresh start, they still have a firm commitment to supporting local clubs and organisations after entering into a FOURTH year of sponsorship with ‘The Thorn’.


Graeme still has his busy shop in Well Street in the west end along with the The Butchers Deli & Bakery next door and with the new addition across town then things are bright.


And Thorn Athletic secretary Mark McGee said: “We are delighted to see Graeme’s Butchers continue to grow and re-establish links with an area of the town they served so many years ago.


“He is very loyal to us and that can be something that’s hard to find in today’s business community, particularly with all the challenges local producers face against the big supermarkets.


“We are delighted to showcase his business wherever we go in Scotland and we hope he will continue to be a major supporter of the club in years to come.”


Scott said: “It’s great to be back in Gallowhill and also to be back on board with the Thorn. Hopefully we can both continue to go from strength to strength.”