ABERDEENSHIRE, one of the leading clubs in the history of the Granite City, have turned to young leaders as part of a five year plan, designed to take them back to the national leagues, and even beyond.
The 148 year old club’s new president, Michael Macluglash, reflects the club’s change in emphasis which will see under age rugby return to Woodside, and at 35 is one of the youngest presidents in the Northern Caledonia area, while also having the experience 17 years of playing the game on the wing at the club to draw on.
The new director of rugby, Paul Harrow, is only 31 and yet like his president has a long association with the club, going back to when he was nine, and is a busy number nine in the highflying first team who have hit the ground running in the Caledonia North Conference, and currently top of the league.
Ten wins out of 12 games played, underlining the commitment of Maclugash and Harrow to getting out of the Caledonia set up.
”We are well on our way to qualifying for the play-offs in which the three top sides will go forward to meet their Midlands counterparts for places in National League 4,” said Macguglash who concedes that Shire has been something of sleeping giant in the game since coaches Alex Duncan and Kevin Wyness stood down a number of years ago, but promises club is now ready to realise its full potential.
”We have a young committee who are keen to bring about change. There is a second team, a youth team, a women’s team, while our touch rugby night continues to attract huge numbers, all pointing to having a club back on the move, while having an enthusiast like Paul in charge and still playing is a huge plus,'” added Macluglash, who still cuts a dashing, dangerous figure on the wing for the first team.
Harrow, who is also the Shire development officer, buys into his presidents targets, including reaching the National Leagues, but aims to reduce the average age of the first team in the near future.
”Having a supportive president like Michael is a bonus, especially as he buys into our fun in the twice weekly training,” he said. “It’s all good fun but I know what I want from them, and so far we are succeeding, having scored 449 points in 10 games.’
”We also have a presence in the local secondary school. Northfield Academy have been most accommodating. It bodes well for our long term strategy.”
At a time when clubs in Aberdeen badly need a shot in the arm, it is good to write about the confident, but never arrogant approach being taken by the new look, young management team at Woodside. By the time this forward thinking ambitious club celebrates its 150th anniversary in two years time, they may well be on the way to being the pioneering, successful club they once were, befitting a set-up that once boasted the legendary Bill McLaren as a playing member.
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