Fanzone 14

This week we spoke to Irvine Meadow fan Stuart Shannon

irvine_meadow

When did you first start watching your club?

Around 10 years ago. Went occasionally with my mate for big games etc who is a massive Meadow fan and brought up supporting them by his dad while I just had a passing interest as went to watch a senior team throughout my younger days but really got into it and started going every week after I had finished University and stopped working most weekends.

What’s the greatest game you have been too?

Irvine Meadow 1 v 0 Arbroath. The first Junior team to beat a senior side was a huge achievement. The almosphere was electric and the cheers when goal went in and final whistle went were massive. Absolutely amazing day.

Best moment as a fan?

Either the above game or trip to Hibs to see Meadow take on SPL opponents. It was a freezing cold day but really enjoyed every second of it even though got beat 3-0. Was really proud of the team and were unlucky not to get a goal. Historic day for Irvine Meadow and delighted to have been there to witness it with around 2000 plus travelling in freezing conditions through to Edinburgh.

Worst moment as a fan?

The 8-0 defeat away to Troon just two weeks ago will be right up there if not that. Our Quarter Final and Semi Final Junior Cup final defeats in recent years have been really hard to take. Largs in the Quarters I felt especially so as we were a better team and would have beat them in a league game. Bathgate semi final At Firhill losing in extra time was hugely disappointing as if we won then I feel we would have reached and perhaps won the Junior Cup at least a couple of times in last 10 years.

Best away trip and why?

I really enjoyed Forres Mechanics. Overnight stay In Aberdeen with team and officials. Me and my mate enjoyed the nightlife of Aberdeen on the Friday then the Saturday Meadow went ahead 1-0 and 2-1 but Forres battled well for the draw. We missed a penalty at 2-2 but won the replay 6-3 and they were current Highland League Champions so two tremendous results.

Favourite Junior ground?

Newlandsfield Pollok. Great terracing and large shelter. Good Social club and usually a healthy crowd.

Favourite all time player and why?

Only been watching Meadow ten or so years but has to be Gareth Turner who was a midfield stalwart for us. Scored and created goals and consistent over so many years. Still playing at Ardrossan Winton Rovers.

Best food in the juniors?

Apart from Meadow Park I think Shettleston have the best selection and tasting food. Maybe slightly pricier than other clubs but in my opinion worth it.

Are you in favour of the pyramid system?

Yes the Juniors need to become involved in the pyramid or we will slowly start to become amateur and below the level of Lowland League when 5 years ago any lowland league team would have been easily defeated by Juniors. But that’s no longer the case and the best non league players will start to go there and they will have the best facilities, youth teams plus the grants to improve further. I really don’t know how to now bridge the gap between lowland league and East and West Juniors as pyramid is now there with no Junior involvement. I can see Junior teams looking to join lowland league eventually as views towards lowland league soften and younger generation has their say in the future plus as lowland league becomes an even better standard.

Are you in favour of a combined East/West super league?

Somewhat in favour but I do feel a trip from New Cumnock to Lochee for example would be a bit too much and can understand why been voted against it. Would I fancy a trip to Musselburgh and Bonnyrigg to happen once a month on a Saturday yeah I would still likely go but I know some fans may drift away as prefer teams within a short driving distance so back in the house for reasonable time and not spending 4/5 hours of your Saturday on a bus around once a month.

What about Junior clubs in the Scottish Cup?

I think it’s been hugely positive for my club and gets interest in the game and the Scottish Cup in the early rounds. Would love to see it extended to more teams but I doubt it.

Any rule changes you would like to see?

The retention rule to be scrapped. Not playing September weekends in West Region to be scrapped. Full fixture lists for half a season at a time at least.

The best goal you have ever seen?

Frank Gibson overhead kick in Ardagh Cup Final v Talbot we won on penalties after drawing 4-4 was pretty spectacular and important goal.

How are the club doing this season?

Not a great start. Bottom of the league. Hopefully we can start winning league games or could be looking at the drop. Very early days and still in major cups.

Who do you really look forward to playing and why?

Auchinleck Talbot away is always a great and whisper it we have a tremendous record away at Beechwood in the last decade. Meadow are not as good at home though for some reason v Talbot.

Grass pitches or artificial and why?

Grass pitches as far better to play and watch a game on but totally understand why teams have artificial pitches due to our weather and great extra income source plus can train on it too as much as you want.

What do you enjoy most about Junior football?

Having a laugh with my friends and enjoying watching my local team.

What would further enhance the junior experience?

More things for kids to encourage them to come along. Better promotion of the game as a good affordable way to enjoy a few hours on a Saturday. We would all love better terracing, nice toilets and floodlights but most teams just struggle from one month to next but has been noticeable ground improvements in almost all West Super League teams.

Where would you like the club to be in ten years time?

To still be around in the top league and challenging for major honours as we currently are.

Best Meadow XI of last 10/15 years.

Wardrope

Swift
Mason
Robertson
Staunton

Turner
McTurk
Fleming
McCann

Maxwell
Barr

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