Article in the Scotsman 07.06.11 : view it hereBY CRAIG FORBES
ELEVEN players who paid £200 each to earn the opportunity to prove they are good enough to win a professional contract with Stirling Albion, have been invited back for pre-season training by the Second Division club after impressing at trials on Saturday.
The only fan-owned club in Scotland's senior leagues has earned recognition for a series of groundbreaking initiatives, and the latest involved the launch of a 'So You Think You're Good Enough' challenge to footballing hopefuls.
The response proved it was an idea worth pursuing as 39 players paid up for the chance to be picked, immediately raising more than £6,000 for the club.
Stirling spokesman Paul Goodwin said: "We're not a club with a large bank balance or a large overdraft, so the 'So You Think You're Good Enough?' initiative is vital income for us."
The hopefuls - a mixture of home-grown, English, Irish and Austrian players - were put through their paces at Stirling's Doubletree Dunblane Stadium by the club's manager Jocky Scott and former Tottenham and Ajax striker Ally Dick, who is now helping with coaching sessions.
The pair whittled the group down to a batch of 11 potential signings.
Those players have been invited to attend the club's pre-season training where they will be assesed further before a final decision is made by Scott and his management team on whether they can offer them terms.
Stirling were relegated after finishing bottom of the First Division last season and their squad was trimmed at the end of the campaign as they try and rebuild under Scott for a promotion push from the Second Division.
The possibility of unearthing hidden talent appealed to Scott and he was delighted with the turn-out and quality on show. "The standard of player on trial on Saturday was extremely high which is reflected in the number of players we've decided to invite back to our pre-season training camps," he said.
"The plan is to have each player with us over a two-week period working with the current squad and other players we are looking at signing.
"We'll finish off with a full match against a junior side and by then we will be in a position to decide if we want to offer contracts to any of the players."
Pre-season training will start on 14 June.
Goodwin added: "We need to keep trying new things to generate interest and income in the club and this has been extremely successful. 'So You Think You're Good Enough' attracted almost 40 trialists and generated thousands of pounds of new income for the club.
"The calibre of player that took part in the trial was of a very high standard resulting in the manager inviting almost 30 per cent of them in for pre-season training to get a closer look at them.
"Our thanks go to all players who took part in the initiative and wish everyone who didn't make the cut this time all the best in their quest for a new club."
Congratulations to the eleven successful candidates! We hope you enjoy your experience at Stirling Albion and that it opens many doors for you in your career.