By DANIEL TULLY
JOHN CAMPBELL hoped to uncover one player for Newmains United’s first team in his first two years at the club.
He did it in just a few months.
Campbell took over the Victoria Park’s academy when it was launched a year ago.
A development team and 2007s side were created as the club looked to create a player pathway.
Campbell boasted an impressive CV having coached at pro-youth level with Dumbarton and Hamilton and knew it would take some time to implement plans.
But by the turn of the year midfielder Daryl Conarty had been promoted by top team co-bosses Paul Davies and Craig Gupwell.
With the second string Under-20s side entering the Lowland Development League, an additional 2007s team has also been added for when football resumes.
Campbell said: “The whole point of having an under 20s squad is to produce players for the first team.
“In a wider context we’re wanting to produce a squad that is competitive and which can hopefully win games and challenge for leagues and cups.
“However our success will always be measured on how many players we can get into the senior squad.
“The 2007s squad has been quite a remarkable success, not just for the size of the squad but for the playing season they had.
“They were second or third when the league came to a halt and looking good for promotion.
“The development squad highlight would have to be Daryl moving up to the first team and playing a couple of games.
“Initially we were thinking if we could get one player from the development squad into the first team in the first two seasons that would be good.
“Doing it within six months puts us ahead of schedule.”
The uncertainty surrounding Scottish football amidst the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic has made it harder for all clubs to recruit.
Campbell said: “We’d normally be out at games and watching players who have maybe been recommended to you.
“Obviously we can’t do that and it’s frustrating. We’re just having to take people’s word for who’s a good player.
“At the same time we’ve spoken to a number of players who have played at a good level and there are a lot of positive signs we can build a squad that will be more than able to hold its own.”
United’s move from the juniors into the new West of Scotland pyramid setup could herald a new dawn.
It also opened the door for the Under-20s team to move into the Lowland Development League.
Campbell will take charge of that team along with co-manager Dean Beaton and believes the new structures will benefit his teams too.
On the new structures Campbell said: “It’s a superb idea. I think it’s great Newmains and the other teams who have joined can aspire to get into the Lowland league and beyond.
“I’m aware junior football had a long history but I think it makes sense to have football under the one umbrella.
“It gives Newmains’ academy the opportunity to attract a better quality of players because it offers the chance to work towards playing for a senior club.”
Anyone looking to get involved with one of the academy teams can call John on 07903 279638