Jul 6 2012 by Andrew Burns, Dumfries Standard Friday
GRETNA 2008 are still hopeful of being awarded a Scottish Football Association (SFA) club membership in time for the new season.
The Raydale Park club recently hosted SFA representatives, who travelled to Gretna to assess the stadium and facilities.
Nothing has been confirmed since but manager Kenny Brown said that are hopeful of bagging the licence from the governing body. This would allow Gretna to be included in the draw for the Scottish Cup first round, six years after the former Gretna FC lost out to Hearts in the cup final at Hampden.
Brown said: “We are hoping to get the SFA membership through in time to allow us to compete in the Scottish Cup. The first round will take place on August 25 and we don’t know whether we’ll be competing in that or the Alex Jack Cup.
“We were visited not so long ago about the SFA membership but haven’t heard anything since.
“They were very impressed with the facilities at Raydale and the set-up of the club and we are confident that we will be granted the licence.
“Time is tight but it would be great for the club to compete in the Scottish Cup again. Not only this, but having full membership has its other advantages, like receiving the pay out if you have experienced a tough winter.”
The club has been unable to apply for the SFA membership since its formation in 2008 as the application process requires the submission of three years’ of full accounts.
The application was made earlier this year and a decision is due imminently.
Meanwhile, manager Brown has confirmed the signing of nine first-team players as he prepares for his debut season in the Raydale hotseat.
Dean Rea, Adam McMath, John Jardine, Joe Slattery, Nicky White and Jordan Atkinson have been retained from last season’s team, which finish an impressive sixth in its East of Scotland Premier League debut.
And Brown has snapped up former Queen of the South youth striker Steven Degnan, midfielder Phil Middlemiss from Threave Rovers and Barry Stockdale.
That brings his new-look Raydale Park side to nine confirmed players, but Brown said that he is hoping to sign up to ten “eight or nine” more players.
He said: “I have been really pleased with training and the team that I have managed to build so far.
“We have nine just now but I will probably look to sign another eight or nine players to bring it up to 17 or 18.
“We have averaged 22 for each training session but obviously not all of the lads will be signing.
“With the pre-season games coming up, we will get as many of the boys played as possible and assess it as each game passes.”
Gretna kick off their pre-season fixtures this weekend, with three of the four games to be played at Raydale Park.
Brown’s team welcome English North West Counties League side Ambleside United before hosting Queen of the South next weekend (July 14) and Cleatormoor Celtic Raydale on July 21.
They then travel to Gateshead to play Dunston UTS, winners of the FA Vase at Wembley last year, on July 28.