Ahead of the 2020 season, we’ll catch-up with every single Scottish Building Society SWPL team. From new Head Coaches, new signings, and new aspirations, it’s set to be another exciting campaign.
We spoke to new Forfar Farmington Head Coach & Technical Director, Ryan McConville. The side finished 7th in Scottish Building Society SWPL 1 last season, a position that would see them in a promotion play-off space in 2020 against the side finishing 2nd in SWPL 2.
How are excited are you for the 2020 season? Very! To see the quality players on show in this league this season will be very exciting. I know quite of few of the new signings that have been made by clubs in recent weeks and my goodness, the talent on show will be frightening but such an advert for Scottish Women’s Football (SWF) and women’s football, for the advocates and supporters of the women’s game here, you’re in for a treat to see these players play.
What do you make of the changes for the new season? I welcome them all if I’m honest. It gives clubs extra incentives with the ultimate goal trying to stay in SWPL 1. SWPL 2 is going to be hotly contested, so there is going to be a lot of teams battling it out for that number one and two spot and I’m sure it will be an electric title race.
What are your aims and ambitions for the new season? Our aims are very simple. We have to work hard, stay together, and be patient. It’s going to be an amazing league to be part of and we have to show and earn the right to stay here, but I do believe in my players and have every faith in them.
Based on the other teams in the league, do you think this will be the most competitive season ever? It will definitely be up there, that’s for sure! With teams going full time such as Rangers and Celtic and them investing heavily and recruiting some amazing players, this league will be stronger than it was last year. Take Glasgow City and Hibs and put them into the mix with their histories in this league and my goodness it can only increase the standard and competitiveness of the league.
For National team managers, especially Shelly Kerr and Kenny Shiels, the players now being full time will get them more contact time on the ball and being in the full time environment will increase the standard of our national team. I am a Northern Ireland (N.I) fan at heart and with the N.I girls now here it bodes well for them pushing for our ‘wee country’ to push to qualify for a major tournament and with the past and present work that has been done in N.I it will happen sooner rather than later, that I’m sure.
With the new season around a month away, how have preparations been so far? I’d have loved another month if I’m honest! It’s been a whirlwind month for me, from living in US working at a great club and being very happy. I had no intention of coming home. Unfortunately and reluctantly, circumstances changed and timing/fate has led me to Forfar Farmington where in a short time I have met some of the nicest, hardworking people who are working their socks off to provide me, the girls and this club with the best tools available to try and compete in this league.
Do you have plans to/have you had much change to the squad? Off course I’m sure any new manager coming into a new club will have new ideas, goals, ambitions, and standards, and I’m no different! I have spent my life in the women’s game all over the world and achieved some great things from friendships, to titles, to seeing young players I have given opportunities to make their international debuts and going on to pursue their dreams in full time football. People can’t take away those things from me which is special. Unfortunately, my budget isn’t even 1% of what the top four’s budget is so trying to bring in players will be difficult for me.
For perhaps new fans of the women’s game, who are some players in your squad they should look out for? I’m still getting to know my players as I haven’t had that long with them but Cassie Cowper, Hannah Stewart, Charlotte Gammie along with a few of the old guard in Nicola Davidson and Alana Bruce have impressed me for sure. All the players at club have worked hard since I’ve came in and I’m sure some more will pop up on my radar the more I work with them. They are all important to me and that won’t change.
As well, are there any new/younger players we may see more of in 2020? There are a few young cubs that I have watched throughout the club who are 15/16, so with them working hard and showing ambition who knows what could happen for them this season but playing in the SWPL against top teams, players, and managers has to be earned.
You start the new season at home to Motherwell FC. What do you make of that fixture? They were tightly contested games last season but the recent return of the most decorated manager in Scottish Women’s Football has returned in the hot seat, so they will be hard to deal with I’m sure.
How important do you think it will be to get off to a good start? I think every managers answer will be the same and everyone will want to win their first games to settle the nerves and excitement of the new campaign, but nothing is decided on the first game of any season. For us at Forfar Farmington it’s important we give our best each game, have no regrets, and I will be proud of my players.
Finally, what would you say to encourage people to come and support your team this season? I would encourage any football fan to get out and support your local teams. There will be some amazing talent on show in the SWF this season and it will be great to bring young aspiring female footballers to these games. It used to be young girls based themselves on male players but now young girls are seeing their role models on the field and aspiring to be them. It’s exciting times for the female game.