stair park dressing room

CLOSE season? What close season?

While players and supporters have enjoyed a break from the weekly dramas of Scotland’s League One, Stuart Millar and the rest of the backroom staff have been working away behind the scenes.

It has been a hectic few months for Millar, who became the club’s director of football earlier this summer.

He said: “I had an opportunity to go elsewhere in the summer to quite a prestigious club that is close to my heart.

“I was tempted to go basically because of the situation last season and the difficulties we did have.

“But, again, it was a very successful outcome.

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“I felt drained as I thought I did everything I could.

“It was then decided by the committee and myself that the role of director of football would appeal.”

Since the decision was taken, Millar has had a hand in just about everything related to the club over the summer months.

New kits, transfers, contract negotiations, arranging pre-season friendlies and more have all been on the to do list.

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He said: “The manager and myself had a huge list of players, of potential targets, for the coming season.

“But, first of all, we had to meet the existing players.

“The manager decides who stays and goes and, so, from that point of view, he had submitted a list of players he wanted to keep.

“Bearing in mind it was a hugely reduced budget, he told the players who he wanted to stay.”

Millar then discussed the reduced terms with players with some, inevitably, deciding to move on.

That meant a sizeable rebuilding job for the club.

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Lyle Avci, Andrew McDonald, David Brownlie, David Smith, Adam Cummins, Mark Lamont, Connor McManus, Max Ashmore, Ian Smith, Luke Donnelly and Isaac Layne have all come in while Sam Lidington has returned following a season-long loan at Hurlford United.

Millar said: “We have lost a huge amount of experience.

“We knew it would be difficult to attract experienced players.

“Experienced players have been used to decent money throughout the years and I felt Stranraer had lost control a bit of the salaries."

The director of football is involved in plenty at Stair Park but will not “interfere” with the team selection.

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He will suggest potential signings and try to find players who could strengthen the Blues’ squad.

Millar added: “If the manager does not fancy a player, we do not take it any further.

“Ultimately, the manager has full control.”

Finances will, obviously, also have a massive factor in whether players join the club.

However, that is not to say Millar has not been busy flicking through his little black book of footballing contacts to try to call in a favour or two.

It was a method which paid off massively last year with the loan signings of players like Angus Beith, Dean Hawkshaw, Dylan Dykes, Ross Lyon and Cameron MacPherson.

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Millar, who previously enjoyed a spell as assistant manager at Stair Park under Neil Watt, spoke to the club website a couple of days before the Edinburgh City game and said: “For example, today, I have been on the phone to Celtic about a loan player.

“I’ve spoken to Motherwell about a loan player, I’ve spoken to Hearts about a loan player and that is just ongoing.

“We have got a bounce match in training and have three or four trialists coming in for the manager to look at.

“Financially, do we have the money? Probably not but you just keep hoping somebody sticks out.”

Photos: Stranraer FC
Stair Park is the venue on Saturday 4 August for Stranraer's first league game of 2018/19.

Pick up your season ticket from the Fitba' Bar or Stair Park to save up to £55 on league entry.


L01 Raith W

 

SPFL 3L1 6474

POS
TEAM PLD
PTS
1 Arbroath 10 24
2 Raith Rovers 10 20
3 East Fife 10 19
4 Airdrieonians 10 13
5 Brechin City 10 13
6 Stranraer 10 12
7 Forfar Athletic 10 12
8 Stenhousemuir 10
9
9 Dumbarton 10 8
10 Montrose 10 8


Fixtures

2018/19 Squad

1 - Max Currie (GK)
2 - Daniel Higgins (DEF)

3 - Chris McGowan (DEF)
4 - Andy McDonald (DEF)
5 - David Brownlie (DEF)
6 - Connor McManus (MID)
7 - Mark Lamont (MID)
8 - Kyle Turner (MID)
9 - Isaac Layne (STR)

10 - Luke Donnelly (STR)
11 - Grant Anderson (M/S)
12 - Ian Smith (MID)

13 - Lyle Avci (GK)
14 - Cameron Elliott (MID)
16 - Max Ashmore (MID)
17 - David Smith (D/M)
18 - Innes Cameron (STR)
19 - Ciaran Diver (STR)
20 - PJ Crossan (STR)

22 - Jamie Hamill (DEF)
23 - Adam Cummins (DEF)