Football: Rothesay friendly forges a trans-Atlantic friendship

Bute YFC's under-13s pictured with the New York Gunners before Sunday's friendly.
Bute YFC's under-13s pictured with the New York Gunners before Sunday's friendly.

BUTE Youth Football Coaching’s under-13 team had a taste of international action on Sunday in the shape of a friendly against the touring New York Gunners youth side.

The Gunners, from Staten Island, are coached by former Bute resident George Macdonald, who went to New York in 1997 to see the Rolling Stones play live, met a local girl and decided to stay.

The 77-strong touring party, comprising players, coaches and family, visited the island at the start of a ten-day tour of Scotland which will also include friendly matches against youth teams from Stenhousemuir, Falkirk and Hibernian.

The well-drilled Gunners side proved too strong for the BYFC team, who don’t yet have a programme of regular league fixtures, and the visitors triumphed 7-2, with Ronan Officer and Lewis Poole scoring for the hosts.

But the day was less about the result than about the occasion and the experience, and all involved seemed delighted at having the chance to forge a trans-Atlantic bond of friendship.

Said George: “This tour has been two years in the making. It’s great to come back here and see the same places and the same wonderful people. The kids have loved it, and the parents have absolutely loved coming here.”