RUNNING AWAY TO GRETNA
The Dream Team have a romantic engagement tomorrow when they face their first away trip in the Lowland League travelling across to Raydale Park where they face Gretna FC 2008. Both teams looking to kickstart their season with a first victory. Gretna will be aiming to show some bounce back from last week's nightmare against Shire.
Gretna 2008 are of course the phoenix from the ashes of Gretna and you may be surprised to discover that they were founded in 2008. The new club was actually founded before the old one went out of business so for a brief period in July/August 2008 there were two teams in Gretna. The new club is wholly owned by the Gretna Supporters' Society. Initially playing in Annan (but not at Annan Athletic) they were very quickly accepted into the East of Scotland league and their first game was a 3 - 0 win over Kelso United. By the end of the season they were back at Raydale Park where the original Gretna played and by 2011 the ground had been purchased by a community partnership of which Gretna 2008 are part. They were founder members of the Lowland League in 2013. Over the course of their time in the league they have been pretty much the dictionary definition of a mid-table club.
Rather oddly we have only played either version of Gretna once and that was last season in the Scottish Cup when we had that rarest of things - a win, 3 - 1. When the Mileson backed 'fairytale' of the old Gretna rose through the leagues we missed them completely making me think they are probably the only team to have played in the Scottish Leagues we haven't played.
They are managed by Jamaican international Chris Humphrey (12 caps) who had a decent playing over 12 years. Making over three hundred club appearances including decent spells at Motherwell and Preston North End. Humphrey joined at the end of last season
Last weeks result apart it hasn't been a great start for Gretna 2008, conceding three goals in the second half at home to Civil Service and losing 3 - 2 in the first Caledonian Braves match at Alliance Park. From the highlights I've seen they look quite a big, direct pacy team and they could give us some problems. New signing Ricky Miller should make his league debut for us and hopefully is experience will help us deal with them. The Dream Team will also be without Yaw Osei who serves a suspension following his sending off on Tuesday night.
The first match of the season at Raydale had some issues after heavy rain so goodness knows what today's rain will have done to the pitch.