Merger will put Cupar firmly back onto the Scottish footballing map

A merger between two of the area’s leading football sides may lead to Cupar boasting the best amateur team in Scotland.

Thursday, 9th April 2020, 9:11 am
Updated Thursday, 9th April 2020, 9:13 am
Sean Simpson will manager the side when football resumes.

That’s the hope anyway following the recent decision to bring together AMsoccer and Cupar Hearts.

The two have developed links over the past couple of years with several dads and grandads of AMsoccer’s younger players, and also AM staff, having played with Hearts.

A club spokesman said: “The partnership is aimed to create the best amateur team Cupar can have and build on the long history of Cupar Hearts.

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“The efforts of Cupar Hearts’ players, staff and committee, coupled with the innovative and ambitious approach of AMsoccer, should create a very strong team on and off the pitch.

“The partnership should mean that everyone on and off the pitch has a clear role with the ambition of working hard to make the team the best amateur team in Scotland.

“Both organisations hope the local community will get behind the team and new manager Sean Simpson in what could be a very exciting period for amateur football in Cupar.”

Another obvious connection is that of Austin MacPhee, founder of AMsoccer.

In 2007 Austin led Cupar Hearts and 3000 Cuparians to the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden Park and to Fife Cup victory for the first time in their history.

When he left after one season to enter professional football, his assistant, Robson Sibanda stayed on, winning an incredible 17 trophies including three Fife Cups and five league championships.

This outstanding feat also saw a record breaking fourth consecutive Kingdom Caledonian League Title.

Austin’s professional coaching career took a rapid rise after Cupar Hearts as he spent a number of years in the Scottish Premiership with St Mirren and also with Northern Ireland, as Michael O’Neill’s assistant, in over 60 internationals including Euro 2016 qualification in France and World-Cup play-offs.

He most recently had two spells as caretaker head coach with Heart of Midlothian in the Scottish Premiership and works for UEFA and FIFA in consultancy roles.

The plan is for the current AMsoccer amateur side to disband and for Cupar Hearts to complete the organisation’s player pathway from youth level.

AMsoccer, under the stewardship of Lindsay Sharp, who also enjoyed a fantastic Cupar Hearts career and Scottish Cup Final appearance, have gone from strength to strength. The organisation now has over 400 active footballers.

Over 60 young players have graduated to professional youth football, having seven professional debuts in Scotland with the most high profile being Dundee United striker Louis Appéré.

Cupar Hearts added that they will continue their partnership with Cupar Soccer 7s.