Only way is up for Kirkcaldy YM

YM manager Kenny Crawford, chairman Ramsay Budd, assistant manager Charlene Lessells and coach Billy Blyth. Pic: Fife Photo Agency
YM manager Kenny Crawford, chairman Ramsay Budd, assistant manager Charlene Lessells and coach Billy Blyth. Pic: Fife Photo Agency

The only way is up for Kirkcaldy YM after finishing bottom of the pile last season.

The Denfield Park side claimed just one victory in 26 league games, and collected only nine points in total as they propped up the South Division.

They were only spared from being the worst side in the entire East Region by Forfar Albion, who finished bottom of the North Division with a point less.

YM were already toiling when current manager Kenny Crawford took over midway through the season, along with assistant manager, Charlene Lessells, Fife’s first female to take up a coaching role in the senior men’s game.

They inherited a squad of young boys, most of whom had come straight from age group football and were struggling to cope with the demands of a physical junior game.

But with years of experience as a successful coach in the amateur ranks, as well as spells as a youth coach at Dundee United and Raith Rovers, Crawford is confident that he can turn things around in what is his first management job in junior football.

“There is huge work required to make sure that next season is a vast improvement on this one,” he told the Press.

“We will need to bring in several new faces and they need to bring experience, good attitude, discipline and a winning mentality with them, along with their ability.

“We are currently chasing a whole host of signing targets but the reality, with no money available, is that we will mainly need to raid the amateur leagues for these players.”

One of Crawford’s main priorities is to increase the age of the squad to help compensate for the inexperience that was often their downfall last season.

“The current squad is too young and inexperienced through no fault of their own,” he said.

“We got some good performances out of them a couple of times, notably against Rosyth and Oakley, and some good either first or second halves scattered here and there, but in general we simply were not good enough or consistent enough.

“The league table doesn’t lie so we need to accept the reality of the situation and make sure we do something to alter it next season.”

Crawford took over the YM when they were already marooned near the bottom of the table, but he had hoped for an improvement in results.

“It’s been a difficult half season since arriving in November and I’m not going to lie, I’m bitterly disappointed that we never made as big an impact as we’d have liked to,” he said.

“However, we inherited a squad of guys who were stuck in a losing rut and appeared reluctant to alter their ways to change this situation.

“Again some of this can be put down to the youthfulness of the squad as some Saturdays it was literally men against boys. They are decent guys, they just need older heads around them on the park and to learn to listen to management so they can flourish instead of flounder.

“Those who know me, however, will know how much I love a challenge and along with the rest of the coaching staff I look forward to overcoming it.

“We look forward already to pre-season training and the chance to train in the lighter nights and to implement our own ideas.”