The number of players released by Berwick Rangers this summer seems slight in comparison to other SFL clubs. Six players were released and this may be because although Jimmy Crease’s Berwick were 10 points behind the play offs at the end of the season but they were around and about for most of the season. Some have called it a clear out but the real clear outs have happened elsewhere. There are 10 players from last season signed on for the next, a further three still to sign and a new signature for the Berwick fans.
Ian Little has yet to be formally announced as the Assistant signing on from this year but we can assume this will be a year he will see winning the league or being in the play offs as possible. The cup game against Celtic was always more romantic than anything else but the focus and the cash it generated will have helped jimmy in brining a few faces in close season. As the summer progresses though we may see Berwick running out of time to take advantage. This is another club where bringing people in can be dependant upon how close you live to the club or can make the training.
The man who ended up with the number one shirt towards the end of the season, Ian McCaldon was already signed on for another year and the other goalie on the books last season, Mark Peat has been offered terms – just waiting to hear if he wants to stay on.
Jamie Ewart’s leaving has come with a bit of a rumour of some behind the scene bust ups with management and it has certainly caused a lot of internet chatter and speculation. With Chris McLeod, Lee Currie – who came in January from Hibs, Elliot Smith, Andy McLean now joined by new signing Richard Walker who can also play in midfield. There has been speculation linking Berwick with Fraser Forrest returning. It seems that Crease is happy with his defence. You have to go back to the beginning of March to find a clean sheet for Berwick so let’s hope Jimmy can see what others can’t…
In midfield two went in the shape of Stuart Callaghan and John Grant – who only came from Alloa in January. With Paul Currie and David Greenhill signed on there has been some speculation over whether Steven Notman will return though terms have been offered. Richard Walker may find his way in here earlier than he may have expected if there is a slow start to the season.
Up front there is a lot of speculation, though no official announcement that former Alloa front man Stuart Noble has signed. This would be a good signing and he will join Ian Little, Damon Gray and Fraser McLaren in the squad. McLaren had a hard season last year due to injuries so it will be a bit of faith from Crease that sees McLaren resigned. Speculation also surrounds Darren Gribbon and some seem to be suggesting he is joining Hamilton Accies for the First Division. Up front Noble may be the answer if he can continue to perform as he has done over the last few seasons.
As already said Crease needs a decent run towards a play off spot. Partial success just brings frustration so we shall see how he starts. A good start and Berwick will be in the mix. A bad start and that could make them play catch up too early on. Pre season there are games against Hibs, Hamilton and a Newcastle XI. Following those games Berwick Rangers will enter the two cups away – away to Clyde in the Ramsden’s Cup – a win would help confidence – and away to Partick Thistle – good display but falling out the competition would be what Crease will hope for.