HIGH school pupils Steven Drummond and Bruce Connelly are the only local players left at Hawick Royal Albert.
With Royalists’ new training base at Bonnyrigg, and not Tweedbank, the Albert Park outfit have lost the services of captain Bryan Tait and Cooper brothers Malcolm and Luke, who signalled their intention to leave after Saturday’s defeat to Easthouses.
Tait told the Hawick News: “I’m gutted to leave the club as I’ve enjoyed playing for the Albert.
“It’s a pity the way things have worked out. Lawrie Dunn and his assistant Graeme Chadwick have been working hard to turn the Albert round and I have a lot of respect for them both as they know their football.
“A few Hawick boys left, though, and Edinburgh boys were brought in and as there were just a few locals, training was switched to Galashiels.
“I was prepared to train there and have done, but last week everyone was told it was going to be in Bonnyrigg instead. That’s a long way to go to train during the week after you’ve been working and so, along with Malcolm and Luke, I asked to be released.”
Manager Dunn reiterated his desire to see Hawick players in the side, but admitted things had got to a critical stage.
“It’s an impossible situation at the moment,” he said. “We had more players from outside Hawick than within the town and that’s why training was switched.
“Credit to Bryan, Malcolm and Luke, as they had the decency to be man enough to come and speak to me face-to-face in giving me their reasons for leaving instead of text messages which has happened in the past.
“I’m sorry to see them go as I really do want Hawick players in the side.”
Club chairman Graeme Paxton revealed the problems existed during previous manager Mick Murphy’s reign when he couldn’t get players to turn up to training. “This was at Albert Park, not Gala or Bonnyrigg,” he said.
“Lawrie and Graeme are getting the full backing of the committee and although there are problems at the moment, I’m confident they’ll get things sorted out.”