Royalists hit by player shortage as manager quits

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Hawick Royal Albert’s wretched season hit a new low on Saturday when the struggling outfit were unable to raise a team, writes John Slorance.

The town’s senior club could only muster seven players from a 20-strong squad for the East of Scotland First Division clash at home to Burntisland Shipyard – and further drama was to emerge when stand-in manager John Fettes resigned following the cancellation of the game.

“I’m absolutely gutted that we couldn’t raise a side. It’s been my biggest disappointment ever in football,” he said.

“It wasn’t for the want of trying, though, and I’m completely drained attempting to get a team on the park. But because of a multitude of things we have had players missing and unfortunately I haven’t got any magic dust to make players appear.”

Explaining his decision to quit Albert Park, Fettes continued: “I realise that results have not been good and as manager I have to take responsibility. However, I was hoping to get the job for next season and had plans to which included bringing local players into the side.

“The recent team problems got me thinking, though, as I was giving too much time to football, so I decided to resign. However, I leave Hawick on good terms and wish the club well.”

Talking of the fixture cancellation, Albert chairman Jim Borthwick said: “We have to plead guilty, we have no defence. The club will be punished and we’ll just have to accept it. Saturday was a bad day but it’s over now. And we’re now going about the job of fulfilling our fixtures for the rest of the season.”

Looking ahead to Royalists’ remaining games, Borthwick added: “Coach Alan Mckenzie and player Ronald Fleming will be in charge of the team until the season finishes. The side will be made up of present players from the Albert squad and Hawick boys.”

Today (Saturday) sees Royal Albert at Duns (kick-off 2pm).