IT’S how Bertie would have wanted it.
Coleraine Football Club chairman, Colin McKendry announced a new affiliation with Bertie Peacocks Youths FC at the junior club’s awards night in the Lodge Hotel last Saturday night.
And what better occasion to sign an official agreement alongside Aaron Moffatt, the Bertie’s chairman, than the club’s 10th anniversary dinner.
In front of 325 guests, which included coaches, players, parents and friends, Colin issued a rallying cry for unity between the town’s two clubs.
And his message was crystal clear: “We want the best players at Coleraine Football Club, regardless of what club or what town they come from.”
He said the new partnership would bring Bertie Peacock Youths - named after one of Coleraine’s greatest players and managers - into the Showgrounds fold.
A Bertie Peacock Suite is to be introduced at the Showgrounds - similar to the one currently used by the Academy players - and facilities also will be made available.
“This means that we can all move forward together for the benefit of Coleraine,” said Colin.
Watching the agreement being signed was Bertie Peacock’s grandson Ron who was attending the occasion with his children Darcy and Fergus.
Also attending was Bertie’s good friend, Milk Cup chairman, Victor Leonard, ex-Limavady United boss Jimmy Calvin and Coleraine boss Oran Kearney.
It was also great to see Davy Edgar and Johnny Law back together again - the two men who set up Bertie Peacocks in April 2006.
Johnny hailed the new affiliation with the Bannsiders, saying: “For our club to progress we needed to be linked to a senior club and I’m delighted that it has happened because I believe it will be brilliant for both clubs.
“Davy and I are proud and honoured and can’t wait to see what’s going to happen in the next ten years.”
He also appealed to the club’s coaches to continue to develop their skills and expertise for the benefit of the young players under the charge.
Coleraine manager Oran Kearney praised Johnny and all the coaches on the tremendous progess they had made over the past decade.
“I want to congratulate the people who helped to get this new arrangement over the line and it shows a willingness and commitment to put our young people first,” he said.
“We want the best players in the town playing for Coleraine FC. We want others to follow in the footsteps of Glen Law, Mark Edgar and Lyndon Kane.
“And I call on all of you to now raise the bar, to become more professional, to make your club even better but the most important thing no matter what you achieve is the love of the game.”
Milk Cup chairman Victor Leonard was also effusive in his praise for the club the man it was named after. “Bertie was Mr Coleraine and was an ambassador for the town and for Northern Ireland.
“He was loved by everyone in this town and I was privileged to call him my friend. This club has been built on strong foundations and has a great future - congratulations to all the teams, players and coaches.”
The historic evening saw a review of the season expertly delivered by chairman Aaron Moffatt and his vice-chair, Sean Devine.
The club now has over 200 players on his books and will introduce an under-17 team for the first time next season.
Bright days lie ahead indeed...and Bertie would just love that.