Football: Bay boss delighted with historic title

The victorious Cruden Bay JFC players hoist manager Eric West aloft.
The victorious Cruden Bay JFC players hoist manager Eric West aloft.

Cruden Bay manager Eric West has said clinching the PMAC Group First Division East title was his proudest moment.

The Junior side claimed the title - their first honour since the turn of the Millenium - after a remarkable 10-game winning streak.

Cruden Bay Junior FC players celebrate their historic league triumph.

Cruden Bay Junior FC players celebrate their historic league triumph.

Preseason favourites Bridge of Don Thistle were unable to halt the march of the Bay and could only finish second, two points behind the champions.

West, who was appointed at the beginning of this season, told the Buchanie: “Even though I took on a good team and we signed a lot of good players, my expectation was that we would finish mid-table.

“I think we’ve definitely gelled faster than expected.

“It was when we beat Bridge of Don in early April that we really began to believe.”

Cruden Bay Junior FC players celebrate their historic league triumph.

Cruden Bay Junior FC players celebrate their historic league triumph.

The visit to Bridge of Don was a massive day for the team, for reasons both good and bad.

With the game level at 0-0, the Bay were dealt a crue blow when Beddie was stretchered off with a broken leg.

The team rallied after what was a distressing moment to grab three goals and set their course for the summit of the division.

West continued: “With each victory the pressure and expectation built.

“The fitness levels were good but it was the mental strength I was impressed with.”

“Every game became a cup final because we knew it was in our grasp if we kept winning.”

The last time Cruden Bay failed to pick up all three points was back in mid-March, against Newmachar United.

Since that day, West’s side have netted an incredible 25 times and only conceded five.

Club secretary Terry Dando shares the manager’s belief that the victory over the league favourites was crucial.

He said: “The turning point was when we went there and beat them.

“That became our launch pad and once we did that we knew the possibilty of league victory was there.”

Both Dando and West admit their side faltered over the winter period when weather-hit pitches hindered the style of their play.

But one they lifted that trophy - described by the manager as ‘one of the best feelings’ of his life - there was no need for excuses.

Celebrations deseredly ran long into the night and now all associated with the club can turn their attentions to what comes next.

Dando said: “Next season is going to be a fight with the quality of opposition we will be facing. It’s all about consolidating now.”

And West added: “It will be a massive step up and I think surviving next year would be as big an achievement.

“We will need to strengthen but the guys who got us here deserve a chance to prove themselves.”