THE chairman of Helensburgh FC says he expects the link-up between the club and Rhu Amateurs to “massively benefit” both clubs.

Paul Campbell said he was looking forward to concentrating on getting Helensburgh’s young players back in action after the historic partnership, unveiled last week, secured the future of the Helensburgh adult amateur team.

As reported in the Advertiser last week, the tie-up will see two senior amateur sides take to the field from the start of next season, both of them under the Rhu Amateurs name, with Stewart Maule managing the Caledonian League XI and Sam Gemmell in charge of the Greater Glasgow Premier League team.

That will allow Paul and his Helensburgh FC colleagues to concentrate on the extensive youth football set-up that will provide a pathway for talented young players to play at amateur level when they’re old enough.

Campbell said: “I think this will massively benefit both clubs.

“There is a long standing friendship and respect between both clubs – players regularly move between both squads, and both managers work well together.

READ MORE: Rhu Amateurs and Helensburgh FC announce historic partnership

“Both Sam and Stewart have done more for youth football than anyone else in the region, and it only makes sense that both can now carry that through to senior football together.

“Recent lockdowns have given everyone a chance to slow down and to have a hard look at what we need and want to do going forward.

“This link-up allows Helensburgh FC to focus on the youth set up and still provide a clear pathway from grassroots to senior football, and provides the Rhu-Helensburgh teams with players for years to come.

“The Covid restrictions have caused the club to hold off the introduction of our 2014 and 2015 teams and the hold up may also delay the start of the 2016 age group.

“Now that the future of the amateur team is safe we can focus on getting the kids back to football as restrictions gradually ease.

“I’m really looking forward to joining a club with a long history and I like to think we are the best present Rhu could get on their 125th birthday.”

READ MORE: Rhu captain says club spirit is alive and well despite season suspension

Meanwhile, dates for the end-of-season cup matches to be played by both Rhu and Helensburgh have been finalised.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday that the easing of Covid limits on May 17 to allow the resumption of competitive team sport is currently expected to go ahead as planned as part of the country’s move into Level 2 of lockdown restrictions.

Rhu’s group fixtures in the Caledonian AFA’s William Turner Challenge Cup are as follows: May 19 v Thorn Athletic (h); May 22 v St Joseph’s (a); May 26 v Dumbarton Academy FP (a); May 29 v Thorn Athletic (a); June 2 v St Joseph’s (h); June 5 v Dumbarton Academy FP (h).

Helensburgh’s group games in the Greater Glasgow Premier AFL’s FN Teamwear Spring Cup are as follows: May 19 v Vale of Leven (h); May 22 v South Lochaber Thistle (a); May 29 v Oban Saints (h).

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Meanwhile, Ardencaple Football Club has announced details of its training schedule as young players from across Helensburgh and Lomond get ready to return to action following the long lockdown lay-off.

All training sessions will be at Hermitage Academy and will be in line with Scottish Government guidance on health, physical distancing and hygiene.

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Club chairman Craig Holborn said: “We are thrilled to be getting things back to normal, or should I say ‘near’ normal.

“I’m sure all our players will be excited at the prospect of getting back onto the training pitch, and I would expect their parents to be equally pleased.”

The training schedule for Caple’s 11-a-side teams is as follows: 2004s Tuesday and Thursday; 2006s Monday and Saturday; 2007s Monday and Thursday; 2008s Tuesday and Thursday.

Small-sided teams: Girls on Thursday; 2011s on Tuesday; 2012s on Tuesday; 2013s on Tuesday; 2014s to start in May (date TBA).

Trial sessions for planned 2015 and 2016 squads have been provisionally arranged for Friday, May 7 and Friday, May 14. To arrange for your child to attend one of these, contact Euan Birss on 07954 420778 to make the arrangements and provide details in line with Covid guidelines.

The club is also seeking new players and coaches – see for contact details for each age group, and contact the relevant coach in advance of attending any session.