FOOTBALL is back in Helensburgh ­– and the next generation of young talent in the area has got off to a hugely promising start.

Ardencaple FC kicked off a brand new initiative in the town last Friday night, when around 30 budding stars of the future gathered with their mums and dads at the playing fields on East King Street to enjoy an hour of relaxed and fun football coaching.

Held under the banner of ‘Caple 1st: Football Fun for Wee Dribblers’, the session was aimed specifically at children born in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

All received an official UEFA Euro 2020 album ahead of the finals next month, enabling the youngsters to collect and swap stickers of all their favourite players – among them, of course, the Scotland squad who are about to feature in the country’s first major tournament finals since 1998.

Caple chairman Craig Holborn said afterwards: “We are absolutely thrilled to have successfully launched Caple 1st – designed to offer local boys and girls their very first experience of football in a fully inclusive, fun and safe environment.

“Despite Covid restrictions easing in general, we remain incredibly frustrated by rules and regulations that continue to prevent us from running Caple 1st at the Academy.

Helensburgh Advertiser: The Ardencaple 2013 squad is on the lookout for new playersThe Ardencaple 2013 squad is on the lookout for new players

“It is difficult to see common sense in some of these constraints, and especially one that forbids parents of five and six-year-olds from remaining inside the Academy during coaching sessions.

“However, we must exercise our duty of care to ensure that all players, coaches, helpers and parents stay safe so the club has no option but to accept its responsibility to comply with all guidelines – hence the reason behind our choice of venue as it allows parents the opportunity to spectate, providing a much-welcomed comfort factor for children and parents alike.”

The latest Caple 1st session took place, again at the East King Street public park, on Friday, May 14, from 6-7pm.

Any players born in 2014, 2015 or 2016 – or their mums and dads – are asked to call Euan Birss in advance on 07954 420778 for further details, or simply come along on the night.

Craig continued: “The SFA is rightly concerned by a significant drop in the number of players participating at grassroots football and are committed to restoring participation back to or hopefully above pre-Covid levels.

“As the region’s only fully accredited platinum club, Ardencaple FC occupies an unrivalled position to facilitate and enjoys unique access to a variety of privileges on offer from the SFA.

“We are currently reviewing the portfolio of services that we offer to our community and considering several options that could boost numbers locally.

“Naturally, we are delighted that the SFA has ring-fenced funds to invest in platinum-accredited clubs like ourselves in support of such initiatives. Further announcements will follow in due course.”

Caple are always on the lookout for new players, coaches and helpers at all the club’s age groups. Relevant details can be found at or by searching Facebook for “Ardencaple Football Club”.

In particular, the 2013 age group is looking for new players.

They train on Tuesday evenings at Hermitage Academy and play matches on Sundays – anyone interested should call Scott Fulton on 07940 567571.