Written by Sean Martin
Ex-footballers, politicians and fans have heaped praise on Greenock Morton’s recent Easter training camps. Kids between the ages of 2 and 15 years old took full advantage of the opportunity to spend their school holiday having fun and playing football. The camps, run by the Community Trust, ran for two full weeks at various locations around Inverclyde – including Inverclyde Academy, Port Glasgow Community Campus and Wemyss Bay Primary School.
First-team players including Marc Fitzpatrick, Fred Bachirou, Garry O’Connor and captain Dougie Imrie attended various camps, while manager Kenny Shiels made it round all of them in one day!
Former Morton midfielder Stuart Rafferty, now an SFA development officer for Inverclyde Council, commended the GMCT project. He said: “Once again, it’s great to see the partners all working together to provide the children of Inverclyde with a first class programme“.
The camps have been praised by a host of local figures, including Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil, who called it a “great pleasure”. He added: “This is a great project for the kids. They are getting access to some great facilities and they are learning in a way which is fun. It was fantastic to see the enthusiasm of the youngsters and indeed the coaches who are doing an excellent job.”
Likewise, Provost Robert Moran said he could see the kids who attended were “having the time of their lives”, while local councillor and lifelong Morton fan, Chris McEleny, said the project appealed to him both professionally and as a supporter.
“As a local councillor it’s refreshing to see the positive outcomes Morton are helping the kids achieve: whether that’s by promoting healthy living or helping develop people to become better individuals. It can only be good for Inverclyde.” Cllr McEleny added: “As a big Morton fan it excites me that we have a system in place that is helping produce the next generation of players to come through the ranks. I’m confident we could have the odd wee Messi or Ronaldo pulling on the hoops one day!”
Kids not only got to enjoy the training sessions – almost every day had its own special theme, from fancy dress and crazy hair days to a ‘Morton’s Got Talent’ show.
Partners in the project were Inverclyde Leisure and Active Schools, with IL’s Andrew Hetherington expressing his delight at its involvement. He said: “The camps link very closely with Inverclyde Leisure’s vision to help keep the local community active.”
Likewise, corporate director of education, communities and organisational development, Patricia Cassidy, highlighted the importance of projects such as these to children’s intellectual development as well as physical. She said: “The camps offer opportunities for young people to engage in fun activities to develop physical literacy in the younger age group and to develop physical fitness, agility and football skills for older children.”