COVE CHAIRMAN KEITH ASKS PEOPLE OF ABERDEEN FOR A HELPING HAND IN THEIR BATTLE FOR PROMOTION
PACKED HOUSE: The Alan McRae Stand is full to capacity as Mitch Megginson makes it 2-0 to Cove Rangers against East Kilbride.
COVE Rangers chairman Keith Moorhouse is hoping football fans throughout the north-east will get behind their bid to step up into the SPFL.
Cove are about to take on League Two side Berwick Rangers in the SPFL Pyramid Play-Off Final, with the first leg taking place at Balmoral Stadium this coming Saturday.
The return is at Berwick’s Shielfield Park on May 18th and the aggregate winners will be playing in League Two next term.
Keith, who has been chairman of Cove since 2000, admits that’s the dream shared by him and all of the staff at the club who’ve worked for years in the hope of seeing them become the second senior club in Aberdeen.
And he believes their chances would be enhanced if there was a bumper turn-out this weekend for the first meeting against Berwick.
Close to 1200 fans turned out at Balmoral Stadium last Saturday to watch them beat East Kilbride 3-0 in the second leg of their play-off semi final and Keith admitted the backing the players received made a huge difference.
“The fans at the East Kilbride game were brilliant and really did their bit to help push us on into the final,” said Keith.
“The boys got a huge lift, as we all could see from their performance, it was one of our best of the season.
“The clashes with Berwick are going to be a lot tougher, they are a long established SPFL side who will be giving their all to remain so.
“Our chances of beating them in the first game to leave ourselves with the opportunity of progressing when we go to Berwick would definitely be enhanced if we could get an even bigger turn out than we did for the semi-final.”
Keith made a special plea to fans of Aberdeen, who will have a ‘free’ Saturday because their team are at home to Hearts on Friday night in the Premier League.
“If they are keen to get an extra fix of football then we would be happy to see them at Balmoral,” said Keith, who is a lifelong Dons fan too and goes to as many matches as his commitments with Cove allow.
“I can promise they will see a good game of football because there is so much at stake.
“It will be two teams fully committed because, in our case, history could be made over the next fortnight.
“It’s a chance to come and see the first leg of our bid taking place and being able to say you did your bit to help Cove if we do end up being successful.”
Keith is taking nothing for granted in what is their third attempt to succeed in the play-offs but confessed going up would “mean the world to him.”
“It’s our holy grail so hopefully this will be third time lucky for us,” he added.
“It’s going to have to be earned though, we have huge respect for Berwick Rangers.
“They have been a Scottish League club for a very long time and have a very proud history.
“But we have never hidden our ambitions to eventually get up to that level so we will, as we did in those previous attempts, give it our best shot.
“Like we found out before, it’s all about performing at your very best on the day, in both legs.
“Hopefully we can rise to the challenge this time and get our club to where we would love to be.”
Cove have reached the play-off final despite the fact co-manager John Sheran suffered a heart attack ahead of their first meeting with East Kilbride.
John, the most successful manager in Cove’s history, is now on the mend, but won’t be able to attend either of the clashes with Berwick.
Keith praised fellow co-manager Graeme Mathieson, first team coach Roy McBain and the Cove players for taking the devastating set-back of John’s illness in their stride to still see off the Lowland League champions 5-1 on aggregate.
“We are fortunate that we have high quality people right throughout our club,” said Keith.
“Everyone was devastated when the news that John had suffered a heart attack on the Sunday after we had celebrated winning the Highland League came through.
“It took a couple of days for it to kind of resonate.
“But when we got everyone together you could sense there was a burning desire to go and finish off the job John had started.
“Graeme and Roy in particular have been wonderful.
“That came as no surprise because they are both fantastic coaches as well as great people.
“Graeme has been with us 10 years so knows how much promotion would mean to us.
“Let’s not forget John is also his close friend, so it took a lot to be as focussed as he has been on helping the team after all that has happened.
“It’s the same with Roy, I really can’t thank them enough for how they have managed to get the guys in that dressing room performing during John’s enforced absence.
“it backs up my long held belief that Cove Rangers are more than just a football team.
“There has always been a sense of real togetherness about the place.
“From the board, the coaches, players to the army of volunteers who help on match days we see ourselves as all one.
“We also share the one ambition - which is to see Cove Rangers finally make that step up.
“Thanks to everyone pulling together we are really close again, but we will be proceeding with caution because we’ve been here before.
“Losing to Cowdenbeath in last season’s final was horrible, I don’t ever want to feel as bad again as I did when we were coming back up the road from the second leg of that.
“Hopefully it will be different this time, but we know promotion is going to have to be earned.”
RALLYING CALL: Cove Rangers chairman Keith Moorhouse.
BT Sport were at Balmoral Stadium last Saturday doing a special feature on Cove Rangers.
They interviewed chairman Keith Moorhouse and co-manager Graeme Mathieson as well as some of the Cove players and supporters.
The feature will be screened on BT ahead of their live coverage of the Aberdeen v Hearts match on Friday night.