All change as troubled Fort William Football Club faces challenges head on

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Fort William Football Club have been ringing the changes again with a view to turning fortunes around on and off the pitch.

Kinlochleven businessman John Trew has stepped up as chairman, taking over from  Oliver Stephen who had only been in the role for a month, while coach Ashley Hollier and his team have also stepped down.

Last Saturday, the team suffered their eighth consecutive defeat of the season when they went down 3-0 away to Huntly. Having played and lost seven from seven matches, the club are firmly pinned to the bottom of the Highland League table.

Despite the current chaos, however, father-of-two Trew, who owns microbrewery equipment manufacturing company Oban Ales, is confident the club can turn its fortunes around.

He told the Lochaber Times the club will be strengthening its squad over the coming weeks.

‘The Huntly game was a poor performance from the lads, some looking unfit and some just not hungry enough for the fight,’ he said.

‘This could the biggest year for the club so far and I hope to see its fastest progression in many years… all brought on by the prospect of relegation.

Born in Manchester, Trew moved to the area 15 years ago and has been involved with Fort William FC for the past two years.

His main hopes for the season ahead are to avoid the playoff game and to get home games back on at Claggan Park.

‘The league chairman visited and noticed a vast improvement, while Scottish Football Association referee Billy Baxter agrees it is now up to Highland league standard and ready to play on,’ he told the Lochaber Times.

‘We had a lot of rain and the playing area is solid underfoot.’

Trew admitted that not being able to play home games was one of the biggest problems facing the club as they couldn’t prepare hospitality without certainty of the game going ahead.

‘We need to secure a lengthy lease that will allow us to build a new clubhouse and access grants for the seniors and youth teams,’ he added.

‘We are also looking at the prospect of an accommodation block for players that have to travel. We have to make the matchday experience better at Claggan Park. It can be grim sometimes. This will change if we get our homes games back.’

Trew also told the Lochaber Times that the club will be bringing in a new manager soon and in the meantime Tommy Lee and Callum McLean will take temporary charge. The new chairman thanked Ashley for the time and energy he brought to the club and wished him the best for future.

‘It’s going to be a crazy season and we want the fans to be a part of that, be our 12th man,’ he added.