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2013/14 Season News

Focus On The Future - Dale Finnie

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Focus On The Future - Dale Finnie

PostedSeptember 16, 2013

In all the excitement of a new season and the new signing that the club have made it would be very easy to forget about the exciting young prospects we have at the club that are breaking into the first team and those knocking on the door.

At Cowdenbeath we pride ourselves on giving youth a chance and producing quality young players that with a bit of luck can star for Cowdenbeath FC and then go on to prove themselves at higher and higher levels.

In light of this, I felt it was important to give a bit of spotlight time to some of our young talent. I recently met up with Dale Finnie and spent a bit of time with him speaking about his career so far.

Dale has just returned from a horrific injury, which not only took massive amounts of courage on his part to get through but support from his family and the club.

Here is what he had to say:

SH: How long have you been at Cowdenbeath?

DF: I’ve been here for three years.

SH: Did you come through the youth ranks here?

DF: My trial was with the 17s but ive been with the 19s.

SH: Through that time what has been the position you have played in?

DF: Throughout that time I have played mostly centre back the whole time, occasionally a holding midfielder.

SH: Is that your preferred position?

DF: Yeah centre half or centre midfield. I guess just wherever I am told to!

SH: Is it the 19s that you mainly feature for just now?

DF: Yeah, the 19s started back on Sunday and the reserves also on Tuesday. I’m hoping 19s will get me my fitness, play well for them and get my confidence back and then get into the reserves.

SH: First game back on Sunday for 10 months how was that?

DF: Yeah

SH: What exactly was your injury?

DF: I had torn my cruciate and then had trouble with a bit of bone/cartilage in my knee.

SH: As a young player I imagine that would be a pretty tough time with operations etc.?

DF: You don’t ever expect it to be you, you hear about it but you don’t expect it to be yourself. That was quite difficult to get over. Mentally more than physical, everything is coming together now and its starting to go my way.

SH: How were the club during that time with you?

DF: The gaffer (Colin Cameron) was brilliant, I have got a lot of respect for the gaffer from through that time. A lot of the stuff I think he didn’t have to do and went out his way to do it, I really appreciate that and the club were brilliant.

SH: I assume as well through that time you got a lot of help from home?

DF: Yeah my mum and dad were brilliant they got the operation for me and they have been brilliant the whole way. Whether it be the first couple of weeks where I cant do much and I am in bed to being there where I have had to do stuff myself. They have been there the whole time and been the good people, I have been thinking I cant do this, they have been the ones encouraging me and telling me I can. They have been brilliant.

SH: How is it now, do you feel like you are getting back to where you were?

DF: Slowly, I need to take it step by step. Sometimes I am having a training session where it is good and I am thinking that’s me and I am getting a wee bit too much and then getting brought back and then trying to get back to where I was the week before so I think its just taking step by step.

SH: That’s the reserve league and the 19s league all starting now, is that something you are looking to be actively involved in over the next few months?

DF: I am hoping to be involved. Fingers crossed if my knee is fine I can play with the 19s most weeks and stand out and hopefully get games for the reserves which is what I am pushing myself to do I can do the same there. It’s my third year now, I think this year will be quite big for me. I want to be in the reserves and trying to make the gaffer see what I am capable of. I’m hoping to be actively involved in both and see where it takes me.

SH: There is definitely a merit in the reserve league then? For a while they looked to try and cut that, I personally think there is a need for it, would you agree?

DF: Yeah there is definitely a merit in it. You need it. Without it, it can be too difficult the jump from the youth leagues to first team its different. Each level is a step up you can see it whether it’s from 17s to 19s or 19s to reserves. If you are with the first team you notice it there too. The first team boys being there too, whether they are injured or they need game time its what you need.

SH: Is it helpful to learn from the first team players coming into the reserves?

DF: Just with them being there and their knowhow. It’s the wee things that you pick up on, they make the difference for us. With us being young and a bit eager we don’t think too much we just go and do it. Where as they tell us you don’t need to do that, you are doing a 20 yard run thinking that will impress, you don’t need to do it, if you sit and wait you can get yourself on the ball and get it back. With them being there it does help a lot, you pick up a lot of stuff and you see that, hopefully, coming through with the young boys.

SH: Being a part time club essentially with a couple of full timers does it help having them in for training every day?

DF: You see it its good that its like that it’s a good blend with the full timers, a couple that have been there a couple of years and the young boys and we have Robbo back as well. You can see from his time away, his extra bit of sharpness, its good to watch. It pushes you on, you want to get a bit closer, you see them doing something and think nah, he’s not getting to do that again. It gives you that extra yard and extra drive to go and try and do something.

It is a really good thing to have, we have a really good setup just now.

SH: You look at those that got a shot at the Premiership, boys like Robbo, Darren McGregor, that’s bound to be a positive for the young ones?

DF: Quite a lot of boys are being recognized and are being spoken highly of and you can see with Robbo having his chance and done well from what everyone could see and I am sure he will stick out here again. Seeing that people can go out and go places, it can only be a good thing for you to believe. That’s what we are hoping for us, seeing that happen to boys you work day to day with its brilliant to see.

SH: Nobody at the club is under any illusions its great to see young boys move on to bigger and better things. Having been around the club for a few years I see a good crop coming through time and time again, albeit the surroundings maybe aren’t top class but I think as a club we are doing things the right way, would you agree?

DF: Definitely. It’s a good place, we have a good atmosphere everyone is fighting for the same thing. Throughout the club you can see whether it’s the gaffer, other coaches, the youth coaches people that work in the office etc. everyone wants the same thing, everyone is trying their hardest. It makes it easier for everybody and it’s far more welcoming.

SH: I would say speaking form my point of view, the place does have a good atmosphere just now, going into what is going to be another hard season we are punching above our weight, our budget is smaller, our facilities aren’t the best in the league and we are part time. I think that gap can be bridged by the togetherness and general attitude, is that something you agree with?

DF: The attitude just now will help us, we will be classed as underdogs a lot of the time and I think we can only thrive on that really. I would take that as a positive and push on and prove people wrong.

SH: I obviously only see so much of the other teams but we seem to be trying to play football the right way at all the levels?

DF: We are trying, that was only my first game back with the 19s but you can see we do try and do things the right way and I think that’s throughout the age groups. 19s try and pass it, we do it on game days. Sometimes it works and sometimes not but we are trying it and trying to keep it. The reserves as well we are trying to play the right way and the first team. We are all trying to do the same thing from top to bottom. It’s brilliant to see.

SH: How does it feel to see boys like Lewis, Kyle and Dean get into the first team?

DF: It’s brilliant for us. I am in everyday with them and to see them doing it gives you good belief and faith that you can do it. They are doing brilliant but all of our young boys the full timers feel that if it got to the stage in a season through injury or that, I think we think we could do a job. Not to be arrogant about it but a quiet confidence to do it. If the gaffer comes in and says bring your boots, they would be up for it.

SH: A game that stuck out to me would be Sheffield United at home. First half, we held our own and second half we played a more youthful side and I thought we looked phenomenal. Sharp, quick and eager and that can only bode well for the future

DF: I remember that game and it was one of my favourites of the season so far. First half we did hold our own, they were a big physical side and obviously they are fit and well trained. Second half I thought we played them off the park at times and for us being a really young side in that second half for them to have that experience whether it be their youth or experience its brilliant for our boys and it shows we are doing well and everything is going in the right direction.

SH: When you look around in your training and you think everyone is good but he stands out a mile. Is there a player like that just now?

DF: There are a few good boys, Lewis has always been good, he has a good chance. Pyper (Jamie) as well, I have always thought Pyper was a good player and is starting to get confidence. Callaghan (Liam) has got something about him too. There are a few good boys, just now with the full timers I wouldn’t look around and say anybody’s not really got a chance. I think it depends on who gets a wee bit luck or who hits some crazy form. Every one has a great chance, it looks bright for a lot of people. I think looking at the 19s we have got a good side. The reserves are a really good side as well.

SH: The start to the season has been strange we haven’t really got what we have deserved. But on Saturday there (Dumbarton) we got the winner eventually. Even last season I cant really recall us getting a hiding. Do you think that is down to our battling qualities?

DF: I am pretty sure there are going to be games we get beat and that will happen, we are going to come up against some good sides. But I don’t think there will be a stage whether we are 1-0 down or 3-0 down I don’t think we will ever give up until the whistle goes. The gaffer has got that drilled into us at training. Even if its fun possession games, a team will get a bit of a battering but they will keep going and take their forfeit. I don’t see us being a team that will go down lightly without a fight. We do have that battling quality and teams that come to Central Park will find it unpleasant if we can keep it going.

SH: How are things having the gaffer and Lee Makel?

DF: They are brilliant, I enjoy working with them. When I come into the first team stuff. Obviously full time with the gaffer, he does help us out a lot. Since my first time here when the gaffer took it I learned a lot and have a lot to learn and will learn. But he is great at telling you and getting you in the office and having a chat. I have been in the office today and chatting about how I am doing and Makes (Lee Makel) as well. They are good with having a bit of a laugh with us and keeping it a bit fun and building our confidence. When it needs to be serious its serious though. I think the way training has been, especially this season it has been a lot better. Well structured and it will show on the pitch.

SH: The board has showed a bit intent with an idea of consolidating as a Championship side. We talk about youth and creating a good spine to the club, but is it also good to see the board back the manager like that with quality like Grant Adam, Kane Hemmings etc?

DF: It is good, we have a good spine in the club but you need sometimes a bit of a backing. I think the gaffer will appreciate being able to bring in a few quality players. It will pay off, Grant Adam as you say is a great keeper, Kane he is exactly what you said he is a natural goalscorer. He will pop and he has done that and got a goal in nearly every game and I think that is going to pay off. Hopefully we can consolidate as a Championship club and I definitely think the gaffer will appreciate the backing.

Its great to have them in and about the club and it’s a big lift and there is a good competition for places and that’s important. It’s a real positive for us.

SH: Competition for players can only be good and I am sure it will help with players dropping into the reserves for game time for boys like yourself to learn?

DF: Quite a lot of people will be annoyed now and then but competition for places will bring the best out of everybody. The gaffer will see that and he can see that so far, if everyone is fighting to get chances you are only going to be trying your hardest. Boys that normally wouldn’t might find themselves playing in the reserves but it’s only a chance for them to shine, to say to the gaffer You maybe put me here tonight but I will hopefully be there on Saturday.

SH: What’s your aim for the season?

DF: I think realistically in my head is keep fit. I want to stay fit, I have not had anything since I have come back training. I want to play my 19s just now getting fitness and getting confidence back. My aim is to be playing in the reserves and consolidate my place there and try and do well. I want to be getting close to the first team this year. Whether it is getting to train with them everytime. I want to maybe push the gaffer to think about me for the first team or the bench. To be playing is what I need this season after a year out and we will see where it takes me.

SH: In your time at the club so far what sticks out as your favourite moment?

DF: There have been periods in quite a few games. So far I would have to say the game on Sunday, there have been others, but just because when the injury happened it might have been that I wasn’t going to be back playing. Just to get back and get on a pitch again and have a bonus and get a goal just felt like a big relief and a big pay off.

SH: As a player a footballing icon?

DF: I know a lot of people would say Ronaldo or Messi. For me Vincent Kompany or Puyol, Collocini. Just because I am a centre half and looking at ones that I see are the best. Especially Puyol or Collocini because I am not the biggest centre half you will see but they are not either but they show what they can do.

SH: Is there anything else you want to let the fans know?

DF: Just that they should be confident. Whether it be the 19s or the reserves or the first team it could be a pretty good season. If everyone stays confident or fans stay supportive at games at home and away it would be brilliant. If we get good crowds here (Central Park) I am sure they will get rewarded because I think it will be a good season.

SH: I have been to reserve and 19s games and I would say they are worth going to as it’s an opportunity to see the future but the football is good too and well beyond what we get credit for.

DF: I think a lot of people wouldn’t give the 19s or reserves the credit they deserve as they do play good football. I think if people do come along to the 19s games and the reserve games you are going to see who is coming up and it would be good for everyone and the young boys. If there is a bit of a crowd there it only spurs you on.

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