Curtis Rose: Manager/Chairman, Glasgow Wellington FC – A Dream that became Reality

Is there any particular reason that you decided to create a new club? Especially during these difficult times.

I’ve played at a decent level through the years, I left East Stirling about a year ago and I didn’t have any other offers. Personally I was just at a crossroads about what to do and the rest of the boys (co-founders) were just the same. The treasurer Scott Murphy played in the Lowland League and a couple of the other boys, Adam and Ryan, were more fans who played at Amateur Level. They were all sick of football and stuff like that.

We weren’t really doing anything with Football at the time. Lockdowns hit, I just basically finished uni, well I was writing my dissertation at the same time, and the boys were working from home kind of bored. It wasn’t because of boredom we done it. Whenever we would go for a pint, back in the days you could go for a pint, we’d talk about our own football saying “he’s not got a clue and that should be done right”. We always said one day we’ll go show them how it’s done.

It was over a weekend I was sitting thinking about it. Then I took the bold step of basically applying for the league with this team called Glasgow Wellington just to see if we got some correspondence first. It was the Strathclyde Saturday morning league and we just said to them we’re a new team can you help us with the process and they were like yeah definitely. So I did that before I even asked the boys if they wanted to do this and I knew they’d say yeah. I think the only thing that worried them was the name because I don’t think they were keen on having a football team named after the Duke of Wellington with a cone on his head. Thankfully they all jumped at it straight away and the best thing about us was that it was 4 best mates so we all wanted it.

Was there any reason behind calling the team Glasgow Wellington?

We wanted to do it with a bit of personality behind it because anyone could start an amateur team on a Saturday and then go play and have a couple pints after the game. That’s probably what we were expecting at first, long-term I don’t want to settle for just that.

The reason why I named it Glasgow Wellington was because it was eye-catching and it could relate to your average west of Scotland Glaswegian person. Straight-away that would catch anyone from Glasgows eye and there is some sort of connection there. They will see that badge and think there’s that guy on the horse with a cone on his head.

Then the plan was to get a strip with a Glasgow effect on it, basically Glasgow on a football strip, so again people felt more related to it and part of it. We didn’t just want to have like a funny name and thats it, we wanted a full brand at the club.

Your kit is not just an eye-catching kit in Amateur football but probably one of the more eye-catching ones in Scotland. How did you come up with it?

It was through an old manager of mine, I played for Hawick when they were in the Lowland league about 4 or 5 years ago, the manager was Kenny Aitchison who is now also with Appin. We were looking for something different. We had to get a way of getting money into the team because we probably picked the worst time to start a football club in the middle of a pandemic with no money so we had come up with something a little outside of the box.

So we got in touch with Kenny at Appin sports and said we want Glasgow on a top and try and involve all the landmarks you can. He got in touch with people at the company and they’d send over templates and designs. Every one was getting better and better. We had actually agreed on one at first which was the Appin logo and across the torso was just the skyline. It looked pretty smart but it was still just a white top with pictures on it. After that thankfully Appin said we were eventually getting a map on it so it showed Glasgow. Luckily they came up with the goods. It was a bit of a hit, it went a bit viral all over social media.

After creating a lot of buzz with your kit this season is there a lot of pressure to make sure next seasons kit is just as good as the current one?

We’ve made plans for that already. We will always try to have that effect, it might not be as detailed, but it will always have Glasgow landmarks on the strip, it will always have the Duke as the badge, it will alway have that relatability to the everyday Glaswegian so thats what we’re aiming for going forward.

Sadly the club won’t have the opportunity to make its competitive debut this season, is it just a case of getting everything ready for your first competitive game next season?

The reason why you start a football team is to play football. When I first tried to get a squad together, I was lucky enough to get a lot of the boys that I’ve played with or played against over the years to commit. I was saying by June, July you’ll start training and hopefully by August the season will start. A week would pass and you’d think maybe September now. Then you got to June and you were like, oh no October is when we are at least going to start. I think July was our first training session.

Not long after we had our first game which we got beat 11-1 in but that was like after two training sessions. We were a new team where a lot of guys don’t know each other and we were missing five or six key players that I wanted to come along. Then within a month we played a training game between trialists and boys I’d signed and a couple of friendly games. We won 7-2 in our last game which was really a shame because we’d been working in training, boys were getting to know each other, we done a lot of work in four or five weeks. To win that last game and see actual progress in the team, to then being told the league was called off for six to eight weeks, here we are now in February and the seasons cancelled now. It’s frustrating but in a positive sense it give us time to make sure we are ready to start the season. I think now we’ve established what we’re about now.

The main thing about this year in going forward now is establishing ourselves on the park. It’s alright us sitting here and saying we’ll do this stuff off the park, we always will want to make a club in Glasgow where everyone is welcome, but now its about establishing ourselves on the football pitch. We have high hopes for that and ambitions. Hopefully in April we can start at least training again and then have a proper pre-season.

Most clubs are tasked with only signing one or two players in Summer, you were looking to sign a squad , how did you find that?

We got a group of about 15 players to start with are first and foremost good players. They knew what standards I set and knew what we were going to try and do. Thankfully they said yeah and took the chance because a lot of them could’ve been playing junior football, for more established amateur teams or even senior football so they’ve bought into what we said to them. I’m hoping to do the same year because obviously we’ve not played any football but I’m sure they’re aware of everything going on.

We have had a lot of interest because of the operations of the club. Every other day there’s text messages, Facebook messages, Twitter messages saying we’re look for a club and stuff like that. We’ve not told anyone no yet as such. We’ve said listen we’ve got a full squad but come 2021/22 season there will be more playing opportunities, which we will be announcing in the next couple of days. We want to get more people involved in the club, we want to grow, so we will have our main team on a Saturday but we’ll have a couple of other teams where people can get involved and be part of the club.

Obviously the club is just coming for it’s one year anniversary but are there any major long-term goals going, like a potential move into junior football?

First and foremost we need concentrate next season that’s a given. I think if we’re an established team, still running next year, then we’re happy where we’re at. In 10 years time we’re still at this level we’re happy with that because we’ve lasted 10 years as a football club.

Ultimately we do have goals to move up higher. This has come from a lot of encouragement from outside the club, from people who play football and supporters of other clubs who have seen the stuff we’ve done and given us positive comments. I think networking with other clubs, making partnerships as well, they’ve been impressed with what we’ve done and the infrastructure we have.

Junior football is something we’d pursue to do but we’re not going to jump into it too early. We need measure it and make sure it’s the right time for us as well. I think if we were to sit everyday in lockdown and make sure we had every bit of criteria covered we probably could do it sooner rather than later but it makes sense for us to establish ourselves at this level first. We need to generate a footballing history first then go for that. Even at this level we have ambitions and trophies we want to go and win. This first target this year was to win the league but obviously it was null and void this season.

We have short-term goals and long-term goals. We’ll put work into the long-term goals but right now we’ve got to focus on the short-term anyway. One day we do want to push up the ranks but it will come down to whens best. We won’t rush it and we won’t put any unjust panicking or excitement into it.

If you do end up joining the junior leagues there is always a chance that you could end up in League 2 in the distant future. Has that ever crossed your mind?

That’s the dream to be honest with you. In 40 years time and I’m still here and the Dukes are still here, even if we get into the Scottish Cup once or twice and we get a Rangers or Celtic I think you could die a happy man. You have a club that your four best mates have made that got to play at Parkhead, Ibrox or even Hampden.

The thought of a team with the Duke of Wellington with a cone on his head as its badge playing against Celtic or Rangers does seem surreal doesn’t it?

I think that’s the Glasgow banter. We’ll put the work in but we won’t take ourselves too seriously. We’ll make many mistakes, in our first ever game we got beat 11-1, but again I think the badge resonates with people. First and foremost it is a wee bit funny and it is kind of surreal.

I support an Old Firm team but I think a lot of people in Glasgow, even outside Glasgow, are sick of the sectarian stuff when it comes to Rangers and Celtic. I’m not going to sit here and say in 50 years time Glasgow Wellington are going to be challenging Rangers and Celtic for the league but we want to be another option for this part of the world. If they like their football and they don’t want to be seen as a Catholic or a Protestant or a Rangers man, Celtic man we want to be seen as another option.

I know we’ve got some great clubs in this city as well but I fell like they’ve established themselves for what they are and they’ve had their history. We want be that new team with a clean canvas and represent that other side of Glasgow.

How does it feel having so much hype after only playing three games in a year?

That’s what gives us hope. What makes it special for us is that I’m doing this with my best mates so it means a bit more and it’s a bit more special. We want a club there for people to come and join and see it grow.

The hype it’s getting far and wide it’s pretty special. If we can be something extra that people can believe in and something people look forward to coming out of Covid then brilliant.

Sometimes you can’t believe it, even interviews like this it’s crazy, even daft things like Si Ferry wearing our kits on Open Goal. We’ve sold nearly 500 kits worldwide, to America, South America, Vietnam, Australia and we had a guy from Portugal order 15 last week it’s just mad. If this just us starting out and we keep working hard I’m sure there’s more to come. We’ve had a wee taste of it now and we want to work harder.

Is there anything else you’d like to say before finishing the interview?

Just watch this space really. We’ve got massive plans for this year. We’ll be growing together and I’ll be growing as a manager. I’ll be starting my C license this year and then going from there, working through my coaching badges as the club grows. All the boys are learning on the job so as much as the marketing hasn’t been too bad this year we’ll get better at what we’re doing.This is just the start for us and we are going to get bigger and better.

We just need to be careful and not get too far ahead of ourselves. It is exciting but we need to make sure we don’t get caught up in that excitement and take it day by day. If we still have the same hype this time next year then brilliant we are doing something well and that would be nearly two years we’ve been established. We’re looking froward to the future and I’m excited to see where we are in a years time. Bring it on!

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