Weston manager calls for more support from town

Weston manager Craig Laird

Weston manager Craig Laird - Credit: Archant

WESTON’S manager has issued a rallying call to the entire town, saying that although the Seagulls are doing well in the Blue Square South, they could achieve even more with added local support.

Craig Laird was speaking after a busy week for Weston, in which the team broke into the play-off positions with a 2-0 defeat of Tonbridge Angels, and then fell out of them on Tuesday as they were beaten 4-1 by local rivals Bath City.

He has also added a little Hispanic flair to his squad through the signing of Spanish midfielder Anton Alvarez Alando, a former teammate of current Spain international Fernando Llorente at Athletic Bilbao.

Saturday’s victory against Kent side Tonbridge Angels lifted the Seagulls up to fifth place in the table after a double from winger Ross Stearn, who has enjoyed a fine run of form since joining Weston last summer.

But in an enthralling match on Tuesday night, the Seagulls found themselves 2-0 down inside the opening half despite having most of the play.

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Although Stearn halved the deficit through a penalty, Bath added gloss to the scoreline in the second half with goals from Josh Low and Mike Stephenson.

Of the result, which has seen Weston fall back to sixth in the table, Laird said: “If I went as a neutral to watch that match then I would think it was a fantastic match.

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“We had much the better of it, and could have been 3-2 up at the break but again our finishing – our Achilles heel – came back to bite us.

“We’ll dust ourselves down and work with the players to improve on it.”

Laird said that former Wycombe Wanderers and Newport County striker Charlie Griffin – Bath’s second goalscorer – was emblematic of the gulf between Weston’s budget and much of the rest of the league.

He continued: “He’s played in the football league and won a trophy (the FAW Premier Trophy in 2008) – we haven’t got that, but we have got a great group of players who have been in the play-offs once this season and will be back there again.

“The budget at Weston is far reduced from what it used to be, but it’s a properly-run football club and the chairman has done a fantastic job.

“We are only 20 or so places below Bristol Rovers in the league pyramid and we could even be playing them next season, which is a massive achievement.

“But we need more people from the town to contribute, by helping fundraise or support the club – if people want the club to go to the next level, which we definitely can do, then they need to put their hands in their pockets.”

Laird’s newest signing, 27-year-old Alando, joins until the end of the season, with the two having worked together at Bridgwater Town.

A former apprentice at La Liga side Bilbao, he has just completed a stint at SC Zamudio, who play in the Tercera División, Spain’s fourth tier.

He added: “We’ve got him on the cheap, he has come because he agrees with our style of football and he enjoys working with me, which is a massive compliment.

“He’s got a good passing range and a decent shot on him, so I think he’ll be a good addition.”

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