Club focus: Sam McKee hopes Rory Hamill can make Bangor Amateurs more professional
Bangor Amateurs will be hoping that former Northern Ireland international Rory Hamill can help them earn promotion from 1C of the Amateur League.
One of the first things new manager Sam McKee did was recruit the former Fulham and Coleraine player.
McKee explained: “Rory is someone I've known for a long time. He wasn't with anyone so when I got the Amateurs job I asked him to come down and play for us and he was happy to get involved.
“It's great to have a player of Rory's quality at the club, as he is someone the young players can learn from. He's also been doing coaching and the sessions he has taken have been top class.
“Obviously he's at the tail end of his career but I'm hoping he will find 1C easy enough – he still has all the quality of a top-class player.”
Sam McKee joined Bangor Amateurs just one day before the 1C season kicked-off, but the former Bangor coach is happy to be back in the dugout again.
“I haven't done much since I left Bangor last year, where I was Frankie Wilson's first team coach. I helped TJ Young out at Abbey Villa at the end of last season, but I was looking to get back into management.
“Then last month Bangor Amateurs approached me about taking the reins there, and I was more than happy to do so, as I have many fond memories of playing for the Amateurs.
“It was tough because when I arrived at the club there wasn't much quality about, but since I took over I've signed 12 players, which has helped improve things.”
McKee was thrown in at the deep. The Amateurs played a derby game less than 24 hours after appointing their new manager.
“I got the job on a Monday night and we faced Bangor Swifts the next day. To be perfectly honest I didn't know the names of half of the players, but we got a team together in about half an hour, and they went out and gave it their best.
“They did really well. We drew 2-2 and we even had chances to win the game in the final 10 minutes. Bangor Swifts are a team who have been knocking on the door of promotion for a while, so it was a good result for us considering the circumstances.”
Although they've made a respectable start in the league, the Amateurs have already crashed out of three cup competitions this season.
“We've now been knocked out of the Border Cup, the Steel & Sons Cup and the Irish Cup, which isn't ideal but to be honest my focus was on the league anyway," he said.
“Against Albert Foundry in the Border Cup we were very unlucky. We lost 3-2 and we actually led 2-1 at one point. Their manager Colin McIlwaine said to me that if we keep working hard then we won't be too far away come the end of the season.
“Unfortunately we lost 10-0 to Downpatrick in the Steel & Sons the following week which was very disappointing. I've been involved in football for years and I don't think I've ever been involved in a 10-0 defeat. It was frustrating, because we gave up when we went 4-0 down. But it's forgotten about now – we've moved on.”
Although Bangor Amateurs have struggled in recent years, in the past they have won prestigious competitions such as the Junior Cup and the Clarence Cup. McKee is hoping his appointment can start another successful era in the Amateurs' history.
“The committee have asked me to aim for promotion and that's exactly what I intend to try and achieve. For me, Bangor Amateurs are a sleeping giant of Amateur League football. I remember in the 1980s when they won trophies galore under Neil Tipping.
“I'm not saying I'm going to bring the glory days back, but I think I can get the club going in the right direction again. I'm happy with how things have gone so far.”
Name: Bangor Amateurs
League: NAFL 1C
Ground: Clandeboye Road
Colours: Red and Black
Gaffer: Sam McKee
Skipper: Trevor “TK” Kennedy
Sharpshooter: Ex Glentoran man Rory Hamill
Most Skillful: He has a strange name but McAuley Simpson is very skillful
Hard Man: IT has to be TK
Club Comedian: Colin Moore thinks he's funny.
Best Moment: I haven't been at the club long enough.
Club Man: David Morrow does a lot of hard work for the club