Ritchie tournament a real Musselburgh showstopper

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The Edinburgh Festival may be in full swing as thousands pack the streets and venues for the many shows and acts that will grace the Capital, but as Musselburgh Windsor Football Club proved last weekend, they are just as able at pulling in a crowd.

The club held their annual Kenny Ritchie Football Tournament where a host of teams were invited to take part in a competition which has been running since 2004, and was renamed after Ritchie’s sudden death in the summer of 2010. Clubs participating included Edina Hibs, Edinburgh City, Arniston Boys’ Club and the well-travelled Lanark to name but a few.

With somewhere between 500 and 600 young football enthusiasts having competed over the course of the day, not to mention the large gathering of family and friends swarming the touchlines, the pitches 
at Pinkie St Peters were certainly bustling as the hotspot for youth football. Musselburgh Windsor’s Honorary Club President, Scott Robertson, was thrilled by the support of those in attendance and believes a first-class day was welcomed by all. He said: “I think it’s probably the biggest tournament in East Lothian. We’ve had emails, phone calls and text messages from people saying how well run and organised it is so it’s great. Everybody seemed to enjoy the whole atmosphere of it all and there was a great turnout where it was very busy. It’s a family event where all the mums and dads and the grandparents come along to watch and the kids really got stuck in on the field.”

With the emphasis heavily 
focussed on participation, there was no shortage of medals on show for the boys and girls who took to the field. However, there was a special accolade awarded to Lanark Boys’ Club, recipients of the Malcolm Coyle Award for their conduct and attitude over the course of the day. Similarly to Ritchie, Coyle was a great ambassador for Musselburgh Windsor before losing his battle with cancer in 2004 at the age of just 30.

“I was best friends with Malcolm and I take a lot of satisfaction that we have this award,” Robertson said. “Lanark came a long way to play, they maybe didn’t win a lot of games but they never stopped trying. They showed great sportsmanship during their matches and fully deserved to win the award.”

Robertson reinforced the 
endeavours of former club legend Kenny Ritchie and paid tribute to a man who devoted some much of his time to the development of young, aspiring footballers. A specially commissioned bench with commemorative plaque was unveiled at the facility by Ritchie’s relative Stuart, pictured. The bench overlooks the new 3G synthetic pitch in Ritchie’s memory and will serve as a reminder of the admiration he had for his hometown club.

Robertson added: “He was huge for the club. Kenny was born in Musselburgh and played for both the Grammar school and Windsor. He had many roles during his time at the club and also ended up running one of the Edinburgh leagues as well.

“He was a real worker but went about his business in such a quiet and unassuming way. He would sponsor various things and bought strips and things like that so it was a long 30 years of service. He was just fantastic for us.”