Interview: New Lesmahagow Juniors manager Neil Schoneville hopes to lead promotion charge
New Lesmahagow Juniors manager Neil Schoneville hopes to lead a charge up the leagues after replacing ’Gow legend Robert Irving in the Craighead Park hotseat.
Schoneville, 38, a ’Gow centre back for three seasons, was Player of the Year in the squad which reached the Sectional League Cup final in 2018 and clinched promotion in the same campaign.
He told the Carluke and Lanark Gazette: “During the interview for the manager's role I basically told the committee that my ambition was just to get Lesmahagow as high up the leagues as possible and I was looking to bring a mix of youth and experience into the team.
"I’ve got a lot of contacts in the game through who I’ve played for. I’ve played for 21 years in the juniors so I’ve got a lot of experience and a lot of contacts who I can phone up and try and get players etcetera.
"Those were the lines I went down so the committee must have been pleased with it.
"When I signed for Lesmahagow three years ago I fitted right in, got on well with all the committee, the management, all the fans.
"So my phone’s been non stop with fans messaging me saying ‘congratulations’ and ‘looking forward to it’.”
Schoneville, who played for Bellshill Athletic in the 2020-21 West of Scotland League campaign after Lesmahagow withdrew, will this weekend talk to 11 ’Gow players about staying into next season; he is optimistic they will all put pen to paper.
He is also already beginning the process of bringing in fresh blood, with an additional seven or eight players targeted.
"Fingers crossed we get a good team on the park and we can push for promotion,” he said. "I will sign as a player. I’ve still got a lot to offer but I will only play in an emergency, if we’re short or we have injuries in that area of the park.
"But at the start I’m not going to be picking myself in the team, I want to be on the sidelines managing.
"We want to try and get players in who are good enough to get promotion.”
Although next season’s West of Scotland Football League isn’t due to start until July 17 after a coronavirus sabbatical, ’Gow will start contact training on May 17 and they’re in a Lanarkshire League with hosts Newmains, Carluke, Forth, Bellshill and Royal Albert, from May 29.