A DOCUMENTARY which has been made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Gourock Youth Athletic Club will be premiered in Greenock this month. 

The sponsored and self-funding film, 'The First Fifty Years', takes a trip back in time and gives a poignant insight into one of the longest-running sports clubs in the district.

The feature showcases its journey from humble beginnings to transatlantic trips to the USA, matches boasting top tier players and covers how it has helped thousands of youngsters to enjoy the beautiful game.

It has been a labour of love for Robert Ahlfeld, the YAC's general manager and coach, who also oversees the organisation of its famous seven-a-side summer tourneys. 

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He said: "It's taken three months to make the film, interviewing older people in the club and putting together hundreds of old photographs.

"We have pictures of some great footballers like Graeme Souness and Jimmy Johnstone in the celebrity match they played at Gourock which attracted 5,000 people.

"We have some footage of some of the Lisbon Lions in the clubhouse and the official opening of the club by former Provost Sir Simpson Stevenson.

"The film looks at the journey we've taken as a club over the years, including three American trips and to Italia 90.

"Six thousand young people have come through the club over the years and ladies were also involved in fundraising for it.

"In the club's first ever trip to Newcastle Paul Gascoigne played against us."

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A whole host of players who made it as professionals took their first steps in the game with Gourock YAC.

They include Neil Orr, of Morton and West Ham fame, Robbie Crawford, who played for Rangers and the Ton and now stars over in the USA, ex-Partick and Kilmarnock favourite Gary Harkins, Greg Taylor of Celtic and Scotland and many more. 

Demand has been high for the ticket-only premiere at the Waterfront Cinema.

Robert said: "We have even had enquiries from people in America, Australia, Germany and Italy."

The new film shows how the YAC has been much more than a football club over the decades, by running social events such as Christmas dinners for pensioners and the club rooms being used for family functions and as a meeting place for local groups.  

YAC honorary chairman Ronnie Ahlfeld said: "The club encompasses so many different age groups. Current Provost Drew McKenzie said 'my predecessor Sir Simpson Stevenson once said that Gourock YAC was part of the fabric of the town'. How right he was. There are not many people in the town who haven't heard of Gourock YAC."

Honorary treasurer and co-founder Brian Woods said: "The town with all the fundraising in the early days gave us unbelievable support."

Local video company Collective Voices, based in Gourock, made the film, interviewing around thirty people including teenager Luke Devlin, who is a fourth generation member of the club.

Ronnie said: "His great-gran Isobel Devlin was a member of the first ladies committee in the 70s,  his gran and  grandad Eddie and Janice ran teams and raised funds, his dad Craig played for the club and now is a coach and his uncle Graham played for the club for 11 years.

"Luke is an outstanding young man and he epitomises everything we tried to create over the years."

Brian added: "The film captures the spirit of the club - we've aimed to create not only footballers and sports people but to create good citizens."

The First Fifty Years runs on November 26 at the Waterfront Cinema and is a ticket-only event. A public showing will be held at the Torpedo Factory Club at a later date.