'Anywhere can be a field of dreams if you dream big enough' could easily be the adopted mantra of Lesmahagow’s newly installed team boss Neil Schoneville.

The seasoned centre-back , hitherto found playing with good effect at the heart of Conference A title hopefuls Bellshill Athletic’s defence until the inaugural WoSFL season was prematurely ended by a Covid-19 influenced null and void declaration, took up the reins at one of his former clubs in midweek and wasted no time in appointing the likewise vastly experienced Alan Colquhoun as his No.2.

One might understandably assume this fledgling move into management was something the duo had previously discussed at some length (well, they are brothers–in-law) however it is not family ties as much as a shared ambition to achieve their footballing goals that has led to them teaming up.

A mountain of work awaits them at Craighead Park, starting with the basics of putting a team together as only two players Darren Lygate and Jordan Whitefield are currently on the Gow books however soon to be 39-year-old Schoneville will certainly not lack for recruiting contacts in this respect.

His playing career saw him go around the block with no fewer than 11 clubs, a track record bettered by former goalkeeper Colquhoun whose remarkable longevity in continuing to perform between the posts until reaching 47 years of age saw him turn out for fully 13 sides (some more than once).

Speaking last night, Schoneville said he was relishing the prospect of building a team from scratch and insisted his signings would most likely be solid rather than spectacular…for now.

He revealed: “I was part of a pretty decent playing squad here at the Gow when the club’s decision to withdraw from the WoSFL at the start of last season sparked a  dressing room exodus.

“Taking a year out at my age was never an option so I joined Bellshill in order to keep playing and most of the guys moved out for the very same reason so I believe my number one priority is to try and persuade those former team-mates of mine to return and play for Lesmahagow.

“The vibes from the ones I’ve phoned up to now have been promising and I’m more than pleased with the progress made however football is such that not everything will go according to plan and that’s why Alan and I have drawn up a list of around 7/8 potential signing targets.

“I’ve also signed a playing contract myself and will not hesitate to pull on the boots if needed but hopefully that will not be the case.”

Asking the Motherwell-based ace if his managerial style would be influenced by the many gaffers he has played under since turning Junior as an 18-year-old with Coltness United brought him to reflect: “Probably the most successful was John Brogan whose liking for  my winning mentality and fondness for a challenge saw me play under him at Yoker for seven years and another three seasons at East Kilbride Thistle as well as smaller stints at Wishaw and Lanark United.

“I still keep in regular contact with Brogey and would not hesitate to phone him for advice however I’m also fortunate insofar as my former Gow gaffer Rab Irving has stayed on at the club in a Committee capacity and is there to give me a steer if necessary.”

Schoneville makes no secret of his desire for Lesmahagow to figure among the Conference title challengers.

He adeed: ”My understanding is the Divisions will revert back to as you were before the withdrawals which puts us in A Division along with my former Bellshill team-mates.

“No doubt, they will  be one of the challengers and I fully expect Arthurlie, Johnstone Burgh and Shotts Bon Accord to be there or thereabouts as well though but  I’m not so familiar with the threat posed by the Ayrshire sides, and there’s eight of them in total.

“Annbank United were impressive in running out 3-1 winners against Bellshill so I’m happy they have been shipped out to their original  B Division place however you might see a dark horse emerge from the likes of Girvan, Irvine Vics or Whitletts Vics.

“The unknown factor becomes more of a concern when you consider only four promotion places are up for grabs with the title winners qualifying for the Premier Division and the next three best placed teams stepping up to the Championship so our aim is for Lesmahagow to hit the ground running.

“For that to happen we need to have all our playing bricks in place sooner rather than later so the hard work starts now!” 

Meanwhile, WoSFL Board vice-chairman Gordon Boyd has confirmed the five teams to have so far submitted applications to join the WoSFL (allegedly Harthill Royal, Harmony Row,  Kilbride Thistle, Bridgeton based Finnart and Glenvale from Paisley) will be parachuted into the conferences, if successful, but will be unable to gain promotion in the first year.

WoSFL chiefs want to reserve that right for the original 67 member clubs to pave the way for a 16-team top flight at tier six in the SFA pyramid system the following year with a first, second and third division at tiers seven to nine.

Boyd said: "Our door is always open to ambitious clubs but we felt we had to protect our member clubs just now and give them a first real shot at promotion without the risk of other teams coming in and overtaking them."

Also hearing that clubs are to receive the green light to arrange their own friendly matches and mini local tournaments once the Coronavirus enforced a ban on outdoor contact sport is lifted as anticipated on May 17.