A Wee Trip to See Our Club… and why you should invest in the Braves!

21st May 2024

Last month, we were delighted to welcome Braves owner Mason Gendron to Alliance Park, who documented his trip to visit the club he proudly owns...

by Mason Gendron 

“Have you ever dreamed of owning a football club?” The words spoken from my phone one August afternoon took root in my head, and I tried to answer that question for myself. I guess I have occasionally dreamed of striking it rich and pouring my money into something in the hopes of seeing it prosper, and maybe that far-off dream has been a sports team from time to time, but surely that doesn’t matter because I’m not David Beckham or Matthew McConaughey or Ryan Reynolds or Rob McElhenney or Will Ferrell or JJ Watt (there's a lot of these guys now).

Something was different about this opportunity, though. What Caledonian Braves FC was offering to me (and absolutely anyone else from literally anywhere) was the chance to own a part of a Scottish football club for as little as $100. What do you do when you have that opportunity? Well, speaking from recent experience, you buy a few shares and hope for the best.

I began as any new fan begins – by watching players whom I don’t know play a sport that I claim to understand. Over many weeks – which led to months – of watching home matches and listening to live audio commentary of away matches, my fiancée and I were in the preliminary stages of planning a vacation with no set destination, and what else comes to mind but the home of our Caledonian Braves – SCOTLAND.  

Now, I wish that I could say that I’m thorough in my trip planning and arrange everything ahead of time to a perfectly organized itinerary, but of course, that would be a lie. In the theme of transparency, I will be clear that we did plot out some cities and places we would like to visit across our 10-day trip, but other than knowing that we would be watching the Braves play their last home match of the season, we had no clue what we were doing. Luckily for us, Chris Ewing is a much more thorough planner than I am, and, very shortly after I reached out to let him know that we were coming over for a visit, he had made plans for us to be picked up from our hotel in Glasgow, brought to the match, meet the gaffer and team, and have a pint or two at a nearby pub before kickoff. “Yes, Chris. That sounds delightful,” is about the only response that I could come up with to convey my immense excitement while maintaining the newfound prestige I felt that I must embody as an owner of the football club.

A few weeks and about 20 hours of total travel time later, we were standing outside of a hotel in Glasgow and being waved at from a moving vehicle by none other than Braves Goalkeepers Coach Ross Paterson. Now, if you have not met Ross, imagine with me for a minute your stereotypical thick-accented, hand-gesturing Scotsman with a football match to coach in a short amount of time flying past everyone else on the road at 85mph while wearing flip-flops and thoroughly dissecting opposition analysis for the impending match and briefly diverting talking points to delve into Scottish municipal policy and the future of Alliance Park. He is truly a conversationalist. You’re going to love him.


Goalkeeping coach Ross Paterson with Adam Brown

As we make it to the grounds (safely) and suspect that we will stand around or find a seat to hold down for the next hour or so, Ross throws out a quick, “Well come meet the lads then,” – a very stunning statement when you are at any sporting events. Immediate excitement takes hold, as I cannot say that I have ever had the privilege of greeting or shaking hands with a team of whom I am a fan, much less a partial owner, and that enthusiasm does not drift for even a second when suddenly we are standing in the head gaffer’s office and being asked how we are managing ourselves after a full day’s worth of airports, buses, and trains. 

Leading up to this moment, I had watched my fair share of the post-match catchups and team-talk videos and clips spread across social media by the club’s hard-working media team, but I can now tell you from my personal experience that Ricky Waddell is a pragmatic optimist about this club and the future that lies ahead. If you ask him about the team’s chances against an upcoming opponent, he will actually tell you his thoughts and concerns, but in the same conversation, he will remind you that the Braves fight hard and have no intention of stagnation in the Lowland League or settling for mid-table finishes, and he maintains that belief while developing and sustaining close relationships with the players themselves.

Ricky introduced us to the team, and our excitement grew until (after an hour or so and a few pints later) we were standing around the pitch with other fans and owners eagerly fixated on our own Braves kicking off. Now I must admit that I am not a sports commentator and have never intended to be, so it would do everyone a justice to locate the “Caledonian Braves v. Cowdenbeath” highlight video posted across social media platforms to hear Callum Rattray provide much better color commentary than I could ever hope to. I will, however, let you know that the match was a back-and-forth thriller of both heart-wrenching and exhilarating moments brought back around for a 3-2 victory by the persistence and perseverance of the whole team… and the right foot of Josh Gemmell. We witnessed a devastating own goal, a rally even to keep it alive, and a motivatingly consistent push to keep pressing and pull out a late victory.

What a comeback! Scott Cusick smashes home

This group of players is truly something to be proud of, and visiting for a matchday, traveling through the community, and meeting with so many people who have a deep love for the club and big ambitions for where we are going as a team is more rousingly motivational than I could have ever hoped. We travelled across the Atlantic to watch my team play a game, and we have left with the hope, confidence, and general passion for the Caledonian Braves that so many members of both the local community and the international community share daily.

I would like to throw in a massive amount of appreciation for everyone involved in the club. To Chris Ewing for getting every bit of our matchday planned, along with other recommendations and even some seats at a Scottish Cup Semi-Final, to Ross Paterson for not only transporting us but also being personable and entertaining along the way, to Sharon who volunteers at the concessions booth for making sure that the last Scotch pie was reserved for our indulgence, to Ricky Waddell and his inspiring and optimistic players for keeping us entertained and giving us something to believe in week after week, and to the fellow owners who welcomed us warmly and made us feel at home in Scotland, thank you and GO BRAVES!

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