The Lost Season

by Martin Harrison

Posted on June 14, 2020

For those who don’t know me, my name is Martin Harrison and in January 2020 I became Head Coach of the Edinburgh Wolves; the highest ranked team in Scotland. I was honoured to take over from long-time head coach, Don Edmonston, who had taken the team from the bottom of the league, to the lofty position it now finds itself. Taking over this team was no small feat and somewhat daunting. Don had left of his own volition and is quite rightly seen as a titan within British American Football.

I sat down with coaches and senior players to work out what was going well and areas we could improve on. I say 'we' because achieving anything in this sport takes a collaborative effort. I have a background in project and people management from my old coaching circles and my 9 to 5, so I know that only when a team moves as one, can it truly achieve greatness.

There were teething problems as we debated the culture we wanted to nurture in our team. Every week we were striving to improve ourselves and in turn the organisation as a whole. Our goal was to avoid last year's situation where we had to win our final game to remain in the Premier. We made massive strides. New blood from the university teams was bolstering a veteran roster. We all felt this unit was going somewhere.

Then COVID-19 hit. We debated on the Friday before our first practice whether we should go ahead. We were fortunate it was taken out of our hands by BAFA, who suspended all activity.

In the coming weeks it began to become clear that the season was not going to play out. Ireland suspended the season. Germany followed soon after. It took some time, but we worked our way through the usual stages of grief:

  • Denial - The season can’t be over. The EPL and SPL haven’t cancelled, so why should we? We’ll be on the field by May and we can play into September if needs be.
  • Anger - We put all this effort in but we won't have anything to show for it. Bargaining - Let's find some way of doing the season.
  • Depression - I refused to think about football for about 2 or 3 weeks. It was too much to bear.
  • Acceptance - The realisation that there are a lot of positives to come from ‘The Lost Season’.

To quote renowned scientist, Dr Ross Gellar, “We’ve been given the gift of time.” I spoke on the NFL Scotland Podcast about what the club is doing to move forward. We’re expanding our strength and conditioning program. We’re continuing to develop our relationships with all the teams in and around Edinburgh. But mostly we’re discussing what this team is going to be. We will be more than the team that scrapes by in a relegation battle. We will be more than the team that just cannot compete with Tamworth. And now, we have the time to do it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog and that this is the first of many to shed some light on how we do things at the Edinburgh Wolves and my thoughts on American Football. If you’re interested in being part of our family as a Player, Coach or member of the backroom staff, then please e-mail me at


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