OLIVER FLEMING has been here before. Except, he hasn’t really. 

When the then 18-year-old departed Sauchie Juniors just three years ago, a worldwide pandemic sounded more at home in Hollywood than Clackmannanshire. 

Now 21, he’s back in the Wee County with the world a very different place from those halcyon days of 2017 when Sauchie won the East Region Premier League and today’s Clacks is fighting a health emergency straight out of a blockbuster script. 

Not the setting that lends itself to stability, but Fleming, after a couple of helter-skelter years with Berwick Rangers, has no doubts that is exactly what he’s signed up for under Fraser Duncan. 

“I saw a lot of managers come and go in my short spell with Berwick,” he told Advertiser Sport. “From my experience, going through all those managers was not good for anyone. 

“Managers leave and a new one comes in who wants to bring in his own players and get rid of others.

“It is a bad cycle when that happens. Managers like their own players. 

“There’s that stability there with Fras and he knows the team inside out. The fans love Fras and it makes it so much easier.” 

Fleming added: “The standard was very good though and you were playing against good teams. One of the boys in the team was Michael McKenna, who then went to Arbroath and is still there and playing well. 

“I knew it was going to be a challenge before I went to there but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. Making the step up and getting the experience helped me as a player.” 

Fleming, who has returned to Clacks after a short spell with St Andrews United, secured his move last month as he put pen to paper on a deal alongside striker Craig Donaldson - not to be confused with the midfielder who recently departed for Linlithgow Rose. 

They joined the likes of Darren Smith and goalkeeper Chic Bell in moving to Clacks in recent weeks as Duncan wastes little time in putting down the foundations ahead of next season. 

“I’ve been excited to start back at Sauchie and it’s been a few years since I was there,” Fleming, who was part of the Sauchie squad which won the East Region Premier League in 2017, said. “I enjoyed my time there and it was a club that did a lot for me.

“When I got the text from Fras, I was really excited at the chance of coming back and playing for them again. 

“Fras was good to me from the first minute I came to Sauchie. Now he is back, it was even more reason that I wanted to come back and try again.

“When you are playing for a manager you like it is half the battle. He was talking me through things I could do better and some small things like that.  

“It was good to hear that and it was always good to speak to someone who played in the same position as me and he can give me those tips.”