Programme Notes | Berwick Rangers 01 September 2018
Our extremely poor start to the season has everyone connected with the club worried and this afternoon a positive result is required to begin the necessary climb away from the foot of the League 2 table. As a fan, I can share in the disappointment felt after the performance at Hampden. A heartening performance against Elgin seemed to suggest a corner had been turned but last week was a step backwards. Our current situation is being taken very seriously by the BOD: please be assured of that.
As has been shown at many other clubs, as soon as things are going badly on the pitch every aspect of the club is put under scrutiny. Even aspects nothing to do with the football side of things become open for comment and criticism.
It is my firm belief that the club is being well run in a professional manner. I have heard that there is a demand for answers. I am not entirely sure of what the questions are but I will try to address some of the themes that some people are raising on social media.
My point about the club being run as well as at any time in the past is based on the constant scrutiny we get from outside bodies and the results of that. Over a year we have to gain a safety certificate from the local council, a licence from the SFA, have to undergo a financial review by our bank, directors have to be approved by Companies House, the club has to undergo a full audit by our accountants and have the accounts scrutinised by an AGM. These are not mere paper exercises but rigorous processes all of which we have come through. All of this with a budget that cannot be described as huge and a stadium that is 99 years old. Many of the people who are charged with scrutinising the above aspects of the club comment on the steady improvement in a number of areas.
We have given the manager the highest budget we can afford and are grateful to the Supporters’ Trust and the squad fund for their help in augmenting this. In addition to the players’ budget, there are numerous costs to keep the club going and it is important that the BOD does not spend money we don’t have.
Comments have been made about the composition of the board and people leaving their roles as directors. The current board is 8 strong, working in a hands-on fashion to ensure the club runs smoothly. This year 5 people have joined the board and 2 have left. I would rather focus on the contributions of the serving directors rather than a few people who have left for reasons they have asked to remain private.
One topic of online discussion has centred on the appointment of the manager. An appointment panel of 4 directors was chosen to make the decision. After the closing date for applications the panel chose 4 candidates to see at interview and John Brogan was offered the post. 2 of the panel had experience of playing senior football.
A piece of advice the club was given by an online poster was to maximise our commercial income. A few years ago, photographs show hardly an advertising board at the ground. That trend was reversed by the late Gordon Dishington and our current Commercial Manager, Dianne Leslie, does a great job in bringing in much needed income from commercial activity in what is a challenging market. Someone once said the toughest job they ever had was to be Rovers’ Commercial Manager. We are happy to welcome North Lanarkshire Suicide Prevention Team as the sponsor for the back of our tops and we were delighted our long-term sponsors Reigart took on the stadium naming rights in a three-year deal. At last year’s AGM it was noted that the income from commercial deals had been much higher than previous seasons.
Over the summer the players have been training at the stadium but will now switch to St Ambrose HS 3 G pitch from the start of September. John is happy for fans to come up to St Ambrose either on a Tuesday or Thursday to see the players in training
To conclude, people are completely free to comment, express their opinions and to offer criticism. I know much of this comes from people who have supported the club for years, attend matches and buy season tickets, merchandise etc. I respect their views and take them very seriously. If there are any other points you wish me to cover just let me know and I will do my best to answer your points.
Here’s to a good performance and positive result today
Programme Notes | Elgin City 18 August 2018
The start of the season has been really challenging, frustrating and disappointing. I can understand the emotions of the fans and support their right to express their feelings as to the disappointing run of results in the first few league games as well as the cup games. I know John and his backroom team are working tirelessly to knit an almost entirely new squad into an entertaining and successful team. The squad has been added to through four loan signings and the hope is that the team settles soon and starts to put points on the board and starts to rise up the league table. There were certainly signs in the first half at Ainslie Park on Tuesday that things were beginning to take shape on the park and I hope that continues today and we are celebrating our first win of the season at ten to five.
Fans are entitled to voice their opinions. In many cases they have supported the club home and away over a lot of years, in addition to sponsoring players, buying season tickets, attending fundraising events and so on. The fans are the lifeblood of the club and as chairman I am fully aware of that.
However, one question I would raise is how worthwhile signalling out individual players for criticism is. Let’s get behind the team and if they underperform then the criticism should be collective: including the Board of Directors
A few people have asked me about my position. I took on the role as chairman in June 2016, 2 days after I retired after a 40-year career in education. My plan was to put my heart and soul into the job for 2 years and then hand over to someone else and start my retirement two years later than planned. The board has asked me to stay on in the meantime as interim chairman to allow more time on the decision as to my successor. When that decision is taken I will continue as a director and give the board and the new chairperson the benefit of my experience gained over the last two years. The fact we have a board of 8 is a marked improvement on having just 3 directors as there is a significant amount of work involved in running a football club these days.
In times of challenge much more can be gained from sticking together than pulling apart and I would urge all involved at the Rovers to do just that and continue to back the team.
Programme Notes | Peterhead 11 August 2018
Today we will hold a minute’s applause for life long fan Jim Brown who died a few months ago. We extend a warm welcome to members of Jim’s family to today’s match and offer the condolences of the club at this difficult time. Jim had been a supporter of the club for over 75 years and was one of the last few of our fans to have memories of the Rovers stretching back to the Second World War and Jock Stein’s time at Cliftonhill. Jim, like many fans, had his favourite spot to watch the match. His was to the left of the tunnel looking across to the dugouts. Jim will be missed by the group who call that part of the ground their own. Jim’s loyalty to the wee Rovers was not only shown in his buying of a season ticket year on year but he was also often one of a small band of fans who attended away matches at all parts of Scotland from his home in Denny. I clearly remember Jim getting out his car at many points on the Scotland lower leagues football map. Like all Rovers fans, Jim left many games frustrated by performances and/or results but next week he was there again travelling miles to places like Forfar, Arbroath or Berwick to cheer on the team. One of Jim’s main points was that the manager should be making sure that our forwards should get extra shooting practice. This statement was often said just after one of our forward line had burst through on an attack only to launch the ball towards the roundabout at Coatdyke. When I became chairman Jim would often ask me for assurance I had passed on this piece of wise advice to the management team. Jim will be missed and sadly another link with the club’s past has gone.
I think Jim would have something to say on our lack of goals so far this season and a fitting tribute would be for the team to score today and kick start our league campaign with a good performance and result against Peterhead who are the bookies favourites to win League Two. It takes time for an almost new team to gel together and I’m sure results will improve soon. Thanks to the fans who helped get the stadium ready for the new season and to the members of the Thursday Club who work hard every week to keep the ground in shape. Of the many strengths the club has, our great volunteers are one of the best.