Today’s chairman’s comments from the match day programme.
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