First and foremost I hope this message finds everyone safe and well.
The world is in the grip of the Coronavirus outbreak and much of what we all take for granted has suddenly stopped or changed out of all recognition. The loss of football is a fundamental change and while some would say “it’s only a game” the role football plays in the lives of individuals and communities can never be underestimated.
We are in a very difficult position – as clubs large and small throughout the country and to that end I thought it would be helpful to provide an update on how we are trying to manage our way through.
Initially we have been in consultation with our players and the PFA and have agreed to furlough the management, backroom and playing staff. This is in keeping with guidance from the SFA and the government and we are very grateful for all the advice we have received and to our management and players who also have the best interests of the club at heart.
Clearly we are not in the same predicament as those clubs who have the added overheads of maintaining a stadium, training pitches or community facilities, however as we receive the vast majority of our income from gate receipts, corporate and sponsorship revenues, the crisis is severely impacting us. With that in mind we set up a Just Giving page to assist our cash flow. It’s mind blowing that so many people from our supporters and sponsors to the wider football community have been kind enough to donate; it really is humbling and on behalf of the club it is very much appreciated.
Donations are brilliant however we are about to launch a couple of online initiatives in the next week or two which will give our fans (and anyone who wants to join in) the chance to get something back too – keep an eye on our website and social channels!
As you may well have read, the SPFL and SFA have advanced the next instalments of prize money and club licensing income; while this is indeed helpful, it is dwarfed by payments made in other European leagues most notably in England. The split of prize money from the SPFL could perhaps be more equitably dispersed to assist the smaller clubs however that is a debate for another time I suspect.
Meetings with the SFA and SPFL via video conferencing are continuing on a regular basis and I will update you all with any relevant information as and when I have it.
The club itself also continues to operate in the background; as you all know we are a volunteer board and as such we have been meeting and talking regularly about what the future will look like once we overcome this current situation. When the time is right we will be releasing some key updates regarding the club’s on and off field strategies, which I am sure will be of great interest to our supporters and the wider football community.
In closing, I would like to once again thank everyone who has been kind enough to donate to our cause to this point. Times are hard for everyone and the fact people put such stock in the power of football really is incredible. Please stay safe and we will see you all on the other side of this.
Jim Brown, Chairman