Firstly, I hope that everyone is continuing to stay safe and well over what has been a long and difficult period. It seems at last that we are taking some small steps back towards normality which can only be positive news.
Taking this into account, I would like to update you in light of recent events, most significantly the SPFL’s consultation on league reconstruction. Previously we stated our position to be that no club should find themselves disadvantaged either from a competitive or financial perspective as a result of the Covid-19 enforced lockdown. Additionally, in light of our own recent heritage, we strongly believed that the pyramid system in Scottish Football should be maintained; it should not therefore be any surprise that we voted in favour of the proposed reconstruction. Clearly there would have been an immediate benefit to our club in terms of moving up to League 1, however I would like to hope that those with a progressive view of football would identify with the merits of trying to help all clubs under the current circumstances, whilst also rewarding those who have shown substantial ambition to advance their club and progress through the tiered system as it exists.
Sadly ours was not a view held by the majority and as such we now need to focus on the road ahead, drawing a line under what will most likely be considered an unfortunate period in Scottish Football’s history. To that end I would like to state that we are extremely keen to get back to playing competitive football as soon as is reasonably possible. Currently the Championship is due to restart on 17 October, playing only three rounds of fixtures; the proposals for Leagues 1 and 2 have not been finalised yet, however we would ideally prefer to start on or as close to this date as can be achieved.
As a club it has been a very difficult period for all involved and I would like to thank once again the management and backroom teams, plus the playing staff who have worked with us through the furlough scheme and acted at all times with the best interests of the Club at heart. As I touched on previously, we are tentatively moving towards recovery and as part of that it has been great to see some of our out of contract players committing themselves to the club for another season; we will be making more announcements on the playing side of things as the weeks go on!
The changes being implemented by the government are designed to help us move towards normality, however as was stressed several times, many of today’s relaxations are intended to help people’s mental health and diminish feelings of isolation. My belief is that football will play a huge part in achieving these goals as for many of us, the game plays an enormous part in our weekly lives.
I would also like to mention once again our Just Giving page which now stands at more than £6,000! At the risk of repeating myself, it really is humbling that so many people from all across the football fraternity have been kind enough to donate, especially given the pressure we are all under; this money will make an enormous difference to the club and I thank each and every person or group that has kindly made a donation. The page remains open and you can find it here.
On the topic of generosity, I would like to put on record my thanks for the unbelievable gesture by James Anderson, who’s benevolent donation to the SPFL Trust will benefit the game at all levels. At a time where negativity has become all too normal, James’ actions have been a welcome good-news story.
Meetings with the SFA and SPFL via video conferencing are still continuing on a regular basis and I will update you with any relevant information as and when I have it.
In closing, I hope everyone continues to stay safe and we will see you all back at Ainslie Park just as soon as we possibly can.
Jim Brown, Chairman