It’s hard to believe that we’ve reached the middle of September and only played one home game in the league. The blank weekend to allow for the Petrofac Training Cup quarter-finals was perhaps understandable but I fail to comprehend why the SPFL cannot ensure that, after only four league games, every club has played 50% of those at home!
The positive outcome of the blank weekend is that a few players with knocks have had the opportunity to rest up and I expect Greig to have something approaching a full squad to select from for the Angus double-header of home fixtures against Brechin City and Forfar Athletic. As ever, a warm welcome is extended to the directors, management, players and supporters of both clubs.
We round off September with a visit to Stranraer, which ticks a long-outstanding box for me – Stair Park is the only senior ground in Scotland that I’ve not been to.
We go into September in seventh place but only two points off second on the back of two bizarre games – winning by the odd goal in nine versus Stenhousemuir and somehow coming away from Airdrie with a scoreless draw, in a game that could easily have had as many goals as the week before. Hopefully, we can take the positives from those two games into the encounters ahead.
Unfortunately, I need to touch on the behaviour of a few of our so-called young “fans” at Stenhousemuir. Whatever the rights and wrongs of what happened inside the stadium that resulted in them being ejected, their actions outside the ground were entirely unacceptable. I exited the ground during the match to speak with them and they have been left in no doubt that if that is the way they intend to conduct themselves they will be refused entry to Forthbank. Whilst no one wants to see more new fans (of any age!) in attendance at our home games than me, there will be no relaxation in our code of conduct to achieve this.
Turning to more positive matters, our community engagement continues to go from strength to strength, thanks to the dedication and tireless efforts of Andy Todd and our partnership working with Active Stirling to deliver community programmes. Andy has, in no small measure, been ably assisted throughout the past year by our very own Sandy Cunningham in his “weekday” role of Modern Apprentice. Sandy’s 12-month stint has now ended and, at the same time as thanking him for his contribution, I am delighted to announce that he has a successor! Stephen Al-Sayed, a member of our Under 20 squad, has just started and I’m sure everyone associated with SAFC will join me in welcoming him on board.
On the commercial front, our hospitality bookings continue to rise but there’s always room for more – please contact the club through the usual channels. Our player sponsorships are at an all-time high with the home shirts sold out – again there’s always room for more with the away shirts up for grabs!
My thanks to everyone on the commercial team and those contributing! I cannot over-emphasise just how important this revenue is to meeting our budgetary targets.
Stuart Brown, SAFC Chairman