A very warm welcome to Forthbank Stadium as we embark on a new adventure under the stewardship of the Scottish Professional Football League.
With the months of administrative nightmares of the merger process between the SPL and SFL behind us – never again do I want to endure a 13-hour long meeting at Hampden – it’s great to get the league season underway and to be able to talk about what happens on the pitch rather than the legalities and nuances of how we are governed off it.
Setting aside our numerical promotion from SFL 3 to SPFL 2, it’s business as usual with regards to our opposition, aside from the addition of the Rovers that sees the welcome return of the fixture, Stirling versus Albion. Looking at the squads being assembled by our opponent clubs, the season is shaping up to be one of the most competitive in years.
Turning to our own squad, the Board have fully backed Greig in bringing in quality over quantity and, in addition to those players retained (including Ross Forsyth and Phil Johnston whose loan deals were made permanent), I’m more than confident that Chris Smith, David Weatherston and Dale Fulton fulfil that criterion.
No one behind the scenes is going to be making any bold predictions about where we will be come May of 2014 but, by the same token, everyone is clear on what our target is and where our ambition lies.
One small step, in the right direction, was taken away to Montrose in our opening fixture with a hard-fought but thoroughly deserved three points. It was great to see Dale Fulton open his account with a well-executed finish and with Bradley Coyne back in action and David Weatherston working towards full fitness, our goalscoring potential looks to have increased considerably.
Andy Todd, our full-time Community Engagement Manager, has created a great impression both in and around the club and out in the community, in what are the very early days of a long-term sustainable project to raise the profile of Stirling Albion and to get young and old alike engaged with the club both actively, by participating in events, or passively, by coming along to support the Binos.
Andy has already recruited a member of staff to his team in the guise of Bino the Bear and you can expect to see him not only appearing at our home games but also at events around the Stirling area. Why not invite Bino to your special event – he’s available to hire for birthdays, weddings and if you buy him a black tie he’ll cover the other one too!
The Commercial Team continue to beaver away feverishly to meet the ever increasing demand to “balance the books” in the current and continuing climate of uncertainty that pervades the finances of Scottish Football.
Player sponsorship, advertising boards, magazine adverts, hospitality are just some of the options available to help out but the easiest way of all is to bring along a friend to a home game. Even I can work out that if everyone did that the home crowd would double!
To those of you already attending games, many thanks for your support and here’s hoping we’ve got plenty to cheer about as the season unfolds.
J Stuart Brown