Perhaps not a Beautiful Sunday but, with movement restricted like never before, as good a time as any to update you on a number of important topics. Social distancing may be the order of the day (weeks and months) but bringing supporters closer to all things Stirling Albion is most certainly something within the Club Board’s power to deliver on.
In the short to medium term, thanks in large part to the Government Job Retention Scheme (JRS) and the GoFundMe campaign, the Club is in a strong financial position to handle the ongoing hiatus. The recent announcement of the extension of the JRS until the end of June is very welcome news and in “normal” times, by the beginning of July, pre-season training would be well under way with the Betfred Cup kicking off mid-month. However, these are not normal times and every week of delay to this schedule will undoubtedly see, not just Stirling Albion but every football club experience expenditure exceeding income. Never has the expression “watch this space” been more appropriate. You can be assured that the Club Board are already doing everything possible to mitigate this challenge.
SEASON TICKETS – 2019/20
Following the acceptance of the SPFL Resolution to terminate the League Season 2019/20 in the Championship, League 1 and League 2, there will be no more games played at Forthbank until next season, whenever that may be.
Obviously, everyone who purchased a season ticket for 2019/20 will have missed five games through no fault of their own and the Club Board feel it is only right to offer supporters the opportunity to apply for the following refunds in each category :
Adult – £53; 65 & over and Students – £32; 12 to 15 – £14
We would respectfully ask that all supporters seeking a refund, consider carrying this forward to next season when it will be allowed as a discount from the cost of renewal of their ticket.
However, in the current situation, we appreciate that many may be experiencing financial challenges and, accordingly, anyone who requests a refund now will, of course, receive it as soon as possible.
If you fall into that category, please contact the Club by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address, seat number (if possible) and your bank account details (full name as on the account, sort code and account number) and the refund being applied for, so that we can arrange the transfer. Please be patient, this is a one-man job!
NB. Please note that, as we cannot access Forthbank during lockdown, we are unable to take phone calls.
HOME SHIRT 20/21
It is around this time of year that we would be making plans to choose our home shirt for the following two seasons. However, after much deliberation, taking account of all the relevant circumstances, the Club Board have decided not to proceed.
Whilst we appreciate the annual announcement of alternating the new home and away kit is eagerly anticipated, the Board was equally and acutely conscious that the devastating economic impact of Covid-19 will undoubtedly bite hard on the pocket of many of our supporters – the majority of whom will have already generously contributed to the GoFundMe campaign – and on balance we determined postponing replacement for this coming season, was the right thing to do.
We do, however, have a contractual responsibility to our kit supplier and once we have greater certainty of what the future holds in respect of a return, not just of football, but to at least a semblance of normality to life in general, we intend progressing plans to celebrate our 75th Anniversary with some form(s) of Macron leisure wear. Consultation with supporters will most certainly be part of that process. Another case of “watch this space”!
With all footballing activity currently suspended and with no certainty as to when there will be a return, planning for the coming season is incredibly complex and challenging, particularly in respect of signing players against a backcloth of financial uncertainty. This has the inevitable knock-on effect of delaying announcements of those staying, going and indeed coming.
We fully understand the frustration this will cause for supporters who are desperate for some fitba’ news. Please believe us, we are too and all we can do is apologise and ask for your patience!
Despite the constraints, the Club isn’t standing still, and discussions are underway with a number of players Kevin Rutkiewicz is hoping to retain. With talks going well, we expect to be in a position to start the process of announcing players who have agreed to extend their contract, as early as this coming week.
As things stand currently, with player contracts due to expire in early June, following then we will have one player! Namely, goalkeeper, Blair Currie who is close to regaining full physical fitness and entering the second year of his two-year contract.
In respect of backroom staff, as previously announced, Kevin’s Assistant, Martin Hardie, has moved on and Kevin is considering his options for next season. The Gaffer, as well as anyone, is conscious of the financial constraints that face the Club the longer the delay in competitive football returning and the most likely outcome is a player/coach. Again, we expect to be in a position to make an announcement in the near future.
All of the players who are currently under contract are working hard individually to maintain a level of physical fitness as the weeks pass and turn into months.
We repeat our apologies for what appears to be a delay in announcing developments with regards to playing matters, but it is worth remembering that if it were business as usual, we’d still have two fixtures of the 19/20 season to play!
Our best wishes to all Binos and indeed our extended community at this hugely difficult time.
Stuart, Alan, Colin, Graham and Grant
SAFC Club Board