Updates from the Chairman, Manager and Commercial Director…
Inside the Box Hoose! – From the Chairman
First fortnight of lockdown behind us and never a dull moment!
A quick update on some of the “highlights” …
I may have mentioned this elsewhere but it can never be said too often… the response to our GoFundMe has been beyond staggering and my gratitude to everyone who has donated is a given. It’s not just fans than have dug deep but our community at large (and from afar). THANK YOU!! Again, as I’ve said elsewhere, Stirling Albion will survive this hiatus and come out of it stronger, perhaps not financially but certainly in spirit.
I’m keeping in touch with Kevin and his backroom staff and all are well, although our Goalkeeping Coach is wearing out WhatsApp with his sense of “humour”!
Last Sunday, myself, Colin Rowley and Kevin held a video conference with Club Captain Ross McGeachie and three players’ representatives to address a range of administrative matters and to reinforce the message that the Club Board takes its duty of care very seriously and that we are available to be contacted at any time, on any matter, SAFC related or not. We agreed that we would continue “Keeping in Touch Conferencing” on a regular basis throughout the period of lockdown. It goes without saying that our duty of care and keeping in touch applies to all our employees.
The SFA and SPFL are in regular touch with email updates and weekly video conferences are being held on an individual league basis. SPFL2 Chairman also have their own WhatsApp Group for mutual moral support!
From a personal perspective, I’ve managed (much to my disappointment!) to find a little time for some DIY that has been sadly neglected for the past 10 years! My reacquaintance with a paint brush has reminded me just how cathartic watching paint dry can be.
Keep safe, take care and above all, cherish and protect your loved ones.
Stuart Brown – Chairman SAFC
Locked outside the Box Forthbank – Commercial Director Colin Rowley
Where to start? The world of “normal” that was taken for granted has been thrown a curve ball of global proportions.
When I sat planning our commercial growth plans before the beginning of season 19/20 at no point did I think ‘What contingency should I plan for in the event of a hard and sudden stop to every revenue stream the club has ever had?’
It would be easy to throw in the towel and do a Private Frazer – ‘We’re all doomed!’ However, this is Stirling Albion. We’re the most flexible club around – we’ve been promoted and relegated more than any other team, so adaptability is in our DNA.
Postponing the dinner was the first inkling that we are well placed to get through this. I’m grateful that our sponsors kindly agreed to pay for their tables in advance of the anticipated rescheduled November date.
Furthermore, The Golden Lion kindly agreed to renegotiate our terms to save the club cash instantly – a hotel suffering its own unforeseen cessation of revenue. These acts of kindness can never be forgotten.
The Club and Trust boards had to come up with an immediate short-term plan to help us buy some time. This allowed us to consider a range of options to address the potential financial meltdown. It also began to show just how quickly we could mobilise the great supporters of this club.
The GoFundMe Trust and Club joint fundraising campaign is a personal highlight. The efforts of Robert Clubb and John Daly are worth shouting from the rooftops – they’ve served your club very well. The initial target of £10,000 smashed in 24 hours of the fund launch was impressive enough, but to hit £20,000 in 48 hours was beyond all our expectations.
It seemed as if we’d recaptured the spirit of 2010 when the same supporters helped rescue the club. And it felt damn good to be part of it. We can’t thank you all enough.
If there has been a winner throughout this, it’s the emergence of online and digital technology and how it’s been deployed to help in our hour of need. The synchronised launch of an online campaign was the largest digital movement in the club’s history – Club & Trust websites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SATV – YouTube, Mailchimp and LinkedIn – all posted within 60 seconds of each other.
All coordinated via email, Whatsapp and online conference calls. We are only just beginning to learn the benefits of digital technology, however, it has thrown us a lifeline, where even just two years ago, we would have had none. Please take a bow Robert Clubb, John Daly, Chris Ross, Donna Hanlon Gray, Ben McAdam, David Brown and David Ogilvie.
So where to next? I’ve enjoyed receiving emails and ideas from many of you and it’s great to see such enthusiasm. We must balance the financial needs of the club with the very realistic prospect that almost all of you will be experiencing your own financial uncertainties. I think this makes the generosity even more impressive.
The commercial team are still very much active behind the scenes. We’re exploring the following:
• Promote the Donate a ticket campaign being used to generate club funds by buying a virtual online match ticket and competing against other clubs from our and other leagues.
• Launching our season ticket for 20/21 online
• Selling early bird and discounted hospitality for next season
• Selling discounted match day tickets online for season 20/21
• Supporters buying personalised birthday, anniversary or special occasion phone calls from players and the Gaffer
However, we don’t have the monopoly on ideas – if you have anything that we can do via the web and/or social media, we’d love to hear from you.
Finally, I wish all of you the best of health. Stay home, stay safe.
From the Manager
It seems like a long time since we had the chance to update you. So much has happened but not the enjoyment of a Saturday at 3.00pm. I would, however, like to take this opportunity to say that this situation has put life into perspective and I do sincerely hope you all are getting through this without hurt or heartache.
There has been one major change over the last couple of weeks and that is the departure of Martin Hardie. I’ve worked with Martin for the best part of 14 years now and, although football throws difficult situations at you constantly, this was without doubt one of my very toughest and the decision was a difficult one. The club and I wish Martin all the best in the future.
On the playing front it has been a difficult and strange time. The main objective is, of course, to try to help all players get through this period as best we can without the demands of training and games. All players and families at this point, I’m glad to say, have been well with only a couple showing minor symptoms of what might not even be the virus. Most are on lockdown like the rest of us and struggle without their weekly dose of competitive football. They have also been doing runs on their own and have shown a fantastic attitude and professionalism to keep themselves right for the time we get back to it.
I will continue to run my weekly challenge with small prizes and hope you can all join in! I have reserved the best until last. I would like to take this opportunity to thank and express my astonishment and delight at the response the club received from the GoFundMe page. It has been a magnificent effort. I’m slightly surprised at the amount but I’m definitely not surprised at the show of strength by you the fans. This has shown how strong a force we can be if we all pull in the one direction and it is without doubt a marker to put down and use in the future, not only financially but as a team!
I wish you all continued good health and hope to see you again soon. C’mon the Binos!