12 April 2020
CLUB STATEMENT (12-04-2020)
It’s the Club view that, although football plays an important part in many people’s lives – particularly those with a connection and passion for Brechin City FC – we recognise first and foremost that football is hugely out-shadowed by events associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. With significant numbers of people continuing to lose their lives every day, many more being ill, and everyone’s day-to-day lives being severely impacted, the world of football must be seen against this backdrop. This is well beyond something we simply catch up with on the disturbing news reports as we know the impact of this virus has already been felt locally – and the Club would like to pass on our heart-felt condolences to everyone suffering so far as a result of this pandemic.
By way of a courtesy update to members and supporters about what has been happening around Brechin City FC during the enforced lock-down, the Management Committee can confirm the following:
PLAYERS & MANAGEMENT
After protracted discussions, and in common with the vast majority of other clubs, all players and management have been furloughed. Many supporters will have noted that the initial suspension of football as directed by the Scottish FA has recently been extended until 10th June. This announcement confirms that “there is no prospect of training, let alone organised football” and this revised date takes us broadly to a time when the vast majority of Brechin City’s player contracts are due to expire.
The Management Committee is grateful for launch of the Employee Retention Scheme and other government support mechanisms as, without these, it’s difficult to see how the Club’s finances could have possibly survived the challenges of such dramatically reduced income levels. That said, the Club would like to pay tribute to the Supporters Club who, in addition to their original considerable donation of £11,000 around the time football ceased, have delivered ‘above-and-beyond’ with the additional crowdfunding initiative which achieved more than double its original £2500 target in less than a fortnight. The 2 donations bring a combined total of £16,000 which is recognised as an incredible contribution, particularly at a time when football is not everyone’s primary concern. We thank everyone who has contributed to this.
Along with the other 41 member clubs, Brechin City FC has been fully involved in the intense dialogue about the closure or the 2019/20 season. The Club did vote in favour of the resolution to curtail the season now and had hoped that this could have been brought to a successful and amicable conclusion on Friday. Although the monetary value of any SPFL pay-out to the Club will be the smallest for many years – as a direct result of our league placing – our over-riding aim is to have clear sight of what level of football we’ll be playing at to allow us to plan ahead for next season.
Reflecting the current inactivity across Scottish football, Glebe Park remains closed – something we recognise has a negative consequence to local community groups who make use of our facilities outwith matchdays. The Club is mindful of the need to continue maintenance and avoid any risk of the stadium infrastructure falling into disrepair. With that in mind, we have a small number of volunteers visiting the ground periodically for the purposes of inspection and to maintain the playing surface. This is done whilst strictly adhering to social distancing guidance. The Management Committee would like to put out an early appeal for any volunteers who feel they could contribute to any aspect of care-and-maintenance over the coming weeks and months to get in touch with the Club with a view to expanding the excellent work already carried out by our Stadium Working Group.
Summing up the views of the Management Committee, Chairman Ken Ferguson said,
“At a time when we thought a few weeks ago that we would be in one of the hardest fights of our Club’s life, we now find that still to be the case but with an altogether different and far more fearful opponent. Whilst the Club and Scottish Football itself has many challenges yet to face, our thoughts are very much with those who have suffered at the hands of this invisible enemy and those who stand at the front line fighting back on our behalf. It is therefore only right and proper that we recognise that we will not be returning to our football stadiums for some time yet.
"We can only applaud and thank so much the Supporters Club for organising the highly successful crowd funding appeal. The £5,000 raised, when put alongside the original £11,000 donation, has resulted in £16,000 being contributed to the Club at what is very much an hour of need.
"Whilst agreement has been reached with the players to furlough the whole squad, we must still pay wages over the coming weeks with no other income coming into the Club. We had hoped to be in a clearer position than we are and to start planning for the 2020/21 season in whatever shape that maybe. Once these facts are known we will be in touch with those who contributed to the January Fighting Fund to discuss the best use of the remaining balance. We all could do with something to look forward to, so the sooner clarity is achieved and we can start planning to play football again, the better.”
The Club appeals to everyone connected to Brechin City (and those who aren’t) to do everything possible to protect your physical and mental health and that of those around you. We urge you to keep safe by following the public health guidance, stay at home, and wash your hands regularly. We’re also entirely supportive of the quite inspiring ‘Clap for Carers’ recognition on Thursdays at 8pm to acknowledge the heroic efforts from those at the front line of our NHS and our care services. Thanks for your support everyone – and stay safe.