5 July 2020
CLUB STATEMENT 05/07/20
BCFC Management Committee
Scottish Football continues to grab headlines and, for those tasked with the running of our 114-year-old Club, the time since football was suspended in March has felt nothing like a ‘shutdown’ in any form. With multiple weekly meetings, and arguably the widest plethora of significant matters to be addressed at any one time, the Management Committee has been working exceptionally hard to keep on top of this for the benefit of the Club. It’s with this in mind, that the following updates are shared with supporters:
We can confirm that, following a prior decision to extend player contracts to 30th June, discussions with the entire playing squad have taken place over renewals for the coming season. Although, in common with other clubs, this ‘feels’ far more disjointed than in any other pre-season, the club maintains its stance that we will only enter into financial commitments which we know can be fulfilled – be that to players, or any to other contractual supplier.
On the playing front, strikers Andy Jackson and Jimmy Scott, along with goalkeeper Paddy O’Neil are already contracted through to the end of next season. With slightly more certainty now given the confirmed SPFL start date, we are looking to conclude negotiations over renewed terms with goalkeeper Lewis McMinn, defenders Jonathan Page, Scott Reekie and Sean McIntosh, midfielders Ross Brown and Kieran Inglis – and we are optimistic that we’ll have ‘pen-to-paper’ announcements very soon.
End of season player turnover remains inevitable at any level and Brechin City is no different. Leaving Glebe Park on this occasion are Paul McManus, Dougie Hill, Ryan McCord, Rhys McCabe, Lee Duncanson, Christopher McLaughlin, Luke Watt and Ross Crawford. In addition to this, loanees who were with Brechin City at the time of football shutting down – namely, Olly Hamilton, Paul Allan, Luke Strachan and Alex Petkov – all return to their parent clubs with our grateful thanks. In a view doubtless echoed by supporters, the Management Committee passes on sincere thanks to those departing the Club for their efforts during their time with us – and wish these players well in their future careers.
RE-START OF SPFL
News was released recently that SPFL League Two would recommence on Saturday 17th October 2020. The 2020/21 season will be uniquely structured as a 27 game season, bringing with it some obvious but necessary imbalances. Firstly, some clubs will have 13 home fixtures and others 14, and secondly we will visit some away stadiums once and others twice.
The only options available for consideration to League Two clubs were returns in August, October, January or hibernation for an entire season. The reality of public health guidance made August a non-starter for part-time clubs and, it has to be said, hibernation for a season was given serious consideration by a number of clubs. In reality, the mentality and desire to return to active football resulted in something of a shoot-out between the October and January options. Most likely influenced by the general feeling right now around the early-stage loosening of restrictions in general, the view amongst the League Two clubs was to opt for the earlier - but hugely more risky - October option.
Fans should also be aware that this leaves the potential option of slotting in the Betfred Cup section ties in the 2 weeks leading up to that – but that is speculative at the moment. More news will doubtless follow on that in due course.
RETURN TO FOOTBALL
Although some fans may already be aware, it’s worth stating that there are 3 clear phases to be implemented before football returns to anywhere close to a previous normality. These are defined in principle, but are not yet clear in terms of dates. Firstly there is the Return to Training for players. This is a major hurdle to be overcome, particularly for clubs who primarily train somewhere other than their own stadium – as is the case with Brechin City. Much has been made of the philanthropic donation of £50k to all SPFL clubs – and rightly so as it’s an incredibly generous and hugely welcome gesture. However, this should not be seen simply as a windfall or free money. Unless there is a significant softening in Covid-19 testing requirements, this additional funding will have largely run its course by the time we’re around 12 games into the season – such is the financial severity of what clubs of our size are facing, and the risk we’re taking in committing to an October re-start date.
The second phase is the Return to Playing. This clearly involves the upgrading required to Glebe Park to make it Covid-ready for players and match officials. This will require particular focus and the Club is looking to pull together a Covid-team to look at the specific challenges this will undoubtedly bring.
Notably, it’s not until the third phase, Return to Spectators, when we will see fans return to stadiums to watch live action. Clearly that’s the point in time we’re all anxious to see – although that in itself will see the need for stadium infrastructure and behavioural practices to evolve into new-world thinking. Dates will ultimately be driven by future public health guidance, but supporters should be under no illusion as to the painful decision making clubs have had to endure around the risks of future-planning for an ongoing scenario which is so unpredictable.
GLEBE PARK LOTTERY
Fans may have spotted in social media the launch of Brechin City’s brand new online fundraising initiative, the Glebe Park Lottery. Since the Covid-19 pandemic saw the need to suspend the popular and long-established Glebe Gamble, work has been undertaken to pull together an online alternative. This is now very much active with the initial draw due to take place on Monday 13th July.
This is very much seen as an opportunity for fans to support the club – with the enticement of a jackpot launch prize of £3000 up for grabs – at a time when there is no other income. The technology platform used means supporters well beyond the boundaries of the town itself can now join with locals to support the club from as little as £1 per week, and opt to do so for 5, 10, 15, 25 weeks – or even a year – in advance. It’s easy to play online with options to do so via your laptop, mobile phone or tablet.
For previous Glebe Gamble purchasers, we hope that there will be the opportunity to participate in the Glebe Park Lottery through ticket sales in local shops before too long. It is felt though, that the re-introduction of doorstep sales may be more challenging to re-introduce.
Whilst much of this update has centred on the footballing side, the Club has certainly not lost sight of the fact that there is a deadly pandemic still very much at large in the community. As previously, we urge everyone to adhere to the public health guidelines and do everything possible to avoid slippage back to the type of lockdown stipulations we’re only now beginning to emerge from. It goes without saying that we hope to see everyone back at The Glebe, all fit and healthy, in the not too distant future.