CHAIRMAN'S MESSAGE - OCTOBER, 2015
PLAYERS WIN GAMES - NOT FORMATIONS
Since my Summer Message, the pace of undertaking League, cup competitions and capital works at Station Park - including its maintenance and upkeep owing to an extraordinary prolific growing season - has given rise to a feeling one is in a constant treadmill.
At the time of writing with 10 League fixtures completed (which represents over 25% of the League programme), we lie 5th equal in points behind Cove, Formartine, Brora and Turriff. By 7th November, the League is programmed to have reached the half way stage in its overall fixtures, which will afford us the opportunity to reflect on just what we have to achieve in maintaining a prominent League position.
I am delighted to record that we have reached our 7th North of Scotland Cup Final in under 10 years having won in 2005/06 (Forres), 2008/09 (Inverness Caledonian Thistle) and 2011/12 (Wick). Owing to further congestion round the original date set for the final of 10th October, the final has now been rearranged for Saturday, 21st November at Dudgeon Park, Brora where we again meet Wick Academy. With two sides who know and like to play a high tempo game of football, there is every expectation that the day will produce a high level of entertainment for both sets of fans.
Finally on the footballing front, the romance of the William Hill Scottish Cup is upon us again for yet another season. On Saturday, 26th September, we were involved in a home tie against Selkirk FC from the Borders region. Having been successful (see match report on our News Section), we now look forward to playing either Wick Academy or Whitehill Welfare in the second round which is to be held on 24th October at Station Park.
I personally share a view that as the Scottish Cup is our only truly Club National Competition, the first round should encompass all qualifying Clubs, thus dramatically heightening the awareness and the glamour of the whole competition! Just think of the financial benefits deriving from a smaller Club being drawn against a Premier League Club in the first round! It is, in my view, nonsense for the smaller Clubs to have to encounter three rounds of the competition before they even get close to playing the senior clubs of Scotland! Compare the situation where in a national competition which would allow Andy Murray to choose to only enter the fourth round of a national or international tennis competition? It simply would never happen! Change is therefore called for from the decision makers, don’t you think?
Moving onto the next important project being addressed by the Club. Progress with the most expensive capital investment the Club has undertaken - namely the new Spectator Enclosure to replace the Cowshed - has taken longer than originally programmed. The site demolition completed by the last week of June, was followed in July/August with the initial site engineering works to establish the underlying ground conditions which to our delight proved better than originally anticipated. The opportunity was therefore taken by the structural engineers, along with the contractor, to reconfigure the raft foundation design which during September time has allowed the ordering of all the steelwork materials for offsite cutting and thereafter galvanising in readiness for delivery on site. As additional constraint to contend with is that the site itself is extremely narrow and therefore everything has to be planned meticulously to allow a creeping west to east construction. In the end, it will all be worth waiting for.
Youth Team activities in which the Club competes comprises three separate Scottish Highland Football Leagues of under 15s, under 17s and, for the first year ever, under 20s competitions. Gillian McWilliam along with her coaches are always desperate to receive active support from parents and former players to take on the role of coaching these aspiring youngsters. If, having read my comments, you feel disposed to help the existing coaching staff then get immediately in touch with Gillian or myself through the Club website or at Station Park on match days. Your Club really needs you!!!!
Finally on the issue of the SHFL proposed Two Division Option Contingency Plan, there is little to report other than there are two alternatives yet to be decided upon by the League Management Committee - these being that such a split would come into effect upon the League having a membership of greater than 18 and the other when it is greater than 20, the latter being our favoured option.
In the belief and hope that common sense will eventually prevail with the LMC, I remain as ever the optimist.
“County till I die”.