Chairman's Report

MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER

I WAS delighted to accept the role of chairman of Nairn County Football Club at a meeting of our Management Committee on Monday evening.

It has been a tough few months for the club but now everything is beginning to settle down, we can definitely look to the future with renewed positivity.

Earlier this month, we managed to secure the services of Ronnie Sharp as our manager. He has quickly assembled his backroom team which will see Andy Naismith and Scott MacDonald continue as assistant manager and physio respectively while Michael Rae has joined us as goalkeeping coach.

It would be remiss of me at this stage to overlook the part played by Andy Naismith this summer. He stepped into the breach at extremely short notice to run the team for the first few weeks of pre-season training and guided us through our friendly match against Inverness CT. I am extremely grateful to Andy for his contribution in taking training prior to Ronnie’s appointment and I am delighted that he has agreed to stay on and be a part of the new management structure.

The next issue that was addressed following the appointment of the manager was the club’s crippling wage bill. It was agreed to implement a structure where all players in the first team squad will be paid the same monthly wage going forward. This meant approaching the playing squad to ask them to consider pay cuts and making them an offer based on the new budget for wages, which was formulated by the Company Secretary.

Those who refused our offer were made available for transfer and all have now left the club with the best wishes of everyone at Nairn County. We managed to bring in transfer fees for all of these players and they all left on extremely amicable terms. I completely understand their standpoints and I look forward to welcoming them all back to Station Park with their new clubs in the future.

Those who have agreed to the new pay structure now form the nucleus of our playing squad, namely Dylan Maclean, Kenny McKenzie, Paul Macleod, Wayne Mackintosh, Ross Naismith, Callum Maclean, Gregg Main, Jordan Macrae and Glenn Main. This will be supplement by players from our under-20s squad with five of them involved in Saturday’s friendly match at Inverness City.

What these remaining players have done for the club is incredible. The financial sacrifices that some of them have made to remain with Nairn County are monumental. If anyone is feeling sorry for me or anyone else involved in the running of the club with the additional workload we have all been landed with over the last few months then they should not – we are all loving being involved in the club and there is a real sense of positivity behind the scenes. It is the players who have been the real victims in all of this and the loyalty of those who have agreed to stay is much appreciated while those who have left have done so with the minimum of fuss. In fact, one player who left has agreed to write off a signing-on fee due to him while another could have walked away for free under the terms of his contract but insisted that we received a transfer fee for his services.

The Nairn supporters have some great icons of the past, who are rightly revered among the fans, such as Johnston, Allan, Cochrane and Brown. I hope that the names listed above are mentioned in the same breath in the future for the sacrifices they have made this summer which has essentially saved the club and allowed us to move forward and hopefully prosper.

The manager now knows which players he has left and is working extremely hard to add some experience and additional quality to the ranks. All things going well, we hope to have some news on that front before Saturday’s opening fixture with Brora Rangers. Keep an eye on the club’s official website, Facebook page and Twitter feed @NairnCounty for confirmation of any completed deals.

It is going to take time and it is going to take patience on everyone’s part for us to build the squad up again given the upheaval experienced this summer. While supporting the will of the manager as much as I possibly can, one thing I will steadfastly refuse to do is allow the wage bill to spiral out of control again so that the very existence of Nairn County is ever in doubt.

I am also delighted to report that season ticket sales have more than doubled. This is purely public sales and does not include the Community Season Tickets initiative that we launched earlier this month. The supporters have been fantastic in rallying round and the numbers who turned out for our pre-season friendlies against Inverness CT and Nairn St Ninian were great. We need you to stick with us throughout the season and turn up in your numbers at Station Park.

We are now entering the start of a new season and that means the return of significant running costs which lie dormant during the summer months. Things like referees’ fees, transport to away games, floodlighting and winter training facilities all have to be paid for and do not come cheap with combined costs running well into the tens of thousands every year.

We are yet to attract a main sponsor to help cover these costs and my words to anyone waiting in the wings for the situation at the club to settle down would be to come forward now. We have a forward-thinking manager and a tireless, innovative Management Committee in place with both having Nairn County FC at heart, so the club is ready to progress and move forward into a new era.

If anyone is interested in assisting us with the above stated costs or becoming involved as a sponsor, please contact me by emailing secretary@nairncountyfc.co.uk.

Any supporters who are looking to purchase season tickets prior to the big kick-off on Saturday can do so from the Town Barber with adults costing £115 and concessions priced at £70.

Supporters can also contribute a minimum of £10 per month by Standing Order to the Fans Fund. All monies raised from this venture go directly to the running costs of the club. To join, simply setup a Standing Order with your bank for a minimum payment of £10 per month to be made to Nairn County Sportsman’s Dinner, Royal Bank of Scotland, High Street, Nairn, account number 00299983, sort code 83-25-23.

Of course, the most important thing any fan can do is turn up on a matchday to cheer on the team so on that note, I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at Station Park on Saturday to support us against Brora Rangers.

Enjoy the season and thank you for your wonderful support.

DONALD MATHESON

Chairman, Nairn County FC