SINCE my last update we have made significant progress on a number of issues. However, the two main areas we need to resolve remain outstanding – namely a new manager and a new main sponsor. Believe me, this is not through a lack of trying on behalf of the Board and the Management Committee, who are continuing to put in so much time and effort to help us build a sustainable structure to take the club forward. I cannot thank them all enough.
On the manager front, we have spoken to a number of candidates but for whatever reason, we have been unable to make an appointment. I think the problem we have is that individuals are keen but once they realise the severity of the situation that we find ourselves in, it becomes difficult for them to commit to the amount of work that is required to manage the club effectively.
Because the majority of candidates have requested confidentiality, we are unable to disclose any names and will not comment on any speculation. If any of the candidates wish to make their application public, that is their own prerogative. I can assure you though, that appointing a new manager is my number one priority.
I mentioned the severity of the situation we find ourselves. We are working to a budget that includes only guaranteed income over the next 12 months and conservative estimates regarding variables such as gate receipts. That means no input from a main sponsor, no input from additional fundraisers that might happen and no input from potential player sales. As shareholders can learn from the accounts, the club made significant losses last year, even with the input of our previous main sponsor. We now find ourselves in a position where we have no main sponsor and have no choice but to budget accordingly. We cannot afford to make such losses again and we have to aim to break even – I will not risk the future existence of the club by living beyond our means.
Unfortunately, our current means do not include any input from a main sponsor. However, that is another top priority and I have setup a task force to address it. I know they are working hard and are hoping to have some good news soon.
On the positive side of things, we have managed to strike a number of deals with local businesses to support us in their own way. I cannot thank them all enough for coming out and giving us their backing. The likes of the Westerlea Hotel, Nairn Laundry, Tradeway, The Havelock, ISS, George Smith Painters and the 50/50 Club have all agreed to begin supporting us or strengthen their ties with us. We will also be unveiling a number of new sponsor boards at Station Park, which is fantastic news. I am extremely grateful to all of these companies for their support and to Stevie Bain for bringing in the new board advertising. It would also be remiss of me not to mention Scoosh Mackintosh at this stage. He continues to put in a power of work for the club and has recruited match and ball sponsors for the majority of games this season, which is a great weight off my shoulders and is wonderful news for the club. He puts in so many hours that go unrecognised and has also setup a raffle where the first prize is VIP tickets to a Man United game. Speak to Scoosh for more info on that one.
We also took on board the suggestion at the last meeting of a direct debit scheme and at the start of last month we launched the Nairn County Fans Fund. This allows contributors to make monthly donations of at least £10 to the club.
As I mentioned previously, one of our aims is to build a sustainable infrastructure for the club to operate along strict fiscal lines. As a part of that, we have identified a number of individuals to come on board and help us. Our Board of Directors and Management Committee has been low on numbers but we boosted the number of Directors last month and I am delighted that Kevin Reid, Steven Bain, Ali Nicol and Donald Graham have agreed to join us on the Management Committee.
The park is looking in great condition and I have to thank our Head of Maintenance, Stewart McInnes and his team of volunteers. Unfortunately, Robbie and Geordie Stuart did not wish to continue and I would like to take this opportunity to record my sincere thanks to them for all of the countless hours they put in helping with ground maintenance over the last few years.
I know Stewart has been delighted with the response from the fans to attend at the park and help him carry out all of the projects that need to be completed in time for the start of the season. Obviously, we welcome Caley Thistle to Station Park on Thursday night for a friendly match and Stewart is looking for as many volunteers to pop up to the park from 6 pm on Wednesday to help set everything up for the game. It is all hands to the pump as there is a lot of work to get through to have the place ready to open the gates.
Finally, it would be great if as many fans as possible attended Thursday night’s game. It is sure to be a great occasion against a Premiership team and is also our principle pre-season match of the summer, so it is a vital fundraiser for the club. And believe me, it will be great to finally have some football to talk about!
Interim Chairman, Nairn County FC