- There was loan action for five Nairn County players in the North Region Juniors at the weekend. Click here for all the details.
- The club is delighted to work with Maynes Coaches as its travel partner. Click here for more.
- The under-17s were involved in a goal-fest while the under-13s and under-20s were also in action. Click here for a youth roundup.
15th December, 2018
Wick AcademyP : PNairn County
22nd December, 2018
Nairn CountyvsForres Mechanics
50/50 November Draw.
- £250 No. 143 D Simpson.
- £100 No. 1 M Brown.
- £50 No. 146 J Campbell.
LAST Wednesday night’s match against Cove Rangers saw us reach the halfway stage of the league season having played every club once, to give us a total of 17 Highland League outings this campaign.
We have played 12 games at home in all competitions and incredibly, 50 percent of them have been on Wednesday nights. That is simply unsustainable. To be halfway through the league season and finished with all cup competitions yet only had six home games on a Saturday puts a huge strain on the club’s finances.
It is a difficult task as it is to source vital income through match and ball sponsorship but having to do so for half of your matches on a Wednesday night is nigh on impossible. For a Saturday match, a sponsorship party begins its day at midday and finishes their hospitality at approximately 6.00 pm. If you are to adjust that timeframe for midweek matches with an 8.00 pm kick-off, you are asking people to be ready to begin their evening out at 5.00 pm and finish it at 11.00 pm – this is an unrealistic expectation of people who have business and family commitments to fit in on the same day and the following morning.
You are also asking supporters to come out on cold, wet, dark autumnal and winter nights when there is Champions League or international football on the television. Then, you have visiting supporters who may travel in large numbers on Saturday and boost the gate but are unlikely to be able to do so in midweek with such long journeys involved with us having played two of our furthest away opponents – Wick Academy and Cove Rangers – in midweek as two prime examples.
There is then a duty of care to the players, who are rushing to Nairn straight from work to be on time for the match and then travelling back home again (some of them driving long distances to go back where their work is based that week) approaching midnight having been up since the crack of dawn, done a full day’s work, driven to Nairn for the match and then played 90 minutes.
It all adds up to a financial strain for a club at this level – we are making a loss before a ball has even been kicked and on top of that, if we go out and take three points, we have to find the funds to pay the players their well-deserved win bonus!
I appreciate hands are tied as the pyramid system dictates that games have to be played and finished before a set date in April and no one can predict how severe the winter will be, so some midweek games are a necessity but we have already been idle on three Saturdays this season with a fourth due next month.
Enough of the negatives though because on the plus side, recent home fixtures have seen our new toilet block in use for the first time. These were installed prior to the home match against Buckie Thistle and there are many people I have to thank for their hard work during the installation, none more so than Shaun Smith and Derek Steel, who put in many, many hours of work at Station Park preparing the groundworks and co-ordinating the whole operation with the assistance of Garnet Main, Alan Macdonald, Stevie Webster, Laurie Fraser and many others. I also have to give thanks for the financial assistance from the Scottish Football Partnership, Nairn County 50/50 Club and not forgetting you, the fans, with Donald Wilson's Spend-a-Penny campaign. Without them, we would never have financed or completed the installation on time and I know the guys are still working hard putting together the finishing touches, which should all be done soon.
Shaun and Derek have also been hard at work converting a disused turnstile at Station Park into a new Club Shop. It looks fantastic and stocks all available club merchandise, so pop into ‘Dodo’s Den’ on matchdays for all your festive County gifts!
We have extended a number of players’ contracts in recent week with Callum Maclean, Kenny McKenzie, Fraser Dingwall and Dylan Mackenzie all putting pen to paper on new terms while there were maiden professional deals for Seamus McConaghy coming on as sub in several games and Joe Cuthbert. Joe made his first team debut in the win over Fort William last month and will continue his education out on loan at Burghead Thistle, where he will be joined by Craig Munro, Cameron Maclean and Ryan MacBean with all four youngsters looking to prove themselves capable of returning and making an impact in the first team.
We also added Gussie Dey to the squad after a successful trial period and he already looks like being another shrewd addition while we have released Inaki Fernandino-Soto and granted Danny Highet an extended leave of absence due to his increased work commitments, which have had a big impact on his ability to attend training and matches. The manager has left the door open for Danny to return in the future if his circumstances change.
We appointed an assistant manager in September but it was blink and you missed him as Brian Macleod then took on the manager’s post at Clachnacuddin. We were delighted for him to have been offered the position at Grant Street and our loss will certainly be the Lilywhites’ gain. Brian played under Ronnie at Nairn and was enjoying being back at Station Park having served the club with distinction over eight years as a player. But when the opportunity came along to take his first steps into management with a squad he already knew inside out from his time on the coaching staff in Merkinch, it was always likely it would be too good for him to turn down. We completely understand that and wish him all the best.
We are also delighted to have started a new venture in partnership with Highland Sports Media for the launch of NCFCTV. We are grateful for the sponsorship of this channel from Autovision (Scotland) and the fantastic skills of cameraman Joe Buchanan, who films the match and then works tirelessly to edit it and upload the highlights within in 24 hours. The viewing figures have been beyond our expectations with 400-900 views for each of the three matches in our trial period which stand up well when you consider the likes of Ross County and Dundee United attract 700-1000 views for their match highlights. I look forward to the club continuing to work with Joe to evolve and develop this forward-thinking venture.
The youth fixtures continue apace with the under-20s having taken part in the North Caledonian Cup and Football Times Cup again this season, giving them some valuable exposure to adult football as they look to make the step up to the first team. The under-17s, under-15s and under-13s squads are all working hard at training every week and play their home matches on Sunday afternoons with the under-17s and 13s at the Academy Playing Fields and under-15s at the Riverside while the under-20s are at Station Park on Monday nights. Check the Youth section of the club website for a list of fixtures and please come along to cheer on our stars of tomorrow if you are looking for your ‘football fix’.
I would also like to thank The Scottish Football Trust and Paddy Crerar of the Crerar Trust for the donation of eight portable LED floodlights for our teams to illuminate grass playing surfaces in unlit area so they can train on these dark nights.
We extend the condolences of everyone at the club to the families of former player Freddy MacLennan and our supporter and well-known local face, Bill Shand, who passed away recently. They are in our thoughts at this difficult time.
We look forward to the second half of our league campaign with renewed enthusiasm and we very much hope to be able to welcome you alongside us on the journey. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the club’s sponsors – including our main sponsor, Logical Print and Document Solutions – supporters and helpers a joyous festive period.
DONALD L. MATHESON
Nairn County Football Club