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Club Talk

Sun, 14th Jun 2020 8:01pm

Clyde vice-chairman Gordon Thomson has given a latest update to the website, as many internal and external activities continue to take place in the hope of football restarting as soon as possible.

Gordon started with an overview of recent days:-

“It’s been another busy week. In addition to the weekly Clyde board meetings, there have been further meetings held not only with League 1 clubs but also others as part of the Joint Response Regulations Sub Group.

“This has been looking at a variety of issues, some of which don’t have an immediate bearing on part-time clubs but other matters do - like player contracts, the loan system and the transfer window. I think the challenge has been the interdependence of clubs no matter their size and the affect that a change somewhere else potentially has on each one.

“I appreciate league officials seldom get praise but I do think we should acknowledge the difficulties that the game has faced in addressing all the challenges posed by Covid-19. The response required - one that maintains the game in Scotland - should be empathetic to the challenges clubs face at all levels, while being in line with FIFA and UEFA requirements, and not making us vulnerable to the actions of other leagues in different countries.”

With two indicative votes due from all clubs tomorrow on a new 14-10-10-10 reconstruction proposal, Gordon confirmed Clyde’s position on the matter:-

“The Board has made the decision to vote no to both of the proposals that have put before us. That is the 14-10-10-10 and the request to bring forward an EGM in a shortened timeframe. Frankly, for clubs outside the top division, we believe this is being unduly rushed and we need facts before we act. 

“Let me repeat, what has happened has not been fair to the clubs relegated and all clubs who have missed out on the opportunity for promotion play-offs. So, we do need to be pragmatic and accept a short-term solution to get to the other side of Covid-19 and address the injustices, but the solution proposed is not it. Reconstruction should be the product of a review of different factors, research and proper consultation - not a knee jerk reaction. 

“The clear focus should be on getting the game started after Covid-19. We accept that is critical in the Premiership for a host of reasons. But then the remaining clubs have to get together to work out a solution that focusses on who can play and the structure comes after that.

“At present we are working on the numbers in four divisions when no one knows who can play, when they can play and where they can play - never mind the cost of testing - and when supporters can get back into grounds. All are fundamental factors and to have to make decisions as big as reconstruction we think risks making wrong choices. We need to make decisions in the right order.

“The bottom line is getting clubs into a position when they know whether or not they can return to action. Let those who can get on with it and support others to get back as quickly as possible after that. Make no mistake, we intend to be one of the clubs playing but how we achieve that depends on a strategy to deal with the many unknown factors that currently exist.”

Following the announcement of a significant donation from James Anderson to the SPFL Trust, with a portion subsequently available to each member club by application, Gordon expanded on the development:-

“It’s an incredible gesture from Mr Anderson and the club greatly appreciates his personal commitment. It is a great opportunity for us, as gaining the £50k on offer is vital. The next stage for us is successfully completing the application process, by what is a challenging Monday noon deadline.

“An application process has been put in place that is quite involved. I understand why, but the reality is different from what some may think.

“In order to gain the monies, the application content includes:

  • Detailing how we plan to use the funds to provide Covid-19 relief;
  • Detailing the wider community benefit in relation to any monies received
  • Determining the charity objectives that our proposed work will fall into;
  • Developing a plan on how to evidence the associated spends benefit and the outcomes;
  • Predicting what time it will take to spend the money 
  • Committing to engage with the SPFL Trust’s Covid-19 communications strategy;
  • Develop a process to collate and thereby share learnings around the impact of the pandemic. 

“This has to be completed by Monday, so it has been a busy weekend, but the money on offer is critical so the time spent will be worth it if we are successful.”

Last weekend, the club announced a new kit and merchandise partnership with RJM Sports. Gordon continued:-

“We continue to meet with RJM about various aspects. A bespoke home jersey and alternate kit has now been agreed and we are awaiting the final samples from Uhlsport, then we can reveal them to supporters.

“Next year, owners will be far more involved in the choice. Unfortunately, that opportunity was lost this year due to Covid-19. In the week ahead we will also be finalising the arrangements for our community football, which is a vital element of the kit deal.”

On the commercial side, Gordon confirmed that progress has been on securing kit sponsors for the 2020-21 period:-

“We are close to confirming our shirt sponsors for the season ahead. In extraordinary times, our commercial team have been working hard to forge new relationships and enhance our current partnerships.

“As every industry has experienced tremendous challenges that has been no easy task, but we will hopefully have positive news to report soon.”

Following the launch of the 1877 Rewards scheme, Gordon echoed the sentiments in yesterday’s message from club chairman John Taylor:-

“We are well aware of the financial hardship that some supporters have found themselves in, so we are grateful for all the commitments to date. We have tried through this scheme to provide thanks for donations at each level of giving.

“Through this and the new season card launch to come, we are trying to be innovative. As we said before, Covid-19 has compounded a situation where after the losses of two previous seasons we were always going to re-adjust; that was stated at the AGM last year. These are not easy times for the club and donations through 1877 Rewards and the purchase of season cards are key ways to empower Danny with the means of building a competitive squad.

“Compiling the budget has been very difficult due to the number of unknown factors in regards to everything from crowds to stadium set up to the cost of testing. This has led to perhaps ten different scenarios and we have again engaged others with a knowledge of the club and professional expertise to help us with forecasting. It has been an unenviable task as circumstances and scenarios constantly change. This is why having the constant of supporter donations each month throughout the year is critical.”

To conclude, Gordon commented on the appointment of Graham Diamond to the Board, as Sporting Director:-

“I’m delighted that Graham is on board. To be honest, it’s a role that we have sought to bring to the club for several years, long before Danny was manager, so I’m pleased we have finally closed this gap.

“Primarily, Graham will be the lead support for Danny and his focus in the short term will be assisting in the recruitment process, contract negotiations and the management of the player budget. On a practical level it will also assist the Board and chairman in particular, as that role can be engulfed by a host of issues with players that they have to address, alongside the manager, that can dominate time. So Graham’s role will be to share that burden and ensure, as a Board, we give Danny the best support.

“As I said before, it is also about creating a structure for the future which will include developing a scouting network to help us identify players to strengthen our squad.

“Resources are scarce. John gave a stark and important reminder of that yesterday. We need to ensure that every penny is well spent. When there has been a lot of difficult news of late, I do think this is a really positive step for the club.”

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