Clyde vice-chairman Gordon Thomson spoke to the official website today, for a general update from around the club.
With now just under three weeks until the scheduled start to the season, preparations are continuing amidst a difficult and ever-changing landscape. Gordon said:-
"First and foremost, it’s just good to see the players back in training as we edge slowly towards some form of normality, but there is still a long way to go yet. Recent events across the country in regards of the continued prevalence of Covid-19 make previous thoughts that crowds would be back for the start of the league campaign now seem optimistic, unfortunately. However, we need to remain hopeful, while continuing to work on contingencies.
"The club has weekly meetings solely focused on Covid-19, ensuring that we comply with the JRG regulations and share that information with key stakeholders at Broadwood. This includes ensuring the correct procedures are in place for each training session and practice match - a task that is not insignificant given the usage of the stadium and the regular updates that occur. Compliance is essential at this time and will grow in significance when the season commences.
"At the present time, there is no testing requirement for us, apart from when we are due to face a Premiership club and that will occur in early November for our Betfred Cup match against Kilmarnock. Club director David MacPherson is leading this area within his new role of Medical Director."
Gordon continued on the possibility of matches being held behind closed doors, or with limited attendances, and the alternative option of live streaming the fixtures:-
"We have, along with several other clubs, invested in a new camera, funded through the James Anderson monies. In due course, we’re hoping that this will allow supporters to view matches and potentially also enable the club to derive income in this period. For ourselves there have been some logistical issues beyond our control that have delayed the system’s installation, but we are working hard to ensure that it is operational by the kick-off.”
On the first team squad preparations, Gordon continued:-
"Efforts are ongoing to add to the squad, but obviously this has been affected by the budget available. After two seasons of significant losses there was always going to be an adjustment to it, but the impact of Covid has made it even more complex. We’ve had no match income since the 7th March and there remains no guarantee that this will return in any significant way in the forseeable future. This makes planning and budget setting difficult, with the prospect of reduced income streams against the existing costs to meet and statutory requirements including costs such as PAYE, National Insurance contributions, pension payments and VAT duty.
"In this context it was critical that we revised the process of player recruitment. Co-opting Graham Diamond to the board was important due to his professional experience in football as well as his own career background. However, the establishment of a defined role in heading up football operations was the first step in developing an infrastructure at the club to support the first team manager and give the club an agreed football strategy, not reliant on individuals. The recent appointment of PJ Corr as Head of Recruitment is further proof that the club is not standing still.
"This post will enable the implementation, for the first time at Clyde, of a network of scouts to ensure that as a club we keep informed of player development throughout the country. This enhanced team is being built to support Danny, who always has the final say on any signing, but in this way the challenges of recruitment and identifying potential players at all levels of the game is shared and, unlike at other times, is not lost when a manager moves on. It will take time to fully establish itself, but even now at this very early stage we are pleased with how things are progressing as the management team has added and will continue to add to the squad."
In terms of the overall club structure and operation, Gordon gave an update:-
The board continues to meets weekly and is focused on progressing the workstreams as identified through the strategic plan, namely; Football, Finance, Operations, Governance, Commercial, Fundraising and Communication.
"We remain keen to ensure greater transparency and therefore the status of the workstreams will be reported on a quarterly basis to owners each August, November, February and May.
"The board continues to be supported at this time by advisors Ian Letham and Frank Meade and associate directors. All of these roles add additional and necessary commercial and private sector experience. We plan to make further appointments to the board in due course, the first of which is Charlie Lowrie, who steps up from his associate role, after several years of volunteering for the club and supporting it in developing links and sponsorship from local businesses.
"Any board has to be a combination of experience and one which benefits from a cross section of the skills and knowledge required to take the club forward. The ownership structure at Clyde is not unique and, as in the football department, we believe at this time success is best gained through an agreed structure and approach that isn’t solely reliant on any one individual.
"No one on the board is closed to any way of bringing new income to the club, but I trust that supporters recognize that we are, as a board, united in keeping the club safe at the same time as remaining ambitious for the future. Hopefully we are demonstrating by our actions that the club are trying to involve more people with the necessary skills and expertise to address the very real challenges that we face, all united with the ultimate aim of giving Danny the resources he needs to help bring more success on the park."
To conclude, Gordon provided some more background on his appointment to the SPFL Board as alternate director for Leagues 1 and 2.
"In practice, I am a director that participates in all board business, but due to the SPFL voting rules agreed at the time of its formation, there is only one voting rep for League 1 and 2 and that is held by Ken Ferguson of Brechin City.
"The alternate role was introduced to improve representation and assist a greater understanding of the particular pressures faced by clubs of our standing. For personal reasons, my involvement has been limited in the recent period but I am looking forward to getting more involved in the months ahead.”