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Club Talk

Wed, 28th Oct 2020 2:30pm

Clyde Chairman and General Manager John Taylor has given an update on various aspects of the club, following the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

John started by commenting on a positive return to competitive action for the first team:-

"Following a close season of almost seven months, I think there was real concern about how clubs would come out of this imposed hibernation.

"Danny and his backroom staff have done a great job in getting the players back to business and to a good level of fitness, as we have already witnessed in the games against Dumbarton, Falkirk and Partick Thistle, the last two of whom are full-time outfits.

"Eight of the squad for the final game of last season have moved on and been replaced by the seven who have come in, so we shouldn't underestimate the transition that has been taking place behind the scenes.

"Based on that, we can be pleased with the way we have started."

With all matches currently being played behind closed doors, John noted the logistical difficulties arising from that situation:-

"From my operational standpoint, the ‘new normal' has been much more difficult to deliver than that required for a typical new season. The Return to Play protocols, for which we must comply, are extremely challenging for all behind the scenes.

"The players need to report for training and games dressed in training / matchday kit respectively, with only a change of footwear allowed before they go on to the pitch. They can't have post session showers and need to stay within their own bio secure groups. Training logs need to be maintained to evidence, should there be an issue, that the actual contact time in any session was below the maximum allowed by the protocols… and so on."

In response to the closed door requirement, the club has launched a new live streaming service and John was keen to stress its importance in the interim period:- 

"We can't underestimate the value of the James Anderson funding, designed to help clubs prepare for, and live with, the effects of Covid-19 related disruption.

"This money has been used for a wide range of items designed to keep the stadium, and its users, as bio secure as possible. It also funded the live streaming system, installed in late August.

"Graham Forrest has spent a vast amount of time and effort overseeing the installation and operation of the new Pixellot system to allow fans to watch the games live. Although this can't replace the experience from a seat in the stand, we have had good feedback from our opening two games at Broadwood. We should all remember that we are ultimately reliant on the Pixellot platform, but we are continuing to work closely with the provider to ensure our fans can enjoy a secure and uninterrupted transmission of our games.

"In terms of matchday income, the uptake and opt-in from season card holders has been very encouraging. However, we still need to increase the viewing income from non-season card holders and we would encourage more fans to view our games through pay-per-view tickets."

John continued with a general message on the Covid-19 situation, with full testing of the first team staff and squad required before the Betfred Cup match against Premiership side Kilmarnock:-

"Despite the tireless work being done by our Covid-19 Officer, David MacPherson, unfortunately I think it's inevitable that we will be unable to avoid this virus affecting our squad at some point.

"However, our protocols are being respected and implemented by the entire staff at the club and our Covid-19 task group meets weekly to review and adjust our protocols in line with Joint Response Group updates.

"We invested part of the James Anderson funding in the supply of testing kits and also contracted with a Glasgow-based lab to provide test results. These will be used for our players and staff in the lead up to the game against Kilmarnock, as required by the protocols."

In ongoing extremely challenging times, John urged supporters to continue to back the various fundraising avenues available, including Season Cards, 1877 Rewards, Club Ownership, Bully Wee Fund and the Clyde Lottery:-

"This is a desperate time for all clubs and we are no different. Our on-field investment in the previous two seasons was a major factor in the combined reported losses of circa £160,000 over the last two financial years.

"The 2020-21 budget, signed off at the turn of the year, had been reforecasted in a drive to achieve a break-even position for the new season. However, the subsequent impact of Covid and its effect on our income streams has been devastating.

"It's against that backdrop that we are battling to manage the club's sustainability. Any additional support from supporters through any of our initiatives will be of great help to the club."

John also confirmed that different options were being considered for the club's Annual General Meeting:-

"At this point, we are likely to move our AGM from the customary December slot, to early in the New Year and taking place remotely. We're currently looking at the technology that supports such a meeting, which also requires the facility for online voting."

To conclude, John touched on the discussions taking place at a wider level within Scottish football:-

"All clubs continue to be guided by the Joint Response Group on an almost daily basis. Behind the scenes, they have been lobbying the Government in an attempt to secure support funding for clubs and we await news of progress in this area.

"In the meantime, the SPFL are in discussions with clubs regarding contingency plans for the current season, should we face a repeat of the Covid-19 related disruption to the 2019-20 campaign."

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