WITH the pre-season preparations now complete the manager and players at Brechin City Football Club are all set to embark on what hopefully will be another exciting camapign.
“With the added attraction of derby fixtures with both Forfar and Arbroath I am sure the 2011/12 season will prove as exciting as the last,” comments chairman Ken Ferguson, as City prepare to host first division Falkirk in the opening round of the Ramsdesn Cup this Saturday.
“What a great season 2010/11 was,” continues Mr Ferguson.
“Okay, we fell at the final hurdle, but the rest of the race was fantastic.
“When reflecting on a season you forget just how long ago the start of the campaign was.
“We knew we had a good team, with strong showings against Aberdeen, Dundee and Motherwell.
“The highlights have to be the midweek away trip to Dumfries when we put in an excellent performance against Queen of the South and, of course, our two games with St Johnstone.
“We felt aggrieved that the first game was not televised. However, we were fortunate to have this corrected for the replay, the affect of which has left the club in a strong position for the challenges of the new season.
“This must, however, be tempered with a word of warning; this does not mean that all of a sudden we have wads of cash to spend on players. We are simply repaying the years of hardship that have built up in trying to keep a competitive team on the park.
“We have taken the opportunity to invest in a number of improvements to Glebe Park that we have always wanted to do but had to be put on the back burner until we were in a position to pay for them.
“They include a new lawn-mower for the groundsman, artificial turf for the linesman tracks, new seating in both stands, improvements to the washroom hygiene, improvements to the ground entrance and better changing facilities for the referees and players.
“These are things that have to be done if we want the ground to stay fresh and not be allowed to become tired and uncared for.”
Mr Ferguson goes on to explain that the big cup fixtures identified other areas that will require improvements - such as washroom and catering facilities at the Cemetery Road end.
“These are all areas we will look to deal with and hopefully grant funding may be available to help out.
“We must continue to be frugal with our expenses whilst aiming to maximise our income streams.
“To this end we have revamped our hospitality lounge and the packages available.
“We have hit the ground running this year, with Grant Hood contacting all our regular sponsors whilst drawing up a list of prospective new visitors to Glebe Park.
“This is an area that everyone of us could help out with, so please feel free to pass on details of anyone you know who might fancy a day out at the Glebe, whether they are business colleagues, suppliers or friends. E-mail details to Grant and he will make contact.
“The manager has, of course, been supported to strengthen the team and with nine new players coming to the club I am excited to see how everyone settles in. Make no mistake the squad of 2011/12 will be motivated to attack this league once again, and maybe, just maybe, we can avoid the play-offs and go for that automatic promotion place.
“Jim and Kevin have worked wonders in attracting players to Brechin, never the easiest task given our geographical location.
“Other clubs have accused us of being the big spenders in the league this season. This is not the case. We are working to a similar wage budget as last season and it is testament to Jim and Kevin that players of the quality that we have brought want to come and play for them.
“We all took the play-off final defeat har, none more so than Jim. I believe we can use the experience of the past few seasons to make us stronger and all the more determined to get promotion this year.
“We broke new ground by adding Cancer Research to our strips last season.
“We are to continue with this exercise for another season, with the CR logo appearing on both home and away kits.
“The club benefited from this exercise from increased shirt sales, but it is more important that, as a club, we were fortunate to be able to give something back to a worthwhile cause through the collections and sponsored walk.
I wish to thank all of our supporters, sponsors, advertisers, club staff and volunteers for all your help and assistance last season.
“I hope we can continue to count on your support this year as we try to keep Brechin on the football map.
“As a members’ club in a small community, Brechin City FC is unique.
“We are true supporters there are no other agendas at this Club. We must stick together as a club, through the good times and the bad, and provide the highest level of support we can to our team and to those who work so hard to maintain the club at the top of the part-time game in Scotland.
“There is no doubt that the game will witness considerable change this season, either through league reconstruction or new regulation.
“Where this leaves clubs such as ours we can only guess, what we do know for certain is that we go into a new season on a stronger financial footing that we have had for decades, with a quality squad of players, with a vibrant management team and with a dedicated committee.
“All I would ask is for the community to continue to provide all the support you can and to encourage others to sample the Glebe Park experience.”