NEWS

We’d once again like to update Falkirk fans, as we draw a line under what has been a disappointing season for all of us and look forward to next season. We’d also like to thank all the supporters who came to the recent “pub tour” events to hear about our plans going forward. 

Our intention is to hold a meeting on 2nd June 2022, at the stadium, to set out our plans for season 2022/23 and answer questions. Arrangements for this event, and how to secure your place will follow in the coming days. 

Our goal is to re-establish Falkirk Football Club in the Premiership in time for our 150th anniversary season of 2026/27. However, we cannot under-estimate how challenging this will be, nor over-emphasise how much the club needs the help of every single supporter to achieve this objective. 

Critical to this will be the recent appointment of John McGlynn and Paul Smith, who bring with them a wealth and experience of our league and the Championship. 

Since the new board was established in December, as well as reviewing our own club, we’ve been increasing our knowledge of what it takes to build a sustainably successful football club – one which consistently delivers positive results as a direct output of its management practices, systems and structures.

For clubs with such “infrastructure” it is clear that, while success can never be guaranteed, their chances are greatly enhanced because they are less reliant on specific individuals. In such clubs, while appointing a manager is very important it is the final piece of the jigsaw not the only piece. 

If the definition of madness is “doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results” our club needs to learn from this. What we’ve learned is that the act we keep repeating isn’t consistently appointing poor managers, but consistently expecting managers to succeed without giving them all the tools they need to do so. We need to put these tools in place and this work has already begun. 

On the football side, this means a strong scouting network, excellent data analysis, a pipeline of talented Academy players, great training facilities, a good playing surface and a positive, high-performance culture. It also means having a consistent football philosophy and coaching methodology – a “Falkirk Way” which is aligned all the way from the first team to the foundation. 

Off the pitch the story is much the same. We won’t become a high-performing business without the essential infrastructure required, such as goal setting, performance appraisals, commercial architecture, sales materials, prospects lists, CRM capabilities, good management accounts, a strong brand, better use of media and a positive culture with good relationships with all our partners. 

Of course, the above are symbiotic – the better we do on the pitch, the better we’ll do off the pitch – but we need to rebuild both at a pace which is manageable and at a cost which is affordable. 

We’re therefore going to remain at the Advanced Youth level of Club Academy Scotland (CAS), which will see us retain our Under 16 and Under 18 squads. CAS operates in three-year cycles and a move to the next level (Performance) would mean the need to field 6 squads from January 2023. With all of the associated costs this would mean an extra investment of £100k+ above the current budget. The criteria associated with the performance level requires additional full-time and part-time staff, significant investment in coaches, physios, sports scientists and analysts, as well as increased costs associated with facilities, training attire, transport and equipment. We will be ready to move to the Performance level at the start of the next cycle in January 2026.

Of greater immediate priority is the creation of a Development Squad, which we will have in place for the start of season 2023/24. This will not only ensure a pathway for talented U18 players but will also enable first-team fringe players and those returning from injury to play in a meaningful games programme. This is also a better use of financial resources, giving us the potential to reactivate revenue from player sales more quickly than younger age groups would allow. The club is soon to appoint a new Head of Youth to oversee the creation of this squad and our current U16 and U18 programme. 

Allan Fraser will also continue as Head of Recruitment. After just a few months since Allan joined us, we’ve now got a well-researched recruitment list which will undoubtedly aid our recruitment for next season, giving the new management team robust information to work with from day one. 

While these appointments will be more cost-effective for the club than the previous structure, such roles plus the recruitment of new players still needs to be funded. We therefore need a strong commercial performance in 2022/23 to ensure the club remains on a stable financial footing. We’ll inevitably have to run with an operating loss, but it will be less than half that incurred last season. 

To deliver this, and guarantee a good playing budget next season, we need income to grow by around £300,000 while also controlling non-football costs. This will require striking a fine balance between investing in commercial resource, while ensuring that revenues generated are significantly higher than any incremental costs incurred. We’re therefore also asking for volunteers to step forward to help with the sales effort, particularly any fan with prior sales or telesales experience. In addition, anyone with graphic design and/or social media skills would also be very welcome and all volunteers should contact jamie@falkirkfc.co.uk if they can help. 

Furthermore, if any supporter either runs a business or knows someone who does, who may be interested in sponsorship or advertising, then please put us in touch with them via the same e-mail address. In particular, we’re looking for an Official Academy Partner who can help fund and accelerate our football development. We’d also like to re-establish our own training ground away from The Falkirk Stadium, so are looking for an Official Training Partner who can help fund and facilitate this. 

These partnerships are just two of seven Platinum packages now available to sponsors, and are supplemented by a wide range of Gold, Silver and Bronze options in our new commercial architecture. Prices start at just £100 so there’s a way for every supporter to help our club meet its commercial goals next season. Please contact the commercial team for further details on 01324 624121 Ext 2 or email marketing@falkirkfc.co.uk. 

We’re pleased to welcome Graeme Stewart as our new Commercial Manager. Graeme has replaced club legend Sam McGivern, who sadly decided that the long commute from Ayrshire to Falkirk was proving to be too difficult. We’d like to thank Sam and wish him all the very best for the future. We’d also like to thank both Jacqueline Galbraith and Sharon McGuire who have also decided to depart the commercial team, to pursue alternative career paths. 

Both Jacq and Sharon are popular and valued members of staff who will be missed by everyone at the club, and by the many supporters they’ve interacted with over the years in the shop, hospitality or Behind the Goals. We’re recruiting two new Commercial Executives to replace Jacq and Sharon. We are also on the lookout for a new bar manager to help lead Behind the Goals. 

Going forward we can only ask that every single Falkirk fan puts his or her shoulder to the wheel to help rebuild our club. We of course recognise that, after the past few seasons, morale is understandably low. Despite this, our crowds have remained amongst the largest outside the Premiership and our season ticket sales have shown the Falkirk fans remain remarkably loyal. 

Hopefully, after a summer break we can all rekindle our enthusiasm to go again next season. The staff, board and volunteers will lead this effort, but each and every one of us has a role to play, whether by buying a season ticket, merchandise or hospitality, by becoming a sponsor or advertiser or by subscribing to the Falkirk Supporters Society. 

Falkirk is our club, it belongs to all of us, and together we can build it back to where we all want it to be. This will require energy, ideas and investment but if we all work together we can achieve our goal of being back in the Premiership by 2026/27. 

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