Following similar updates in May and June, most supporters should, by now, have a good grasp of the key elements of the business plan. To recap, these are:
- To ensure a well-funded first team to maximise our chances of winning promotion.
- To do so by growing income, tightly controlling costs and reducing operating losses.
- To continue to seek new investment and other income to cover those operating losses.
- To keep Youth Development at U16/U18 moving up to the next level from January 2026.
- To add a Development Squad (between U18’s and first team) from next season 2023/24.
The football budget was initially set at the same level as last year and early performances in pre-season and the Premier Sports Cup were encouraging, however, we all felt the squad still needed to be stronger to compete for promotion. On-target season ticket sales gave us the reassurance to further increase the football budget and we’d like to thank every single season ticket holder for their commitment in backing the club once again. This budget increase enabled John to sign more players but could only be funded by stretching both our commercial and match day income targets. As a fan-owned club we rely on supporters for over 90% of income and season ticket sales only account for around 15%. Put simply, to have a better team we need to fund it. We now believe we have a squad of players capable of competing for promotion and we’d like to welcome new signings Stephen McGinn, Coll Donaldson, Liam Henderson, PJ Morrison, Sean Mackie, Gary Oliver, Finn Yeats, Kai Kennedy, Juan Alegria, Ola Lawal, Rumarn Burrell and Nicky Hogarth to the club.
The whole football department is already playing its part in helping us achieve our goals. A great run in the Premier Sports Cup and a positive start to the league campaign not only makes us all happier on a Saturday night, but also contributes towards our stretch targets for match day income. Hopefully performances and results will continue to be good, leading to bigger crowds and a great atmosphere at games. So far attendances at the Falkirk Stadium have been good, although the number of away fans coming to matches in League One is generally low. We are therefore highly dependent on home supporters for gate receipts and other match day income and would ask all fans to bring friends, buy 50:50 tickets and visit the Brockville Bar or club shop on match days. Every penny of income really does make a difference.
We also have stretching commercial goals and, to this end, the new Commercial and Supporter Services teams have been working very hard. We’d like to thank all of our new or renewing sponsors for their support. These include Crunchy Carrots, Horizon Crane Hire, Maniqui Nightclub, Jarvie Plant, Your Equipment Solutions, Total Tickets, Regency Betting Group, Inchyra Hotel, BD365 Cleaning Services, Callendar Pharmacy, Benny T’s, Behind the Wall, MD Finlay Joinery, Galaxy Sports and Diced Meal Prep. Our club couldn’t prosper without the on-going support of local business owners (most of whom are also avid Falkirk fans) and we’re grateful for the level of sponsorship and advertising sales they provide. We’re pleased to say that most of our match sponsorship packages are now sold for the whole season but there are still corporate hospitality packages available for most games. We’re also still on the lookout for larger sponsors for some of our Gold packages, including Official Academy Partner and Official Training Partner, as well as sponsors for both the North and Kevin McAllister stands.
However, you don’t have to own a business to get involved with a wide range of sponsorship and hospitality packages to suit all budgets. Fans can easily sign up for match ball, captain’s armband or goalie’s gloves sponsorships and there are still plenty of individual player sponsorships available. Hospitality in particular is well behind where we would like it to be, yet prices start as low as £55 including a match ticket. If 80% of fans upgraded to hospitality just once a season, we’d be at capacity for every game and reservations can now be made directly online here. For information on any of our commercial packages please contact Graeme Stewart on 01324 624121 or email@example.com or Graham Carbis on 01324 624121 Ext 219 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming back to football, we’d like to welcome Tony Begg to the club. Tony recently joined as Head of Youth Development, which is a crucial role in rebuilding the club, and will work closely with John McGlynn and Paul Smith as well as Head of Recruitment Allan Fraser. We’re all determined that the recruitment and development of young players will once again become the lifeblood of Falkirk FC. To this end, we’re delighted to have secured the services of Scott Honeyman, Kyle Connolly, Lennon Walker and Pearse Carroll, as well as signing the likes of Finn Yeats and Ola Lawal. The latter three have already shown that age is no barrier to playing in the first team, while Scott, Kyle and Lennon will benefit greatly from loan spells at East Stirlingshire and Bo’ness United. Our intention remains to have a development squad, between the U18’s and first team, playing regular competitive football from next season. Planning for this remains a work-in-progress but is likely to involve a core of 6 to 8 modern apprentices, supplemented by players on the first-team fringes plus the best performing U18’s. This squad, however, can’t currently be funded from within the club’s business plan, so we are looking at alternative ways to bring this to fruition. We’d like to hear from any business owner with a particular passion for supporting football development at the club.
In the mid to long-term, selling players remains the best way for our club to cover operating losses and ensure we break even every year. The establishment of the above development squad, and ultimately a full academy from 2026, will enable us to rebuild this talent pipeline. In the short-term, however, having started the season with very low cash reserves, we’ll definitely need more investment to secure the cashflow needed to cover monthly operating losses. While we’ll continue to talk to interested external parties, the great likelihood is that this investment will also have to come from fans. Some of the Patrons’ Group may invest more and they would very much like to recruit new members. Any supporter able and willing to invest £10k or more should contact Kenny Jamieson on email@example.com. We’re also working closely with Falkirk Supporters’ Society to find further ways to increase their membership as we grow towards a more balanced model of fan ownership. We’re grateful to the 500+ fans who have already signed up, but this is still a long way short of the membership of comparable clubs eg. Motherwell’s Well Society has around 3200 members. We do recognise that times are tough for some, and no-one should sign up if they genuinely can’t afford it, but we’d hope that for the price of a cup of coffee per week, a club like ours could match or beat Motherwell. We’d encourage all fans who can afford £10 per month to sign up with FSS here.
We’ll finish this update with a few miscellaneous items. First, we’d like to thank Doug Moodie and Liam Corr for their service to the club. Doug recently stepped down as one of the two FSS representatives on the board. Liam has been with the club for over four years in various roles, most recently as a valuable member of John’s backroom staff. Liam has decided to pursue a career with the Fire Brigade and leaves with our very best wishes. We’d also like to thank Bairn for Life members and the anonymous fan who each recently made five-figure donations to further supplement John’s playing budget. We’d further like to thank the Bairns Business Club for their support in funding several urgent repairs to our infrastructure at the Falkirk Stadium. We’d also like to welcome Kevin Beattie and Kenny McDonald as Supporter Liaison Officer and Disability Access Officer respectively, and thank them for volunteering for these important roles. Finally, we’d like to thank all of the other volunteers who help the club on a regular basis. They are too many to mention by name, but the club simply couldn’t function without them. In other news we’d like to congratulate the Falkirk Foundation on the recent launch of their excellent new strategy for 2022-2025, which can be read here. We’d encourage all fans to support the Foundation in any way they can to help achieve their aims. Congratulations also to the Falkirk FC Women’s team who are currently sitting top of SWF League One with a 100% record so far. Finally, congratulations to John and Ross, the guys behind the new Falkirk Daft podcast, It’s always great to see new initiatives from supporters and in particular a new medium which engages the club’s fanbase so well.
In conclusion, we’re pleased the club has made a good start to the season both on and off the pitch. There’s a palpable positivity around the place which feels very different from recent years. However, it’s still early days, there’s a long way to go and we’re in a very challenging environment. On the pitch this is likely to be one of the most competitive leagues we’ve played in for a long time. Off the pitch the club’s financial position and the prevailing economic conditions will make this season equally challenging. As we’ve said, the board and all the staff (football and non-football) are working to a business plan but the plan simply cannot succeed without the support of every single Falkirk fan. If we all pull together and contribute as much as we possibly can, we can all help to lift our club back to the Championship and beyond. The signs so far are positive and the backing the team has had from the stands has been outstanding. Let’s keep it going as we go for four league wins in a row this weekend.