With 20 league games played we’ve moved up to second place, still behind Dunfermline and level on points with third placed Edinburgh, but with better goal difference and two games in hand. Our recent form has been good and we are currently on track to make the play-offs, however we remain hopeful we can put in a serious challenge for automatic promotion which remains our primary objective.
John, Paul and Allan Fraser have worked tirelessly over the past few months to ensure we could refresh the squad in the January window, a challenge made more difficult by the need to work to a net zero budget. However, the departures of Nicky Hogarth, Jaime Wilson, Juan Alegria, Seb Ross, Blair Sneddon and Steven Hetherington have freed up some funds and so far enabled the arrival of Blaine Rowe on loan from Coventry City.
We’d like to welcome Blaine and thank Nicky and Juan, as they return to their parent clubs, as well as Jaime and Seb as they depart the club permanently. We’d also like to wish Blair and Steven the best of luck in their loan spells at Berwick Rangers and Arbroath respectively. Finally, we’d like to thank all Falkirk fans for continuing to back the team in large numbers, both home and away.
Back in late September we asked shareholders and supporters for £500k investment to comfortably cover this season’s projected £400k operating loss and to give us the option, subject to other factors, of potentially replacing the pitch during the summer. In late November we informed you that the response had fallen well short of the goal set and that we were working on others way to fill the funding gap. As a result, we postponed the club’s AGM into early 2023.
We’re pleased to confirm that both the board and auditors are now happy that, subject to the year-end financial projections and cash-flow forecasts submitted, the AGM can proceed with unqualified accounts. The 2021/22 AGM will therefore take place on Thursday 23rd February 2023, with all documentation being issued next week.
We’d like to sincerely thank every single supporter who has stepped forward with investment, whether via the Patrons’ Group, Falkirk Supporters’ Society or directly. We’d also like to thank shareholders who have agreed to provide loans and those fans who have purchased a 10 Year Season Ticket. However, this experience has provided a salutary lesson that, going forward, the club must move to a more solid and sustainable operating model. We look forward to discussing the options with shareholders at the AGM.
To ensure our year-end financial forecasts come to fruition, we need to continue to hit our income targets while controlling our costs. To this end, we’re pleased to say we’re still on track, with over 98% of last season’s income already achieved by the end of November. For this we must thank fans who continue to buy match tickets, hospitality, merchandise, and so on, in large numbers.
We must also thank our many commercial partners, and we’re delighted to add construction specialists Beattie FRC to our portfolio of sponsors as Official Training Partner. In December we also announced that from next season we’ll be changing our Official Kit Supplier to Irish sportswear company O’Neills, and this was followed by the reappointment of Greaves Sports as our Official Retail Partner. We very much look forward to working Beattie FRC, O’Neills and Greaves and all of our other commercial partners in the months and years ahead.
Although we’re progressing well, we cannot rest on our laurels and there’s still another £600k of income to be generated by the end of the season. To this end it’s imperative that fans continue to attend matches and support as many fund-raising initiatives as they can. So far 14 fans have bought 10 Year Season Tickets, meaning we still have 11 available at £5000 each. Please contact Jamie Swinney on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
There are also various player, shirt and boot sponsorships still available and Friday 3rd March will see the return of our annual Speakers Night, raising funds exclusively to support the Falkirk Academy. Hosted by Peter Martin and Alan Rough, it’s guaranteed to be a great night, tickets cost £60 pp or £550 for a table of ten and can be bought via email@example.com
If there’s one thing all Falkirk fans can unite behind it’s surely in our support for the Academy, and everyone interested in Youth Development at the club can listen to the latest FFC Podcast with Head of Youth Development Tony Begg here https://www.falkirkfc.co.uk/2022/12/15/the-falkirk-football-club-podcast-episode-four-available-to-stream-now/
We also encourage all fans to read the Falkirk Foundation’s excellent End Of Year Report for 2022 here https://falkirkfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/End-of-year-report.pdf. It’s perhaps all too easy to focus on the First Team and not be aware of all the great work taking place behind the scenes, particularly in our youth and community programmes.
Finally, it would be remiss of us not to continue to ask fans to subscribe to the Falkirk Supporters’ Society here https://falkirksupporters.org/subscribe/. Widening fan-ownership is pivotal to our long-term success and, while most fans support the concept in principle, it’s essential that we also take the steps required to make it a reality in practice.
We’ll conclude by wishing everyone a belated Happy New Year. Let’s hope that 2023 sees us make continued progress in rebuilding the club, both on and off the park, and find more ways to accelerate our growth back towards the Premiership. We’ve a 100% win record so far and another win at Alloa, in this weekend’s Scottish Cup 4th round tie, would continue a great start to the year.
Falkirk FC Board