BOARD UPDATE

Our final board update of 2023/24 should be positive and upbeat, after such a momentous season for the club, and we’ll try our very best to make it so. However, sometimes the importance of football needs to be put into perspective.

We must first therefore touch upon the untimely passing of our friend and board colleague Gordon Wright, at the age of just 61. Gordon was a lifelong Falkirk fan who joined the board in 2020 and dedicated countless hours over these last few years to help rebuild the club. His calm, considered thinking style influenced every single decision we have made, and he has been central to the progress achieved by the club in recent times. Falkirk FC is forever in his debt.
He was also the nicest guy you could ever meet. He always had time for a chat and his gentle manner and good humour made him many friends around the club. He’ll be sorely missed by the staff, volunteers and everyone else who knew him. Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences remain with his lovely wife Joyce and his family and friends. We hope that memories of Gordon’s happiness, in seeing us win the league and complete an invincible season, will in some small way help to ease their pain at this difficult time.
The season itself was, of course, fantastic and one which will last forever in the memories of all Falkirk fans. Match after match we were absolutely relentless, and the statistics speak for themselves. 27 wins, 9 draws, 0 losses, 96 goals scored, only 28 conceded, 90 points and a winning margin of 16. The players were terrific all season and, even in those games where we weren’t at our very best, the team spirit and refusal to be beaten, backed by the noise of our incredible support, carried us through. We have no superlatives left to describe what John, Paul, their backroom staff and the players achieved. “Well done” seems so inadequate.
It has been well documented how important it was to achieve promotion this season. Just as important has been the growth of the club’s commercial performance and its reconnection with our fanbase. Jamie and his staff, supported by many volunteers, have done a phenomenal job in improving every aspect of business operations. We’re delighted that this has not only helped the club financially but, from the recent FSS fans survey, that it is also having a very positive impact on fans’ perception and experience of the club. Survey results can be read HERE.
Finances do however remain challenging. Despite having such a great league season, not having the cup runs we had in 2022/23 means we’ll run much closer to the budgeted loss, than we did last year. The knock-on effect to 2024/25 is that we won’t start with large cash reserves, so will have to budget much closer to breakeven. The net uplift from being in the Championship will therefore mostly be absorbed by not having a large operating loss next season. That said, we have still been able to increase the playing budget once again, largely via extra funding from Falkirk Supporters Society, new Academy Patrons and those fans who have purchased a Manager’s Fund season ticket. We are therefore confident we’ll have a competitive squad. Many thanks to everyone who has gone the extra mile to make this possible.
Eighteen players are currently contracted for next season, with another two or three to be added to the first team squad. They’ll now be complemented by six modern apprentices, after Caelan McCrone and Flynn McCafferty recently signed two-year deals. We’d like to congratulate both lads on their first professional contracts and wish them every success in their careers at Falkirk. We would, of course, love to have a larger squad and to sign more apprentices, enabling us to participate in the SPFL Reserve league next season and fully bridge the gap between our Academy and First team. However, we have to live within our means, and the harsh inequities of financial distribution in Scottish football means that life outside the Premiership will always be challenging for a fan-owned club.
It also now appears that Premiership clubs are likely to make life even more difficult, by banning artificial surfaces in the top league from 2026/27. Falkirk fans should know that we have done everything we can to prevent this from being voted through. Jamie co-ordinated and led a group of six clubs, pulling together an excellent alternative proposal and presenting it to all relevant parties. It contained sensible measures which balanced a number of critical factors, yet not a single element was adopted into the resolution Premiership clubs will vote on. Instead, the proposal will be for a blanket ban on artificial surfaces, which will do absolutely nothing to improve quality standards yet will do immeasurable long-term damage to the whole game.
As Falkirk fans we are well aware of the impact of such flawed thinking – like the 10,000-seat stadium rule – but had perhaps hoped the SPFL would have learned from the old SPL. It appears not, and that the same mistake is about to be repeated. Rest assured we’ll continue to explore every avenue to fight this ridiculous decision, should it pass. Whatever happens, our club has been around since 1876 and our priority is to ensure it is passed on for future generations to enjoy. We’ve been negatively impacted in the past by the short-termism, narrow self-interest and naked protectionism of other clubs, but we’re still here. Going forward, we may or may not qualify for the Premiership, or we may be denied entry even if we do. If so, it won’t be the first time we’ve been disadvantaged on spurious grounds. We just need to keep on building, keep on progressing and keep on fighting. After all, we are Falkirk, and now we’re officially invincible!
As we look forward to next season in the Championship, we should perhaps pause to look back at our time in League One and reflect upon what it has taken to get out of it. It’s very difficult to remain full-time in the third tier, and the fact we survived for five long seasons is testament to the efforts of a great many people. First and foremost, the fans who stuck by the club through the lean times, buying tickets and merchandise and supporting the club in so many other ways. Also, to the investors who kept the club afloat, including the Rawlins, the Patrons Group, the Falkirk Supporters Society, and many individual fans who bought shares. Also, the many local business owners who continued to sponsor and support the club. Finally, to the staff and the many volunteers who kept the club going day-to-day, week-in week-out, season after season. We’d like to thank every single one of you for sticking with the club through the dark times. Thanks too, for the over 3200 season tickets already bought for 2024/25, including around 500 new buyers. With this level of backing, there will surely be brighter days ahead.
To conclude, and on a very personal note, we’d like to thank Gordon – a quiet, kind and gentle man who really was the best of us. We’ll miss his laid-back style and sharp intellect, his deeply considered contributions and wise counsel. We’ll miss him calming us down, picking us up and always seeking compromise to settle our disagreements. We’ll certainly miss all the hard work he put into the club. But more than that, we’ll miss him having time for everyone and never having a bad word to say about anyone. We’ll miss his quirky eccentricity, his real ale recommendations and bringing shortbread and wee Dougal to meetings. We’ll miss him screaming “noooo” every time a player makes a mistake or misses a chance. We’ll miss mocking his attire and him just not caring. Thanks for everything pal, we’ll miss you.

Falkirk FC Board.

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