Firstly, I would like to wish all Clyde supporters the very best in 2022 and I hope you have all had a good festive period. I also remember those supporters who have passed on this year and for those grieving the loss of family and friends at the moment in what continues to be difficult circumstances for many of us.
It has undoubtedly been a challenging year. As Chairman, I recognise I never lack for a word of advice or opinion being shared with me but I know that comes from a good place, as people have a passion for our club. The responsibility of being Chair is not something that I take lightly and I continue to be committed in improving our development as a club. The goal remains to compete at the highest level we can achieve and to deliver that in a sustainable way. Football, however, can be unforgiving; success and failure has increasingly fine margins and we have experienced both sides of that coin in the last 12 months.
On the park, 2021 has had moments of relief and joy but also we cannot hide from periods of real disappointment. Under exceptional circumstances, we maintained our League 1 status with some dogged displays, but in the current season we have also faced some real turmoil. The cup exits to Broomhill and Clydebank were unacceptable. Bad results can happen but the performances were the biggest concerns and those can’t be easily dismissed. In the aftermath of the Clydebank match I said that action was needed, not words. The squad and football department deserve real praise for their response when it was required. This has enabled us to gain crucial points in a highly competitive league however we cannot be complacent. The remainder of the season, and January in particular, will present huge challenges for us but the team spirit that has developed is a huge asset as we pass the halfway point. We have and will continue to back the team as best as we can to deliver success on the park and compete with our peers.
When nominated as Chair my vision was to ensure that we embraced the participation of supporters. I initiated three working groups focusing on – Broadwood, Relocation and Governance. I’m pleased at the progress they have made and all are on track to meet with the Board in January and give an update to club owners in February.
The Governance group has made proposed changes which are currently being considered by the Board and a consultation period for club owners will commence in February, with the intention of an EGM to adopt the agreed changes in Spring 2022. The proposals will include the process of electing directors, updates in regard to online participation, financial procedures, conflict of interest and also a new code of conduct document for Board members. These are welcomed and I look forward to the gaining the necessary backing to implement the proposed recommendations.
Both the Broadwood group and the Relocation Group have been given access to club budgets and management accounts in order to better understand the costs and benefits of staying at Broadwood as we continue to review how best we can increase income streams. The Relocation group has considered this further in researching potential alternative scenarios. The purpose of these groups is to eliminate as best as we can the romance or, dare I say, the urban myths that have grown over the years when this topic is discussed. Both will need to respond to the fundamental questions – why stay? Or why move? There also needs to be a real understanding of what potential revenue levels would look like based at Broadwood or out-with, so owners can make a choice of what is the best outcome for the club, not only in the short but also the medium and longer term.
I tire of us being viewed by others as weak or vulnerable. Our aim should be to get to a stage where every pound earned is a pound gained by our club. Ultimately we need to be masters of our own destiny and have the ability to work with the local community and businesses to generate the necessary revenues to sustain us as a club and then to grow. I don’t believe that this is unattainable.
The working groups have harnessed skills, talent and experience and, for me, have introduced a new way of working for the club that should continue. If this approach gives individuals a better understanding of the club and a greater interest in serving the club in other ways, then all the better.
Finally, communication is always a tough nut to crack. It is an area that I want to see improve and I am aware that it’s not right at the moment. In 2022 I want to develop more interaction and, as a step towards that, the evolvement of the Advisory Group in the latter part of 2021 was an important first step. This group is made of a cross section of supporters and is meeting monthly to discuss areas such as matchday experience and club communications. There will be a regular forum for issues to be raised by speaking directly to myself as Chairman and to John Taylor as General Manager. Together, we will look at other ways in which we can ensure the maximum participation of supporters and that will include the updating of our strategic priorities in the year ahead.
I want us to be one club with a unity of purpose and a plan of a strategic vision that is not blown off course by individual events. With your support, I want to achieve that and I believe that we can by working together.