Hello from all at Peterhead FC, we sincerely hope that you are all adhering to the government advice to stay at home and more importantly that you are all safe and well in these unprecedented and unimaginable times.
Although the club is now on complete lockdown, we wanted to reassure you that the Board and key members of staff have remained very active communicating daily from home (with the added benefit of Zoom) to keep abreast of an ever-changing situation and towards safeguarding the future of our club. These are very trying economic times for us all and PFC is no different to any other small club in that we find ourselves fighting to survive while also maintaining a sense of perspective in protecting the health and well-being of our staff and players. As I’m sure many of you are aware, our hugely popular Youth and Community Coach Nat Porter has struggled with Covid-19 over the last 10 days and we all wish Nat a speedy recovery and our best wishes.
On the club closure and cancellation of football, the Board would like to extend a huge thank you to our dedicated hospitality and administration staff, team management and players who have worked with us to come to an agreement with regards to a wage structure that was workable within the confines of our financial situation. It is a great testament to team manager Jim Mcinally and his relationship with the players that after he made the offer to forego his salary during this pandemic his players were quick to follow and swiftly agreed to a wage solution to suit all, their actions during this very tough time will not be forgotten. Another great comfort to us has been the huge number of messages sent from our business fraternity with patrons and corporate sponsors pledging their continued support in recognition of the importance of keeping our club at the heart of our community – it is very much appreciated.
We would like to update you on movements within the club board. This may not be the best of times to announce the departure of two long-standing directors but there needs to be transparency for our fans regarding our position going forward.
It is therefore with a heavy heart that we announce the departure of Ian Grant and Harry Fraser from PFC. It is a belated announcement as although both directors had resigned earlier in the year, we had hoped that both may have had a change of heart however we must now accept that each have their own individual reasons for leaving and fully respect their decisions.
Ian Grant was Vice-Chairman for eight years and made a huge contribution to the club, both financially and with keen business acumen. He was a former player and therefore played a key role in overseeing the management team as a close confidante of Jim Mcinally, advising and assisting on player recruitment matters. Ian’s parting legacy to the club has been his vision and development of the newly opened and hugely successful coffee shop at Balmoor, an asset that will hopefully provide a much-needed revenue stream for years to come when the club re-opens.
Harry Fraser was also in his directorship role for eight years and a popular member of our board. Well-known for his North-East based business Harry Fraser Catering Ltd, Harry oversaw the catering facilities at Balmoor Stadium both on match days and at various events throughout the year. Thanks to Harry’s contribution the club’s reputation for providing excellent match day hospitality is known throughout Scottish football, an accolade that the club very much intend to retain going forward with Harry’s contribution as he remains a helper on match days.
Speaking on behalf of the club, Chairman Rodger Morrison added “I am hugely grateful for the contribution that these two gentlemen made to our club both financially and with the generous donation of their time. They have been on an incredible journey with us including two SPFL2 Championship wins and a Challenge Cup Final at Hampden in front of 48 000 fans. I know that nothing is forever, especially in football but both Harry and Ian will be greatly missed, and I hope that neither will be a stranger on match days”.
During this global pandemic, we believe that the government should be commended on their financial commitment to business and employment however this unfortunately does not extend to the banking industry as far as football clubs are concerned. Although we are in the fortunate financial position of not being over-extended and having no loans against our club, our applications for the various government schemes (business interruption loan scheme and grants) have been denied and our bank has refused any financial support to see us through this difficult time. We are eligible however for the job retention scheme and to this end we have now furloughed all players and staff. The reimbursement package from HMRC for this scheme is not yet live and may take some months to finalise so we must meet wage commitments until we are compensated placing a large financial burden on the club. To this end, we are working on various ideas to bring added revenue in. We have researched the schemes of other clubs and while some have been very successful, we must find the right fit for us while also taking into account the financial restraints placed on our fans. We will therefore soon be launching a larger scale model of our 50/50 match day draw – more details to follow in the coming days.
Although these times are very difficult for all, we hope that we have provided some reassurance that we are still here, and we are doing all we can to remain here when this crisis is over. So, from all of us at Peterhead Football Club, please stay safe, keep your families safe and we hope that we will all come through this together.