Peterhead players announce drive to get Gary Fraser playing again and to help support @BackOnside who have former player David Cox as their patron
Peterhead boss Jim McInally and coach Simon Ferry are selling their jerseys, and their Balmoor players are climbing a mountain, in a bid to get Gary Fraser back playing soon and to raise funds for mental health charity Back Onside.
They have set an ambitious target to help these two causes and would welcome any support from across Scottish football and beyond.
Gary suffered a knee injury in Peterhead’s 1-1 draw with Montrose just three days before Christmas 2012, with tests revealing he requires surgery following a recent recurrence.
The former Hamilton Accies, Bolton Wanderers, Partick Thistle, Forfar and Cowdenbeath man has been provided with a new contract from the north-east club for next season, however no date has been set for the operation due to COVID related delays.
With no crowds in Balmoor for the last 15 months and the club’s hospitality revenue adversely impacted Jim felt unable to ask the club to pay for an operation to be carried out privately.
A private operation would allow Gary to be back over the next few months and contribute on the pitch for the majority of the new season.
Jim, his management colleagues and Fraser’s team- mates have therefore decided to step in to help Gary as well as opting to back Mental Health Charity Back Onside, who have former Peterhead player David Cox as a Patron.
Fraser’s operation and rehabilitation costs, are expected to be between £5,000 to £7500 and any funds (regardless of the amount) that are raised above the final figure will be donated to Back Onside.
To kick the fundraising off the Balmoor players are looking for sponsorship to climb the 3,196 ft of Ben Lomond this Saturday, June 5 and then hold a ‘physically distanced’ raffle night at striker Derek Lyle’s pub in Bishopbriggs.
The second arm of fundraising will see the Blue Toon gaffer put his number four shirt from the second leg of Dundee United’s 1987 UEFA Cup Final against IFK Gothenburg up for auction, with Simon doing likewise with his English League Two winning top (number 8) with Swindon from 2012.
On-line bidding for McInally’s and Ferry’s jerseys will run until 8.00pm on June 18 (kick-off time in the England and Scotland Euro 2020 tie).
Back Onside have generously donated a four ball at their Golf Day in St Andrews next May to be auctioned off as well.
Jim said: “Gary is a big figure in our squad and it will be great to have him back sooner rather than later. We do not know when he will play again but the club were good enough to give him a contract, however they are not in a position to pay for a private operation.”
“The players wanted to help that happen and climbing Ben Lomond is a great start to their pre-season programme. Simon and I are happy to do our bit as well with our jerseys.”
“There has been some interest in them on-line already and hopefully they will help to raise enough money to fund Gary’s operation and also make a donation to Back Onside.”
“They have been a terrific support to David – who is well thought of up here for all his efforts during his time with the club.”
Founder and CEO of Back Onside Libby Emerson said: “It is really nice for Peterhead to think about us and I am delighted to be working with them on this.”
What do a Dundee United 1987 UEFA Cup Final top, a Simon Ferry Swindon Town jersey, Scottish mountain Ben Lomond, a Blue Toon midfielder, former Blue Toon striker David Cox and Mental Health Charity Back Onside have in common? – Find out tomorrow!
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A word from the Chairman…
“As the season draws to a close I thought I would take the time to reflect on what has been undoubtedly the most challenging year in my 17 year tenure as PFC Chairman.
At the start of the 20/21 campaign the aim was survival – both on and off the pitch. With spectators not permitted into games and our corporate hospitality curtailed, we really did face a very bleak year with little income and large expenses to meet. It is then great credit to our manager Jim Mcinally and his backroom staff that with a reduced budget, they managed to field a youthful but spirited group of players that have been a match to any team in this league and who have beaten all of the full-time teams in our division. They may have been young in years but the team have produced some strong performances and deserve praise for meeting the challenge of securing our League One status for next season.
There is so much more to a football club than what a spectator sees on the park and therefore I would like to thank the people I have around me at Peterhead FC for keeping this show on the road and running a tight-knit but successful operation behind the scenes. Our General Manager Martin Johnston has had much to deal with over the past 12 months but has risen to the challenge of following all SPFL covid protocols and putting into place a testing regime to ensure that we could keep playing without interruption. Ably abetted by his assistant Sharon, the administration of PFC affairs have been well run and they can be credited with new initiatives to increase revenue in the virtual world that we have had to get accustomed to. Martin and his Blue Toon Talk co-editor Ken Morton have also produced on-line editions of the popular match-day programme that have been praised by fans of opposing clubs for the informative content that covers so much more than just PFC and is a great read for historical football articles and statistics.
Our accounts department also deserve gratitude for keeping abreast of an ever-changing economic landscape to ensure that PFC still managed to “balance the books” with a vastly reduced income. Praise also to Youth and Community Coach Nat Porter for working with the SPFL Trust to bring grant income into the club in order that we were able to continue our good work in the community with initiatives such as Festive Friends and the Reading Challenge.
Our new coffee shop has had somewhat of a stop/start initial year of business due to the Pandemic but Mary and her staff have rolled up their sleeves and adapted to the ever-changing restrictions to provide a warm and welcoming casual dining experience that is going from strength to strength.
I would also like to this opportunity to thank all of our many volunteers who have given up their time on match days to help with covid protocols and to ensure fans could still have somewhat of a “match day experience” from home via streaming and social media channels. Our automated live-streaming hasn’t always been perfect but I think we can agree that our match commentators from the Blue Toon Podcast have stepped in admirably to produce unbiased and informative content during the game, also praised by away fans. There are many, many people behind the scenes who do what they do for the love of the club and I am under no illusion that we wouldn’t be the well-run club that we are without them so thank you one and all.
A word also to our corporate sponsors who have renewed advertising boards and match day programmes in what was a reduced season as they knew that we were hit hard and wanted to help in any way they could. Also a special mention to our invaluable club patrons and our Home and Away shirt sponsors Score Group Ltd and A. M. Smith who stepped in to help when most needed – you are all essential to the endurance of this club and we are sincerely grateful.
Lastly, the fans. You have stood by us when we needed you – purchasing virtual lottery tickets, season tickets and streaming passes to help us meet our running costs and ensure our very survival. We hope that one day soon you will be able to join us again on a Saturday for a blether, a pie and a good game of football – we want you to know that next season we will once again do our very best to put a team on the park that you can be proud of”
Our Sincerest gratitude for your continued support,
Rodger Morrison and the PFC Board of Directors – Vice Chairman Les Hill, Charles Watt and Michael Duncan.
Peterhead head to Dumbarton this afternoon looking to secure 3 points for the second Saturday running with manager Jim McInally admitting that he is going to have to disappoint some members of his squad for the first time this season.
The Blue Toon are missing the injured Alan Cook and Gary Fraser however everyone else in Jim’s squad is available with the Balmoor boss saying: “I am going to be telling some players not to get stripped for this game and that is the first time I will have done that this season. Scott Brown and Jason Brown have shaken off the hamstring problems that affected them in midweek, Hamish Ritchie is back in after being cup-tied, Simon Ferry is available after his ban, Derek Lyle is now up to full fitness and Steven Boyd is available after becoming a dad last week and getting some time off.”
“It is never nice telling someone that they are not even on the bench and it is something I have not had to do so far this season.”
As for the Sons McInally said: “They are coming into this game with the opposite set of results than us. They lost last Saturday in the league but won well in midweek in the Scottish Cup when they beat Huntly 4-0. We dug deep and played well to beat Airdrie however despite a lot of effort we never really got going against Stenhousemuir on Tuesday.”
“Dumbarton have added a couple of good players on loan from Morton in James Wallace and Rabin Omar. I know a bit about James from his time at Ross County and Rabin was a player I was keen to speak to in the summer as he impressed me when he was at Elgin however he wanted to try full-time football.”
“We will go there and look to win. Three points would be great as it would give us a cushion on Dumbarton and keep us in touch with the promotion chasing pack as well. This is a big game.”
Dumbarton Team News
Dumbarton add new signings Rabin Omar and James Wallace for the visit of Peterhead. Rico Quitongo and Daniel Church have been ruled out while Stefan McCluskey has left the club after undergoing a shoulder operation that has ruled him out for the rest of the season.
Peterhead Team News
Peterhead miss the injured Alan Cook and Gary Fraser however Scott Brown, Jordon Brown and Derek Lyle are available after injuries. Simon Ferry is back after a two-game ban with Hamish Ritchie recalled after being cup-tied in midweek and Steven Boyd is also included after paternity leave.
You can support Peterhead here – VIRTUAL WEEKLY 50/50 DRAW | Peterhead FC
You can watch the game here Dumbarton Football Club – PETERHEAD MATCH AVAILABLE TO STREAM