Ford says Shire need to dig deep

John Coughlin's East Stirlingshire look set to finish bottom of the Scottish Football League.
John Coughlin's East Stirlingshire look set to finish bottom of the Scottish Football League.

East Stirlingshire chairman Tony Ford says everyone at the club must work harder to try and improve the club’s place in Scottish football.

His comments come after a weekend defeat against Annan Athletic, their seventh in a row, which almost certainly condemns Shire to the wooden spoon yet again.

However, Ford remains upbeat about the club’s future although he says a change of fortunes on the pitch can only be achieved by getting everyone with the club at heart to put their shoulder to the wheel. “We have made some strides forward,” said Ford. “The club has no debt, no overdraft at the bank and, importantly, the players we sign don’t have to worry about getting paid on time.

“But we need to do more. We have been progressing only at a pace we feel is realistic and that has meant it has been slow. Nevertheless, our main priority has been sustainability and we will not put our ability to continue functioning as a club under threat. But we accept we must become more economically competitive with the rest of the league.”

Closing the gap which exists currently between what Shire are able to spend on players and what the rest of the Third Division can afford is the top priority and the Shire supremo says the signs are hopeful with a lot of hard work already underway.

“We know our player budget is the lowest in the league and that has limited us in terms of the kind of player we are able to bring to the club,” he said. “But we have a path forward and have already made some important strides in bringing in important revenue for next season.

“The club has also been working hard on schemes that will raise revenue and, hopefully, get more people turning up at our matches. An exciting initiative is set for launch in the next few weeks and we hope that will galvanise our own support and the community.”

Building links with locals in the Bainsford area is also a key aim and Ford has revealed plans to develop a community plan, with a scheme to get into local schools and work with youth groups is about to get off the ground.