Bairns are victims of their own success

Chairman Martin Ritchie has been outlining Falkirk's financial position
Chairman Martin Ritchie has been outlining Falkirk's financial position

Falkirk’s success in the three cup competitions is reaping revenue – but costing cash too, according to the club chairman.

The Bairns’ Ramsden’s Cup final in April will be televised, bringing a further boost to the club.

But Martin Ritchie admits the profits gained from the recent cup runs is being dented by the deficit in gate money from matches moved to midweek to accommodate cup ties.

The chairman revealed the club LOST cash by hosting Stenhousemuir in the Communities Cup, and did likewise on the visits to Albion Rovers and Dundee United.

Only two games in the competition – with the Old Firm – saw Bairns turn a profit.

And although the semi-final added cash to one of the club’s most financially rewarding weeks in several years, the switch of a relatively lucrative Saturday home game with Dundee to next Tuesday evening will see the club attendance hit again.

“I believe we’ll also miss out on a Saturday home game with Partick Thistle should we progress beyond Ayr United and we have lost a Saturday home match with Morton because of the Ramsden’s Cup final,” Mr Ritchie told The Falkirk Herald.

“These midweek re-arranged games are real bug-bears of mine because it’s hard enough encouraging people to attend football matches at 3 p.m. on a Saturday, never mind a freezing Tuesday evening in February.

“The Scottish Cup draw has been kind in handing us a potential home game with Hibs – but aside from the Rangers game when we split the Stadium, we have made a loss on each of the cup games held here.”

Another cost from the cup runs is in bonus money - and that is an increasing outgoing Mr Ritchie told shareholders at the club AGM – “but one that we’d welcome, as it reflects the team’s success.”

Falkirk have not had a home gate receipt since January 14, when Ayr visited The Falkirk Stadium.

Dundee’s original Saturday was usurped by the Hampden date in January, then Saturday’s postponed game at Ayr in the William Hill Scottish Cup knocked it a week further away - from Valentine’s Day to February 21.

In normal circumstances a month without income would hurt the Bairns, as it would most clubs in the SFL, but sales from Kallum Higginbotham and Murray Wallace plus anticipated receipt of cup prize money can tide the club over with immediate cash.

“It’s disappointing, but not an immediate concern,” the chairman added after raking in a net profit of more than £500,000 since January 28.

Forecasts for this season also indicate an anticipated drop across all revenue streams – though not as severe as previous losses.