Crunchie Initiative respond to Falkirk FC board after issues are "completely avoided" at Q&A

The Crunchie Initiative have responded to the Falkirk FC board of directors after feeling the issues they raised at the recent Q&A were avoided.

By Martyn Simpson
Friday, 25th June 2021, 1:03 pm
The Falkirk FC board of directors express health and saftey concerns in hanging the letters from the roof of the stand and instead suggest placing them along the back wall
The Falkirk FC board of directors express health and saftey concerns in hanging the letters from the roof of the stand and instead suggest placing them along the back wall

The group, who are working to rename the South Stand at the Falkirk Stadium after club legend Kevin “Crunchie” McAllister, clarified some of the points regarding the health and safety of proposed plans as they saw it and were left disappointed that some of the larger issues at play went largely unacknowledged.

During the Q&A, which can be viewed in full HERE, two questions were put to the board which were sent in from the Crunchie Initiative and were answered by Bairns’ chairman Gary Deans and investors Phil and Carrie Rawlins.

The first question was: “Will the board agree to complete the project the way it was agreed to by Gary Deans on the phone during April 12 to our member and agree to complete it in the spirit it was intended when first accepted by the then board including Gary Deans himself in 2019 - that this is a fan led initiative working with the club to honour Kevin in the best way possible and one befitting his significance to both the club and the support."

Crunchie Initiative founding member Dave McInally feels important aspects of their questions were "completely avoided" during the Q&A

"Are we committed? Yes,” said Deans.

"I think the question goes to some of the problems we've had and why the feelings are quite strong.

"We rake over detail about how we want to achieve what we all want to achieve, which is the name of the stand after Kevin McAllister. We're completely committed to that."

Phil Rawlins followed up by adding: “There were certain parts of the proposal that, from a health and safety standpoint, really wouldn't work.

"An initial part of the proposal was to put the sign on the front of the stand on the edge but we have no fascia board on the edge of the stand so if you put metal letters up there with the high winds you sometimes get in Falkirk you have the healthy and safety issue of losing some of those letters.

"We've lost roof panels this year and two flood lights because of storm damage and as a board we have a commitment to make sure whatever we do to honour Kevin's name is done in a safe manner hence why we suggested that space at the back of the stand, that's ready to go - signage can go on the back of the stand and the door and the club will work with fans to establish a friendly game to commemorate the opening of the stand.

"It's been three months since anyone at the Crunchie Initiative has been in touch and we would love to get this completed this coming season when we have fans in the stadium."

The second question put to the group was: "We have tried to receive an explanation as to why you have chastised a couple of our members and removed one from negotiations. There has been no satisfactory explanation received despite some very spurious allegations being made and behaviour that can only be described as bullish and vindictive. Since the board have stood by their decision to ostracise one of the group at an official board meeting with the chairman failing to provide an official explanation, does the board consider itself accountable for their own actions and do they think they have acted appropriately in the way they have treated the Crunchie Initiative."

This was then answered by Deans who said: "Here we have an example of some of the problems, because it becomes about mudslinging.

"Let's not dig ourselves into trenches, let's make this a collaborative process. What I sought to do in discussions with the Crunchie Initiative was to reach a consensus on how we make this work.

"The difficulties came because personalities got in the way. The conversation around that was let's get round those problems and plan how we make this work.

"We've got responsibilities as a board but the wider aspect is this is the Falkirk Stadium, home of falkirk FC and everything that goes there has to be appropriate and suitable in a way we're all proud of and Kevin McAllsiter would be proud of.

"I'm not saying that wasn't the case but every time we had a conversation around these issues different opinions were expressed and these became ditches that people were digging into and that was the kind of thing that got in the way of resolution.

"We're completely open to reengaging and getting where we all want to."

Following the public release of the Q&A video, founding member of the Crunchie Initiative Dave McInally posted a message on behalf of the group to social media.

He said: “Unfortunately the questions we asked weren’t properly answered.

"Just to clarify too, there was a little misrepresentation about the roof sign. This wasn’t a contentious issue but we’d like to clear up what was said anyway. When we first convened as a group, we had a meeting with Kieran (Koszary) at the club in March 2020. He said the back wall was a vital space for advertising so we agreed not to use it and that’s when we then talked about a sign from the roof with Kieran.

"We had various discussions about it and it was never deemed unsafe. It was never to be at the front of the stand and was always not far from the back as shown in the mock-up which has been available on our social media and featured in the Falkirk Herald over a year ago.

"It never changed and the club had agreed to it on a document we sent for proposed works on September 2020. We spent a lot of time investigating it, speaking to structural engineers and even contacting the council regarding permissions. It would have been completely safe and we were prepared to raise the extra money required to get it done properly. Regardless the board then decided in March that they wouldn’t allow it but offered the back wall instead.

"We were happy to agree to this but said we would have to investigate it further to see if there was any issues such as the camera platform obscuring the letters.

“We don’t take anything lightly but as I said the roof sign was only as a compromise and discussed for a while before being denied. We only wish they had mentioned that sooner as it would have said us an awful lot of time and effort investigating it.

“The issues we are having with the club is nothing to do with that however and is purely down to their attitude towards us and treatment of individuals. That part was completely avoided.”