Falkirk face loss of cash and confidence

Money remains tight at The Falkirk Stadium
Money remains tight at The Falkirk Stadium
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Falkirk fans have slated the club’s leadership in a week when the club accounts revealed the Bairns board has yet again dipped into their own pockets to bail out the ailing club.

The annual financial report states the Bairns’ debtors are now owed £944,746 - a rise of £445,000 since the start of season 2012/13. In the same week, Falkirk Fans released the results of this season’s survey which revealed only one in three supporters expressed confidence in the club’s leadership felt the club has deteriorated in 25 of 26 areas in the year since the last opinion poll.

The club and supporters group Falkirk Fans - a conglomerate of all supporters’ clubs, buses and interested individuals -is now working together to rectify the issues raised and lead it back to 2012 satisfaction levels where 70 per cent of those polled expressed confidence in the board.

Chairman Martin Ritchie declined to comment to The Falkirk Herald on the way forward for the club ahead of the AGM on November 11, but did welcome the “pooling together” of the supporters in Falkirk Fans and “will work with them, taking note of issues raised”.

Falkirk Supporters’ Society chairman Gordon Profit said: “The survey had nearly 1000 fans views and delivered a message to the board. I am encouraged there has already been steps taken within the club to address issues raised.

“The accounts are a disappointing result - but not unexpected. Fans are concerned that, to break even, the club needs to make sales and reach latter stages of national cups.

“There is little in the accounts to give any indication of where the issues lie so shareholders will have to attend the AGM to try to find out and, hopefully, hear the plans to turn the club’s fortunes around.”

The accounts show a negligible drop in turnover of just £716 to £1,899,120 but an increase in gross profit of more than £10,000. However the ‘other operating income’ which includes transfer fees shows a substantial drop contributing to the overall loss of £212,133 to May 31, 2013. In 2012 that column showed a profit of £172,204.

In his annual statement Mr Ritchie said: “These results show we are dependent on cup success and player transfers just to break even.”

He also alludes to relegation three years ago as a turning point of the club’s fortunes. “The 12 inches that separated Ryan Flynn’s shot from goal at Kilmarnock three years ago completely changed the nature of our business.”

He also cites the narrow defeat to Hibernian in last season’s Scottish Cup semi-final and Huddersfield Town’s release of Scott Arfield as further mitigating factors on the club’s plight which may force Gary Holt to sell some of his assets:

Holt said: “We are where we are – still paying for a few years ago and fighting to level the boat – if that means selling a player or two, that’s what we’ll have to do because bigger clubs than Falkirk have gone into financial difficulty – we can’t be another.”

Read Gary Holt’s preview of Saturday’s Hamilton trip on www.falkirkherald.co.uk on Friday.