New boss White determined to drive Bairns forward

David White is Falkirk FC's new general manager
David White is Falkirk FC's new general manager
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Falkirk’s David White quotes one of the most successful businessmen in the world when discussing his vision for the club following his appointment to general manager.

“You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do,” he says, just as the very successful car-maker Henry Ford did about a century ago.

Mr White has been back in and around the club for around a year, acting as the club secretary. The tasks have been similar but only recently has he been made general manager, one of three new recruits taken on by the club which, as revealed, exclusively, in The Falkirk Herald last week, turned a profit for term 2011-12.

Having had a hand in that the time then, is right, with the first building block in place towards Falkirk’s financial recovery, to detail his vision for the future, and his objectives in his new title, and perhaps build on a positive beginning to reputations being forged by the management committee and new faces behind the scenes.

“Although I have been only recently been made general manager, I have been doing many of the jobs associated over the past year,” Mr White told The Falkirk Herald.

“When I got the call from the chairman to come back on board, I thought he meant as general manager of the Stadium based operations, but I’m also involved at Stirling with player registrations as well as overseeing matters at the Stadium. I am based half in Falkirk, half at Stirling, and spent three months up at Stirling getting to grips with things there that were previously handled by Ross Wilson. It’s been a lot!

“I had worked with Ross previously when we were both at the club, and started out as a scout before moving into the sales and marketing.

“But following relegation from the SPL the club had to make cuts in the office and admin areas. Some of the girls had families, and me leaving kept two of them in a job, which I felt was important.

“Before all that I was in banking for 30 years with the Bank of Scotland. The general manager job is half the pay but twice the job satisfaction - especially when things improve as they have done with the club turning a profit.

“A huge thank you has to go to the staff and volunteers for their hand in that. It has truly surpassed expectations.

“Likewise to our supporters, sponsors, and partners like the Stadium Company and Stirling University. They have all had a hand in a financially successful year.”

As the car-maker proved with another insightful quotation: ‘Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.’

But there’s another Henry Ford quote that could apply to Mr White’s tenure at the Bairns.

‘A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.’

As two of the players who helped earn that profit - Murray Wallace and Ryan Flynn - prove, Falkirk are making footballers of a high calibre. But it’s even more than on-field success and financial improvement on Mr White’s radar.

“I look across from the main stand at the stadium and see waste ground. That was supposed to be a garden centre, a fourth stand and a sports village. It still can be.

“It’s not going to happen overnight, but I’d like to think at some point that idea can be realised and the stadium completed.

“We’re showing what a facility the Stadium can be with the Elton John concert too.

“Of course, a return to the SPL is important too. Going forward that’s one of the primary objectives, as is continuing to work at a profit - although the club ethos is to break even with players development and sell-on fees adding as an unbudgeted bonus to take us into profit.

“This is a successful club, and I believe we have the right set-up.

“We’ve had delegations here from the Scottish Football Association who walk around the Stadium and tell us this is an SPL club everywhere except in the league tables. We just have to get there.”

White though knows it will not be easy, and though his aspirations for a fourth stand, SPL status and a healthy bank balance are long-term, and lofty, the profit-making season just passed is a first tentative step in the right direction.

Now Scottish football needs to do the same. He sat in on the Scottish Football Association annual meeting as the Bairns’ representative, and he has his own ideas for the game which finds itself in a state of flux this summer.

“I think the SPL needs to expand, no question about it.

“That’s what the fans survey said they wanted, and at the end of the day, it is the fans who matter. They need to be listened to.”

Same with at Falkirk. Mr White went on: “We will continue to work with the BairnsTrust to communicate with the fans.

“I feel that is the best way forward and best means of having fans’ input. I encourage fans to join up, there will soon be a new fans rep on the board - Alistair Brookes - and we’ve added the option on season ticket renewals for fans to join up with the Trust at the same time.”

For a man who kicked off talking in the parlance of one of the world’s most established car-manufacturers, he added: “It’s the right vehicle to communicate with fans.”