‘Work together to get through’ is Falkirk chairman’s message

Gary Deans is hoping for a positive outcome for everyone in the community, local and football, during the coronavirus closures. Picture: Michael Gillen.Gary Deans is hoping for a positive outcome for everyone in the community, local and football, during the coronavirus closures. Picture: Michael Gillen.
Gary Deans is hoping for a positive outcome for everyone in the community, local and football, during the coronavirus closures. Picture: Michael Gillen. | JPIMedia
Bairns chairman aims for a united front across the football community and the local community to come out of the coronavirus closure stronger.

Falkirk chairman Gary Deans is hoping to learn more from the Scottish football governing bodies over the next 48 hours over the constantly moving scenarios of the Covid-19 crisis that has stalled the season.

However, his stance has not changed since the decision was made to postpone all matches last week amidst the pandemic – he wants the games played.

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Not only that, the Bairns chief believes that the club is in a better position than most to ride out the implications of an extended lay-off to come out the other side stronger, in relative terms, than many of their similarly sized rivals.

Naturally, he’s keen for the health and wellbeing of all involved in the club, and the wider Falkirk community to be maintained, he’s also keen for the sporting integrity of the league that Falkirk are currently just one point away from leading, to be upheld.

On Tuesday UEFA postponed this summer’s European Championships, opening up a potential avenue for games to be played later into May, June and July if the medical situation allows, which is one route Mr Deans discussed with The Falkirk Herald this week.

He said: “As a club we have a plan A, a plan B and a plan C if we need it. We are thinking through all scenarios but need to wait on the league.

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“It is our belief that integrity of the competition has to be respected. My view is to play the games. I know that’s difficult but it’s fair. Maybe there’s option for June and July?

“I’ve made calls to other chairmen. We want more from the SFA and SPFL and to know just where they are in all of this. They are busy but it’d be nice to have communication, to have debate and be offered a say. We do have someone at the table, a League One representative, but he can’t speak for all. If we decide on a plan - how do we make that as fair as possible?

“It’s unfair to go without play-offs. If it’s absolutely impossible then ok, we will look at another way. But I don’t remember a league decided on average position through the season – goal average, yes – but not position average. Everyone has their own opinions in this but I think we’ve got to be as fair as possible.”

A legal route has been mentioned by Hearts chief executive Ann Budge and while the Bairns reserve the right to follow should their promotion bid be halted, it’s not something they’d like to have to pursue.

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“This is unprecedented territory,” added Mr Deans. “We don’t have regulations for this scenario, and those that are there are maybe not applicable – so change the regulations. Use this as an opportunity to change things. We are a members’ body, we can change things if we want to. It’s in our power to change.

“It’s a time for collective thinking and finding something that works for everyone and the competition’s integrity as much as much as possible. There’s a lot of talk, and debate - we need co-ordinated action.”

Away from football that’s something he feels the club can play a part in within the wider Falkirk community too. With so many facing uncertainty, the club is standing up for the supporters who have supported it too.

Mr Deans added: “We also have to be cognisant of the health of our employees and the wider community. That’s looking after their jobs for them – this could be uncertain for a long time. We could be out of action for a period of time.

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“We can manage this and we will look after the employees, the staff, and the bigger community as much as we can and are in a position to do so.

“We think we can approach this properly and think we can come out stronger, relative to many clubs around us, because of the financial position we are in.

“We can give some certainty that we can be a good club for players to be at going forward. Obviously we have to be careful and we’d never put the club at risk but we’ve got tight controls and are working to a balanced budget and have enough in reserve to do what we need to do.

“We’re already discussing and assessing the squad and in a sense we now have more breathing space with this current delay. But we do need the support to stick with us.

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“We’ll come up with a definitive plan once we know more and we need to be doing right by our supporters, staff and their families - and right by the club and community.

“We’d like to support our fans and sponsors as much as they support us – we can work together with a combined effort and together we can be stronger through this.”

FALKIRK FC can offer assistance and support within the community for any essential day-to-day activities. Contact Kieran Koszary on (01324) 624121 ex.221.