Falkirk AGM: Bairns reveal new permanent chairman as meeting passes off without incident

Gary Deans will be the new chairman of Falkirk, leading a boardroom of just four directors.

By David Oliver
Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 12:27 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 12:38 am
Gary Deans is the new chairman of Falkirk. Picture: Michael Gillen.
Gary Deans is the new chairman of Falkirk. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Mr Deans' appointment was confirmed after his successful election to the club's board of directors at tonight's AGM.

Peter Duncan was also elected unopposed to the board where both have served since July.

What had been anticipated to be a fiery meeting of shareholders passed relatively quietly despite the period covered by the meeting encompassing a £700,000 loss and relegation.

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Interim chairman Lex Miller opened the meeting before appointments of the new directors. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Questions were asked on the failed takeover from Mark Campbell and the withdrawl of director Kevin Beattie from the boardroom elections was also discussed.

It was confirmed at the meeting that Margaret Lang and Andy Thomson had both left their positions as directors in a night of boardroom re-shuffle with Lex Miller's interim period as chairman also coming to an end, succeeded by Mr Deans.

The in-coming chairman appealed for a "reset and end to the negativity" referring to a "toxic atmosphere" at the club previously discussed at the summer's extraordinary general meeting before showing year-on-year figures of the club's income and costs.

HOW IT HAPPENED: Live blog from the AGMA liquidity ratio of 1.24 was shown to shareholders and gate receipts for last season's relegation term were down more than £209k on 2017/18. A year-on-year depreciation was also incurred from the 10th league placing and poor cup run, down £190,000.

Peter Duncan (left) was also elected as a director and will serve as one of four directors alongside Kieran Koszary (right). Picture: Michael Gillen.

However pitch hire, sponsorship, hospittality and retail also reported an annual increase by a combined quarter of a million, but not enough to match the total income of 2017/18 by £153,698.

While income had dropped in several areas and overall, so too did the club costs but only by £3,000 and costs on the first team actually increased last season after a heavy summer recruitment under Paul Hartley and a squad turnover in January by Ray McKinnon.

However Mr Deans also updated shareholders on the present situation at the club where his November report noted a current income of £1.5m to a budget of £1.5m and the club working towards a break-even model for this season. Profit currently sits £370,000 - £160,000 ahead of budget and the cash at bank which stood at £151k in May now has a balance in the account of almost £300,000.

Aiming to take the club forward the Bairns have been working with John Park on the club's football strategy and also pledged to review the club's articles of association and governance within the major shareholders' group and expertise and supporters' representation within the now tight-knit board.

Mr Deans detailed the clubs financial report, the current position and aims for the future. Picture: Michael Gillen.

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McCracken said: "Our message to the players when we came in was we are all in this together. Moving forward again we need everyone - we need the marketing department, we need the shop staff, Liam who does the research, we need the confidence of the guys who gave us the job, even Michael at the Falkirk Herald taking his pictures.

"We need everyone together and that flows into you guys....I'm putting a bit on you guys - can you be better? The difference from Saturday's fans to the fans at the Stranraer game was night and day. I turned to Lee [Miller] after 15 minutes of Stranraer because the atmosphere was like a morgue. On Saturday I hope you noticed a bit more about the atmosphere and that's what we're working towards.

"The atmosphere is created on the pitch but it goes hand in hand. The noise in the stands helps the players. I'm putting it on you - when you're here please be positive to the players?"

More than 120 shareholders attended the standing-room only meeting. Picture: Michael Gillen.

However it was not all financials and rallying calls. Questions were asked surrounding the takeover saga that dominated the summer.

Gary Deans explained that the negotiations took as long as they did, only to fail, because the board wanted to be sure it was the right way to move forward.

Kenny Jamieson criticised the background checks carried out on the prospective buyer while Mr Deans conceded parading Mr Campbell on the Monday after his status as preferred bidder was confirmed was a mistake "full stop". He also confirmed !100 per cent" that the Bairns were no longer in any talks with Mr Campbell over a takeover.

Though unable to elaborate due to a non-disclosure agreement Mr Deans did confide in the 120-plus shareholders attending tht two other interested parties had come forward for investment in the Bairns but talks were at an early and private stage. "We need to take breath," he added.

One positive to emerge from the Campbell debacle has been the introduction of John Park to the club and the former Celtic supremo is continuing to work with the club and advise on football strategy. A framework and pipeline for talent to progress to the first team of McCracken and Miller is sought - but Mr Deans ruled out the return of a club Academy for this on an affordability basis.

David McCracken gave shareholders insight to the new management vision. Picture: Michael Gillen.
The co-manager also issued a rallying call to the supporters. Picture: Michael Gillen.
Both Mr Deans and Mr Miller apologised for mistakes made by the previous regime and hoped to take the club forward and into the Championship. Picture: Michael Gillen.
Former interim chairman Lex Miller. Picture: Michael Gillen.