Firstly, I hope that anyone reading this is fit, healthy and like everyone here at the Club, itching to get back to watching football?
Once again, I would like to thank every person who has contributed & continue to contribute to our GoFundMe page and also those who have been very generous with their direct donations to the Club. The pre-orders for the new home top have been a huge success and we will hopefully be in a position to confirm delivery dates for these very soon.
This all means so much to us and is allowing us to look with some degree of confidence to the future.
It may appear that there is not a lot happening at Bayview during this horrible period, but I can assure you that I and my board of directors are working hard behind the scenes to give us as much chance as possible of being ready for the recommencement of football. It feels that every day consists of endless video group calls, telephone calls and emails and, in some respects, we are having to work harder now than during a ‘normal’ close season. The support the board has given me during this period has been fantastic and I thank them all for that.
I wish I could tell you that we have dates for training to start and the commencement of next season but, in truth, you know as much as I do about that! While the Premiership has a proposed start date of 1st August there is no such date for the Championship and Leagues One & Two. Some of this is due to the ongoing uncertainty of league reconstruction but mainly it is down to the restrictions imposed on football, and sport in general, during this pandemic.
What I can tell you is that we have been given guidelines on a phased return to training and we are considering what measures we can put in place to facilitate this. There are a lot of protocols that will mean some extensive alterations within the stadium and some onerous paperwork, but we feel that these are achievable. The stumbling block that we foresee is the bi-weekly testing for Covid-19 and the restrictions placed on players and staff out with the actual physical training days. The possible injection of cash to all clubs from the philanthropist James Anderson would assist greatly with the costs of the testing but the logistics of this present all clubs with some extremely difficult hurdles to overcome. We are in constant dialogue with the SPFL and SFA to try and resolve these issues but please do not underestimate the difficulties this will impose on us.
The management and players are desperate to resume training, but their health and safety must be paramount. I know that every player is doing all they can to stay in shape so that we they do return it will not take too long to regain full fitness.
I had hoped to be able to advise you on the season ticket prices for next season but obviously it is not possible to do so at this time. The uncertainty of which league we will be in and how many games we will actually play means that it is impossible to set prices right now. I would hope the position will be a bit clearer by the end of next week.
A lot has been said in the press about live streaming of closed door games and this is something we have been looking at very closely with the media team at EFtv. We are confident that should we return with closed door games, we will be able to provide this service for at least all our home games. During the group video calls with representatives of clubs in Leagues One & Two, EFtv has been used as the model that clubs would like to achieve and the media team are in touch with other clubs to advise them on what needs to be done to do this.
On the squad front, you will have seen through our social media platforms that we have extended the contracts of Aaron Dunsmore and Craig Watson for two years & one year respectively. We are delighted to have done so and thank them for their ongoing commitment to the Club. Negotiations with Anton Dowds re extending his contract are ongoing and we will advise the outcome of these discussions when they are concluded. Anton harbours ambitions to go full time and we respect that, but we would still like him to be here next season. As you will also be aware, we signed Thomas Collins from BSC Glasgow on a precontract in February and we will be honouring this with a 2-year deal when his present contract expires with his current club in a few days. Welcome to Bayview Thomas.
As with every close season, some players will be moving on. I would like to thank Lewis Hunter and Lewis Baker for all their efforts at the club over last season and wish them well in the future.
All of that means that the players contracted to the Club for next season (1 year remaining on current deal unless stated otherwise) are;
Jordan Hart & Brett Long
Ross Dunlop (2 yrs), Chris Higgins, Pat Slattery, Stewart Murdoch & Craig Watson
Scott Agnew (2 yrs), Kyle Bell, Ross Davidson (2 yrs), Aaron Dunsmore (2yrs) & Liam Watt
Thomas Collins (2 yrs), Danny Denholm, Kevin Smith & Ryan Wallace
We all felt that it was important to extend the contracts of the players the management team wanted to retain at the club as quickly as possible and this means that we are well on the way to the completion of the playing squad for next season. I will stress now though that there will be no ‘new’ signings until we are sure of a resumption date and confirmation of which league we will be competing in.
As mentioned previously, all our contracted players and management team are currently furloughed and, again, we are in constant contact with them regarding this situation. The players are fully aware of how the Club is placed with this and I thank them for their understanding & cooperation.
Rest assured that we as a club will be doing whatever we can to facilitate the return of football to Bayview at the earliest opportunity but will always act in the club’s best interests while ensuring the long term viability of East Fife Football Club.
Please stay safe.
Yours in sport
Chairman East Fife Football Club