It’s now been 2 weeks since our first statement, so I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the current situation within East Fife Football Club. If you haven’t seen our first update, you can view it here.
Firstly, I would like to confirm the situation from our club’s perspective on the SPFL’s resolution that was voted on by all member clubs at the end of last week. The resolution was for season 2019/20 to be concluded now with current Championship, League One and League Two places declared as final and the remaining tranches of prize money paid to all member clubs based on these positions. This would have seen Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers promoted while Partick Thistle and Stranraer would be relegated. My board met twice via video conferences on Thursday and Friday to discuss and agree our stance. Although we have no issue with current league positions being declared final from a prize money perspective, the overwhelming consensus was that we could not vote in favour of a resolution that would see fellow clubs relegated without the full conclusion of the 36 game season. You will have seen that three League One & Two clubs voted against the resolution and I can confirm, to avoid any misinformation or speculation, that we were one of the three.
As things stand today (Sunday 12th April 2020) we await further communication from the SPFL on the next stage. I will keep you updated as best I can as things progress but unfortunately the situation is fast-moving, and it might not be possible to do so in advance of final decisions being taken.
As with many other businesses, we’ve moved to take advantage of government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and furlough all of our first-team players & management staff for 3 months, effective from 14 March 2020. Those on furlough undertake no work on behalf of the club; including taking part in organised or prescribed training sessions & playing matches. We understand that furloughed employees on the Job Retention Scheme will be entitled to a wage subsidy of 80% of normal earnings. That being the case, we are committed to topping up the remaining 20% for as long as financially possible. Leona continues to work from home and is available to answer any enquiries via email. In my first update I mentioned that we were in the process of checking whether our Business Interruption Insurance would kick in now that we’re in a government mandated shutdown. Unfortunately, I can’t go into detail but the matter in now in the hands of the SPFL’s lawyers.
Before being placed on furlough, the first-team players intimated that they would like to check-in on some of our more vulnerable supporters, spending one Saturday afternoon phoning all of our Over 80s season ticket holders. The feedback we have received has been amazing and I am extremely proud of the players for volunteering to do this.
I would like to thank everyone who has so far contributed to the GoFundMe page. The initial target of £5,000 has now been reached and Mandy & Mel have now increased their target to £10,000. I hear that Mel celebrated reaching the initial milestone by parading through the streets of Windygates dressed as our club mascot Eric the Eagle! If anyone would like to donate you can do so here. Our thanks must also go to everyone who has contributed through East Fife TV, after 4 matches, donations are now over £1,000.
Our Goldmine Lotto continues to be a success with nearly 50 new players signing up since it became available online. The jackpot currently stands at £1,550 and the next draw will take place on Wednesday 15th April 2020 at 1pm. If you would like to sign up for the next Goldmine draw, you can do so here.
I am delighted to announce that we will be taking advanced orders for our new home strip from early next week. As it’s a bespoke design, the cost will be slightly higher than this season strips, however, those pre-ordering can purchase theirs for £45 for adult sizes (retail price £49) and £30 for children’s sizes (retail price £35). Our kit manufacture has advised that sizes will be the same as this year’s strip. Details on how to pre-order your strip will be announced on Monday via the club website & social media channels.
Finally, I’d like to finish by thanking you for your continued support. I hope it’s not too long before we see you all back at Bayview, but until then please follow all government advice by staying home, looking after your loved ones and staying safe.
It is with great sadness that the club learned of the passing of former player Walter Robertson.
Born in Buckhaven, manager Scot Symon signed the 18 year old from the highly successful Bayview Youth Club in August 1949. Coming from a family steeped in East Fife tradition, with his father Walter having played for and managed the club, Robertson could not put pen to paper quickly enough.
Symon handed Robertson his debut at left back in a midweek game against Motherwell at Fir Park ahead of the Fifers’ Scottish Cup final meeting with Rangers at Hampden in April 1950. Trailing 2-0 at half-time, a Charlie Fleming inspired comeback after the break earned a 4-3 win.
Robertson was perhaps unfortunate that being understudy to the redoubtable Sammy Stewart at the peak of his career, his time at Bayview was mainly restricted to reserve team action. He did, nonetheless get the opportunity to play alongside Scottish internationalists Henry Morris and Davie Duncan in those C Division days.
He was also clearly highly regarded by Scot Symon, who would include Robertson in the squads for floodlit friendlies at venues such as Roker Park, Sunderland and Newcastle United’s St James’ Park. During this time Robertson was carrying out his National Service and would regularly turn out for an RAF side packed with high profile players, such as Rangers’ Johnny Hubbard and Ray Wood of Manchester United.
Robertson was often heard to say that East Fife were the only club he wanted to play for, but had to reluctantly accept a free transfer to Forfar Athletic after being released by Jerry Dawson in May 1955. An injury sustained during his first season at Station Park however brought a premature end to his playing career.
After hanging up his boots he returned to football as a coach, working with Cowdenbeath, and having a short spell at Bayview under former playing colleague Frank Christie, where he guided East Fife reserves to a League Cup final in 1974.
Walter Robertson continued his close connection with the club he loved, and was in attendance at Bayview on a regular basis until very recently, when ill health saw him move to a care home.
East Fife Football Club would like to pass on our sincere condolences to Walter’s family and friends at this sad time.
Following extensive discussions with our Board of Directors over the last couple of weeks, I feel that now is a good time to advise our fans on the current situation at Bayview.
As you will all appreciate our first priority is for the health & well-being of all of our employees including players, management, club office staff and, of course, our volunteers. There has been a lot work going on behind the scenes and no doubt this will continue for a good while yet.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has caused an enormous amount of disruption to both the football club, and more importantly, the wider community. As you will be aware, all domestic football has been postponed until 30th April 2020 at the earliest, however, we realistically expect the shutdown to run well into the summer.
As a club we have implemented the following actions to safeguard our employees:
As you can imagine, the postponement of all matches will have a substantial impact of the club financially. At the time of the shutdown we had 4 home league matches to play which has resulted in loss in revenue from gate admissions and sold-out hospitality as well as losses from club shop and bar sales. Our final scheduled home match of this season against Falkirk would have generated income of around £20,000 on its own. We are also in a promising position within the league & were very much in contention for the promotion play-offs this year, matches which would have also generated a considerable amount of revenue for the club.
Following a lot of hard-work by the Board of Directors over the last few years, East Fife Football Club are in a relatively safe financial position however the losses detailed above put a significant strain on club finances and we will begin to struggle should the shutdown continue into August as some within the game have indicated. East Fife do have Business Interruption insurance, including closure for diseases, however, when we enquired about this last week, we were advised that we would not be covered by that insurance as the stadium hadn’t been closed due to an incident of this coronavirus on the premises. We are currently checking whether our position changes now that we’ve entered a government mandated shutdown.
I have been heartened by the number of supporters who have contacted the club wishing to contribute financially. I have so far been reluctant to ask supporters for donations as I know many will be struggling with their own position at this time. We have, however, given our backing to a Gofundme campaign set up by Melanie Lothian & Mandy Stevenson. You can donate to the page here.
I would also encourage all supporters to sign up for our Goldmine Lotto which you can now do online. The current jackpot is £1,450 and the draw takes place every Wednesday at 1pm. For more info & to play click here.
East Fife TV and our media team having been doing a fantastic job keeping you informed and entertained over the past couple of weeks and have plans in place for future features. Last weekend I’m sure many of you tuned in to watch their “live” match & I’m sure you’ll do so again this weekend; I hear we’re going to have the chance to relive another memorable encounter! East Fife TV are showing all of these matches for free but donations can be made if you wish here. All monies donated will come directly to the club.
Finally, I encourage all of you to adhere to all advice issued by the government to help fight this virus and I hope you & your family remain safe & well.
East Fife Supporter Melanie Lothain has set up a GoFundMe page for any supporters who wish to make a donation to the club.
Mel has asked us to post the following message. Anyone who wishes to donate can do so here
Due to the recent shutdown of all professional and domestic football due to the spread of the Covid-19 virus, many businesses, including East Fife Football Club, will face an uncertain future.
With 4 home first-team matches still to play the club will have lost out on a significant sum on money from gate receipts and sold-out hospitality as well as having to cancel the Big Band Fundraising night scheduled for the end of this month.
I’ve spoken to many fans who would like to help out financially so I have set up this Crowdfunding page, with approval from the club, as a means for fans, who are in a position to help, support the club (with an initial target of £5,000).
I know that they will greatly appreciate any support you are able to provide.
Our matchday programme, The Bayview, from last weekend’s postponed match v Montrose is now available to buy online here for £2.
All regular subscribers will still receive their copy.
UK postage - £1
Overseas postage - £2
Note: postage differs to our usual club shop postage prices; any over payment will be refunded.
In the 40-page issue: