He made a brave attempt at answering a barrage of questions form fans, many of whom were annoyed and disappointed at the club’s handling of the last game of the season and at the evacuation of home supporters from the Cooper Stand when the Old Firm come to town this season.
At the outset he apologised for the lack of sensitive communication from the club to the support. (He made many apologies during the course of the session). He was pressed on the ticketing arrangements for the last game against Celtic, the softly softly tactics employed by the police and stewards towards away fans in the home stands. He claimed there was “no ability to effect a voucher system as there were no home games remaining after the ballot”. The club and the police were in constant contact about ticketing and stewarding arrangements and were content with the planning.
He explained that the decision to move fans for next season’s Old Firm games was fixed and that letters were in the post to DC season ticket holders asking for a preference between the East and
For the first home game of the season Celtic would be allocated the South and Cooper Stands and the south end of the main stand. A block of three hundred or so seats would be held in reserve for away fans a the north end of the main stand and they would be released if required. Displaced season ticket holders would be placed in a central area of the main stand (or in the east stand as applicable). There then followed a discussion on the financial position of the club. It seems that the budget for the club is such that an eleventh place SPL finish and no progress in either cup competition would leave a decifit of around £100k. Extra monies which have arrived in the last two seasons have been eaten up by an increased wage bill and necessary repairs to the stands and pitch.
There were many tales of woe about season ticket renewal foul ups and again he apologised and said ‘that should not happen’. He explained that since administration the office was ‘run on a shoestring’.
He did not believe that the cost of hiring a commercial manager would be self financing.
Stewart was pressed on the delivery of shares promised to the Trust. He argued that the legal and accountancy fees associated with a new share issue would make such inroads into any new money that the return would be very poor. It was made clear to him that the Trust was minded to freeze donations to the club until some movement was evident.
As the session finished he mentioned that the U21 fixture between
The overall impression by the members seemed to be that we had heard the apologies before. It is hard to see how an administration run of such a small shoe string has the capacity to deliver the level of service which the fans deserve. We hold our breath to see how the management of the transfer of hundreds of fans from the DC stand unfolds.
Don’t throw that tin hat away yet Stewart!