Following the club’s virtual Board Meeting on Thursday, April 23, the Directors have provided an update on the current goings-on at the club as preparations for the 2020/21 season get well and truly underway.
Obviously, much has happened since the last update, where we announced an increase in Directors with the appointment of five Associate Directors.
The Scottish Lowland Football League brought the 2019/20 season to an end – a decision we fully agreed with and one that we felt was the only viable option in the current climate. Kelty Hearts were worthy winners of the league, although Bonnyrigg Rose understandably feel disappointed given the points still left to play for.
We now enter a period of discussion around league restructuring with this on top of the news that the West of Scotland Football League was approved with 67 new teams being accepted. The face of football in Scotland is very much changing.
For us, the preparation now begins for next season and we have continued to put the foundations in place for next season and beyond.
At Thursday’s Board Meeting, we were able to:
- Sign off our final budget position for the 2019/20 season and also confirm our budget for the 2020/21 season, although there are currently a number of caveats given the current situation and when it will be safe for football to resume;
- Agree on a main club shirt sponsor raffle, which you may have seen details on already, using a more innovative and affordable way to raise sponsorship income;
- Sign off and agree a new online retail proposition with Border Embroiders and Kappa, which will improve the supporter experience, as well as increase the range of merchandise – allowing orders to be received quicker;
- Agree on improvements in the ground for payment on matchday, which will see us move to more modern payment approaches using cards at the turnstiles, shop and hospitality. Of course, cash will continue to be accepted too.
- Start discussions on increasing our network for identifying players locally and also internationally, such as players returning to Scotland from US college football programmes.
We feel the members of the current Football Club Board possess a wide range of skills and capabilities that the club hasn’t experienced before and we’re very keen to capitalise on that, while we also have a growing bank of volunteers.
We have also witnessed increased collaboration between the Football Club, Supporters Club and Supporters Trust, who have all united behind our vision: New Decade | New Goals | New Berwick Rangers. Further discussions with Berwick Juniors about returning to the fold under the Berwick Rangers name also continue and have been fruitful so far.
We have confirmed the management team for next season and they have shown a great willingness to support us through their own wage reduction. Our squad is starting to be assembled and we are already in a great place to be ready for pre-season when a start date is confirmed.
However, success on the pitch, if not underpinned by strength off the park, can only be sustained for so long.
We are in this for the long run and need to ensure we have a strategic plan that extends beyond next season.
As a result, we have agreed on the following six principles to work towards; with most, if not all, of which the work has already started:
- Develop our profile in the community with equality of access for all groups;
- Increase sources of income from sponsorship and other innovative partnerships;
- Increase attendances and improve the matchday experience for supporters;
- Strive for success on the pitch – long-term not short-term;
- Improve communications internally and externally and grow our brand;
- Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the club.
Task groups have also been formed to help deliver on our objectives, which include:
- Commercial Growth
- Football Operations
- Income Generation
- Marketing and Communication
- Stadium Development
- Football Partnerships
We will be finalising accountable Directors against each of the streams over the next couple of weeks.
As a Board of Directors, we’re confident that this approach is the best way forward for Berwick Rangers Football Club and, as has been the case from the start, we will continue to be transparent and deliver clear communications such as this. We feel this helps to give confidence that we’re all moving forward in the correct manner.
Until our next update, please continue to keep yourselves and your families safe by following the Government guidelines and hopefully, by doing that, we’ll be able to see you all again at Shielfield Park sooner rather than later.