Club votes in favour of ‘B’ teams proposal

Berwick Rangers FC can this evening confirm that the club has voted in favour of the proposal lodged by the Lowland League to admit Rangers and Celtic ‘B’ teams for the 2021/22 campaign following open and extensive discussions with supporters.

When the proposal was announced on the Lowland League website on Wednesday evening (May 5), it clearly generated strong views. The club immediately sought to gauge the opinion of its supporters, especially given the short timeframe in which it had to come to a decision.

Following a call to action requesting supporters email the club to share their views on Wednesday evening, the club followed up with further details on what the admission of Rangers and Celtic ‘B’ teams would mean for the Lowland League and our own situation on Thursday, May 6.

As expected, feedback provided a range of views with no real majority consensus on the matter, though it was noted that a lot of the earliest concerns registered in response to the initial call to action would have been allayed by the follow-up statement issued the next day. 

A meeting was scheduled with committee members of the Supporters Club and Supporters Trust on Sunday evening (May 9) by the Board of Directors, with the goal of coming to a final decision.

Ahead of this meeting, the Supporters Club surveyed its membership over a 24-hour period, with 51.4% of members voting ‘For’, 31.4% voting ‘Against’ and 17.1% voting ‘No Strong Feeling’. Among the reasons why members voted ‘For’ the proposal included extra revenue for the Football Club in the 2021/22 season, along with the potential for increased media coverage of the Lowland League.

Committee members of the Supporters Club and Supporters Trust that were present at the meeting saw the data collected from avid fans, both in response to the survey and emails sent to the club, as appropriate reason to support the proposal. 

And while the Board of Directors took this data into consideration before making their decision to vote ‘For’ the proposal, it is also important to note in the interests of transparency that the Board of Directors are generally supportive of the proposal in light of the terms highlighted within it. 

It is felt that the introduction of Colts sides on a one-season basis can help to bridge a financial gap in the context of the club entering its first season without any SPFL parachute payments. Furthermore, the current proposal and associated vote is for a single year, and any further involvement of the Colts would require another membership clubs vote in the future. 

While the board acknowledges that there will continue to be differences in opinion across the fanbase, it believes the process which has resulted in a ‘For’ vote was the right one. 

Since taking over the club in January 2020, the Board of Directors have been keen to ensure that fans are heard, engaged and at the centre of the club’s progression. The decision to consult fans and official supporters organisations is one the club is proud of and, regardless of the outcome, demonstrates a commitment to its loyal fanbase. The club’s directors are also confident that the best interests of Berwick Rangers FC are accounted for in voting ‘For’ the proposal.

The club would like to thank all supporters who gave their time to email in with their views, as well as the Supporters Trust and Supporters Club for their engagement and support in the decision-making process.