my wife and I were in Berwick for the week so my dad wasn’t with us. The day started with a trip to Alnwick for parkrun at 9am. I didn’t run, my back and leg aren’t up to it at the moment. It was a lovely sunny day and left plenty of time to get back to Berwick for the fans forum at 11:30am.
there was a reasonable number of people in attendance and I thought it went quite well. John Bell gave a clear and concise picture of where we are financially and where we need to be. There was a run through of the plan we need to get there which seemed completely reasonable to me. There were a few grumbles in the room but that has to be expected. John did ask for help from the fans to promote the club, create revenue streams, ask your employer if they want to advertise or get involved in some way. A few people scoffed at this but it is a reasonable idea. Berwick are a part time club that relies heavily on volunteers and any further help that can be sourced should be. We are fans of the club so why wouldn’t we want to help if we can? This doesn’t mean that the board are only relying on the fans (although a few seemed to take that away as what was happening). John moved on to the threat of relegation. If we finish bottom there is still the playoffs for a chance of survival. We don’t want to go into the Lowland league but it was pointed out that we would survive as a club. The financial implications were pointed out and all was reasonable. It was nice to actually see facts and figures rather than being in the dsrk wondering what is going on with your football club. Again a few grumbles and later on I was asked by somebody if John had actually said that we would be better off in the Lowland league. No that’s not what he said but it’s incredible what some people took away from the presentation. Some seemed to be there only to grumble. He’s times are tough but the slide started a decade ago.
I’ll just add a bit here, a bit of commentary from Facebook after I posted this.
For the first season in the Lowland league there is a parachute payment and still access to the same rounds of the 3 cups. Gate receipts would probably go down. Not as many home fans but crucially not as many away fans. Lowland league fans don’t seem to travel.
the first season would be the season we would need to get out of the Lowland league, it’s the best opportunity. After that it would be a struggle but the club wouldn’t collapse as a lot of people seem to think it would. It wouldn’t be the same but it wouldn’t vanish.
People forget just how tough it is to keep a team running. Berwick is 60 miles from Newcastle and 60 miles from Edinburgh (approx). It’s a town out on its own. Population 12,043. As a comparison St. Andrews has a population of 16,801 with other towns nearby. (This comparison is for my friend I was talking to that lived in St Andrews while at University) It’s really quite an achievement to have a team at such a level and for so long.
But it might not come to that anyway. We can still finish above Albion, they are only a point in front of us and we still have to play them. Then if we did finish bottom it’s a two legged playoff. Still plenty of chances to retain our current league status. It’s not ideal but we have all the opportunity we need.
Johnny Harvey started as expected, talk of effort and commitment from the squad. The usual that is now common in his post match interviews. I didn’t expect anything else to be honest, he was hardly going to come out and slate individually players or bemoan the state of the squad etc. There would be no point in that, nothing constructive would come of it. Interesting points that were mentioned were based around attracting players. W have a low budget and it’s hard to compete, that’s a know fact and isn’t going to change drastically. Johnny did mention that the Cowdenbeath keeper we have on loan is the third keeper at Cowdenbeath and he’s on 50% more money than our keepers are. We’ve also lost out on players that have been offered better wages due to various other reasons, location being one of the major ones.
So a planned shake up is going to be tried to attract players. Training will be moved towards central Edinburgh, this is to make it easier for those in the central belt/Fife to attend. Training can be spit at various sites, Edinburgh, Berwick and somewhere in the North East of England. The idea is that Bereick can tap into the players in the North East that are put off by travelling long distances for training twice a week. These players can train with a club near them and once a fortnight (not set in stone) can travel to a full training session with the full squad.
This isn’t ideal, but it’s seen as a way to tap into the large pool of players in the Nort East that other clubs in our league cannot access due to their distance. It may sound a little mad but something has to change otherwise Berwick will be outbid for players by the other clubs in the Central/Lothian/Fife areas who have more money. Even clubs like Kelty Hearts can offer more money due to their setup, an investor and low running costs. A few scoffed at this but something has to change otherwise Berwick will slowly slip away. It’s an interesting plan and hopefully it will yield results.
Next up the game.
Well I’ll keep it short, after 14 minutes we were a goal down. The defence static as the ball came into the box and it was in the back of the net. We were down by 2 goals by the 31st minute and then after that it was a training session for Edinburgh. The usual performance I’ve come to expect. Berwick having 32% possession to Edinburgh’s 68%. Shots on goal? Edinburgh 16 with 8 on target, Berwick 4 shots with 0 on target. We also picked up 3 yellow cards to Edinburgh’s 1.
Albion were beaten by Clyde so no further gain for them but it was a single goal in the 79th minute that saw them off. Next up Annan away and for Albion a home game against Queen’s Park. 5 games left to the end of the season.