Sunday 13th May 2018

TODAY, an unforgettable chapter in the history of Dumbarton FC closed.

After six seasons in the second tier of Scottish football, holding our own for five of them against mostly full-time opposition, the Sons were relegated to League One by virtue of our play-off final aggregate defeat to Alloa Athletic.

We congratulate the Wasps on their victory, and wish them well on their return to the Championship.

DFC wants to thank each and every person – player, management staff member, official and supporter – who has been with us on this incredible journey since August 2012.

We are very sad, and of course disappointed, that this chapter has closed in the way that it has done.

However, we have now been presented with a new chapter to write, and a new opportunity.

One door has closed for the time being, but others are about to open.

Some vital actions have to be taken over the coming weeks with a view to the 2018/19 season, which will be upon us in only nine weeks with the start of the Betfred Cup sectional stage.

And if these actions are executed correctly, we can make the next chapter just as successful as the last one.

Putting things into perspective

Whether you are a supporter of decades’ experience, or this is your first experience of relegation, we are only too aware that it will hurt.

Moving down a division is never easy to stomach whatever the circumstances, and emotion will be raw right now.

People are entitled to their opinions and we would never seek to deny them that, but we would hope that one or two things will be recognised.

Firstly, while we have come up short of what was required to stay in the Championship this season, one thing we have never wanted for is effort.

Our players and management are only human, and they will be as disappointed as anybody that it has come to this after all their tireless work.

We are heartened to see that, despite how results have worked out, our supporters have shown their appreciation for the players’ endeavours over the last 10 months.

What we would also like to recognise is that six years ago, we were of course celebrating promotion to the second tier on that amazing day at Airdrie.

Who would have thought that it would be two World Cups, two European Championships, a new Prime Minister, a new First Minister and a new US President until we tasted life in the third tier again?

We will experience it again from Saturday 4th August, when the League One fixtures begin. It will take some getting used to that these are not Championship fixtures for the first time in six years, but hopefully that length of time will put things in perspective.

What happens now?

Our manager, Stevie Aitken, is under contract until the end of next season. He will meet with the board of directors in the coming days to identify and set a realistic budget for that campaign.

We of course already know that leaving the playing staff upon the expiry of their loans are Sam Wardrop (Celtic), Kevin Nisbet (Partick Thistle), Andy Stirling (Queen of the South), and Aidan Wilson and Liam Burt (both Rangers).

We extend grateful thanks to all those players and wish them the very best of luck back at their parent clubs.

We will announce in the coming days which other players will be released by the club upon the expiry of their contracts.

These players, too, are wished well for the future wherever their next move takes them.

Stevie will then begin the process of re-signing the players he wishes to retain, and recruiting new ones.

We have already made one major announcement this week – season tickets and walk-up prices which are AT REDUCED RATES from this season.

Season tickets go on sale this week, tomorrow in fact, and the sooner they are sold, the more money we will have available.

We’d be delighted to have you back here as a season ticket holder next season, and if you can bring a pal – even better!

We cannot stress enough that every single penny which the club can afford to make available to Stevie, will be made available. The budget can only consist of what the club can afford to spend, but we are confident it will allow us to compete well in League One.

And that brings us neatly to our last point.

The next chapter

It is our every intention that our stay outwith the second tier of the SPFL will last as little time as possible.

For the last six seasons, we have had the opportunity to take on some of Scottish football’s best-known clubs, posting some very notable results in the process.

We want to have that opportunity again as soon as possible.

For now, enjoy your time off from domestic football, and your World Cup summer. Please try to attend our murder mystery dinner at the club’s stadium on Saturday 9th June, and be in no doubt that we will keep you up to speed with the squad-building process over the close season.

By the time Saturday 4th August comes around, you will be ready to do it all again. It will just be a different league from what we have become used to.

And wouldn’t a successful season be a great way to mark 10 years since the club’s last league title?

Thank you once again for your support over the last six years, and let’s get ready to begin the next chapter.

Dumbarton Football Club

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