Saturday 6th May 2017

WELL, we did it.

Despite losing 1-0 to Falkirk today, Dumbarton will play in the Championship for a sixth consecutive year next season.

Who’d have thought, celebrating promotion at Airdrie almost five years ago, we’d still be in Scotland’s second tier as a part-time club until at least the springtime of 2018? And do so despite the challenges of the likes of some of Scottish football’s best-known teams?

To date, only Falkirk and Raith Rovers have been in the Championship consecutively for as long as we have. Full-time outfits have been relegated from this division during the last five years. We have stayed here.

It is to the credit of everybody at the club that we have ensured our sixth season at this level. We have had the usual mix of just about every emotion possible, but it has all been worth it to achieve what we have with this evening’s outcome.

But if anything, the hard work is about to really begin.

Now that we know what division we will play in next season, the immediate priority is to ensure we have a management team in place for the 2017/18 campaign. The contracts of our current boss Stevie Aitken and his assistant Ian Durrant expire at the end of May.

Work is ongoing in this respect and we hope to be able to make an announcement in due course. It is vital that we do so as soon as possible in order that we can start to build a squad for the new campaign.

And that brings us neatly to the players who, ultimately, have been the ones whose goals scored at one end, and efforts to keep them out at the other, have helped us hit our target.

Of the 13 players who played in our opening league fixture at Dunfermline, six have already left the club, including Donald McCallum, who is on loan to Arbroath. It just goes to show how quickly a football squad can change.

That is something we will discover again when the squad building process starts for next season. Some of the current players will leave the club following today’s game; others will be back to do it all again with Dumbarton next season.

To everybody – players and management – a huge thanks for your efforts to keep the club in the Championship which once again have been successful. Whatever lies in store for you next season, whether it is with Dumbarton or elsewhere, you have done yourselves proud.

And there is one other group who have done themselves proud – our fans. Since the first whistle at Dunfermline back on the first Saturday in August, your support throughout this successful league campaign has been phenomenal – and a major difference-maker.

They say that it is the team that does the talking on the pitch, but please take it from us – their job is much easier done to the positive vibes that you generate from the stand week in, week out.

Whether you are a far-flung armchair fan, make it down to home games only, or already are contemplating possible trips to Inverness next season – many thanks. You do of course have the chance to be rewarded for your support by meeting the team at the Sons Supporters Trust’s annual awards night this evening.

Have a great close season and we look forward to seeing you all back to watch Championship football again in the 2017/18 campaign.

Many thanks for your efforts and support on and off the pitch. You have got what you deserve out of this season. Our target has been hit.

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