Sunday 8th May 2022

DUMBARTON FC chairman Neil Mackay has an update for supporters following the disappointing confirmation of relegation yesterday.

JUST like every fan of the club, we are bitterly disappointed to have been relegated to cinch League Two.

Ultimately, the points on the board and a club’s final league position reflect our performance over the season and we have simply not been good enough to stay up. Clearly there is collective responsibility, which we accept.

Winning promotion back to cinch League One is now our priority, but it will not be easy as the impact of relegation brings its own specific challenges.

We can very much relate to the frustration of our fans at the moment. The significance of this occurring in our 150th anniversary year is not lost on us.

We are all invested in this club, whether by parting with hard earned cash at the turnstile or by spending many hours each week working behind the scenes.

The very real challenge is that, like many clubs at this level, we operate on a very tight budget, relying heavily on the goodwill and the efforts of volunteers who give so generously of their time – we are hugely grateful to them.

The club’s owners have ambitious plans which, if successful, will provide us with significant revenue and much improved facilities.

Independent of this, however, and mindful of the need to work to effect change in the areas over which we do have influence, the board will continue to expend considerable effort to implement disciplines and strategies to ensure the financial stability of the club with the ultimate aim of improving the fan experience both on and outwith matchdays.

We are now midway through the period of our current strategic planning cycle and have made substantial progress towards creating a stable financial platform with significant debt reduction and a healthier bank balance when compared to a period approximately three short years ago when there was very genuine anxiety as the club approached its overdraft limit.

In simple terms, if we continue to exert careful control on expenditure, whilst maximising income through sponsorship, business partnerships, event hosting and providing an attractive matchday experience, the ultimate beneficiary is the playing budget and the quality of the performance on the park.

Essential to all of this is the reputation of the club and the brand which we are working hard to promote – we all have a part to play in this.

Significant progress has been and is being made in a variety of other areas. For example, our aging and unreliable floodlights have recently been replaced by energy-efficient LED equivalents, and we have just taken delivery of GPS tracking vests to monitor player performance and fitness.

A new website with greatly improved functionality is under construction, from which event and match tickets will be able to be purchased, as well as via a mobile phone app.

Effective fan engagement is a priority. We have, in recent months, extended invitations to the Sons Supporters Trust to engage in regular meetings with the objective of developing a collaborative partnership in a spirit of openness and transparency and the board of Dumbarton Football Club still hopes that this might come to fruition.

Stephanie Park, the Trust representative on the board, does an excellent job of providing us with the fans’ perspective. We want very much to broaden this interface and, to this end, we have embarked on a programme of fan focus groups. We would welcome input from any fans who are interested in exchanging ideas, concerns and aspirations.

Despite limited resources, we are committed to a programme of meaningful community engagement designed to deliver tangible social and health benefits to the people of the locality.

To underpin this strategy, we are in the process of setting up a charitable trust with the goal of improving accessibility to sport and physical activity while developing a local hub to enrich the lives of local people including those who, for a variety of reasons, face challenges in fully integrating in mainstream society.

In summary, therefore, despite the disappointing outcome this season, changes have been effected that have taken us closer to a point where future investment in the playing budget can be consistent and sustainable. There is a will and a drive to professionalise the club and to benefit the community. Dumbarton Football Club has a proud history and, without doubt, a very positive future.

Dumbarton Football Club

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