The new season is upon us and it’s great to be back. It has been a busy time on and off the pitch and this message brings you up to date with the close season activity. We are really confident we can build on the momentum of our end of season form. Your support is so important to the players and I know how much they appreciate your backing at home and away matches. The Championship promises to be a very competitive league, which should provide great entertainment. Our aim is to get back to where we feel we belong – in the Scottish Premiership.
We congratulate Scott Kellacher on his promotion from first team coach to assistant manager and Ryan Esson on his appointment as a coach of the goalkeepers and the Under 18 squad. We welcome back to the club legend Barry Wilson as a coach of the first team and the Under 18 squad. All have great experience to assist our Manager John Robertson, who has been busy on the transfer front bringing in full back Shaun Rooney, central defender Jamie McCart, midfielder Angus Beith, wide attacking player Tom Walsh and striker Jordan White to boost the first team squad.
Fans will be delighted with the appointment of Carl Tremarco as captain and Aaron Doran as vice-captain.
Our 10 new youth signings have settled in nicely to their lives as full time footballers. It was good to see so many of them stripped for our pre-season friendlies against Strathspey Thistle, Keith, Rothes, Nairn County, Clach and Buckie Thistle.
We also welcome legend Ross Tokely back to the club. Ross will be coaching our Youth Academy players, focusing on the Under 15 squad.
Our Academy Director Danny MacDonald is assembling a talented group of Youth Academy coaches. Our commitment to youth development is a priority for the club.
Our former skipper Gary Warren has joined Yeovil Town and we wish him and his family the best of luck in their new surroundings. Gary was a great servant of the club during his 6 years with us.
Best wishes also go to our former assistant manager, Brian Rice in his new job as assistant manager at St Mirren.
Our warmest congratulations go to our Under 17 squad who handsomely won the SFA’s Club Academy Scotland League System GP 2. Along the way, the talented team won 22 or their 24 games, scoring 104 goals in the process. Nine of this squad now have full-time contracts with the club. We want to mark their achievement by presenting the squad with medals at our opening home league game against Ayr United.
At the opposite end of the age spectrum, well done to our Walking Football team who returned from a walking football festival at Glasgow Green with the Fair Play Trophy. Our Community Development team, under the leadership of Craig Masterton, hold weekly sessions at Hilton Community Centre which are greatly enjoyed by the veterans.
Buying your season ticket and match day tickets is now easier than ever before – thanks to our investment in new style cards, which are read by electronic scanners at the turnstiles. We have signed up with Ticketmaster’s Tickethour, which is a modern and efficient software system used by many major clubs across Europe to help the matchday experience of fans. Holders of season tickets will be able to add home cup games onto their card by purchasing the additional ticket online, on mobile phones or using the existing club shop and telephone services.
Biggest Home Game event:
Our #biggesthomegame Golden Ticket event has been rearranged for Sunday 22 July with a noon kick off at the stadium. This is the chance for 100 Under 12s, who purchase a new strip, to take on the first team. It promises to be a great day out for our young fans.
New Chief Executive
During the close season we made another important signing. We appointed Yvonne Crook as our Chief Exectuive to provide strategic leadership and advice to the Board of Directors.
Yvonne is an experienced consultant whose skills in business development, branding and marketing are seen as hugely valuable assets as the club strives to attract new investment and operate in a more business-like and sustainable way.
Owner of View Marketing and a founder and director of Good Highland Food Ltd, which she runs with her husband Mike, she has also held strategic advisory positions for several destinations and visitor attractions in Scotland including Loch Ness by Jacobite as well as Perth Racecourse.
Her work has included helping the Board set out the club’s vision for the future and preparing a Business Plan, which will place the club in a stronger position to attract future investment and funding.
New Board members
The Board has been boosted by two new directors with experience and expertise in the commercial and property markets. Both are avid supporters of the club.
Liam Dalgarno is the franchise owner of the Subway restaurants in Inverness, Nairn and Elgin. He is also the Subway regional developer covering the Anglia region of England. He started this development role in 2011 when there were 44 restaurants. His region currently consists of 186 restaurants with a further 15 scheduled to open later this year. Despite his business commitments, Liam makes sure he is back in the Highlands for ICT’s home matches and is also a community coach.
Ross Morrison, who is based in Dundee, was educated at Central Primary School , Inverness and Wick High School before embarking on a career in the financial sector, working for the Bank of Scotland, and Standard Life before setting up his own property company in 1995. He has interests in the whisky industry in the form of building and supplying large bonded warehouse space in various parts of Scotland.
Their appointment brings our Board membership to 6. Apart from myself, we have Allan Mackenzie, vice-chairman, Alan McPhee and Gordon Fyfe acting in non-executive roles.
A second season in the Championship has implications for the way we must run the club. We estimate the loss of income this season was £1.2 million through smaller gates, fewer visiting supporters, the absence of television monies and reduced prizemoney. In the coming season, our parachute payment will be reduced from £300,000 to £150,000 and we no longer qualify for the UEFA payment for Celtic reaching the Champions League stage – a payment of £374,000. So the challenges are even greater. More than £900,000 has been injected into the club and more is needed. It is clear we need a more sustainable business model. And significant savings are being made to all aspects of the operation in order to better balance income against expenditure.
Stadium, Stands and Land Deal
I reported last December, last year, that we had received the offer of a gift from Tulloch Homes of the transfer of the lease for the stadium and stands. In February, I reported further that The Highland Council, as landlord, had agreed the transfer, subject to the club and Tulloch Homes agreeing the detail of the agreement. From the football club’s stance, a successful outcome to these detailed negotiations will result in the club no longer requiring to pay an annual rental of £205,000 to Tulloch Homes and would see a write off of a rental debt to Tulloch Homes of more than £300,000. Going forward, the club would pay £15,000 per year rent to the Council for the stadium and stands and £15,000 per year to Tulloch Homes for the car parking areas. In agreeing to the lease transfer back to the club, the Council recognised that the lease transfer would place the football club in a much better position to attract future investment as it would have security over the facilities. The asset would also boost the club’s balance sheet. Following months of discussions, we are now very close to securing an agreement that allows the club to benefit from the gift and go on to attract new investment and funding.
ICT Supporters Society Board
We are delighted to learn that ICT Supporters Society (CaleyJagsTogether) have formed a new Board and are committed to providing a strong voice for supporters and playing an active role in promoting the activities of the club. Having the active and constructive backing from supporters is so important to the wellbeing and success of our football club.
We will soon be celebrating our 25th anniversary. This milestone is a great opportunity for us to generate fresh interest in the club and we sincerely hope that CJT play a full and active role in these celebrations.
Our aim is to keep fans informed as best we can; improve your match day experience and produce a team that takes us back to the Scottish Premiership, where we all want to be playing. Together we can achieve this.
We are looking for volunteers to help us with tasks around the stadium. If you are willing to help us, please drop us an email, setting out what you would be willing to do and when you are available. We look forward to hearing from you.
We want everyone pulling together to propel this club upwards. It needs you all to continue your brilliant support as sponsors, advertisers, guests of hospitality, patrons of the match day bar, buying club merchandise in the shop and more. This is YOUR club. We will do all that we can to give you a football team and football club to be proud of. Nothing is taken for granted but if we are to get the team we want to see then it needs you all to continue your fantastic support of the club. I promise that we will continue to graft on and off the pitch to deliver this. Please keep giving the club your 100% support. We will continue to do everything we can to make ICTFC more successful.