The Mighty Mo Needs Your Mighty Support!
Montrose Football Club face arguably the most important two fixtures in their 136 year existence as they line up against Brora Rangers in the inaugural SPFL Pyramid Play Off Final. Played over two legs, the Gable Endies will travel the 190+ miles north to Brora this coming weekend with the second leg at Links Park on Saturday 16th May. With rumours and speculation rife around exactly how this will affect the Club, win or lose, we caught up with Chairman Derek Sim to get a view from inside the Club.
What is the clubs view of the pyramid play off?
"Our views were made known at the time that we were not in favour of the pyramid system. That said we, like all other clubs accepted we could not pick and choose selective parts of the proposal for a merger between the SPL and SFL and accepted the decision. Our aim at the start of the season was not to avoid bottom spot, but more to challenge for a promotion play off place as we felt we had a squad capable of achieving that."
If you lose the play off, where will the Club go and will it survive?
"If we lose the play off, given our geographical location, we will enter the Highland League. As this would be a first for any League 2 side, we have nothing really to compare it with as far as building a business case is concerned. A number of Highland League clubs are financially strong and with 18 teams and extensive travelling it would be a tough league to compete in and win. It would be a real challenge but one as a Club we would face head on. Obviously we would have to look at cutting our day to day running costs and carefully consider where we look for players so as to reduce their travel commitments. But our fate is very much in our own hands and all our efforts are focused at this time on winning the play off."
Is there any form of parachute payment?
"There is a parachute payment from the SPFL for the first two seasons, but with no previous examples to compare it with, we don’t really know how much of a benefit this will be at this stage."
Who will be manager next season?
"Paul and John have been tasked from day one to keep us in League 2 and at this stage that is as far as the commitment goes. Once we know our fate, following the play offs we will sit down and discuss what is best for both them and the Club."
Have the Club signed any players yet for next season?
"At this stage, all our players are only contracted to the end of this season as it is common practice these days to only issue one year deals. Until we know what league we are in and what our wage structure will be we cannot hold any meaningful talks with either our own players or potential new players."
What is happening with the pitch?
"Our 3G artificial surface, laid back in 2007 has come to the end of its natural life and has failed its recent FIFA tests. We have moved quickly and appointed a contractor to replace the top layer with a state of the art surface during the close season. This has required significant efforts by the Directors to get to this stage in dealing and negotiating with a number of vendors. We have also worked extensively on funding arrangements for the project."
Should you have appointed Paul Hegarty earlier in the season?
"An impossible question to answer as football is an unpredictable game and can be very cruel at times. On many occasions a change in manager does bring a change in fortune on the park, but there are also many examples of teams who have stuck by a manager through tough times and have reaped the rewards as a result. The Board did everything possible to increase the player budget in the last transfer window but unfortunately things didn’t work out. Paul and John came in a at a very difficult time and they have done a great job in galvanising the squad, raising the confidence and creating some momentum in the run up to the play off. Recent results and performances have been very encouraging."
What would you say to your supporters?
"I appreciate how disappointed they have been this season and can only assure them that the Directors feel equally disappointed. We take our responsibility very seriously and we have worked very hard this season to do what we believed was best for the Club. However, this is a results driven business and we find ourselves where we are because we simply haven’t won enough games this year. For many, many weeks now we have kept an eye on other scores as we competed with those around us to avoid 10th place. All we need to do now is look at ourselves. Our fate is in our hands. I hope all Montrose fans recognise how important these play off games are and that they come out in numbers to support their team. Your Club needs Your Support!"