I wanted to take a few moments to thank all of our members for attending last night’s Annual General Meeting and embracing the new technology. Last night was the first ever virtual meeting and whilst we had some technical challenges, the feedback received to date in the main has been positive. As always, there are lessons that can be learnt and improvements that we can make. As mentioned, there were some technical challenges last night for some of us which meant that not all of us were able to present our statements fully.
I would like to share my thoughts as Chairman of the board. For those that do not know me, my name is Ian Benton, and it is has been my honour to serve the club and its members as a Director since July 2016, and as Chairman since March 2020. The past 11 months has been a horrendous experience for everyone due to the unforeseen onset of COVID-19 the impact of which continues to take its toll in so many ways. On behalf of all the Directors of the club I would like to extend our condolences to anyone who has been unwell or suffered the loss of a loved one during this time. We are especially remembering David Waterton, Gary Flint’s partner Siobhan and Jason Bell’s mother, Martha.
At Albion Rovers there is always the challenge of putting a competitive team on the park, maintaining a 100-year-old stadium and dealing with the daily operational challenge of keeping the gates open. This has been no different for me since taking over as Chairman. I’d like to thank the Chairmen who served before me for leaving the club in a position that offers me the opportunity to grow the club. As Chairman and Directors, we are merely custodians of a club and our only goal is to leave a club in a healthy state for future generations to enjoy. Whilst football operations have been restricted greatly due the pandemic, I look forward to receiving an update from SPFL within the next few weeks and am hopeful of a safe and speedy return to football. Despite the current situation there is still a lot to be grateful for and achievements to celebrate.
I’ve listed some of the achievements below:
o Appointment of a new first team manager.
o Implementation of the Pixelot System which allows our fans to watch from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Thanks go to Mark Millar for his generous support and donation which made this possible and Ben Kearney for working tirelessly managing the system and running our matchday streaming service.
o Following the loss of the previous shirt sponsor, we are delighted that CompliancePath have decided to support the club as becoming main shirt sponsor.
o We also had a number of sponsors who have renewed for the season or are new to the club. Thanks to Reigart, JC Groundworks, Purple Imp, Lanarkshire Suicide Prevention for their support during these uncertain times.
o Upgrades have been made around the stadium, for example, we have installed pigeon netting, improved the floodlights, replaced dressing room flooring and revamped the club shop and the Dishington Lounge has been refurbished. I’d also like to extend my thanks to; James Anderson, Albion Rovers Supporters Trust, Albion Rovers Community Trust, Eva Woodward, Terry Gillooly, Scott and Alison McGowan and all the volunteers that made this possible. We look forward to all of you getting back to see these improvements.
o The endeavor shown by some of our younger supporters has been incredible. The JustGiving page set up by Jordan Campbell, the virtual 50/50 draw organised and ran by Ben Gillooly and the new Wee Rovers Lotto organized by the Albion Rovers Supporters Trust has gone a long way to helping the club during difficult times.
The goodwill speaks volumes about the commitment of our fans, volunteers, sponsors and directors. Thanks to them all. Earlier in the year Colin Woodward resigned as a member of our board. Colin’s loss was certainly felt in our boardroom, however, I am delighted that Colin continues to be the club secretary. The expertise, hard work and time that Colin devotes to our club cannot be underestimated. For this, I am truly grateful and look forward to continuing working with him.
The existing board members have been excellent in the running of club during these trying times, the stability and operational support they have shown me has been appreciated. Alison, Eddie and Mark have done a sterling job. Thank you. As voted by our members last night, I’d like to welcome Jordan Campbell, Craig McKeown, Liam Nugent and Shaun Millar to the board. I’ll be in touch with each individually to welcome them. I look forward to working with each of them and I’m sure you will join me in wishing them every success. Finally, I would also like to thank all of our shareholders for your continued support for the club.
Regards Ian Benton.
Chairman Albion Rovers F.C.