The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire)

Full wages vow at Firhill



Partick Thistle have vowed to keep all staff on full wages for the next two months.

Jags chief executive Gerry Britton has forecast the coronaviru­s shutdown could cost the Firhill outfit upwards of £150,000.

But chairwoman Jacqui Low has now pledged to ensure no one at the club goes without in the short term.

She said in a statement:

“We do not want anyone to worry about their jobs or income against the current backdrop of uncertaint­y.

“Therefore, the board has decided that from now until the end of May (the end of the season as was), we will retain all staff across the club on full pay.

“We will look to use the government’s Coronaviru­s Job Retention Scheme, if that is available to us, for certain groups within the club.

“But we will make up any difference to reflect their usual rate of pay. If it is not, we will still honour our commitment to every employee in full.

“Regardless of their role at Thistle, we have an equal responsibi­lity to each of them at this time.

“Given that informatio­n is changing almost daily, our plan is to go forward in phases, continuall­y monitoring what’s happening and making informed decisions as we go forward with the best interests of the club as our guiding principle.”

As the global pandemic continues to spread, the death toll mounts and we all try to adapt to a lifestyle we could not have anticipate­d just a few short weeks ago, the issues facing Scottish football have seemed of less importance.

I am down to one programme a week with the BBC, three hours on a Saturday afternoon, and inevitably a large chunk of the shows we have done has been devoted to Covid-19 and its effect on the game.

With each discussion, I feel the responsibi­lity to add the rider that there are far more important aspects to the coronaviru­s and that those will be covered on the news programmes. Our remit is the national game and that’s what we have been focusing on.

Initially, the spotlight was on when football would return. A fortnight ago it was more about how and when the SPFL might be able to finish the 2019-20 season, then last week the very future for clubs and players went to the top of the agenda.

That is clearly the biggest issue facing everyone in the game right now and every club, every board of directors, have different areas of concern, but the main over-riding problem is that of the cashflow.

There was some optimism following the government’s pledge to meet 80% of the wage bill for affected businesses, but it has yet to be fully establishe­d just how beneficial that will be for our clubs.

The Scottish FA did its bit, releasing £1.5 million early from the club licensing payments, and the SPFL this week also part-advanced sums that wouldn’t have been due until next month. That money will have been welcomed, especially by some of the lower-league sides, but it won’t tide them over for long.

Some clubs have reduced or deferred salaries. Livingston are offering shares to fans who make regular donations, Kilmarnock received £50,000 from the Killie Trust and £200,000 from Manchester City for the sale of teenage defender Liam Smith, and others are asking supporters to buy season tickets early. They are trying everything they can

One of the bright spots of the country shutting down has been the humour which has emerged in so many ways online.

The football community has offered up a series of challenges, some of which have been hilarious to watch, and Instagram has been a source of considerab­le amusement. Everyone, it seems, is doing what they can to find a way to get through this. to get some money in, money which will, in some cases, help to ensure survival.

Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack spelled out in no uncertain terms how difficult a period the Dons are facing up to. The phrase, “£5 million of outgoings with no expected income” was a stark warning and made it crystal clear how challengin­g the next few months are going to be.

That money will hopefully be recouped in the autumn but, apart from the Scottish Cup receipts, right now there is no firm guarantee of that and it seems increasing­ly likely that

I noticed in the Press and Journal earlier in the week that Don Cowie had

Dave will once again have to provide funds to keep the club on an even keel. Thankfully the Dons were on a decent financial footing before the crisis and they don’t face the oblivion others are fearing, but it will neverthele­ss be testing.

From what Dave has said, there has been a great response from Aberdeen fans who have bought season tickets, merchandis­e and AberDNA membership­s and that will certainly help. The club has also been doing its bit and it has been heart-warming to see some of the messages online from older and at-risk supporters whose self-isolation has been brightened up by a telephone call from players and management. A small gesture, but it will have meant so much to those on the receiving end.

As the chairman said, we will come through this, the club will come through it and life will eventually settle down again.

Until then, stay safe everyone. promised to donate £50 to NHS charities for every video posted by his colleagues in the Keepy-Up challenge, and that is a wonderful gesture by the midfielder.

Delightful­ly, his chairman Roy MacGregor got involved and it is fair to say his enthusiasm outweighed his ability.

If you need a wee smile this Saturday morning, check out the clip online.

 ??  ?? Stark warning: Aberdeen chief Dave Cormack
Stark warning: Aberdeen chief Dave Cormack
 ??  ?? County’s Don Cowie
County’s Don Cowie

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