Hawick squad confident it can survive shutdown

Hawick Royal Albert United FC is confident it will come through football’s shutdown period financially intact – and has come up with some new ways of doing so.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 3:10 pm
Hawick Royal Albert, in orange, in action this year against Ormiston (library image)
Hawick Royal Albert, in orange, in action this year against Ormiston (library image)

Any unnecessary expenditure has been halted, while the Albert Park club is hoping to introduce an on-line scratch card scheme via social media.

But HRAU, which was hit by an even bigger financial penalty after severe winter flood damage, maintains people’s health is still the most important thing.

With the club sitting 10th out of 12 in the East Scotland League Division Conference ‘B’ when football was suspended, secretary Dougie Leithead outlined its predicament.

“When Hawick United and Hawick Royal Albert got together to form Hawick Royal Albert United at the start of the season, it was obvious we had to put together a budget plan to gain financial stability for the new set-up,” he said.

“We worked hard on the sponsorship side of things and a lot of the town’s businesses have been brilliant in helping us out. When the lockdown situation occurred, we were in a reasonably good place financially.

“All the sponsorship and fundraising we had done previously had put us on a good footing again.

“We recognised fairly quickly, however, that our income sources from our weekly tote treble, gate receipts, bar and kitchen would all dry up. The loss of the tote, in particular, was going to be a huge blow.”

Spending money on repairs after flood damage to the car park, the pitch and changing facilities had to be put on hold immediately, said Mr Leithead, while all grant funding applications were also shelved.

“We received a sum of money from the SFA, which we receive every year, as we are a licensed club. But, this season, they paid it out early,” he added. “This will help pay our utility bills which, obviously, still need paid. All other expenditure has been put on hold.”

Mr Leithead continued: “We don’t pay our players, as such, but any expenses they receive have been stopped at the moment and won’t resume until training recommences. All work on the pitch and surrounding areas has also been put on hold.

“Basically, unless it’s something we can’t do without at the moment, we don’t spend.

“We don’t really have any income to speak of but it’s our intention to do an online weekly scratch card, using social media .

“This will help cover our utility costs and help us maintain our reasonably healthy bank balance.

“We recognise, of course, that none of this matters at all in the current situation. People’s health is much more important at this time.

“We urge all our players, fans and all their families and friends to stay in and stay safe.

“We hope all our sponsors can survive this shutdown financially, as we are sure that we will.

“We cannot wait to get going again and we think we will be in a position, both physically and financially, to keep providing entertainment and a social outlet for the town.”