Stricken Selkirk forced to scrap Sauchie trip

Jay-Dee Sharkey
Jay-Dee Sharkey

Selkirk FC’s game tomorrow (Saturday) at Sauchie has been called off, as the ailing side continues a near-impossible battle to recruit players.

Last night’s open training session at Yarrow Park attracted a very low response, with interim team manager Gordon Rae describing matters now as “day to day”.

It’s understood the club is also facing a disciplinary meeting this coming Tuesday with the Lowland League, over its failure to fulfil recent fixtures – although more training get-togethers are due to take place the same day, and on Thursday.

The club is facing possible sanctions from the Lowland League over the call-offs, which hit earlier league games with Edusport and Kelty Hearts and have now claimed tomorrow’s Football Nation Qualifying Cup fixture.

One piece of good news came earlier this week as local motoring firm Leven Car Company agreed to stay on as principal sponsor, despite the club’s financial and personnel crises.

A statement on Selkirk’s Twitter and Facebook pages said Leven Car Company had confirmed it would remain as the club’s official main sponsor, “helping us through our current difficult circumstances”.

The statement added: “We would like to place on record our heartfelt gratitude to Leven Car Company for this fantastic news and we look forward to working alongside them to stabilise the club and take steps forward to ensure our future.”

Earlier this week, chairman Jay-Dee Sharkey told an open meeting, attended by around 30 people at Yarrow, he believed the club could go no further in the Lowland League because of the shortage of players.

As has been well publicised, Selkirk FC has been struggling since the start of the new season with very low numbers of registered players, making it virtually impossible for them to field a team.

Players left the Souters en masse over the summer because they had not been paid since December, and the club has struggled, unsurprisingly, to attract more.

Monday’s public meeting also heard the club had cumulative debts running into six figures. As well as owing around £37,500 to various concerns, it was also due a committtee member just over £116,000 in personal loans.

It was agreed at the meeting to pursue legal action over some of the financial matters relating to the club’s plight

However, no other firm decisions were made on Monday about how to proceed on other matters, with the club awaiting the outcome of talks with the Lowland League.

Some short-term solutions were suggested but chairman Sharkey, who was elected at the club’s July AGM, felt the financial position could be too much of a hindrance to the way forward.

Among the options looked at was withdrawal from the Lowland League and an application to join the East of Scotland League, although the implications for Selkirk’s junior squad and its amateur team, Selkirk Victoria, were unclear.

Another Lowland League team had offered Selkirk 20 players to enable it to field a team for this season, which was being considered

There was a fresh appeal too to the townspeople of Selkirk, for any assistance they could give to save their local football team. Sharkey said the Souters, like many clubs in Scotland, had a name and a history in the game, and nobody wanted to see that fold overnight.

“Selkirk is saying for the club to keep going, it needs obviously to get backing by locals in the community and get everyone else behind them, or else the club won’t have a future,” he said. “The club needs that future to go forward.”

Secretary Sheree Davison, whose association with Selkirk goes back 30 years, said: “There are options for players to come in and it is all about buying time and managing the debt.”