It was some 6 weeks ago since I last posted a “Chairman’s Chat” and certainly there has been a lot happening at the Club. The proverbial curates egg comes to mind, some good, some bad, some indifferent. But if nothing else it goes to show, as Kevin MacKay would say, “that there is rarely a dull day at Dudgeon Park”.
Due to a long standing commitment I was unable to get down to Stranraer for the Scottish Cup match, and what a result I missed out on. Dare I say possibly the best all time Brora Rangers result, at least in terms of gravity of the competition and level of opposition. I doubt if Steven Mackay has ever scored a better goal. There are attached articles on this website about the game and the fan’s support, but as Chairman I look to the wider exposure that the victory gave us, and of course the financial reward of finding ourselves in the hat for the 4th round tie. Now I was very critical of the shambles surrounding the draw for the 3rd Round of the Cup, but it would be remiss of me not to give the SFA full credit for the consideration they gave the club in the run up to the game at Stranraer. The match was chosen as their featured tie of the round, which meant that our preparatory training sessions at Dingwall were filmed and on the day the match was ramped up in the media and pre-match formalities a little different, making our players feel very special. Furthermore the SFA also funded the cost of the supporters bus down to Galloway which was the most generous of gestures. Well done and thanks to the SFA.
Who would have thought that after what seemed the avalanche of early season league matches we would be looking at a potential fixture pile up, but the early wintery weather has certainly seen the season take on a new perspective. We lost no fewer than 6 league games in November and December and bad weather in the next two months will certainly give HFL Secretary a real challenge as he wrestles to reallocate match dates. With 4 Highland League Clubs still in the Scottish Cup, his task will not be an easy one.
In one of the few games we did get played we beat Fort William 16-0 at Dudgeon Park, and that too catapulted us into the national media. We were “Team of the Day” on the popular Radio Scotland ‘Off the Ball’ show with the Club and the Highland League getting some fantastic coverage and comment. However the same was not the case in the Inverness based paper Highland News, who really felt we should have shown mercy and taken our foot of the gas when we reached double figures. This was a schoolboy error by the author, who would do well to remember that last years league title was won on goal difference by Buckie Thistle and in the previous season we lost 2nd place to Formartine United again on goal difference. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Fort William FC, but we must remember every point and every goal is a prisoner in this league, as I expect final season placings will go right to the wire.
The last period has also seen the departure of two players from our ranks, Andrew Greig to Formartine United and Craig Gunn to Wick Academy. Andrew, a stalwart of the Cattach’s side over the last few years, sought a new challenge and requested a move away from Brora. Whilst disappointed to see him go, the Manager and Board reluctantly accepted a very good offer from the Pitmedden side and Andrew left with the very best of our wishes. Likewise, for whatever reason, Craig Gunn never really fired during his time with Brora, and our friends at Wick Academy were interested to take him “home”. He too left us with the very best of our wishes. Our arrivals board indicated only one player, but we were delighted to acquire James Pickles, brother of John, who will be a fantastic acquisition for the club. We also made approaches for Nairn County’s Jason Macrae, but after due consideration, Jason opted to stay at Station Park.
We had little seasonal goodwill when the December 23rd curse struck again. Following the 2016 defeat 4-1 at Lossiemouth, we fared no better this year when we went down 3-2 at Forres Mechanics on the eve of Christmas Eve. After a first 45 minutes where we toughed out a 2-1 interval lead against a Forres side on a seven run winning streak, the wheels well and truly came off and we conceded 2 needless goals in a game where no player passed muster. The deserved celebrations of the Forres players after the match brought back many painful memories of similar at Lossiemouth, and it brought home just how big a scalp others see us as. In the simplest of terms the Forres players wanted it more than us.
Wow, just as the years roll on, so too does our Lotto jackpot. Can you believe it ,its now standing at a whopping £7800,yes £7800,and if your not signed up to play, why not? Really the standing order process could not be simpler - £7800 is a lot of money, so get your numbers into the hat. You can download a mandate from this website.
I’m sure 2018 will be an exciting one, and let us hope that includes a run like we had at the beginning of 2017, and of course a win at East Fife in the 4th Round of the Scottish Cup would do rather nicely.