iain dougan fc twente

SUMMER is finally here - and while the players have a few weeks off, it's just as busy as ever for the Stranraer committee.

Last week we asked you for your questions, and we put these to Blues chairman Iain Dougan over the weekend.

Below are Iain's answers...

Q: Are there any special plans afoot to celebrate the 150 years?

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Iain: The 150th year is obviously a huge milestone on the club's history. Being only the third Scottish club to achieve the feat, predominantly it would be good to have a successful season on the field. We look at it that the club started in 1870/71 season so although January is 2020, the team, to everyone's knowledge would actually have come into existence in the summer. So, to get at least one, hopefully more, glamour friendlies in the close season would be great.

We are one of the only clubs to my knowledge that don't host a Hall of Fame Day, honouring and marking the contribution made by managers, players, etc, over the club's long history. This is something I'm keen to redress and get off the ground taking the format of an annual hospitality day with each year perhaps four names from the past as honoury guests inducted onto our very own Hall of Fame roll of honour board. During the first few seasons, it is envisaged we would have an extra four places each season awarded posthumously for Blues legends sadly no longer with us.

Other celebratory events have been mooted and talks with the council may take place to see in what way the club's place in helping keep the town's name known to a wider audience can be acknowledged and marked. A special bespoke home kit will be worked on to mark the event with perhaps a return to the club's red shield badge for the season and the popular blue socks with red tops a must.

Q: Any ambitions for the club to progress or are they just happy to survive in League One?

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Iain: We are currently the longest serving team in League 1 and given the resources we have it is in itself an achievement but you should always aim as high as possible.

We have an ambitious manager in Stephen Farrell. Whereas his job outwith football is one he is successful at and enjoys, meaning the lure of a full-time post is not at the forefront of his mind, he still wants to be a winner.

Myself and my fellow committee members are not some far removed owners, in it for the kudos of being involved at a football club. We are in it firstly because we, in most cases, are lifelong fans, who care and hurt after any defeat just like everyone else in the stands or terraces. The difference is we are charged with the wellbeing of the club on behalf of the membership and have to take difficult decisions on expenditure rather than go gung ho in any heart ruling the head ventures to achieve success on the park.

Successful or, indeed, lucky draws in cup competitions can be game changers allowing that extra bit of finance that can change a season dramatically and in turn change how expenditure is looked at in the following season.

The short answer is we will finish as high as possible and in the highest possible league but ambition must ultimately also be tempered with financial realism in any given season.

Q: What was the fee for Kyle Turner? And will the manager get this added to his player budget for more signings?

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Iain: Kyle Turner's move to Dunfermline after close on 150 games for the club was not unexpected and we certainly wish him well in his future career.

Kyle's move was not a transfer fee as such but a development one to recompense Stranraer FC for nurturing and advancing Kyle during his time with the club. As such, it does not have the magical amounts of noughts on the end of any fee but the package agreed and worked on over a period of time with Dunfermline was seen as a fair and agreeable deal that benefits all parties, including our manager in the forthcoming season.

Q: Do you anticipate the league being more financially beneficial to Stranraer this year with fewer trips to Angus and the likelihood of more travelling fans from clubs such as Clyde and Falkirk?

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Iain: New clubs in League 1 all bring something different to our division.

Peterhead and Jim McInally are foes who we have encountered many times in recent season and if they follow their usual blueprint will be an experienced smaller squad, Jim going for quality over quantity. We lost Arbroath and Brechin from our travels but "gained" the 13-hour round trip to the "Bloo Toun".

Clyde replace Stenhousemuir with travel distances on par, but a new found hope within their support should ensure extra numbers making the journey to Stair Park but this will be reciprocated as in most games we play in the Central Belt our support holds its own with most travelling support.

Falkirk are the big fish in a small pond and will hope they don't suffer from their pre-season favourites tag like Raith Rovers. The league would have seen our first visit to the Falkirk Stadium but the Betfred Cup may well give us that experience earlier than expected, dependent on how the fixtures come out. Their support I'm sure will get behind what, by the time we play them, will be new owners and as such we can expect in at least their first league visit of the season to Stair Park a sizeable away contingent, which is always welcome.

Q: Have you or would you ever consider working with local businesses to offer discounts as a perk for having a season ticket? This is something other clubs do (such as Dunfermline) and could work in a similar way to employee perks?

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Iain: Season ticket link up with local businesses actually got mentioned at a board meeting, albeit too late for this season. But certainly with a tie up with our sponsors and other interested businesses willing to give discounts on production of a Stranraer FC season ticket is something we could work on for next season and I believe it is something that could be beneficial to both club and businesses.

Q: Will there be new strips this season?

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Iain: We are in the second of an initial two-year deal with Joma and as such will have new kits available soon. Early indications are we will release the away strip at the Blyth Spartans game, the new home against Coleraine, with the change at a later date.

Q: There were figures last week which highlighted Stranraer had the lowest average attendance in League One. Some factors, such as geography, cannot be changed but what can be done to bring in more fans and therefore improve the budget the manager, etc?

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Iain: Attendances are always a cause for debate and it can be disheartening that as a League 1 team we don't have better crowds but our crowds are calculated on those who pay not every season ticket whether in attendance or not and every free child who goes through the turnstiles so it is an accurate reflection on paying customers.

Would we like more of them? Undoubtedly. We have a loyal hardcore that is supplemented by floating fans, who will come if we are having a good season, work or other commitments allow and something as simple as the weather can make that decision on whether to attend or not.

Nurturing the young support to be Blues for life is fundamental and the shoots of growth were there in the second half of the season and must be kept as a high priority. Seeing youngsters in the town wearing Stranraer tops, trackies or hoodies rather than Old Firm, Man Utd, Barca or Real Madrid is a sign that the interest in supporting the club is there.

Q: When are we going to sign a striker or two?

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Iain: The manager is pleased with how his squad for 2019/20 is progressing and it is ahead of schedule.

Attacking roles still need filling but the manager's shopping list is extensive and he is confident that some of his preferred targets will come to fruition over the next couple of weeks.

betfred1

 Pos  Team  Pld   Pts 
1 Ayr United 0 0
2 Berwick
0 0
3 Falkirk 0 0
4 Livingston 0 0
5 Stranraer 0 0

Fixtures


Squad 2019/20

IN: 
Dale Burgess (GK, Renfrew), Scott Robertson (DEF, Airdrie), Ryan Thomson (MID, Dumbarton), Grant Gallagher (MID, Airdrie), Jordan Allan (DEF, Stirling), Mark Stewart (STR, Stirling), Lee Hamilton (DEF, Stirling), James Hilton (MID, Ayr United), Leon Murphy (MID, Ayr United - loan).

RE-SIGNED: David Smith (DEF), Max Currie (GK), Connor McManus (DEF/MID), Adam Cummins (DEF), Cameron Elliott (STR), Jamie Hamill (DEF), Ian Smith (MID).

OUT: Lyle Avci, Andy McDonald (Elgin), David Brownlie (EK), Chris McGowan, Mark Lamont, Conor O'Keefe (Elgin), Kyle Turner (Dunfermline).

LOAN ENDED: Innes Cameron, Ali McCann, Joao Victoria, PJ Crossan.

View squad