Season 2012/2013 has been a long and difficult one for East Kilbride Thistle, both on and off the park. Brian’s team have battled hard in less than ideal circumstances, and we are all aware that despite some positive moments it has been a relatively disappointing season. The players, however, deserve credit for the continued commitment in the face of adversity and the club thanks them for their hard work and dedication.
Off the park, the club has endured a year that none of us wish to live again. Much has been said about the goings-on at EK Thistle, but it has often lacked the accuracy we would have liked. The club, admittedly, has to take some responsibility for this as communication with fans has been lacking, but this has been an unfortunate necessity as we have attempted to battle our way through the many problems with which we have faced. Hopefully we can rebuild the lines of communication and operate in a more transparent nature from here on as there are a number of important things that need to be said.
East Kilbride Thistle Football Club was close to folding this season. This is something that all those who have worked hard to save this proud team would like to make clear. The financial situation at the club was dire. When Jimmy Stewart took over as Chairman, the company behind the club had significant debts and very little money. This is not an exaggeration and it is not a twisting of the truth. This is the reality. Things were serious. There was a time when it was looking unlikely that the club would be in a position to fulfil its fixtures. Catastrophe was only avoided in January with the setting up of a new company to take control of the club, which was done with the blessing SJFA, an organisation who have been nothing but helpful throughout.
We cannot stress enough just how serious the situation was. If it was not for drastic action taken in January, East Kilbride Thistle would have folded and our team would no longer exist.
Our situation has, however, improved somewhat in the five months since the new company was created. The club is no longer facing the threat of closure and can once again look forward to concentrating on football. A 12 month licence for use of the Showpark has been secured and the club will kick off the season as expected. Changes will be made both on and off the park. As has been recently announced, Jason Little and Tom McKenna of Clyde will be joining the club in a joint managerial capacity for the 2013/14 season. Their experience with young players will be invaluable as the club looks to build towards a sustainable future.
The club is also delighted to announce a partnership with Clyde FC that will see Thistle become a direct feeder club to the 3rd Division side. This partnership will allow Thistle to focus on attracting the best young players in East Kilbride with the opportunity to impress and make the step up to senior football. This is an exciting development for East Kilbride Thistle and offers a unique opportunity to remodel the club’s structure and focus on developing into one of the best young junior sides in the country.
Being able to celebrate the Junior Cup 30th Anniversary was incredibly important for all of us. It meant a lot to all involved that the club survived long enough to reach the anniversary and we are incredibly proud that we were able to honour the greatest moment in the club's history with a successful night.
That night was important for the current club as well, however. It was the first step on the path to the future we are aiming for. East Kilbride deserves better than what it has had. It deserves better than where we are right now. But we have no intention of staying here and plan to build towards success starting now. Next season will not be easy, but our aim is gain promotion immediately. We want to build a club that our fans want to see and develop into an exciting junior side. Our aim is always to achieve the best we possibly can achieve.
Importantly, we want to have fans on the sidelines cheering on the lads in black and white jerseys. We want to have the people of East Kilbride beside us, proud of the team we are building. We are going to take this club forward, become everything we know we can be. We want to become the team East Kilbride needs and deserves.
Think of this as the beginning of East Kilbride Thistle's future. We are looking forward to what the years ahead will bring and we want to you to be there beside us every step of the way.