Feet firmly on the ground

Pic credit Christopher Coutts.
Pic credit Christopher Coutts.

Nobody at Forfar Athletic is getting carried away, despite the continued good atmosphere permeating around Station Park.

That was the message from Chairman Alastair Donald this week after he moved to quell some extravagant perceptions about the Loons.

From the outside the club appears to be thriving - both on and off the park - but Mr Donald is eager to stress that, while Forfar are neither rolling in cash or on the brink of administration, they are in a decent, content position.

He said: “There have been some reports that we’re well off, that we’re flourishing. The truth is, we’re not. We’re doing okay, but going out of the cups was a financial disaster for us.

“We never budget for the cups, but we’ve been lucky the last few years in these competitions, so it is a noted difference.

“We’re one of the only teams in this division not to expand our playing budget considerably. Our fans can rightly ask ‘Hang on a minute, we had the Rangers and Dunfermline games as well as Brechin and Stranraer, where’s the money?’ Well the answer is - it’s in the hospitality suite.”

That hospitality suite is one of the board’s defining moments, and Mr Donald was keen to thank his fellow directors for their bravery in pulling the project off.

The suite was built over the summer, with funding coming from the club itself and external investors, and is not like anything you’ll find at clubs of a similar size.

It is the latest in a string of big-money investments into the ground under Mr Donald’s tenure, following the installation of the plastic pitch and the floodlights in successive seasons.

The suite, that houses a public bar and a number of function rooms, is open to the public for a variety of functions - birthday parties, tea parties, work meetings - with the football theme low key and tasteful.

Mr Donald continued: “Look, the bottom line is this. We’re not getting carried away, on the park or off it.”

The prospect of promotion is a very real one for Dick Campbell and his players - The Loons are second in League One and are right on Morton’s tails.

But there is no hubris shown by Mr Donald or anyone else at the club.

The atmosphere is one of football people, whether in suits or strips, just enjoying themselves.

There’s a special feeling around Forfar Athletic, one of optimism, one of passion, but it’s grounded.

And Mr Donald and Mr Campbell wouldn’t have it any other way.