AS FORFAR Athletic head into their final game of the season, chairman Alastair Donald has called for fans to show their support at Station Park.
This Saturday’s final home game of the 2012/13 season will see the Loons face Ayr United as the fight for the final play-off spot goes straight to the wire.
The Station Park side go into the game still in with a realistic chance of clinching the final spot in the First Division play-offs, although neighbours Arbroath are in pole position with Stenhousemuir far from out of the race.
As the Loons went in to their final game this time last year needing to win to avoid the play-offs at the other end of the table, they have had a much improved season.
They also reached the last 16 of the Scottish Cup before bowing out at Falkirk - the only part-time club in Scotland to do so.
The Loons have also played some great football and been involved in quite a few amazingly high scoring games on Station Park’s superb 3G playing surface.
In fact, across all Scottish divisions, only Elgin City fans have seen more goals scored in league fixtures at their own ground over the course of the season.The average goals per game at Forfar over the 17 home games to date an impressive 4.35.
However, the Forfar Athletic board has been slightly disappointed with home crowds, especially considering the investment they have made in playing personnel.
However, they do recognise that people have to look carefully at how they spend their cash.
Many stayaway fans give their reason as the cost of watching a game, so the directors have put that theory to the test for Saturday, at the same time hoping to give the players a boost as they strive to record a victory over the Honest Men.
And so, adults will be admitted to the vital fixture at a much reduced charge of only £5 with admission for senior citizens and under-17s at £3.
Chairman Alastair Donald said: “I am getting increasingly frustrated when I come out at 3 o’ clock to see crowds of just four or five hundred.
“It’s really disappointing considering how well the team has been playing.
“Anyone who has been watching us over the last eight weeks will have seen some fantastic games of football.
“We budgeted at the start of the season and gave the manager the most amount of money that we can afford but even then we still have the third lowest budget in the league.
“We just can’t see how we can increase that without getting more people through the turnstiles.
“We’ve done absolutely everything else we need to do, the golf days, the concerts, the sportsman’s dinner and the lottery are all successful and the hospitality is sold out, there’s nothing more we can do.
“Every square inch of the ground is sold in advertising.
“The only thing we need now is more people. Even another 100 through the gate would make a huge difference and that extra £1,000 twice a month would go straight into the manager’s budget.”
He continued: “We have sat fourth in the league for about 90 per cent of the season and with the third lowest budget in the league we really are punching above our weight.
“The scary thing is we have a very good chance of getting into the First Division. But I’m not convinced we could sustain First Division football, certainly not with crowds of 450, we just couldn’t do it.
“And yet the town wants us to keep winning games, and we are winning games, we could have 54 points by the end of the season, and yet we’re only getting crowds of four or five hundred. It’s so disappointing.
“We have already started building on the squad for next season and we’ve had to walk away from one really good deal, one fantastic player, because we simply couldn’t afford him.
“But he’s gone to one of our rivals and that’s difficult. You have to ask why they can afford to do that and we can’t. Well, they are just getting bigger crowds.”
He added: “It’s disappointing for the players and the manager. I know it’s disappointing, I know it’s heartbreaking when they’ve put on really good performances and it doesn’t add to the crowd, yet bizarrely when we have a poor performance it seems to detract from the crowd the following week.
“We need to have a bit more support.
“There are hundreds of towns in Scotland that would love to have a senior football club, but we’ve got one, and very, very good one, but we just need people to come and support us.”
Following Saturday’s outstanding 3-0 win against Stranraer the club is on top form as it heads into the Ayr United clash.
And Loons boss Dick Campbell is looking forward to Saturday’s challenge. He said: “It was an absolutely fabulous performance down at Stranraer. Even with Gavin Swankie, Steven Tulloch and Odmar Faeroe all out, the squad did their very best.
“They desereved the victory and it could have been more.
“It is great going into the last game of the season fighting for the play-offs rather than fighting to stay up so progress has definitely been made. We have had a very good season this year.
“I’m not really thinking about what everyone else is doing it is just up to us to win our game against Ayr United.
“But Arbroath and Stenhousemuir have both won their last few games so they are fighting for it.”
There are at least seven different scenarios that could unfold between 3 p.m. and 4.50 p.m. on Saturday.
Apart from Forfar’s must-win clash against Ayr United, Arbroath will face Alloa Athletic at home while Stenhousemuir will also be at home against Stranraer.
If Arbroath win they secure the fourth spot; if Arbroath draw or lose and Forfar Athletic win, Forfar Athletic secure fourth spot; if Arbroath draw and Forfar Athletic draw, Arbroath secure fourth spot; if Arbroath draw and Forfar Athletic lose, Arbroath secure fourth spot; if Arbroath and Forfar Athletic lose and Stenhousemuir win, Stenhousemuir secure fourth spot; if Arbroath lose and Forfar Athletic draw and Stenhousemuir win, Stenhousemuir secure fourth spot and if all three teams lose or draw, Arbroath secure fourth spot.