Let me begin by saying thank you for your loyal support – it really does make a huge difference and everyone at the Club is most grateful.
ICT 25th anniversary celebrations: Preparations have begun for the celebration of our 25th anniversary, which gives us all a great opportunity to generate new interest in the Club within the community and provide loyal fans with many exciting events to look forward to.
Liam Dalgarno, a Director of the Club and a prominent businessman in the city, is chairing the Committee that includes three personalities who have been with the Club since our formation in 1994 – namely, Charlie Christie, a former player, manager and now Head of Youth Development Jim Falconer, Club Secretary, and Dave Milroy, Club Ambassador. Our CEO Yvonne Crook and Director Gordon Fyfe are also supporting this Committee.
We also have a representative of ICT Supporters Trust on the Committee and are engaged with other supporter groups, who are eager to make this a year to remember.
There are some exciting opportunities for existing and new sponsors to back the Club which is a big player in the local economy. We have a proud history and a very bright future ahead.
We have just confirmed that our first major event will be a Grand Ball at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness on Saturday 2 March, 2019. It was on 24 February, 1994, that the new Board of Directors of ICT held their first meeting at Balnain House, Inverness.
Some of the other high level ideas being suggested for the year of celebration are:-
- Organising a keynote match against prominent opposition
- Creating a museum within the stadium, featuring a hall of fame and memorabilia
- Producing a photo-led book on the Club’s history called Milestones and Memories;
- Staging a Hall of Fame Night
- Creating new merchandise including, a special commemorative strip
The Club played pre-season friendlies against St Mirren and Bolton Wanderers before our first competitive game was played on 9 August 1994 – a 2-0 win over East Stirlingshire at Firs Park in a Coca Cola Cup Round 1 tie. The Club’s first Scottish League Division 3 match followed on 13 August – a 5-2 home win over Arbroath.
Good news: I am delighted that our Manager John Robertson has extended his stay with us for one more year - until the summer of 2021. The Club has not lost a game in the Championship since winning the Irn Bru Cup in March with an unbeaten run extending to 19 games. I’m sure you’ll agree John is doing a great job for the club. He is an excellent spokesman and ambassador for the Club, enjoying a frequent and engaging rapport with our supporters. We value John’s leadership and wish him and the team the very best.
Landmarks for Carl, Aaron and Liam: I was delighted to recently present commemorative quaichs to three of our players for reaching important landmarks in their playing careers. Captain Carl Tremarco played his 150th game against Queen of the South and it was a good chance to mark the 200th appearance of Vice-Captain, Aaron Doran, and the 150th appearance of Liam Polworth. Well done lads.
North of Scotland FA Cup Final: Our young players had scored 26 goals without loss in reaching Sunday’s final against Ross County but fell at the final hurdle 3-2. Well done to coaches Barry Wilson and Ryan Esson and the team for their efforts. I have no doubt many good times lie ahead for our hugely promising crop of young talent. And we all wish Ryan a successful and prosperous Testimonial Year, which he so richly deserves.
Sad passing of Alan Hercher: The club’s first home league match against Arbroath in August 1994, saw our skipper Alan Hercher, score a quick-fire hat-trick before half time to put us in the driving seat. Alan passed away in August – just one day before his 53rdbirthday. He was hugely respected and popular man, who was a credit to his family. In his three seasons with ICT, Alan played 79 times, scoring 23 goals. He won a League Division 3 winners’ medal in 1996/7 and was awarded a testimonial against St Johnstone on 28 July 1997. He later played for Clachnacuddin and Brora Rangers.
Alex Main: We also said farewell to Alex Main, the most successful manager in the history of Caledonian FC, winning 15 trophies during two spells at the Club between 1976 and 1983, including 4 Highland League titles. Alex was 86.
MacMillan Fund-Raiser: Well done to our staff for raising £300 from a coffee morning at the stadium to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Relief. A great effort.
Stadium update: Peter McCallum, who looked after security and IT at the stadium, has retired after many years of loyal service to the club. We wish Peter well in his retirement. Andy Johnstone, a former Highland firefighter, has taken over as Stadium Manager. Andy also videos our games, with the highlights featuring on Caley Jags TV. The team also use his recordings for post-match analysis.
We have significantly upgraded the Press and Journal Suite on the first floor and the Reception area and intend to continue our investment to improve the match day experience of our fans.
In his new role, Andy has been carrying out essential maintenance on the stadium.
These include: -
- Repairs to the West Stand toilet and server area, which suffered significant water damage due to frost bursts;
- Repairs to the roof of the Main Stand, which has stopped the water ingress into both stairwells, the third floor corridor and second floor toilets
- Repairs to the Sports Bar, which suffered from flooding from leaking pipes;
An assessment by structural engineers of the North and South Stands has resulted in the replacement of 96 boards and 27 steps and in the Main Stand severely corroded PA speakers have been cut down and advertising boards re-secured.
Significant electrical refurbishment work has been undertaken to make safe electrical installations in the main building ground floor and the north concourse
Volunteers: There are opportunities at the club for volunteering. If you feel you can offer us assistance on match-days, especially in the areas of Turnstile Operations, Hospitality, Executive Box Catering and Club Assistance Ambassadors, please in the first instance contact Andy Johnstone for an introductory conversation. There will be further opportunities once ICT25 celebrations get into full swing.
Liaison with supporters: We recognise the importance of effective liaison with our supporters and this will be the focus of increased attention in the months ahead. Each SPFL club is required to have a Supporters’ Liaison Officer and at ICT this, initially, will be shared by our senior staff, with Stadium Manager, Andy Johnstone, taking a co-ordinating role. We will ensure that communications from supporters and feedback are dealt with by the correct department and that the necessary actions are delivered. A Supporters’ Liaison Officer email is now active - firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of our engagement with supporters, we are organising an open night focusing on supporter liaison in the Caley Social Club between 7 – 9 pm on Thursday 25 October. This meeting will be chaired by Director, Gordon Fyfe, who initially will be the Board’s link with supporters.
We welcome the involvement of ICT Supporters Trust on our ICT25 Committee and we hope this celebration of our first 25 years is a chance to establish a positive and constructive working relationship. On ICT25, it has been encouraging to engage with supporters who organise buses for away games and those supporters living in the south of Scotland who cheer us on when we are in the south. Working together will make such a difference to the Club. We are working very hard and I hope you feel we genuinely do value our supporters and communicate effectively with you. Since becoming a Director, and then in my role as Chairman, the Board has issued 35 statements covering a range of Club activities. Additionally, I have participated in numerous TV and newspaper interviews and met with various Supporters’ Groups on multiple occasions. Moreover, I have had face to face meetings with more than 40 individual supporters and in some cases, groups of people, who have identified gaps or shortfalls in our operations, and/or wish to share their views on potential opportunities for improvement. We have had interactive sessions with season ticket holders and shareholders, with more such Q and A meetings planned for the future. As many of you know, the Club is active on social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and Instagram. We are also in the process of upgrading our web site. We recently attracted funding to appoint a graduate communications officer and Liam Morrison is taking the lead in editing our social media platforms, including the digital match day programme. Our Manager is a most able communicator, keeping fans up to speed with his frank and insightful pre and post-match interviews. We post highlights of all our games on Caley Jags TV.
Of course, we can always do better. Please let me know if there is anything more you think we should be doing to liaise or communicate with you more effectively. As always, if you have any feedback on Club activities or suggestions on how we can improve, please email them to me at email@example.com - I’d be pleased to hear from you. What’s important is that as steadfast supporters, we unite behind our manager and the footballers and demonstrate our collective allegiance and patronage for this great Club.