I hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and well as we continue to face the most challenging of times.
2020 has undoubtedly been dominated by the serious nature and impact of the Covid pandemic. As a club we remain fully committed to follow the football authorities’ “Return to Play” protocols. The vaccine arrival gives real hope to us all that there is light at the end of the tunnel and we’ll hopefully be back soon to cheer on the team!
On the field, our Head Coach Ray McKinnon has assembled a strong squad. With 6 victories and 2 draws in our first 8 fixtures we sit proudly at the top of the table and I know the squad is determined to maintain these high standards and build on this positive start. No easy task and we’ll have to continue at the top of our game to keep ahead of the chasing pack!
Our excellent start has clearly contributed to sales of our new home and away playing kits. I’m told we’ve never seen anything like it! The kit, our first under a new contract with Admiral, and again featuring the world famous “IRN-BRU” logo, has been a massive hit. Operated by our Supporters’ Association online, almost 1,000 orders have been received since September. I would like to pass on my thanks to the volunteers and office staff who have been involved in what has seemed like a major fulfilment operation!
There are many other activities going on at the club with special mention to our women’s team. Having gained promotion last season, our women are competing well in their first season in the Scottish Women’s Premier League 2. I know they are confident they can build on the good start they have made.
Elsewhere, it has been an exceptionally difficult year for our academy programme. From complete shutdown to adapting to changing regulations, the club remains fully focused on developing young players through our academy structure. This is evidenced by Jacques Heraghty, Max Gillies and Calum Biggar being included in the first team squad this season. We have also participated in a Football Modern Apprenticeship Scheme underlining the club’s determination to provide our youth academy a pathway to professional football at Queen’s Park.
Another key focus for the club is of course, the redevelopment of Lesser Hampden. Like most aspects of life this year, a building programme in the middle of a pandemic creates huge challenges and ongoing issues. The time and effort afforded to such a project is immense and I must single out Christine Wright for her hard work and commitment to ensuring the plan remains on track! Most of the work to date has been preparatory, however in the coming weeks progress is expected and an emerging stadium will become visible over the southside skyline – exciting times!
As we approach 2021, Covid-19 protocols continue to restrict attendance at our fixtures. I am all too aware this is our final year at Hampden and I know how passionate we all are about this. I am for ever hopeful conditions will improve soon to allow a safe return for spectators. In the meantime, I hope our members, season ticket holders and supporters all around the country continue to tune in to our excellent live stream offering. It has been a steep learning curve for our media team to successfully broadcast our games from Hampden, a challenge they have risen to superbly.
As we leave 2020 behind, a key focus for 2021 is how best to establish a new vibrant community driven operating structure. The great progress we have made on the field must now be matched off the field. As a club, we are determined to utilise the fantastic facilities and opportunities we have in the Southside of Glasgow to build a sustainable and thriving club. I hope to be in a position early in the new year to update you further in this respect.
Finally, I would like to wish all Queen’s Park supporters and their loved ones a Happy Christmas and a peaceful, safe, and healthy New Year. And… I very much look forward to welcoming you back to Hampden in the not too distant future!