As the rich get richer in the higher echelons of football, the struggle for survival is all too prevalent up in Scotland with Queen of the South the latest to hit hard times.
It was one of the harshest winters on record on top of what is already a struggling economy, and with countless postponements amounting to lost revenue, the future of another of Scotland’s football clubs is now in doubt.
Queen of the South have played just three times since November 13th, with a total of nine games being cancelled due to the elements. With home attendances averaging less than two thousand, the Dumfries-based side rely heavily on gate receipts to stay afloat.
Speaking in the Dumfries and Galloway Standard, chairman David Rae issued a passionate call to arms.
“November 13th was our last home league game so we have not had the cash flow that comes from playing matches at Palmerston,” he says.
“We are needing revenue because we are finding it hard just now to pay bills and people are having to wait.
“We have to be focused on the next three months until the season ends as we have 12 home league games which we hope can replenish the coffers of Queen of the South Football Club.”
The Market Square Barflies Supporters Club donated £6,000 to the cause recently, and there are now Twitter and Facebook accounts set up to spread the word in the hope of generating much needed cash.
“The donation from the Barflies has been greatly appreciated by this club and the response of the fans in organising events to support the club’s finances has been incredible,” said Rae.
Queen of the South, who reached the final of the Scottish Cup in 2008, reported a half million pound profit following their trip to Hamden Park, however just a year later official account details revealed a loss of around £450,000.
Manager Kenny Branagan has dismissed claims that the players have not been paid and that the club are only headed in one direction.
“The players have rallied round and are just trying to do the best they can on the pitch,” he said.
“The football side of things has not really been affected. They are getting their wages as well so that’s not an issue for them.”
The ultimate aim of Queen of the South at this stage is to avoid going the way of fellow First Division side Dundee who were given a 25 point deduction by the Scottish Football Association having gone into administration for the second time in November.
They had previously been in administration back in 2003, finally forcing their way out by selling their stadium and restructuring the club and be left debt free. An unpaid tax bill of £365,000 was the cause this time round, with the club inly able to offer £100,000 to towards it.
Despite being hit so hard on the table, The Dee sit just four points from guaranteed safety would be second were it not for the punishment. Queen of the South lie fourth.
Late last year the Dark Blues Business Trust was established by former owner Peter Marr and his brother Jimmy to help pull Dundee out of its hole. The aim of the trust, which is backed by the club’s administrator, is to raise a six figure sum to pump back into the club.
With a backlog of fixtures lined up in the final months of the season, survival financially is certainly achievable for Queen of the South long term. It’s the short term though that remains the problem.
The Save Our South group can be contacted via Twitter.