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Academy count the cost of cancelled home games


By Alan Hendry

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Wick midfielder Jack Halliday tries to power his way past the Forres defence during the Scorries' 2-0 loss to the Can-Cans on January 18. It turned out to be Academy's last home game of the season. Picture: Mel Roger
Wick midfielder Jack Halliday tries to power his way past the Forres defence during the Scorries' 2-0 loss to the Can-Cans on January 18. It turned out to be Academy's last home game of the season. Picture: Mel Roger

Wick Academy will take a financial hit of up to £10,000 following last month's decision to cut short the Highland League season, club chairman Pat Miller has said.

The estimated sum would have come from gate money and sponsorship from the six home games the Scorries still had to play when the league was brought to a halt on March 21.

All football in Scotland had been suspended since March 13 due to the coronavirus threat.

Academy's last outing of 2019/20 was the 4-1 derby defeat at Brora on March 7. After that game, the Harmsworth Park side had played all but one of their away fixtures.

"We were delighted that we had six home games and one away game left but the way things have panned out we've lost the best part of 10 grand from those home games," Miller said this week.

"The other hard part to take is that we've paid out 10 or 12 grand on bus trips that other clubs haven't had to make – we've played all our furthest fixtures."

We're lucky in the fact that we have a reserve, but that is money that we could have put to use.

In the early autumn Academy had a run of seven matches in all competitions of which six involved away trips. The natural assumption was that this would be balanced out by the end of the campaign.

"You couldn't get more unbalanced," Miller said ruefully. "Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong.

"We had those six or seven weeks earlier in the season where we had no income.

"We're lucky in the fact that we have a reserve, but that is money that we could have put to use.

"We spent the best part of £3000 last summer doing what we could to get the park up to scratch and we certainly had plans to do something similar this year. That could be knocked on the head.

"The frustrating thing is that we're no closer to knowing when we will start up again.

"A knock-on part of that is that we've got season ticket holders who paid their money up front for this current season and they haven't got their games. I've spoken to a couple of our committee and there's a fair chance that there will be some sort of embargo for the season ticket holders covering the first six games of next season.

"At the end of the day they pay their money in good faith."

Academy still had home games outstanding against Nairn County, Rothes, Inverurie Locos, Strathspey Thistle, Huntly and Keith, as well as an away match against Strathspey. The Scorries were 10th in the table.

Their last home game had been a 2-0 defeat to Forres Mechanics on January 18. That was followed by a 2-0 away victory over Lossiemouth, then a series of four home postponements in February before the Dudgeon Park trip.

At a meeting of clubs it was agreed to bring an end to the season and to declare Brora as champions, as they held such a commanding lead at the top of the table.

Miller admitted at the time that ending the season early was "a no-brainer", adding: "We just have to ride the storm and try to get back to normality once this is over."

It was a stop-start season for Academy which saw a parting of the ways with team boss Tom McKenna, who was replaced by the co-manager duo Gary Manson and Stewart Ross in February. Highlights of the campaign for the Scorries included victories at Inverurie and Formartine among a very creditable tally of six away wins.


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