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Co-manager Manson hopes Wick fans will get behind ticket money campaign


By Alan Hendry

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Gordon MacNab seals a 2-1 win for Wick Academy in a Highland League game against Strathspey Thistle in March 2019. The Scorries had yet to meet the Strathy Jags either home or away in 2019/20 when the season was brought to a close. Picture: Mel Roger
Gordon MacNab seals a 2-1 win for Wick Academy in a Highland League game against Strathspey Thistle in March 2019. The Scorries had yet to meet the Strathy Jags either home or away in 2019/20 when the season was brought to a close. Picture: Mel Roger

Wick Academy co-manager Gary Manson is hoping supporters will get behind an online effort to bring some money into the club – by purchasing virtual tickets for games that had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Scorries are one of many lower league clubs across Scotland that have teamed up with the Donate a Ticket campaign to give fans an opportunity to donate the value of a match ticket – or a smaller or larger sum – directly to their chosen team.

Manson says he appreciates that there are more important issues than football amid the Covid-19 pandemic but points out that any donations will help the club at a time when its normal methods of generating income have come to a halt.

All football in Scotland was suspended on March 13. Academy still had seven of their 2019/20 Highland League fixtures left to play, and as six of those would have been at home it added up to a substantial loss in terms of gate receipts and sponsorship money.

Manson became aware of the Donate a Ticket platform through social media and felt it would be beneficial for Academy to be part of it. Within a day, executive committee member John Briskham had set it up on the club website.

“I know it’s not a great time to be asking people for money with everything that’s going on – there are lots more causes that deserve money at the present moment in terms of charities and the NHS,” Manson said.

“I just thought it was worth a try. It’s not as if we’re asking for hundreds and thousands of pounds – it’s just any spare change that people might have that they would have spent going to a football match anyway.

“If a ticket costs £8 then you can donate £8, but you can donate anything you want. There’s an option at the bottom that you could give £1 or you could give £20 – it’s completely up to people themselves. If they want to give just two or three pounds then we’re more than happy.

“And it’s an ongoing thing. If Saturday comes and they think, ‘Oh well, I would have been going today anyway, so I’ll nip onto the website and I’ll donate a fiver or something,’ it will be very much appreciated.”

Rothes versus Wick Academy at Mackessack Park in October 2019, with Jack Halliday making a clearance. The return fixture with the Speysiders was one of six Wick home games that had to be scrapped when the season ended prematurely. Picture: Mel Roger
Rothes versus Wick Academy at Mackessack Park in October 2019, with Jack Halliday making a clearance. The return fixture with the Speysiders was one of six Wick home games that had to be scrapped when the season ended prematurely. Picture: Mel Roger

The Scorries had home games to play against Nairn County, Rothes, Inverurie Locos, Huntly, Strathspey Thistle and Keith to round off their 2019/20 campaign, as well as an away match against Strathspey.

“It’s just how fate would have it, that we had six home games left – that’s a lot of money the club is losing out on,” Manson said. “The club has had to suspend the Scorrie Scoop and Premier Club draws, so there’s next to no money coming into the club at the moment."

The Highland League was officially declared over on March 21 when leaders Brora Rangers were crowned as champions. The Scorries were 10th in the table at that point, but Manson – who was appointed along with fellow co-manager Stewart Ross in February – is sure the team would have gone up a few places had they been able to complete the fixture list.

“Normally the pitch is starting to get a little bit better at that stage of the year so you can play better football on it, and we do tend to finish strongly,” Manson said. “So we would have been hoping to get near enough maximum points out of those six home games and we would have climbed the table as well, so it’s really unfortunate.”

Brora, Huntly and Strathspey Thistle are the other Highland League clubs taking part in the Donate a Ticket campaign so far. As of today, Academy have raised over £400 through it.

Last month, Academy chairman Pat Miller estimated that the club would take a financial hit of up to £10,000 as a result of the six cancelled home games.

The team’s last outing of 2019/20 was the 4-1 derby defeat at Brora on March 7, which was the first game in charge for Manson and Ross.

The Donate a Ticket platform can be found on the home page of the Academy website, www.wick-academy.co.uk


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