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Manson praises Wick fans after high-scoring Donate a Ticket cup tie

By Alan Hendry

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Wick Academy's Gary Manson says money raised through the Donate a Ticket scheme will go a long way towards helping the club. Picture: Mel Roger
Wick Academy's Gary Manson says money raised through the Donate a Ticket scheme will go a long way towards helping the club. Picture: Mel Roger

Co-manager Gary Manson has praised the loyal fans who ensured that Wick Academy were one of the best-supported sides in the latest fundraising initiative by the Donate a Ticket online platform.

Thirty-two clubs from around the British Isles took part in the first round of the Cross-Country Cup and were drawn together in the form of a virtual knockout tournament, with each club having 72 hours to achieve as many £5 ticket donations as possible.

The Scorries were one of only three teams to surpass 200 sales but were edged out by their opponents, Glasgow-based junior outfit St Roch’s. The result was 274-206 to St Roch’s in what proved to be the highest-scoring tie of the round.

"I think it was just unfortunate we got drawn against St Roch’s," Manson said. "I looked them up and they have a decent following.

“Some teams will go through maybe two or three rounds in this cup and not raise the amount of money that we raised in that one round. To sell over 200 tickets, it’s an incredible turnout. If it was 200 tickets sold, that’s £1000."

Academy are one of many lower league clubs that have signed up with Donate a Ticket, giving fans an opportunity to donate the value of a match ticket – or a smaller or larger sum – directly to their chosen club at a time when they are not bringing in any gate money. At present the Scorries are top of the Highland League rankings, with £3315 raised from donations.

“It’ll go a long way to helping the club," Manson said.

“As I said before, when we first entered Donate a Ticket, it’s well known throughout the Highland League that the Wick supporters are one of the best sets of fans and they turn out in great numbers when things are going well on the pitch, so this just goes to show that they will get behind the team when required – and now, unfortunately, is one of those times when we need the fans.

“That was just a cup to generate bit of interest and a bit of competition between the clubs, but the Donate a Ticket scheme rolls on until football comes back.

“The logic behind it is that on a Saturday, obviously you’re not going to the football at the moment, so if you were going to spend £8 going to a Wick game then you might feel you still want to support the club so you’ll go on the Donate a Ticket site and pay your £8 that way instead.”

Meanwhile, Manson and fellow co-manager Stewart Ross are no clearer as to when football will resume for Highland League clubs. But he says the Wick players are "champing at the bit" for a return to competitive action.

“There have been no indicative dates given whatsoever so far by the Highland League," Manson said. "They’re just being led by the Scottish Government and the SPFL [Scottish Professional Football League] to see what they do first, and then the Highland League will act on the back of that.”

He understands that various scenarios have been mapped out based on the number of fixtures that could reasonably be accommodated depending on the eventual restart date.

“I think what they’ve done is sat down and worked out, 'If we can kick off in October we can play this amount of games, if we kick off in December we can play this amount,' and they’ve modelled every scenario so hopefully they’re not caught cold if they are given the green light at a certain stage.

“I don’t know what they’ll do – nobody knows what they’ll do. But hopefully we will get some football this season.

“I’m quite confident that even if we start in January or December we will have some kind of 2020/21 season, whether it’s a shortened league campaign or whether it’s two cup competitions or something. Hopefully we will have some sort of football.”

“I’d be all in favour of playing any sort of league campaign – whether we have to travel to one more away game than we have home games, it wouldn’t really bother me at all, as long as we got some kind of season to look forward to. It’s just dragging on a bit too long for my liking.

“The players are all champing at the bit to get going again. They’re raring to get back to training now – it has just been too long.”

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