Part 54 – S1 C1 P53 – South Challenge Cup Final – Gala Fairydean Rovers (N) 15th May 2019 15:00

The Almondvale Stadium, Livingston, Hosting the South Challenge Cup Final. Known as the Tony Macaroni Arena for sponsorship purposes, or more tongue-in-cheek the “Spaghettihad’

We journey today just under 17 miles to the Tony Macaroni Stadium in Livingston to face Gala Fairydean Rovers, in an attempt to retain the South Challenge Cup.

This is our last game of the season, and (if we are being honest) almost definitely the last game for Civil Service for our loanees Big Kev Waugh, Josh Donaldson, Tom Kelly & Chris Barras. I’ve spoken to all the clubs involved and they want them playing for teams of a higher stature than Civil Service………This may also be my last game in charge. I think I’m maybe 70/30 wanting to stay at this point and have an opportunity to rebuild but lets see.

The South Challenge Cup

IRL the 2018/19 South Challenge Cup was won by East Kilbride, who beat Bonnyrigg Rose (Who we beat in game in the Semi) 2-1, but we face gala Fairydean today who have won 4 of the last 5 games (Playing 4-5-1) so we will be looking to take a calm Control style to the game and try and pick that lock. I think I’ll have Big Kev man mark their Striker (Josh Morris or Rhys Craigie).

Balfour is back in as a Mezzala, Barras back on the left wing and Faye back on the right with Andy Mair as the Attacking Wing back on the left. Neil McVitie steps back as the BWM(S) DM.

First Half Comprehensive Highlights

HT Civil Service 0 Gala Fairydean 1 (Baxter 43)

A goodish start, James Hainey missing another one-on-one unfortunately (His scoring form has dropped off in the important matches) and we played it around nicely. McConnell had 3 bites of a cheery from a Cairney FK that was saved but couldn’t put the ball away either. And then in the 43rd minute we didn’t clear the ball and Baxter was there to tap in for Gala – 1-0 down. What to do, what to do………..

Second Half Comprehensive Highlights

FT Civil Service 0 Gala Fairydean 2 (Baxter 43,81) Att 1,910 (1,510 Gala)

What a complete disappointment. We had chances but have been pretty toothless plus come up against 2 good goalkeepers in the last 3 games. Gala scored their 2nd in the 81st minute as we were pushing for the equaliser – a break after Cairney was dispossessed dicking around with the ball led to a cross that Baxter volleyed home.

What a horrible end to a season. Time to go back to the drawing board. Anyway, onto the end of season stuff.

I’m surprised Mark McConnell got the nod for the Fans Player from Big Kev but it was close. Andrew Mackay as signing of the season is pretty solid, as is Kev Waugh as Young Player. Churchill’s goal of the season was a bog standard Free Kick – That needs fixing, it rarely gets that right.

Pre-Season starts on 1st July. I will report back then for all that good stuff.

A initial wage budget of £1.5k/wk has been set, up £100 on this year. However we are currently £37k in the Red. I need to calculate what I can spend weekly for breakeven.

In the 2018/19 season we spent £53,685 on Players and £35,585 on Staff – £1032.40/wk & £684.33/wk respectively. Our Balance for 2018/19 was £39,521. If we assume a gate receipt taking going up by 10% (About 8 extra people per game) that will get us an extra £1,103 only, meaning we have a hole of £38,418, or £738.81/wk, or 71.5% of our player wage bill.

As such we can’t break even without a good cup run, some games on TV (Our last 3 games of the season were, netting us just under £6k) or a massive rise in attendance. As such I think we need to voluntarily cap our player wages at £1000/wk to slow the free-fall, hopefully meaning we are only £55k-or-so in the red by the end of 19/20.

We have some end of season stats to look at:

Biggest Attribute change over the season – 4 (Chris Barras, Off The Ball, 4 to 8)

Biggest Attribute Fall – 3 (Murray McCulloch, Agility, 8 to 5)

Attribute Increases overall 113 v falls 77

End of Season top 3’s above – Kev Waugh, Josh Donaldson & Chris Barras will be big losses. I’ll be looking to Mark McConnell to lead the line and Paul Cairney to marshal the midfield.

I think we need a GK, DC, DR, AMR & STC for the 1st team (Hainey just won’t cut it unfortunately). If there are other really good players available I will be looking at formations as well.

Lastly I’ve had a look at jobs in and around and 1 comes up that might be a good next step. Stirling Albion in League 2. My hat is in the ring

Regional v Local reputation (Civil Service), Okay finances v Insecure plus commutable (35 miles, 1 hour each way) from where I live currently so relocation would not be an issue. Who will I be managing next time? See you then.

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