Paisley Pirates held their first ever Fans Forum on Wednesday in the 5 on 5 Club, attended by a significant number of supporters, at which time fans had the opportunity to hear of the club’s plans for the new season and beyond, and were given the opportunity to actively participate in the club’s long term future.
Coach Ian Turley advised that while training had re-commenced for the new season, he was still looking to fill several positions due to the retirement of several players, and he was hopeful of doing so prior to the club’s first home match at Braehead Arena on Sunday 11 September, when they would take on local rivals Kilmarnock Storm. With the end of the Autumn Cup, the Scottish Cup, on a proposal made by the Paisley Pirates, would now be played in each round on a 2 legged, home and away, basis, the cup holders having been drawn against Solway Sharks in the first round, looking to defend the trophy they had won by beating Edinburgh Capitals 9-0 in April
The club had faced a number of challenges over the summer period, not the least of these being incorporating additional ice rental and security charges being introduced into the financial equation, equivalent to a 30% rise overall in the cost of hiring ice at Braehead Arena. While in the context of the club continuing for the forthcoming season, it had been felt that the entry of the club to the various competitions was not under threat, in the long term there was a need to put in place additional measures to increase the flow of income into the club and thus ensure its continuance over the foreseeable future. A small increase in admission charges had thus been reluctantly put in place for season 2016/17, but given other impacting factors, such as a reduction in the level of council grant funding secured, there was a longer term need to reduce the difference, in comparative terms, between income accruing to the club and expenditure going out.
The view was therefore expressed that supporters had the opportunity to put in place various income-generating events such as social night and smaller fundraising ventures, all which sought to bring in smaller, but regular, injections of income over the course of a season, which met with the approval of those present, and the need to support various forthcoming occasions aimed at raising money was stressed, with a view to such activities becoming a regular part of the Pirates’ season in the future.
Turley expressed the view that supporters could greatly enhance the longer term future of the club by considering means of enticing more spectators to home games, by bringing a friend, and/or encouraging workmates and the like to attend games, on the basis that new spectators attending fixtures and enjoying the form of entertainment provided would be persuaded to return and support their local team, in addition to supporting the various in house income generating schemes suggested over the course of the night, and all present agreed to take the matters discussed forward in a manner suitable to their circumstances, emphasis again being given, in the short term, to supporting participants in the Paisley 10k/3k Race on 21 August, to raise money, via the JustGiving page, for the club, and the Supporters Club Social Night on 26 August in the 5 on 5 Club when entry would be for £4 on the door.