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Forres Mechanics players and staff loyal through financial cutbacks

By Jonathan Clark

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PLAYERS and staff at Forres Mechanics have shown “great loyalty” to the club through a period of financial restructuring.

The vast majority of Mechanics’ first-team squad and coaches accepted new contracts in December, with the club’s aim being to reduce the wage bill and stabilise finances.

The management team and 14 players have signed up for next season, with the hope two more will soon join up.

Mosset Park, home of Forres Mechanics. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Mosset Park, home of Forres Mechanics. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

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After agreeing his own terms, Forres manager Charlie Rowley was tasked with sorting deals with the players.

He said: “This the most sensible approach. The club had to stabilise financially and the vast majority of players have bought into that.

“It is testament to the players and staff that they have signed up, but I’m not surprised. We have tried to create an environment that encourages players to stay long term and for the vast majority that is the case.

“The amount of years service the current crop of players have given is testament to their great loyalty. Their main concern was remaining competitive and not their wages.”

Rowley says the Cans will be hoping to compete in the upper echelons of the Highland League going forward, but the transfer policy at Mosset Park will be changing.

He added: “The financial power of the teams at the top makes it difficult, but there is no reason we can’t be competitive next season.

“We won’t just be signing young players because they fall into the right age bracket, even the inexperienced players have got to be the right quality and there will be a good mix.

“We have spoken to more experienced players as well, but they have to have the correct mindset and not just be looking for a pay day. We won’t be able to offer them that.”

The issue was raised at an open question and answer session with supporters at the ground last Tuesday, as Sandy Dow, who is responsible for finances, explained.

He said: “After our last AGM, we realised we had to stabilise the club and ensure we are living within our means.

"We are making a lot of progress and Charlie (Rowley) and Craig (Ewen, assistant) have done a lot of work with the players to get them signed up and get a squad together.

“We should applaud the loyalty and support the players and management team have given to the club.”

On top of the 14 players signed up, there is hope Joe Gauld, who is considering university, and Ryan Farquhar, after returning from injury, will sign new contracts.

Scott Miller and Calum Howarth are set to leave the club, with goalkeeper Euan Storrier’s future unclear. Rowley is hoping to work with a squad of between 18 and 20 players next campaign – meaning there could be a few arriving in summer.

It was also announced at the EGM that Forres have paid off an overdraft and have made in-roads into paying off a bank loan.

A further update will be given at the club's next AGM, which is due to take place late this year.

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