Published: 10/04/2014 13:30 - Updated: 10/04/2014 14:25

Buckie Thistle row over function hall

THE former president of Buckie Thistle has hit back at criticism by the current club board over the future of the Victora Park Function Hall.

Former Buckie Thistle president Mark Duncan.
Former Buckie Thistle president Mark Duncan.

Mark Duncan has accused the club of "scandalous" behaviour in claiming he has rejected a proposal for ‘The Way Ahead’.

The board has proposed a new arrangement to maximise profit for the function hall and the football club.

In a statement on the official club website, they say: "Future success and prosperity will depend on uniting all parties involved with the club, the supporters, the Buckie Thistle FC committee and the function hall."

The board added: "By working together we have a win, win, win scenario; the fans have wonderful facilities, the function hall will be more prosperous and the ultimate objective, Buckie Thistle FC will be more successful and self sufficient."

However, the club says that peace deal has been snubbed by brothers Mark and Murray Duncan, who own the function hall.

They built the function hall 10 years ago after becoming directors of the club and went on to oversee back to back Highland League titles for the Jags.

They left the club two years ago amid claims of a campaign to oust them.

Mark Duncan insists the club is trying to force them to sell the function hall through a "vindictive witch hunt".

He said: "We have run the function hall successfully for 10 years and we have given every penny of profit to Buckie Thistle."

He said that added up to £100,000 over an eight year period prior to their departure from the club’s board.

"If anybody came up with a sensible and realistic offer for the function hall we would consider selling but nobody has ever done that."

He claimed average gates at matches have fallen in the last couple of years and it is up to the current board of the football club to attract more people through the turnstiles, which will boost useage and profits at the function hall.

"The board of Buckie Thistle Football Club speak a good game but in reality have delivered very little. They promised a new stand but where is it?

"They want to run a football club but haven’t proved they can run a bath. I was at the AGM and the drinks bill for the boardroom was £9,000 which is a ridiculous amount of money."

He was angered by the club’s website statement and insists it has destroyed any trust he had left in the board.

The club statement said that for a considerable time there have been issues between the management committee of Buckie Thistle FC and the Victoria Park Function Hall resulting in several individuals being banned from entry and, as a result, the reduced usage of the hall by the players and fans alike.

It proposed a jont membership of Buckie Thistle FC and the function hall, overseen by a sub-committee from both parties.

"There is little doubt that when we get everyone pulling together we have the expertise and the infrastructure at Victoria Park to be the finest facility in the Highland Football League."

The club is planning a new hospitality suite at the ground which it says will also benefit the function hall.

"It has to be realised that events in the past cannot be changed but need to be confined to history." the statement adds.

"There is little doubt that all parties involved have a common objective, the future prosperity of Buckie Thistle Football Club."

•This is the full statement released by Buckie Thistle on their website:

When the Victoria Park Function Hall was built some 10 years ago Buckie Thistle F.C. and fans understood the purpose was to generate funds towards the club and assisting with ongoing running costs of Buckie Thistle and provide a members club where supporters could join and enjoy the facilities.

For some considerable time there have been issues between the Management Committee of Buckie Thistle F.C. and the Victoria Park Function Hall resulting in several individuals being banned from entry and, as a result, this reduced usage of the hall by the players and fans alike.

Recently, following a meeting between the Landlords representative and representatives from Buckie Thistle F.C. and the Victoria Park Function Hall a proposal was submitted for discussion. The proposal was entitled "The Way Ahead". The objective of the proposal was to put past differences aside and move on by working together focussing on increasing visitors to the Victoria Park Function Hall, thus, generating a higher revenue stream and some well needed income for Buckie Thistle.

The content of the proposal is detailed below:

Proposed agreement between BTFC and Victoria Park Function Hall

It has to be realised that events in the past cannot be changed but need to be confined to history. There is little doubt that all parties involved have a common objective, the future prosperity of Buckie Thistle Football Club.

The Way Ahead:

Membership: Future success and prosperity will depend on uniting all parties involved with the Club, the supporters, the Buckie Thistle FC Committee and the Function Hall. We suggest we consider a joint membership of both BTFC and the Function Hall to be overseen by a sub-committee from all parties; this sub-committee would not be involved in the day to day running of the Function Hall but would deal with issues regarding memberships, suspension etc. Buckie Thistle FC will actively encourage all supporters to become "Club Members" thus actively encouraging regular use of the Function Hall facility.

The membership fees should go to BTFC on an annual basis.

Boardroom: Buckie Thistle FC to use the boardroom as required

License: The Club licence to be Available for use outwith the Function Hall(e.g. a Dinner at the Fisherman’s Hall where the current facility is too small), subject to the appropriate special licence application being approved.

Profits: A %age of the Function Hall profits should be donated to Buckie Thistle FC.

Post Match: The Function Hall to provide soup/sandwiches in the Function Hall for both teams post match. Buckie Thistle FC will advise Management and Players from both teams that after the match they should go to the Function Hall for their soup/sandwiches and meet with supporters. This will encourage fans to use the facility immediately post match and to remain into early evening.

Hospitality: Buckie Thistle will inform guests that they can meet in the Function Hall from 1.00pm (At their own expense); they will be collected at 2.00pm and taken to their hospitality. The hospitality will finish at 5.45pm and guests will be encouraged to move to the Function Hall to meet with the players and management.

Summary:

There is little doubt that when we get everyone pulling together we have the expertise and the infrastructure at Victoria Park to be the finest facility in the HFL. The new Hospitality suite will, with hard work and proper promotion and marketing, provide an excellent source of income for the Club but also additional income for the Function Hall, it being the natural venue to meet the players post hospitality.

By working together we have a win, win, win scenario; the fans have wonderful facilities, the Function Hall will be more prosperous and the ultimate objective, Buckie Thistle FC will be more successful and self sufficient.

Mark Duncan answered on behalf of the Function Hall, and we quote:

"…Having now read your clubs proposal I must say that all aspects of its content does not interest us in any way. We certainly do not see this as the way forward for the Function Hall."

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