Published: 10/04/2014 14:00 - Updated: 10/04/2014 13:25

Buckie Thistle seek to clarify function hall position

BUCKIE Thistle has responded to criticism by former President Mark Duncan.

In a further statement, the club has clarified its thinking over the Victoria Park Function Hall, which is owned by Murray Duncan and his brother Murray, both former directors of the club.

Murray (left) and Mark Duncan outside the function hall when it opened.
Murray (left) and Mark Duncan outside the function hall when it opened.

Updating fans on the official club website, the club states:

"As fans of Buckie Thistle Football Club it is important to explain further to you how these current matters arose, so that you better understand the position of the club and the ongoing work being done to move forwards.

"Last month we as a club became aware of an application being made to the Moray Council by the Function Hall for the variance of the licence which is held in the name of Buckie Thistle Football Club. This was a matter of clear concern to both the board of Buckie Thistle Football Club and the landlords of the ground.

The lease for the Function Hall contains the following restrictions – Not to use otherwise than for specified purpose. Section a – Not to use the premises otherwise than as a Sports/Social Club with ancillary bar facilities to be used as ancillary to the activities of Buckie Thistle Football Club without the consent of the Landlord.

It was because of this application and the apparent wish of the Function Hall to operate as a commercial business that the board sought further meetings with Mark and Murray Duncan and this was conducted on behalf of the club by Murray Thain as a representative of the Trust.

Following that meeting and the proposals which were discussed the application they had submitted to The Moray Council was subsequently withdrawn and we as a club felt that progress was being made in working together to best serve the operational needs of Buckie Thistle Football Club."

After the club said Mark Duncan snubbed its proposals for a way forward, he insisted no formal meeting had taken place with Mr Thain.

 The statement added: "He states no meeting took place; it was only a discussion over a pint. It was, however, enough of a meeting resulting in the Function Hall to withdraw their application for a change of use.

Re the naming of Mr Murray Thain and us referring to him as the landlords’ representative, perhaps Mr Duncan should read the lease, in which, along with other conditions which he chooses to overlook, he will note that the landlords are a Trust, of which Mr Murray Thain is a Trustee.  He was therefore correctly named by us as a representative of the landlords.

Following the meeting which, according to Mr Duncan, did not take place, Mr Thain met with the Directors of Buckie Thistle Football Club, informed them of the contents of the phantom meeting and asked, as a representative of the landlords, that we prepare a document on the basis of which discussions could take place with a view to fostering a better understanding between all parties.  Mr Thain asked that the documents should be handed to him so that he could progress them. Hence the reason why the documents were not signed or dated.

All other comments referring to subsequent e-mails are nothing more than eyewash.  Mr Duncan makes it clear that he does not like the fact that the Function Hall is actually a private members club operating under such terms of the applicable licensing laws and it should be under the control of a committee of its members.

We agree the Function Hall may have been well-run for ten years but certainly not in the way, or for the purpose, that permission to vary the original lease was granted.  It has been run during that period by the Duncans, for the Duncans, as a family asset and we have a letter sent by a senior Duncan family member, stating it as such.

Mr Duncan goes on to itemise various Club projects on which he passes judgment: 

These criticise the Jags Jackpot, which we can assure him is progressing slowly but making a financial contribution. 

The new stand he mentions was, as he is very well aware, only ever dependent on a benefactor’s generosity, which has not to date materialised.

The cabins he mentions were delivered early to release the site on which they previously stood and it was never the intention of the Board that they come into use before the next season, in fact last week we passed expenditure of £13k for a new roof and external cladding which will arrive in the next 2 weeks.

Then he goes on to quote average crowd numbers at matches.  We, not him, have all the details relating to these numbers therefore he should cease quoting facts he cannot substantiate.

We have tried to work with Mr Mark Duncan but, until this attitude of his changes the Function Hall will never be anything other than an object which obliterates the supporters’ view of one corner of the playing surface.

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