The clubs General Manager has said that the reality is that the club needs financial support from the area to help maintain its position in the top flight of the East Region and if anybody wants to give the club a helping hand then they should get in touch. Andy Finlay sat down with GM, Mark Johnson to talk about his two years in the hot seat at Laing Park and where he sees the club going.
So Mark its been two years since you joined the club, how has it been ?
“Hard Work, Hectic, Challenging, how many more words can I use. If I am honest it has been a lot tougher than expected, at times it has felt that we have overcome one hurdle only for another bigger one to be placed in our way. The biggest one was David Laing’s decision to retire and step down, David has been a part of the club for so long and its success over the years has been down to his backing. The club certainly wouldn’t be where it is today without his support both physical and financial. However, all things come to an end eventually and we have maintained our position in the Super League at the same time as building a club virtually from scratch. That is predominantly down to the manager, Alan McSkimming and his coaching staff and players on the field but also due to the incredible amount of hard work done by the committee at the club”
How has the club filled that void left by David’s retirement ?
“We are well supported by the business sector on Carnoustie and Angus, we have a large number of sponsors at various levels from Board Sponsors through to Player Sponsors, Matchball Sponsors and our Gowfers Gambles Agents and without those we couldn’t survive and the club wouldn’t exist. We are a Semi-Professional club which means we have similar types of expenses that a senior club have but on a smaller scale although in this day and age its not a lot different to some lower league senior clubs. However, the reality is we need more financial backing so if anybody out there wants to give us a helping hand then please get in touch.
How do you see the club developing ?
In our current situation it is very difficult to make any major plans because we are still in the early stages of building the club up, however, our aim is a return to the success of the early 2000’s and competing with the top junior sides. Even in our own Super League there is something of a divide clubs like Linlithgow, Bonnyrigg and Penicuik are at the top of the tree and have large crowds week in week out, ok not massive but getting on for twice what we get. Financially that makes a difference over a season. We want Carnoustie to come out and support us, we need the support of the town if we are to continue at this level. I am not sure what we need to do to make the people come and watch us, obviously winning helps, we already offer free entry to accompanied under 16’s but see very few youngsters through the gate. Maybe we are in a difficult position in between Arbroath and Dundee, they have the draw of successful Senior clubs that are playing at the same time as us but the also charge three times more than us, for £10 you can get in have a pie and a programme, you cant do that at Gayfield, Tannadice or Dens.
On the field we have an excellent relationship with the community club and provide a pathway for the continuation from the older age groups through to the first team as Bailey Steel, Danny Edelston and Ethan Coupar have shown but not only is that pathway open at youth level, Paddy Conway joined us from the YM and shows that that route is available as well.
What are your objectives then for the club, short term and long term.
Short term, to build on the hard work of the last two years and make sure that the club is on a sound financial footing, return the club to something the town wants to come and watch and be proud of.
Long Term, we want to be the best club in the area at our level and to be challenging for titles and cups on a regular basis.
The footprint is there but we need to work together to build the club because Carnoustie Panmure is a great club, historically a successful one and with a nod to the past we want a successful future for the club and help to put a great town on the map for its football.