The close season seems to be getting shorter every year and we are now back in the thick of the action with 4 games coming up in the next 11 days. It has been a great start with three wins out of three and two home draws in the cup games to come.
The manager has just strengthened the squad with the signings of Kyle Hutton and Paul Heffernan and with the emergence of Pickard, Hooper and Smith through the ranks we feel the squad is there for another play-off challenge. James is still monitoring the player market and has time and resources to add again if he sees fit before the transfer window shuts. We were delighted in the summer when James added Gavin Skelton as his assistant manager as we feel a young progressive management team is the way forward
The new recruits have settled in well and we feel that sending them away to La Manga for the training camp has helped the togetherness of the squad which is something we have prided ourselves on in the past and no doubt helped the relative success of the last few seasons. With the mass exodus this season it was vital we maintained it and our more experienced players play a big part in keeping the squad buoyant.
Regarding the players that have left it is nice to see that the majority of them have hit the ground running and are proving they can play at the highest level in Scottish football and we hope they can go onto even better things which would also boost the club financially with the add on deals we have in place.
Although we do have an experienced spine we do have an exciting crop of younger players and this is helped by the fact that some of them can step up and train with the first team from the development squad. Along with the aforementioned names others like Dickinson, Moxon , Brannan and Brothertson have been involved with the first team squad in games. This is aided by the generosity of the Barflies who once again have donated to the club to allow the apprenticeship scheme to continue and we are grateful to them for all their hard work in fund raising.
We feel we have another strong 20s squad, (hoping that the conveyer belt to the first team continues)and they have been tested this pre-season with games against Celtic, Rangers and Kilmarnock. Under the tutelage of Eddie Warwick and Jim Thomson they are getting pushed with tough fixtures to help them in the path to the first team squad. Keep a look on the website for upcoming games this season , if you watched them last season you know that they play a quick pressing game that is exciting to watch. They had success last year in the Challenge Cup and were pipped at the post in the league so hopefully they can go one better this year.
Andy Irving and his coaches have been putting the younger youth squads through their paces as well in their pre-season training so it has been a busy time round the club.
The surface at the KGV Queen of the South academy has been refurbished to try and rejuvenate it and it has improved vastly from where it was previously and work will continue to be done on the complex with more information to come as it is developed.
I couldn’t finish the playing side without mentioning Ryan Conroy’s goal against Annan, what a strike and all the hard work between Mark Millar and Ryan on the training pitch paid off with probably the goal of the season in the second week.
Off the pitch we were delighted with the Shirt Draw entry which was our second most successful ever, so a big thanks to our commercial team headed by Victoria Thomson who also worked tirelessly on the Status Quo concert. She recently held a Concert Post – Ops meeting with the Police and all interested parties and they were delighted with the organisation and how smoothly it all went. I think everybody who was there really enjoyed it and we feel it was a great night out for the town of Dumfries .Hopefully it will be something we can repeat as it raises the profile of the football club as well as being financially advantageous. I see from social media that Calvin Harris was back home last week , pie in the sky, but it would be a dream if he came back and staged a concert in his home town at Palmerston.
Season ticket sales are on a par with last year which is tremendous as it was a record year and we hope with our start to the season they continue to come in. Remember the Junior Blues at £18 is a great deal for any under 16’s and we want to encourage as many youngsters as possible to come along and support the club in the right way.
We now have a girls club which is run every Friday evening at the arena and this adds to the boys clubs which run on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s. In fact this week we had our first girls only soccer camp and it again will hopefully integrate more children with the football club.
The plan to relocate the office to the arena and incorporate it with the club shop is still on and work will continue soon . We want to make the arena the hub of activity and this will make the club shop more accessible. Another business will be moving in soon as well as the arena continues to be developed.
The changing rooms in the Rosefield stand are now being used by our South of Scotland tenants Heston rovers and this seems to be working well. Work will continue to be done on the ground to keep it as tidy as possible .We were delighted to welcome Oakbank Services on board as the sponsor of the Portland Road terracing and along with the Gates and Rosefield stands we now have three quarters of the ground sponsored. If there are any firms out there who want to complete the quartet and sponsor Terregles Street which of course is being used for bigger games then we would be interested to speak to them .
As announced last week , together with the Crichton team at the Easterbrook Hall we are hosting another Hall of Fame Dinner on Saturday 24th October. It will be a great night, all the present players and partners will be there with hopefully plenty past players as well. There are still two spaces up for grabs so get your votes in to add to the inductees of Norman Blount, David Rae and Derek Lyle.
Our website has recently been updated and many thanks to Andy Cowan for all his work, we think it looks great and is easier to use when logging on with phones or tablets and he has recently added a First time Fan guide for all newcomers to Palmerston which is a useful addition. We hope to add a weekly update on a Thursday or Friday by the manager to keep everybody up to speed on how the week’s training has gone.
The Memorial Wall is unique and we think is a tremendous idea. For anyone who has lost a family member who was a Queens fan ,they can still feel that a part of them are still at the club with their picture up on the wall and hopefully it will bring pleasure to a lot of people, I know it will to my family .
Again a big thanks to all employees and volunteers who help make this football club special and hopefully we have a successful season to come off and more importantly on the park.