2019 has been a great year for everybody involved in our club. For staff, players, supporters and volunteers it has been a journey but one which we have travelled together, and we thoroughly deserve to be back in the Premiership.
The Managers and Players deserve an immense amount of credit for their determination and delivery of so much success over the past year. Not only clinching the Irn Bru Challenge Cup but for, at the first time of asking, getting us back in to the Premiership. Many clubs have tried, and few have succeeded in bouncing straight back, so we have to credit all involved for the tremendous fashion in which we managed to get promoted back to the top flight.
Our return to the Premiership has been an altogether more difficult challenge but one, which again, I think we have equipped ourselves well for. The Managers and players have delivered a brilliant start with us sitting in 8th position, only 3 points off 5th place. If anybody had offered us the start we have had to the campaign, I think there would be very few, if any, who wouldn’t have accepted it. We must now all get behind the team to ensure we continue to build on this foundation and help our squad to continue to develop.
In our Academy we are delighted to have had 15 year old James Graham selected for the Under 18 Scottish Schoolboy Team. James has joined us from the Western Isles and his commitment and dedication to Ross County has been tremendous. This call up is certainly reward for his efforts and we hope in the future further Academy players which we have high hopes for, will join him. Being a part of the Club Academy Scotland set up provides some real challenges for clubs like us, and it is with great admiration that our team of staff continue to ensure our players are getting good coaching and the opportunity to play against some of Scotland’s finest teams at youth level.
Our Community Department have also gone from strength to strength. Gordon and his team have delivered some great programmes this year and continue to really find out where the opportunities lie in helping people in our area. Our “Sponsor a School” Programme has really helped us engage with young people and we thank the Sponsors, Schools and Highland Council for making this possible and allowing us to support each school where we can. As well as having a strong local base, the Community Team have also been delivering right across the Highlands including Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles across the year.
When we look at our club motto “More than just a football club”, it can be hard to define what makes us exactly that. However, this year we have tried harder than ever to ensure that we have no obstacles in reaching as many people as we can. Through our newly-appointed Sporting Director, Scott Boyd, we took Ross County right out across the Highlands with the Rossco Route 400 tour. This saw Scott, players and club staff head to 9 locations such as Wick, Lairg, Portree and Aviemore, engaging with young fans on their own turf. The success of the tour has been remarkable and has seen us really build a stronger relationship with our more rural areas, something we are keen to further build on going forward.
Across 2019 we also tried to engage more with the needs of our communities and in turn, we worked with a range of local Charities to help the identified needs in their respective areas. Ross County worked with charities from a variety of different causes in 2019 and we hope that goes someway to helping them all achieve their end goals. For a club like Ross County we are nothing without our people, and that is why investing and working within our communities and charities is so vitally important to us all as people, as well as a club.
2019 was a great year to be a Ross County fan. There was plenty to cheer about and a team that we all want to get behind and support. It is easy for people to forget the commitment that Ross County fans give to the club in terms of travelling the length and breadth of Scotland to support the team, as well as turning up to as many home matches as you can. On behalf of myself, the managers and the team, thank you for your continued support and the levels of enthusiasm and passion you bring to us week in, week out.
Finally, this time of year is to be spent with family and friends, making memories and having laughs. From everybody at Ross County Football Club we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2020.