Club News

The General Manager..in general

Sun 15 Jan 2017

Last June, Peterhead unveiled their first signing of the close-season, Martin Johnston, who was appointed General Manager.
 
Martin arrived at Balmoor with a wealth of experience from the Highland League where he held the position of Secretary and Commercial Director at Formartine Utd.
 
The former referee is responsible for the day-to-day running of the League 1 club and is revelling in the role.
 
Detailing his job, Martin sat down to have a chat with Glenn Moir.
 
 
Six months at the helm, how is it going?
It is a massive, steep learning curve but everyone has been really helpful within and outwith the club.  Working for a Scottish League Club is not all that different from working at a Highland League Club.  You can encounter the same issues but just on a bigger scale. We have got a fantastic facility at Balmoor and a really good fan base so that gives us a platform to build on and I have got lots of ideas and schemes, which I would like to integrate with the fans.  Don't get me wrong, I will make mistakes along the way. In fact, I have made one or two already but overall the experience so far has been fantastic.
 
In swapping Pitmedden for Peterhead, is it a big change working at Balmoor compared to Formartine?
It's amazing how moving 25 miles along the road, it is a different type of community with different expectations. I have had to adapt to that and I am amazed how many people come through the door daily just to say hello and catch up with you.  People take a genuine interest in what is going on here and I have to say, clubs in the central belt are a bit envious of what we have.  In the hospitality side of things, we cater for in excess of 100 people, who sit down and enjoy a pre-match meal.  We also have advertising throughout the stadium so we appreciate what we have got here and we want to build on that and make the experience of people even better.
 
Can you reveal any of your plans or new ideas for the club?
Something I can reveal is that we have been in discussions with our kit supplier and there is the possibility that we are going to have the privilege of a one-off design kit for the next two years, unique to Peterhead FC and the board have decided that the fans should be given the opportunity to pick the kit the team will play in.  They wont actually design the kit, there will be three options and they will choose their favourite.  We want to liaise and integrate with the fans as much as we can.  We have a good relationship with the supporters club as well and everything we are trying to do is to improve PFC.  
 
In terms of youth football, how important is it to develop links with other local groups in helping youngsters reach their potential?
The situation here is that Peterhead FC remains commited to playing an active role in the local community and we want to assist the local clubs and organisations and help provide a means of identifying a clear pathway for young footballers so they can develop and hone their skills at juvenile level through the youth ranks to become senior players if their talents take them to that stage.  
 
What is actually being done to bring that forward?
We have held preliminary talks with a number of like-minded clubs in recent weeks. The whole development idea is very much in its infancy and I know it is something, which has been round the houses a number of times in the last few years.  However, the feedback I am getting from various organisations in Peterhead is that there is an undoubted desire for this to happen.  We want to have an active role in this and the hope is that in the coming months, and certainly within a year, we can form a collective group of clubs where there is a clear pathway for football skills.  
 
Aside from football, what else can the club do to integrate with the community?
We would like to enhance our relationship with the local education authority, Peterhead Academy, because there are lots of add-on to a football club.  It is not just all about football.  On a day-to-day basis, we run a hospitality facility, we do sales and marketing, we have social media platforms, we have publications and there is the journalism/broadcasting side too.  There is a whole host of opportunities for youngsters to develop their skills in conjunction wtih the Football Club so we will be making contact with various organisations to see if there is an opportunity for us to take that forward.  
 
Recently it emerged that a youth club in Glasgow has been operating under the Peterhead banner.  What exactly is the situation?
In 2013/14, our assistant coach, Davie Nicholls, who is Glasgow-based, had managed to acquire a training facility where this organisation is based.  Rather than taking a rent from us, they were setting up an under 17s team and suggested we donate a strip, which we duly did.  Almost in tribute to what they received, they then called themselves Peterhead Football Club youths.  However, a more suitable training facility quickly became available for us so the whole thing was quickly forgotten about from our point of view, although the lads in Glasgow continued to play in our strips.  Just recently, they resurrected their facebook page, which caused a bit of interest locally because it was under the banner of Peterhead FC Youth 2000 with the club badge as their logo.  
 
What, if anything, can Peterhead do to resolve this issue?
We have been in touch with the club, in respect that we have no formal tie-up with them whatsoever.  We don't fund them, nor do they provide us with players.  The club has agreed to remove the badge and they also accept the fact the name is confusing but due to registration restrictions, they cannot change their name mid-season so they will possibly rectify that at the end of the current campaign.  In the central belt area, the team name tends to go hand in hand with the shirt sponsor but just to dispel any confusion, there is absolutely no connection between the two organisations whatsoever.  
 
All in all positive sounds from the club and hopefully there are good times ahead on and off the park!