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Gretna exit Scottish Cup

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By Donald Turvill
Annan and Eskdale
Gretna exit Scottish Cup
Gretna FC 2008 chairman Alex Thomson at Raydale Park

GRETNA FC 2008 has taken the “difficult decision” to pull out of this season’s Scottish Cup

In a statement posted on the club’s website this week, they said that doing so ensures they have the funding to enter the 2021-22 tournament, and that alternative options from the Scottish Football Association would have “involved deductions from this funding and potentially, elimination from the cup next season.”

It went on to say the club is currently receiving “minimal income” and have “used considerable amounts of reserve funding” to ensure the season has got to this point.

Detailing further financial constraints, the statement added: “Away trip costs have doubled due to social distance bus protocols. We have no match day income with no fans allowed and sponsorship has declined as businesses struggle to stay afloat.

“Faced with this background, the board agreed that withdrawal from the cup, and we are not the only club to withdraw, for this season only, was the best course of action. We understand the disappointment of the players and fans alike, but in a global pandemic and huge pressures on the club’s finances the club hope you will understand this decision.”

Following the announcement, club chairman Alex Thomson said: “It was a very hard board decision to make because obviously we want to be in it and so do the fans. We’d been swithering on it for about a month and we were hoping that the fans would be back in by now and stuff like that, but there’s still no money coming in at all.”

Alex added that the team’s absence from the Cup would allow them to focus all efforts on the league, saying: “We’re trying to fulfil the full season; we’ve got another meeting in December to see if we can do it or not, but it’s really a drain at the moment with covid.”

Reacting on social media, Gretna 2008 fan Mark Hemmingway wrote: “Understandable given the financial pressures caused by the pandemic. Hopefully it’ll be (near) normal service next season.”

Tom Graham added: “Good call financially.”

Garry Swan commented: “Disgrace we cannot get some fans back into grounds, if we can control a supermarket, garden centre and DIY store . . . surely we can accommodate 500-1000 fans in football grounds safely.”

Host of the Gretna Fans 2008 Podcast, Jonathan Needham said: “It’s a decision for the club, to keep moving forward in these difficult times.”

The club is now inviting fans to donate the price of a ticket online to help ease their financial pressures, having raised over £1600 so far.

Meanwhile, they celebrated a 5-0 victory over Vale of Leithen at home on Saturday and face the Civil Service Strollers away this weekend.

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