FC Edinburgh chairman Jim Brown delighted fans are back onside after heart-to-heart talks
Despite a string of impressive results that has seen Alan Maybury's men challenge in the upper echelons of League One this season, the club has drawn criticism following a name change over the summer, ticket pricing and the much-publicised spectator experience at the £47million redeveloped Meadowbank.
However, a statement released yesterday provided an overview on a number of issues including an acknowledgement that the board could have handled the name change better and, moving forward, the preference is the club simply be referred to as 'Edinburgh'. Admission prices will also be slashed to help combat the cost-of-living crisis with adults now required to pay £12 entrance fee instead of £18, £5 for students with a valid matriculation or Young Scot card and free entry for all school-age children who are accompanied by an adult.
"We've been meeting with the fans over the last couple of months so hopefully this will get everyone back together again," chairman Brown explained to the Evening News. "We've had a good think about things about moving forward and just wanted to update everyone.
"We've always been looking to tap into the student market because as the third club in the city, it's something we need to do. We have our fans that turn out every week but to build on that. We can't rely on other clubs' supporters because matches are all on the same day so we really want to build up our own fanbase. There are lots of students in Edinburgh, all from different places, but probably still want to go and watch football at the weekend, so getting them in for £5 will hopefully help that."
On the issue of Meadowbank, which has come under the microscope from a viewing perspective, Brown revealed that the club had sought alternative venues while ground sharing with city rivals and Lowland League side Spartans. The club has also had their application to construct a new stand on the far side of the pitch at Meadowbank delayed over planning issues.
"We've had a lot of negative publicity about Meadowbank but we've tried to explain the situation about what we've tried to do and, ultimately, where we want to go in the future," Brown said. "It's a hard operation because there are so many stakeholders involved at Meadowbank. We have to deal with the council, Edinburgh Leisure, the other tenants, the athletics so there's a lot to be considered. A lot of people have said 'why didn't we try this place?' or 'you should have gone here' but for three years prior to moving back to Meadowbank we tried to get somewhere else, but the harsh reality is there's just nowhere available to us in the city.
"We put forward proposals including sharing with rugby grounds, other locations around the city and there is just nothing that fits the plan. There are of course lots of pitches or smaller venues about but they don't fit SPFL criteria. And it's just not possible to acquire a new site as there's so much housebuilding and other things going on, not to mention the cost, it just wasn't feasible. We wouldn't say Meadowbank was our last option because it has been a place very close to us, but we certainly did explore other options."