BERWICK Rangers Supporters’ Club has publicly thanked former manager Jimmy Crease for his commitment and service to the football club.
In a letter to the ‘Berwickshire’, Supporters’ Club chairman William Parkin, who also serves as a director on the football club board, highlighted how much work Crease did behind the scenes and how he “never hesitated” to answer fans’ questions.
Crease resigned as manager last month after another fans’ organisation, the Berwick Rangers Supporters’ Trust, called for his dismissal following the humiliating Scottish Cup defeat away to Highland League Deveronvale.
Crease, whose former assistant Ian Little is now in charge on a trial basis until the turn of the year, is still an associate director of Berwick Rangers but is understood to be taking a break from football.
Prompted by its disapproval of the Trust’s decision to publicly call for the manager to go, the Supporters’ Club is keen to stress how Crease “never let us down”.
The football club’s major shareholder is also appealing for more members in order to continue its support for Berwick Rangers.
Parkin wrote: “The Supporters Club would like to thank Jimmy Crease for all he has done to help promote and serve Berwick Rangers and their supporters. Over the years he has been manager, general manager and associate director. He has carried out much of the unseen work and has been a stalwart to the club.
“Jimmy has been an important link between the directors to the players and the fans.
“He never hesitated when invited by us to hold a talk-in so the fans could have any of their questions answered – no matter how controversial they might have been.
“Jimmy was a great supporter of the Supporters’ Club and we feel it is appropriate to share with the community that he never let us down.
“As we all know the life span of a football manager is fickle to say the least and Jimmy thought the time had come to move on. We wish Jimmy all the best and hope to see him back at Shielfield in the future.”
Parkin’s letter can be interpreted as a response to a statement from the Supporters’ Trust, issued shortly after Crease resigned last month.
In it, the Trust acknowledged that it should not have gone public with its demand for the manager to go ahead of the football club board meeting to discuss the matter.
However it “stands by” its call for Crease to be removed from his position.
The Trust statement read: “The Trust board accepts that, with the benefit of hindsight, delaying the posting of the statement on the Trust website (or restricting circulation to Trust members as an e-newsletter instead) until after the football club met would have been a more considered approach.
“The Trust board stands by the contents of its statement and its right to represent the views of its membership as it sees fit, and that position is fully understood by the football club board.
“The Trust board and the football club board remain committed to working together in the best interests of Berwick Rangers Football Club.”
Both the Trust and the Supporters’ Club have certainly got the best interests of the football club at heart.
The Supporters’ Club, first established 75 years ago this very month, is the biggest shareholder in the football club and since being reformed in 1992 says it has pumped more than £570,000 into Berwick Rangers.
However, Parkin is appealing for more members in an effort to increase the financial backing the Supporters’ Club can offer.
He said: “The board of directors, three of which are members of the Supporters’ Club, have the club’s finances under control, but do need the support of the fans to swell the numbers and increase gate receipts.
“Berwick have an Under-19 team in the SFL youth league and a reserve team in the East of Scotland League which will hopefully bear fruit in the future. Hence the need for more support.”
On the pitch, meantime, Little will have winger Ross Gray in the squad for Saturday’s trip to Montrose after the 19-year-old Livingston player’s loan spell was extended by another month.
Little, whose team lost to Raith Rovers in a bounce match last weekend, said: “Ross did not have the happiest of debuts at Deveronvale in the Scottish Cup, however since then he has shown us exactly what he is capable of.
“He is a talented young player who can go past people for fun and we look forward to having him here for a bit longer.”