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30:08:99Ewan LithgowFurther to my continuing debate with Ewan McNaught, I think the point really is our declared intent to breed success not buy it. I too see no valid reason in the long term why we cannot compete with the bigger first division clubs or even with the Kilmarnock's and St Johnstone's. The area could certainly support it. Unfortunately, these clubs got where they are with significant cash injections. We do not have that luxury so must build our own team.

I note what you say regarding ambitious teams but it still all comes down to money at the end of the day. As previously stated, the new board invested a fortune in Livingston, and it shows. Their squad may have been assembled relatively cheaply in terms of transfer fees (though figures would be interesting!) but their wages are not. Inverness are heavily backed by local business, held a highly successful share issue and have an exclusive city catchment area in senior football terms. There's a big difference between the above two sides and "a little judicious strengthening".

Ross County, for all their noise, are not actually any better or bigger than us. It took them five years to escape the Third Division. Their ground, though I concede I haven't seen it, is no better than ours and has a smaller capacity. They have a higher profile due to their bigger crowds and the media's unaccountable fascination with the new Highland sides. They sold Neil Tarrant to Aston Villa earlier this year, taking the money just as we did for McAllister and Lilley so why are they a better example than us? I take it that your point now is not that we should not have sold Lilley but that we should reinvest the proceeds in seasoned pros like Brian Irvine (although I think he signed as a personal favour to Neale Cooper).

Unfortunately, we are not well enough off to invest much, if any, of the McAllister and Lilley fees. Such occassional payoffs are why bank managers allow lower league football clubs to continue at all. Since you are a shareholder, get your accounts out and look at them. Except for a legal compensation claim, we've lost over half a million pounds in the last three published years. This has to be covered somehow. We could possibly invest in one or two moderate purchases such as the deal which brought Jim Thomson to Palmerston from Stenhousemuir. We could certainly do with a little more experience in the back four but the majority must go to fund existing committments.

You have hit the nail on the head with the examples of Clydebank and Hamilton. If we overextend ourselves financially, we'll go the same way. We cannot rely on a white knight to save us firstly because there isn't one out there, if there was he'd have appeared five years ago, and secondly because, given our large number of shareholders, overall control would be hard to achieve quickly.

The speculate to accumulate approach carries no guarantees unless vast sums are invested, not only in fees, but in wages too. Supposing that we could attract one or two more prominent players here, they would want better wages than the current squad get. Even Manchester United are experiencing the problems of players breaking the wage structure now. It is doubtful if only one or two would make any significant difference to our fortunes anyway. Of the former "Premier Stars" to drop down to our level, only John Robertson and Bobby Connor have lived up to their reputations. All that Charlie Nicholas, Duncan Shearer, Steve Archibald and Stevie Kirk, etc achieved was an extraordinary amount of dubious refereeing decisions in their favour. (I will reserve judgement on Brian Irvine until I've seen him!). Surely there is more merit in bringing youth on than in providing one last pay day to the likes of these.
27:08:99Ewan McNaughtIn reply to Ewan Lithgow, yes I am a shareholder, and yes I do appreciate the financial constraints within which Queen's and 90% of clubs in Scottish fotball are operating. I also think Norman Blount has done an excellent job at reviving a dormant, in fact nearly extinct club. A return to the bad old pre-Blount days does not bear thinking about. Similarly Ken Eadie and George Rowe have instilled a level of competitiveness, fitness and pride in playing for the jersey which has been sadly missing for the last decade or so.

However as a lifelong Queen's supporter I believe there has never been a better opportunity to take the team onto the next level, i.e. to become a real provincial force. O.K. we're never going to compete with Rangers and Celtic, but that's not the point. Scottish football has had a rigid hierarchy for far too long. Many of teams who have traditionally occupied the second tier of Scottish football are now disintegrating. Clydebank, Hamilton etc. have no stadia, no money, few fans and are in freefall. Their precarious positions on the edge of the abyss are only maintained by the stubborness of players and management in the face of overwhelming problems. There are others like them (many with decaying grounds and no money to build all seater stadia to satisfy the criteria of the SPL) who will no doubt stagger over the threshold of the millennium but probably not much further.

Other clubs like Ross County, Livingston and Inverness see the current situation as an opportunity. What matters now is ambition, or more importantly the perception of a club as an ambitious club. The above mentioned teams are certainly more hype than substance (I don't think any of them yet technically satisfy the criteria for the SPL) but if you tell enough people you are setting your sights on the SPL, you're going to build a 10,000 capacity all seater stadium etc. then people start to believe you. Good players start gravitating to your team because they believe you are going somewhere. It's not ALL about money, yes we know Livingston have money behind them but they have assembled a decent squad relatively cheaply because players want to join a club seen to be going places. Ironically the much criticised SPL which was seen initially as a restrictive cartel has now stimulated the rise of a new meritocracy in Scottish football. The door is open to anyone with the courage to knock.

The rest are going to be left behind.

I think it is imperative that Queen's get promoted this year and believe they must seize the opportunity to progress now or settle for a permanent place amongst the also rans. Alloa look like they will be strong favourites for promotion, but what do they have to offer compared to Queen's. They certainly don't have the infrastructure, the fan base or the potential. (What they do have is a very good manager.) Stranraer have twice been in the division above us recently (albeit briefly). It's time for Queen's to realise their potential. I am concerned that selling a player three games into such a vital season is sending out the wrong signals at a crucial time. It's not that I think Lilley is irreplaceable, and the guys that came into the defence against Hamilton played well enough to reassure me that the cover is there. I just hope we DO hang on to Mathieson, Aitken and Caldwell (and despite it being just a few games he's played I still maintain he is the hottest property of all) and win the promotion we're capable of.

I also think using a proportion of the Lilley and McAllister funds to reinvest in the team at this stage will send out a positive statement of intent to the rest of the division. With a little judicious strenghtening of the team I see no reason why we can't win the league.
26:08:99Ed WilsonWell said Ewan Lithgow. Queens are always going to have to be a selling club. Only 2 clubs in Scotland could be classed as anything else. Let`s make the best use of our reputation as a club that gives youth a chance. This is not a barrier to progess. Anyway, we`ll be able to view McAllister and Lilley at Palmerston next season in the 1st division.
25:08:99Ewan LithgowPerhaps Ewan McNaught should take a reality check.

His comments with regard to the sale of David Lilley and the state of the current team are admirably lucid but fatally flawed.

Mr McNaught should not confuse a genuine sense of realism with a lack of ambition. Would he rather not see QoS alive and kicking at all than doing what has to be done to survive? In order to fund our continuing existence players must be sold when the opportunity arises. If Mr McNaught is a shareholder he will be aware of the high costs involved in running a football team in the lower reaches of Scottish football particularly when a committment does exist to bring young players through to senior level.

With the sale of David Lilley (who incidentally has been with us for four years and played nearly 100 senior games. Sold as soon as possible?) there are now three of last years regular team playing in the SPL. Hopefully people will notice that kind of thing. We already have a good reputation within Scottish Football for developing youths and I would like to think that the next generation of youngsters will see which sides can bring them on and then send them to the next level and look to sign on at Palmerston. No other team provided more than one new player to the SPL this year.

Mr McNaught says Brian Caldwell is our one genuine prospect. What about Mathieson or Aitken? One is a regular in the Scotland under 21 set up, the other is widely known also to have been watched by Aberdeen. Even Steven Leslie on current form is a real asset albeit one who is over 24 years old at the end of the season. Brian Caldwell has been excellent in the last three games but let's not lose the plot here. He's only 18 years old and has a total of five first team starts to his name. It will be some time before the scouts start to hover round Caldy.

This year is indeed an excellent opportunity to gain promotion and in Paul Stewart we have a ready made replacement for David Lilley. Townsley is indeed missed but players like big Degsy are rare, that's why Motherwell tracked him for so long and eventually signed him. No magic wand will create another at little or no cost. If one were out there Motherwell would have signed him.

Mr McNaught also says that the team has been poor so far this year with some exceptions including Hillcoat and Harvey. This is a little harsh. We have won one, drawn one and lost one of our three league games, our best start in years and, whilst we were appalling at Berwick, we beat Arbroath and competed admirably with Hearts in the CIS Cup. Having said that, I would hold Hillcoat responsible for four or five of the eleven goals we've lost so far (Arbroath's second, Berwick's third and fourth, Hearts first and possibly their second).We need more performances like Saturday's against Alloa from him. Paul Harvey has shown some nice touches but clearly isn't fully fit. He hasn't contributed anything after half-time in any of the games.

It's all very well to hold Livingston up as an example of what can be achieved but we could probably all have a fair stab at promotion given the seven figure sums invested in that club by Dominic Keane, Willie Haughey and John McGuiness. Norman Blount deserves great credit for the financial support he has given the club but cannot compete with these guys. I would hardly call John Robertson, David Bingham, Alan McManus, John Miller, Gregg Watson and Sean Sweeney journeymen pros. All have Premier League experience and Robertson has played many times for Scotland. Neil Alexander and Brian McPhee are among Scotland's brighter young talents. It was the purchase of talented players like these on good salaries which saw Livingston jump through our league last year. We cannot hope to compete on financial terms so we have to bring players through ourselves.

Last Sunday around 5,000 turned up because McCoist was making a film. On Wednesday 5,180 saw us match Hearts for well over an hour and keep them worried up to the last five minutes, around 4,000 of them from Dumfries. On Saturday we were at home to the unbeaten co-leaders of our league. The result was a crowd of just over 1,200. What more can we do to bring in the Dumfries public? Where were the other 3,000 or so? Do they all work Saturdays? Were they all playing amateur football? Or more likely are they back in their armchairs at home disinterested in players who aren't on their TV's every weekend or worse, in their seats at Ibrox or Parkhead, taking a source of income from those who need it most and giving to those who need it least? How do we get these people back? The club deserve great credit for the under-publicised Junior Blues scheme. For 20 kids can get a season ticket covering all 18 league games. What a bargain! That's roughly 1.11 per match. We have to catch supporters young before they are attracted to the bigger teams and hopefully keep some of them for life. However, this sort of initiative takes years to come to fruition.

Let me close by saying I think we should be proud that Premier clubs are now looking for our players not upset about it. Other clubs sell to survive and cope with it, so can we. I personally found it embarassing that over the last 10 years or so the only players to leave Queens for a higher standard of football were Andy Thomson and Darren Henderson who spent several years one division up with Ayr and Hamilton but is now back in our division. We can now watch Jamie, David and Degsy mixing with the big boys. Incidentally, Chris Doig is on the verge of breaking into Nottingham Forest's first team as well. He has been allocated a squad number and was a substitute last week having played twice in the English Premiership last year.

To the Board, Managers and Coaches involved I say keep up the good work.
24:08:99Ewan McNaughtNow our status as Aberdeen's feeder club has been confirmed with David Lilley's departure how long before we lose Andy Aitken and our one genuine prospect, Bryan Caldwell?

Maybe it's just me but the Chairman and management's much publicised line that young players should see Queen's as a stepping stone to better things seems to betray a disturbing lack of ambition. After supporting Queen's for over 25 years I'm not sure I want to end up supporting a boy's team where any decent player is immediately touted round the bigger teams and sold on as soon as possible. (it would take a talented Palmerston spin doctor indeed to engineer a move at the moment for the much hyped but so far ineffective Denis Boyle).

It would be interesting to know how much we got for Lilley. Was it the 100,000.00 reported in some sources or do we believe Aberdeen's official web-site which claims he was signed for a nominal fee? If it's the former (and McAllister was alleged to have been sold for a similar amount) when can we expect to see some investment in the team? If it was the latter then I sincerely hope we get good money for Caldwell when he inevitably goes.

Surely we will never have a better chance of getting promotion from a very mediocre second division than this season when 3 go up. However we need to strengthen the team and not continue to let our best players go without being replaced. Townsley is sadly missed this season. Leslie and Caldwell are playing very well but for the rest (perhaps excepting Hillcoat,Harvey and Aitken) it has been a poor start to the season. Third place in this league is surely the minimum we should be aiming at.

We need to show some ambition and make some positive noises for the future otherwise the remaining hard core support will begin to drift away. Livingston have shown how easy it is to become a force in Scottish football. An unsuccesful Edinburgh team with literally a handful of fans was transplanted to West Lothian where they had no history or fan base, their team dismantled and a motley collection of journeymen pro's assembled to gain promotion to the first division. This was achieved and a new team assembled for the assault on the SPL. A few ambitious noises, some vague plans to build an all seater stadium and some shrewd bargain basement transfer market activity and hey presto they are knocking at the door of the big time. A cynical ploy to be sure but it shows how poor the standard of Scottish football really is that they have succeeded. The Highland clubs are showing some ambition too. Why can't Queen's who have a large residual (if disaffected) support, a large catchment area from which to draw fans with no real competition unless you count Carlisle) and the basis of an excellent stadium not do the same.

However if we are going to progress we need to be full-time and we need to try to keep some of our better players. Yes we need to sell one or two players a year to finance the laudable youth development programme but let's try to attract some decent experienced pro's too (such as Ross County did with Brian Irvine). If Queen's start to show some ambition I'm sure it won't be long before many of the 7,000 who attended the filming of "The Cup" come along to sample a real match.
24:08:99Andy PatersonAnybody know if we got any cash for David Lilley? Just heard today that he'd gone the way of Jamie McAllister and headed off to Donside. Don't know if that's such a good career move these days. Also anybody know if big Andy Aitken is on a contract or not? Can't see us hanging on to someone of his class for much longer.
24:08:99Simon MillageI love the toilets at Palmerston there is nothing better than going for a few beers before the game and p***ing against the wall, in quite possibly, the most homely toilets in any stadium. It is a pity you didn't see the toilets at the coo shed before they knocked it down David. (This message was slightly edited - CJ)
23:08:99Sandy OrrSurely it's time to call in Mulder & Scully and have them add the missing 3000 Queens fans to the "X Files"!

We all want Queens to be more successful, but it seems many Doonhamers won't come until we are. Don't people realise that bigger gates generate more money, and can inspire the team to better performances?

Time to get off my soap box now and ask if any Queens fans from the Edinburgh and Lothians areas, or even Glasgow would be interested if a bus was organised for the trip to Stranraer on 18th September. Please e-mail me if you are genuinely interested - sandy@jaorr.freeserve.co.uk or phone me on (01506) 491298.
19:08:99Kirk DobieThank you Queens for 45 minutes of teletext watching bliss vs Hearts. I desperately wanted to come along if nothing else to give Notts County "reject" Gary McSweggan a mouthful.

Bad luck lads
19:08:99Pam ScottWell done QOS for commitment shown throughout a gruelling 90 mins against Hearts especially to Steven Leslie and Alan Kerr. The score was no disgrace considering 2 divisions apart. First big match I have been to at Palmerston and was over-awed by the crowd first time I have had to find a specific seat! Why can't it be like that every week. So come on all ye Doonhamers say cheerio to those Celtic and Rangers buses every week and get down and support your local team.
15:08:99David GowHi Guys

Down at Palmerston today for the filming of the Game. Just had to say if the state of the Portaloos at the Glasgow Street End is anything to go by, then sanitation arrangements are not suitable for the 21st Century! These toilets were a disgrace, there must be better ways of ensuring a civilised access to public toilets,

Comments please?
14:08:99Sandy OrrWell it looks like I haven't missed much while I was on holiday. I hope the our fortunes will turn around before my tan fades! I am back in time for the trip to Firhill, The Cup and then the Jambos in the space of 5 days! What a way for the season to start for me. If anyone goes to Corfu on holiday, and manage to get to the North West resort of San Stefanos, visit the Condor bar which has an impressive collection of football tops, and you will see their latest addition, which will be very familiar!
13:08:99Gordon PringleIs anyone else utterly dismayed that the class act that robert duvall is (Godfather/Apocalypse/Once upon a time/Falling down), is getting involved with this film. Albeit we're doing okay out of it filming in the ground but I can't but think this film should be getting fattened up in time for the cranberry and trimmings.

Mind you there's bigger things to worry about-judging by our appalling start it looks like the Jambos might really run up a number against us.
13:08:99Nick MartinAny Queens fans from the Edinburgh area wanting a lift to the Hearts match on Wednesday let me know. My email is nickmartin_@hotmail.com
13:08:99Barrie LittleSo it would appear that the honeymoon period is well and truly over for Messrs Rowe and Eadie. Losing the first league game and 4-1 in a cup, deja-vu anyone? After a 200 mile round trip, 20 minutes late for kick-off due to traffic and to cap it all caught on a speed camera on the A1, I was expecting a better QOS performance. But I'll still be at Firhill on Saturday! Come on the South
12:08:99Ed WilsonI hope I`m wrong but a bad start in the league plus suspensions already disrupting the team has a terribly familiar ring to it. Still, here's to 3 points from the nomadic Accies.
11:08:99John CrawfordWhy are we incapable of starting the season well? Last night's result is pathetic. I thought when I heard it first it might have been the reserves being given a chance but I've just looked at the paper and it was the full team. Truly dreadful. I can't bear another season of this type of result.
11:08:99Simon MillageCan anyone please give me a lift down from Glasgow to Dumfries for the Hearts game. If so please email me: simon.millage@strath.ac.uk.

Thanks

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10:08:99Neil InnsMy partner (born in Dumfries) and I are on holiday in Annan for a week next week and I was hoping to visit Palmerston Park for the game with Hearts on the Tuesday night. I have just discovered the match is all ticket. Could anyone advise how I go about getting a ticket as I was hoping it would be pay on the night. The best I can hope for is to go to the ground on Monday and see if I can pick up a ticket then. If anyone has any ideas I would be very grateful if they could respond to me at ndi@cpogroup.com.
09:08:99Walt AdamsonGoing by the refereeing display on Saturday, John Hillcoat was to blame for the defeat. Clearly he should have clattered any Arbroath players as they were bearing down on goal, maybe even taken a swing at them too for good measure because it seems as if you don't get sent off for that sort of thing nowadays. Or maybe that just applies to Arbroath. Already a candidate for worst ref of the season. PS. Is there any Queens fans going down to Dumfries from Glasgow for the Hearts game. If so, any chance of a lift? My e-mail is wadamson@admin.gla.ac.uk.
09:08:99Anthony GloverMy father and I are flying out from Marcoola Beach, Queensland, Australia tomorrow to see the fliming of "THE CUP". If any one spot's a sligtly out of place Aussie in the crowd come and say hello and I will buy the beers.
09:08:99Derek ConnellThanks for the directions to Firhill Stuart. I'll be there with my mate Steve who has become a Queens fan since I moved South. We'll look out for you.
08:08:99Stuart McLarenHamilton do still play at Firhill (I hope or I will have a wasted journey next week!). I usually take the train. Firhill is about 1 1/2 miles from central station. From the station go up the hill to Sauchiehall Street. Walk along toward Charing X and turn right into Cambridge Street (Just after M&S and Boots). Go through the underpass at the top of the street to Cowcaddens Underground and then go under the M8. Firhill is about a mile along this road. I followed some Partick fans from here the first time I went but I think you'll be lucky to find a Hamilton fan!
07:08:99David HaldaneGreat to hear Johns incisive comments - looking forward to chumming him down the road for the Hearts tie although I suspect the journey back up will be a somewhat silent one!!!!
03:08:99John CrawfordHello web site. is there any news on ticket allocation for the Hearts match? Saturday was a great advert for not playing football in the summer. I was knackered standing on the terraces so god knows what the players felt like going into extra time. Top of the class must go to Andy Aitken again who is becoming a real talent. We'll be lucky if he's there at the end of the season. Rest of the defence great. Steven Leslie also good in midfield. Slightly worried about Paul Harvey having an attitude problem or am I being paranoid? He was absent for long spells and we miss a Degsy who can take players on.
03:08:99Derek ConnellI am coming up to Scotland for the Accies game in a couple of weeks time and to see 'The Cup' on the Sunday. Do the Accies play at Firhill? Can anyone let me have some decent directions from Dumfries to Firhill ? Thanks.
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