"Sorry we have failed you": Falkirk chairman's open apology after Bairns miss League One play-offs and promotion

Falkirk chairman Gary Deans has apologised to supporters after the League One club slid from the brink of the title to missing the play-offs in the final fortnight of the season.

Gary Deans, chairman of Falkirk, apologised to fans for failing to achieve promotion and missing the play-offs altogether. Picture: Michael Gillen.

In an open letter to the Bairns’ support, Mr Deans admits missing out on promotion “the number one priority” has brought “almost physical” pain and the club’s director have begun an introspection of how the team has lurched to a third year in the third tier.

On behalf of the board, the chairman said: “Sorry that we have failed you”.

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Gary Holt will return to his role as sporting director having assumed “a thankless task” following the sacking of David McCracken and Lee Miller late last month and the chairman confirmed a squad turnaround would begin in earnest over the coming weeks, as well as recruitment of a new head coach.

Writing on the club website, Mr Deans said: “The last few weeks have been amongst the most difficult that we have had to endure, and I want to write on behalf of the Board to apologise to you all for our failure to achieve the number one priority – promotion from League 1.

"Like you, we have spent yesterday coming to terms with the raw emotion of it all. The pain is almost physical and I, like you, never want to experience this again.

“All of the Board have been asked the same question – what went wrong? The truth is that performances had been declining before that and since the return from league suspension which left us all very concerned. This led to the departure of our coaches which was necessary but difficult.

“We asked Gary Holt to take over as interim manager, which in all honesty was a thankless task. Given our serious injury problems Gary had a depleted squad to work with, sometimes as little as 14 fit players, and limited options to halt the decline. We hired Gary as Sporting Director to guide the club in its long-term football strategy, not as our manager, and I want to thank him for taking on what was an almost impossible short-term task. Gary will now return to the job we hired him for.”

Goalkeeper Robbie Mutch at the end of Falkirk's defeat to Airdrie which cost the Bairns a place in the League One play-offs. Picture: Michael Gillen

Adding that the “slow decline as a club” which has seen Falkirk slip from Europa League entrants 12 years ago to fifth in League One and 27th in the Scottish football league ladder, was being addressed Mr Deans said the work would take time, but thanked supporters for their backing in the season.

He added: "We have been in slow decline as a club for far too long and while I know we are putting things in place to rebuild our infrastructure, these investments and changes take time to fully bear fruit. Of course, this does not fix what has just happened, but we firmly believe that with the right recruitment and continued hard work from everyone we can turn around our fortunes.

“Once again, I am sorry that we have failed you. But know that everyone on the Board of Falkirk Football Club is committed to working together to build the success we all yearn for."

More concerns will be addressed at a fans forum planned for later in the month.

Mr Deans watched the team take just one point from a possible 18 to end the season fifth, including defeats to Montrose, Partick Thistle and Airdrie. Picture: Michael Gillen

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