St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson has paid tribute to staff at the club, saying that their hard work has helped cut costs after a difficult financial year.
The Paisley club published their accounts on Thursday, detailing a loss of £1.6m which they said was down to exceptional circumstances following the Covid-19 shutdown, among other factors that included the last-minute collapse of a player transfer.
That situation has meant budgets have been tight at the SMiSA Stadium but Robinson says he has been well aware of that since joining the club in February 2022, and that his playing budget was set last summer.
The manager had no complaint about dealing with the financial realities at the club but highlighted how hard-working staff had helped to mitigate the impact and deserved credit for their efforts.
“Obviously I was made aware of that in the summer so it’s something we’ve been dealing with since then,” Robinson said. “It isn’t a shock to me and it isn’t something new.
“The club’s put procedures in place and cut certain things to make things viable. We have to work within our means.
“I can’t comment on any financial situation that’s gone on before me but since the summer we’ve worked on turning the business into a viable asset.
“As I say, there have been cuts made. We work with four first team staff, which is small and I have to pay credit to them.
“You’ve asked me how it affects us but we’ve made sure it hasn’t affected us.
“I’ve got one physio who doesn’t have a day off in Gerry Docherty. I’ve got one strength and conditioning coach (Gary McColl) who works with the academy as well and works incredible hours.
“I’ve got an assistant manager (Diarmuid O’Carroll) who does the analysis and goes above and beyond everything that is done at a football club.
“We make sure we protect what we’re doing. So far we’ve done that and we’ll continue to do that.
“It’s a credit to the people around us in all parts of the football club. There’s been cuts made but everyone has worked very, very hard to get us to this point in the season and we will continue to do that.”
Player trading model makes sense for St Mirren
Inevitably, the financial shortfall means that the club has to look at transfer sales as one route to increasing revenue and Robinson, who has his side sitting sixth in the table with games in hand over rivals, knows that he could lose players this month.
While no fresh offers have been received recently, the manager believes that player sales have to be part of the plan in Paisley, alongside clever recruitment and youth player development.
“You’ve got to have a realistic view of what the club is and it’s got to be run as a viable business,” he said.
“We’re a club where the model is that we bring players in and we sell them on and they help us along the way. It’s a model I worked with at Motherwell as well. And we need to develop our young players.
“We need to put better things in place to do that and we are doing that. We’re trying to build the academy back up again.
“So we’ll be no different from any other team. If the right offer comes in for any player then it has to be looked at. That’s the way the football club runs and it’s the model for the football club.
“It’s not impacted my budget because my budget was already set. We have to be prudent and there’s lots of structures put in place that weren’t here previously. We’re trying to get to a stage where we make the business viable.
“We can’t overspend and we can’t do things that we shouldn’t do. We’ve 3,000 or 4,000 season ticket holders and we have to work within those parameters. We’re working it well.
“The conversations will come and we’ll work with it and deal with it. I’ve worked at clubs where there’s been issues that have to be resolved.
“I look at them as difficult periods but you just stick together.”
Despite having to work within the financial restraints, Robinson says the team is in a good place and there’s plenty to be optimistic about.
“Crowds are up, performances have been very good and the atmosphere around the training ground is absolutely brilliant,” he said.
“We’ve got a group of boys where we’re trying not to let any finances affect them and it hasn’t due to the hard work of the staff around me.”