By Rory West
It came to the attention of the Scottish Football scene, in the past week, that Hamilton supporters are planning to boycott their club’s next home game against Kilmarnock, on the 4th of February.
The reasoning behind this act from sections of the Accies support is that; they are protesting against the team’s performances on the pitch and the club’s transfer policy off it.
In fairness to Accies; their second reason is justified as, especially this season, Accies’ signings have been particularly poor. Since their return to the top flight in the 2014/15 season, Hamilton have struggled to find a natural goalscorer; with midfielder Ali Crawford always being their main source of attacking impetus.
Strikers D’Acol, Bingham and Brophy have amassed a total of seven goals so far this season, which isn’t nearly good enough. Summer signing Richard Roy – a Pints and Pens favourite – has already departed the club failing to register a single goal; this sort of signing sums up Accies signing policy – almost anyone who fancies playing.
What the problem is for Accies however is; they are playing with a very small budget. They attract the lowest crowds in the Premiership, their budget is the lowest in the division and their squad is one of the smallest. All these factors will be roadblocks in the process of bringing players to the club. Over half of the clubs in the Scottish Championship can offer better wages than Hamilton, and also offer a better playing basis despite being in a lower division.
At the beginning of the season, Accies’ sole aim is so stay in the Premiership. Some players might not fancy a season long struggle where they probably won’t win a whole lot of matches.
Another key aspect that will effect Accies’ ability to bring players to the club is the fact that they play on an astro turf surface. For example; St Johnstone striker Steven MacLean is out of contract at the end of the season, he could potentially be a transfer target and despite being 34 – 35 by the time of signing – he would be the ideal striker for Accies. This woudn’t be possible however due to MacLean not being able to play on astro turf through without risking injury.
In terms of the protest against Accies’ performances on the pitch, that is slight injustice. At the start of the season, many tipped Accies for relegation and Martin Canning to be the first manager to be sacked. He obviously is still in the job and Accies are sitting second bottom. Yes, that is still a playoff spot but that still doesn’t mean certified relegation; there are still two playoff games where anything can happen.
The home play off game, if Hamilton end up there, is when Accies would need their support more than ever. Manager Martin Canning has already urged supporters to cancel the boycott as he understands his side are in need of the support, to stay in the league.