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Charles Bannerman

The Social Club

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I am just home after my traditional couple of quiet hours out on Boxing Night, which always include a visit to the ICT Social Club.

Tonight I walked into the bar to find seven people - Laurie Redfern, a stalwart regular, Sandy the barman and five Rangers fans playing pool and playing Rangers songs on the jukebox. By happy coincidence, my arrival in the bar coincided with the jukebox proclaiming "Hello, hello...." to which I took great delight in responding, loudly "You WERE the Billy Boys".... which went down about as well as a Hail Mary in the Louden Tavern. :laugh: But, as Corporal Jones used to say.... "They do NOT like it up 'em Captain Mainwaring! they do NOT like it up 'em." Into the bargain, I didn't particularly like what I think is the ongoing presence of a picture of Ibrox on the Social Club wall. This is the Social Club of Inverness Caledonian Thistle - much more recent winners than (The) Rangers (if at all? :lol:) of a national title. There is baggage here that we really do not need. Get rid of the bloody thing!

My point? If the Football Club is, as we now know, being reconstructed as an institution much closer to the community and the fans. This must therefore also become the case with the Social Club. Friends of mine, whose Inverness football past goes back a lot longer than my own, speak of glorious days when "The Caley Club" was full to the rafters with Caley fans. Even within my 15 year membership of the place, after it became the ICT Social Club, I remember far better times than this. In the new era of reconstruction, we really do need the ICT Social Club once again to become a social centre for the football club. This is an important sub-plot of the grander design which we all hope will assist general reconstruction.

Changes in social habits, adversely affecting all licensed premises, have clearly not helped, but I also attribute much of the Social Club's decline in recent years to its regrettable divorce from the Football Club. I don't even want to mention The War once, even if I think that I got away with it, but let's be realistic. The place has been seriously hamstrung in recent years years by personal agendas, pursued on behalf of a disgruntled departee by a surrogate employee, now no longer with us, and culminating in the disastrous and ruinous Social Club AGM of 2015. The private agenda in question, which had nothing to do with ICT,  was solely against Kenny Cameron who - like the surrogates and their associates - is no longer with us. That double clearout offers us a new opportunity.

We now have a new club steward, with no personal agendas, and a new football club board. Perhaps this should also become an opportunity for the ICT Social Club to be brought back to a place of prominence and developed into far more than a money making opportunity for the football club. It should also be a central hub for the kind of cohesion which the football club board is clearly working to achieve for the greater good.

Edited by Charles Bannerman
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At this time there has been 109 views and no replies to this topic. That shows a distinct lack of interest in the matter. 

Maybe the Social Club concept is not relevant to this day and age? (A question not my personal opinion).

As you say Charles, from what I remember it was a busy and vibrant place in its heyday pre merger. 

Maybe the Social Club is in the wrong loction? Its not on my route pre or post match so i don't go to it at those times. You probably can't park for free, or without a residential permit anywhere near it. You can't have a pint then drive now. 

Along with British Legions, working men's clubs, Masonic Lodges (that's where a picture of Ibrox belongs) these type of places are struggling and or dying off. 

Who owns the Social Club premises? What is the rent etc? Is it too big/unsuitable layout? 

Maybe there are better suited premises and locations? Blackfriars Bar or Deenos/Rock Garden on Academy Street? Both these places are vacant. Maybe funding from Academy Street regeneration project would be available? 

Maybe the old Poundland premises at Eastgate would be a better location?

Maybe changing it to a family club, with a cafe theme for daytime and pub theme for evening would be better? I'm no Lord Sugar or George MacLean sorry!

I think George is retired now. He is an ICT fan. He is worth consulting with given his vast experience in the licensing trade?

All in all, I can't see any vast improvement with current location and set up. 

Edited by Caman

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I agree wholeheartedly with your post Charles.

The ICTFC Social Club has seriously declined in terms o f it  being  a good place for ICT fans to enjoy a blether + a drink.

Dismayed by the picture of the Abestos Stadium and the scene you describe as a type of place where Rangers followers dwell is, tragically I may add,  become commonplace at the Club.  That has driven many people away and they are not returning.

 

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2 minutes ago, RednBlackComeback said:

Think I've been in the place twice. If that's the kind of establishment it is I'm not surprised folk stay away!

There lies another problem.

Not having a dig at you my friend, but is that because of it's pre merger connection?

Edited by Caman
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The social club could be made popular but I think it's a long term goal. Not being in Inverness in a wee while but whenever I was in Inverness I found the city had a lot of Caley supporters walking about so the  place could be made more popular.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Caman said:

There lies another problem.

Not having a dig at you my friend, but is that because of it's pre merger connection?

Not entirely. Its location isn't convenient for me at all.

The Thistle Club had a much more attractive location, and certainly no sectarian tunes on the jukebox!

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It's never once come through my head to meet folk there before or after a game.  Partly because it isn't on my route and also because it's a complete dump.

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I have not been in the 'Caley Club' since about 1979 when it was heaving especially at weekends although never held quite the attraction for me of the Thistle Club.

Subject to that caveat, I am genuinely horrified that our club's official social club should have sectarian songs on the jukebox. That is appalling and needs putting an end to immediately.

Edited by Kingsmills

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5 hours ago, Caman said:

 

Maybe changing it to a family club, with a cafe theme for daytime and pub theme for evening would be better? 

 

Agreed. I think changes like this are needed both to widen the appeal and to make it more profitable.

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So, it would be best in the city centre?

The old Thistle club in Baron Taylors Street is now a doss house - Artchcournie, so that is ruled out. 

Any suggestions for a new location. As i said old Blackfriars pub in Academy Street is vacant. 

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So sad to hear that it's being infiltrated by 'those' but I suppose, in this day and age, the SC has to make money somehow..maybe. That's fine (ish) but something really needs to be done about the photo and the Jukebox tunes.

Its only on a rare occasion that I go in there. The only reason I'm not a regular is simply the fact it doesn't sell what I want to drink.

 

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I've been a member for about 10 years but I've got to agree, it's hard to drag ourselves there each match day given the decline and the other options available.  

I'd love to see some money invested in it - simple things like new tvs and stocking local beers (served in glasses which aren't prone to stinking/being dirty!) would be inexpensive changes.  Obviously it could do with an entire overhaul and new furniture/improved heating in downstairs bar/whatever needs done to get rid of the permanent stale smell but these will take a heck of a lot more money.

I appreciate that they've tried to improve the catering in the past - including very recently - but this is another area where there is still massive room for improvement.  I guess this one is a bit of a vicious circle though, no point in investing or a company/individual taking on franchise if there isn't enough footfall through the door.  Sadly the interior surroundings means that no matter how good quality the food is, not many non-members would go there for food on a regular basis.

I love the Caley Club as a facility in principle and would love to see it prosper.  Despite whatever politics have been going on over the years, I've found the staff to be brilliant.  I love the fact that it's a meeting place for our fans before/after games, and had many good afternoons when buses of away fans have come along and everyone has mixed - the way it should be at football.  Sadly, for reasons highlighted by others, it's not a place I'd want to go on non-football days.

I'm not exactly sure what - if any - links exist between it and the football club but if there's any possibility of stronger links then these should be built upon.  For example, cash sales for tickets/basic merchandise sales/working together on match days to create a pre-match atmosphere instead of competing for bar trade (with neither particularly attractive options atm).

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Quizzer..... you are echoing my own thoughts almost to the letter.

As for weakening links with the football club, I believe that the more or less enforced sale of the premises several years ago was the thin end of the wedge there and that things got a lot worse as a cosequence of a personal squabble which had nothing to do either with the FC or SC. (And involves completely different individuals from the stadium lease scenario.)

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Well, if this is the riff raff they are attracting--uber unionist union-flag waving pond life--then no wonder the place is empty.

And then you have the sevco fans, who are not much better.:cheer01:

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44 minutes ago, Charles Bannerman said:

Quizzer..... you are echoing my own thoughts almost to the letter.

As for weakening links with the football club, I believe that the more or less enforced sale of the premises several years ago was the thin end of the wedge there and that things got a lot worse as a cosequence of a personal squabble which had nothing to do either with the FC or SC. (And involves completely different individuals from the stadium lease scenario.)

Charles, who does own it now? How long is the lease etc? 

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23 hours ago, Charles Bannerman said:

I am just home after my traditional couple of quiet hours out on Boxing Night, which always include a visit to the ICT Social Club.

Tonight I walked into the bar to find seven people - Laurie Redfern, a stalwart regular, Sandy the barman and five Rangers fans playing pool and playing Rangers songs on the jukebox. By happy coincidence, my arrival in the bar coincided with the jukebox proclaiming "Hello, hello...." to which I took great delight in responding, loudly "You WERE the Billy Boys".... which went down about as well as a Hail Mary in the Louden Tavern. :laugh: But, as Corporal Jones used to say.... "They do NOT like it up 'em Captain Mainwaring! they do NOT like it up 'em." Into the bargain, I didn't particularly like what I think is the ongoing presence of a picture of Ibrox on the Social Club wall. This is the Social Club of Inverness Caledonian Thistle - much more recent winners than (The) Rangers (if at all? :lol:) of a national title. There is baggage here that we really do not need. Get rid of the bloody thing!

My point? If the Football Club is, as we now know, being reconstructed as an institution much closer to the community and the fans. This must therefore also become the case with the Social Club. Friends of mine🤪

Got as far as this and suddenly realised this entire post was probably completely fabricated nonsense, certainly has an air of “against all odds”  to it

As for the social club whether it was pre merger or post merger it was infiltrated by some of the biggest belters Inverness had to offer and by the sounds of it still does

Dougal

 

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1 hour ago, Caman said:

Charles, who does own it now? How long is the lease etc? 

The property that houses the social club was sold by ICT in 2010 to Graeme Bennett, who was a director at the time, for £280,000. My understanding is that the lease between him and the social club had a minimum term of 10 years, which would mean there’s a renewal decision to be made in about 2 years time.

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