Peterhead chairman Rodger Morrison has thanked the club’s management team and players as well as football fans of the north-east and beyond for rallying behind Blue Toon player Gary Fraser. A push to raise the funds required for the midfielder to have an operation carried out privately, that will get him back playing this season, was started by the occupants of the home dressing room at Balmoor was met with gusto and warmed the heart of the club’s chief.
Gary suffered a knee injury back in December and the impact of Covid-19 on the NHS has delayed his treatment and saw the 27 year old potentially facing another year on the side-lines. Despite not knowing when Gary would be available again Peterhead agreed a new contract however with the number of supporters at Balmoor limited to 242 at the start of the new season the club was not in a position to fund an operation.
Manager Jim McInally stepped forward to offer his Dundee United jersey from the 1987 UEFA Cup Final for auction and player/ coach Simon Ferry did likewise with a prized Swindon Town top. Very quickly a ‘Just Giving’ page was set up with the club’s twitter account running an on-line auction that included a total of 12 items including Kevin Nisbet’s Scotland top that he wore when he scored against Holland in a warm-up game for EURO 2020.
When it became apparent that sufficient funds would be raised to pay for Gary’s operation it was agreed that any excess would be donated to Mental Health Charity, Back Onside, who work with football players across the country and who count former Peterhead player David Cox as one of their patrons.
Over £21,000 has now been raised in total (and there is still time to donate) with Rodger humbled by the response as he explained: “It has been a very unsettling period for everyone since Covid struck in March 2020. Everyone has been affected and there have been plenty of negatives however it was heartening to see how everyone turned Gary’s experience into a positive. As a club we could not commit to what would be a significant part of our income next season to pay for an operation however people got together to make it happen.”
“Jim has given up what is a prized possession, and his generosity was matched by Simon and others. Other players and officials stepped in to help and it was a fantastic gesture by Kevin to repay the support Gary gave him as a youngster at Partick Thistle by donating his Scotland jersey. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to the management team and players for their actions. We maybe do not have the most expensive squad in Scotland, but they have shown they are rich in other ways.”
“I also want to thank the fans of Peterhead for their donations and to the fans of other clubs, especially Partick Thistle, who have a place for Gary in their hearts due in no small part to a goal against Hearts, for their backing.
“I also never thought that I would have something in common with the chairman of West Ham United , David Sullivan, but I do as he also supported the campaign to get Gary playing again.”
Gary is now scheduled in for an operation to fix his knee which should see him return to action at Christmas time and Rodger is hoping that there are hundreds of fans available to see him return.
The Balmoor chief explained: “When the season restarts our attendance will be restricted to just 242. That is less than a third of what we could normally expect and whilst the club are grateful to the 242 that will come along, we are really looking forward to seeing more of you.”
“Our manager has put together an exciting squad for the new season and a squad that have shown their togetherness in their support for a team-mate. I am looking forward to seeing how they get on this season.”
Rodger added: “Thanks again to everyone who helped Gary and Back Onside.”
If you would like to donate before we close the ‘Just Giving’ page this week you can @ Crowdfunding to get Gary Fraser playing again and support Mental Health Charity Back Onside on behalf of former player David Cox who is their patron. on JustGiving