It was announced today that Ross County F.C.’s Victoria Park will have a new name when the club kicks off its first season in the Scottish Premier League and that name will be “Global Energy Stadium.” Global Energy Group is the company owned by County chairman Roy MacGregor, a company that has been so successful under his leadership that he has been able to make significant and ongoing investments into the club. Global Engergy Group also carried out the renovations that not only made the former Victoria Park SPL-compliant, but did so with such speed and thoroughness that the park was approved by the SPL yesterday, eliminating any possible need for a temporary ground-sharing arrangement with local rivals Inverness Caledonian Thistle F.C.. It is also through MacGregor and Global’s contacts that the club was able to secure a lucrative shirt sponsorship with Stanley CRC-EVANS Offshore. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m normally very angry when something like this happens, but this time I’m just…not.
Are there ways that this could have been done that would have been easier to swallow- like naming one of the newly renovated and expanded stands after the company and perhaps another after MacGregor himself?- absolutely, and I would have preferred that. However, the cold hard facts are that without MacGregor Ross County would not be an S.P.L. club this year and in general, the man has done nothing but good for the club since he took over and he has done so in a very humble and soft-spoken way. This is a club chairman who is at the ground on an almost daily basis, who will stop and chat with supporters at the drop of a hat, and has never put a foot wrong in terms of public relations, interfering with the “product” on the field, or anything else.
If, at this point in his tenure with the club, he feels that he’d like to take advantage of the club’s increased stature (for which he was largely responsible!) by getting his company’s name in the national press or on television on a regular basis, more power to him.
It’ll always be Victoria Park to me, but if calling it “Global Energy Stadium” helps Mr. MacGregor’s Global Energy Group prosper and allows him to continue being a good steward of the club, I’m all for it.