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Inverness Caley Thistle legend Charlie Christie says Highland club need to re-engage with ‘ignored and undervalued’ fans

By Charlie Christie

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Saturday evening was undoubtedly one of the darkest days in the 30-year history of Inverness Caledonian Thistle as we were relegated to League One having been comprehensively beaten over two legs by Hamilton Academical.

I genuinely felt that our second half showing at New Douglas Park on the previous Wednesday would stand us in good stead for the home leg, but I didn’t envisage Hamilton scoring three first half goals which saw them sit with men behind the ball during the second period to comfortably see out the win.

Supporters from both clubs took to the pitch after last Saturday’s match, with ICT fans venting their frustration at the board. Picture: Callum Mackay
Supporters from both clubs took to the pitch after last Saturday’s match, with ICT fans venting their frustration at the board. Picture: Callum Mackay

I was playing for ICT when we last played in the third tier in 1999, but that was when the club were very much a work in progress and unquestionably on the way up as our promotion that season displayed as did the final step into the Premiership five years later.

The 1998-99 season saw us playing some quite superb football scoring 80 goals as we went toe-to-toe with Livingston for the title and the second bottom tier was incredibly vibrant during that period.

This time we face different challenges and the vociferous show of dissatisfaction at the final whistle last Saturday showed we have much repair work to do if we want to begin progressing once again.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the following of younger fans who have turned up in recent weeks to support the club and they have tried their very best to create an atmosphere during our recent home matches. Huge credit to them for their efforts.

For quite some time we have had a loyal and committed fan base, but it has been a challenge adding to that loyal base – what I hope is that those young and relatively new supporters stay with us – we need you now more than ever!

As a club we need to re-engage with our fans who spend significant amounts of their income on supporting us and who have felt ignored and undervalued for quite some time.

Our Supporters’ Trust group have worked on trying to address issues to enhance fans’ experience at matches and get more people interested in the club and I applaud them for their efforts.

There are some very astute and experienced individuals who I know have the club’s best interests at heart and now might be the perfect time to give them more of a voice within ICT.

We have had many of our greatest successes with a strong core of local players and local staff allied to a strong bond with the fan base – I feel if we are to hit the heights once again we need to get back to this core value at ICT sooner rather than later.

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