Falkirk chairman Martin Ritchie to stand down

Falkirk chairman Martin Ritchie
Martin Ritchie has been Falkirk chairman for more than five years

Martin Ritchie is to stand down as chairman of Falkirk, who say they now have their strongest balance sheet in more than 10 years.

They told the Scottish Championship club's annual meeting that they had reduced their borrowings by £500,000.

Falkirk also made a profit of £90,000 for the year to May, compared to a loss of £212,000 for the previous 12 months.

Ritchie said that financial position provided a strong platform from which to seek a return to the top flight.

The Bairns presently lie sixth in the table, 17 points behind leaders Hearts.

Ritchie, who wil remain in place until a successor is chosen, told his club website: "I've been chairman for over five years and we're now at a stage where we have financial security and are well positioned to address three key issues facing the club - the long-term sustainability of the business, promotion to the Premiership and completion of the Falkirk Stadium."

Shareholders were told that turnover had increased from £1.9m to £2,1m in the year to May and that the club had further improved its financial position through transfers and increased commercial income.

Director Any Thomson told the meeting that "£540,000 of supporters' loans have been eliminated from the balance sheet at a cost of only £317,000, thanks to lenders waiving their rights to full repayment and interest and converting loans to shares in the club".

Falkirk say they now carry less than £300,000 in borrowings - largely to shareholders who funded the ground's new artificial pitch.

Meanwhile, Falkirk lawyer Margaret Lang is to join the club's board.